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efthimios
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« on: November 14, 2013, 06:57:00 PM »

Hello
As an orthodox christian I have been dealing with barrage of questions from born again christians that really questions if orthodoxy is a bible based church and faith

http://www.readgodsbible.org/greek-orthodox.html

has this been discussed and how are these accusations handled?
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2013, 08:41:06 PM »

Are they asking because they want to debate you or are they asking because they are interested in learning?

Just because you'll have answers to their questions doesn't mean they will actually listen and understand and most importantly, be ready to accept.

As far as the website you linked, same old same old. I like how they judge our Tradition, Faith, the Church Itself and they make it all sound so simplistic. "Orthodox Christians baptize infants, they believe in Sacraments, they don't believe in Eternal Security (?!?!? whatever that is), they do this and that"

Blah, Blah, Blah!

They know NOTHING about us, really.

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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2013, 08:51:40 PM »

I think there are lots of people here that would be willing to chime in, but it's sort of a barrier when there is such a variety of issues right up front to respond to. Is there some place or some issue you're most curious about? We could start there and then move on once that's done. If you want. Just a thought. If not everyone can of course just give some thoughts about whichever thing... Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2013, 09:20:24 PM »

All false churches preach "faith without works" or "grace without works," despite what the Bible actually says, which is "...and NOT by faith alone." 

They do not want anyone trying.  They do not want you doing what you're supposed to be doing, which is cooperating with grace.  Which is what a false church would do.  These churches are not of God, by God, or for God.  They lead nowhere but straight to hell. 
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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2013, 09:33:40 PM »

Hello
As an orthodox christian I have been dealing with barrage of questions from born again christians that really questions if orthodoxy is a bible based church and faith

http://www.readgodsbible.org/greek-orthodox.html

has this been discussed and how are these accusations handled?

They are just brainwashed with dogmatic nonsense.

Quote
The Greek Eastern Orthodox Church formed in 1054 when it split from the Roman Catholic Church.
False, the Orthodox Church was the Church the Book of Acts speaks about, that Paul writes to, the Book of Revelation writes about, where all of the New Testament and most of the oldest Old Testament manuscripts come from and where the Councils and Fathers of the Church decided the Canon of Scripture, and the doctrines and creeds of the Church. Let's get the facts right.

The Orthodox view of Salvation isn't a dogmatic insanity like Protestants teach. So, it's not as simple as this argument takes it. It's not by Faith Alone either, the view of Faith Alone is unbiblical, Faith is required, but not Faith Alone.

Quote
Greek Orthodox does not believe in Eternal Security and does not teach the Believer can have Assurance of heaven during this lifetime.
What is 'Eternal Security'? It sounds like 'Preservation of the Saints'.

Here's something nice:
Quote
They honor Mary but do not worship her in the way Roman Catholicism does.
lol

The last part is a rant about 'evil tradition' when it was tradition that produced the Bible and that is mentioned in the Bible. I don't understand how tradition is unbiblical when St. Paul speaks highly of it.

Anyway, I believe I saw this propaganda piece at Bible.ca or jesus-is-savior before, you know, the insane nutcase Protestant websites? It probably originates from there.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2013, 09:38:16 PM by xOrthodox4Christx » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2013, 09:47:27 PM »

Hello
As an orthodox christian I have been dealing with barrage of questions from born again christians that really questions if orthodoxy is a bible based church and faith

http://www.readgodsbible.org/greek-orthodox.html

has this been discussed and how are these accusations handled?

They are just brainwashed with dogmatic nonsense.

Quote
The Greek Eastern Orthodox Church formed in 1054 when it split from the Roman Catholic Church.
False, the Orthodox Church was the Church the Book of Acts speaks about, that Paul writes to, the Book of Revelation writes about, where all of the New Testament and most of the oldest Old Testament manuscripts come from and where the Councils and Fathers of the Church decided the Canon of Scripture, and the doctrines and creeds of the Church. Let's get the facts right.

The Orthodox view of Salvation isn't a dogmatic insanity like Protestants teach. So, it's not as simple as this argument takes it. It's not by Faith Alone either, the view of Faith Alone is unbiblical, Faith is required, but not Faith Alone.

Quote
Greek Orthodox does not believe in Eternal Security and does not teach the Believer can have Assurance of heaven during this lifetime.
What is 'Eternal Security'? It sounds like 'Preservation of the Saints'.

Here's something nice:
Quote
They honor Mary but do not worship her in the way Roman Catholicism does.
lol

The last part is a rant about 'evil tradition' when it was tradition that produced the Bible and that is mentioned in the Bible. I don't understand how tradition is unbiblical when St. Paul speaks highly of it.

Anyway, I believe I saw this propaganda piece at Bible.ca or jesus-is-savior before, you know, the insane nutcase Protestant websites? It probably originates from there.

The idea of struggling is alien to them as they consider struggling and repentance to be work-based salvation, which to them is denying the faith.

Instead, the idea that Christ's shed blood has cleansed their slate and they need not worry appeals to them as they believe that faith in Christ will save them. They have bought the comforting illusion of the devil as they believe that they do not have to struggle, that they do not have to work, and that they can sin mightily, and still be saved.

If someone were to tell them that they must resist temptation, struggle, and repent for their sins, they would respond: "That would be works based salvation."
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« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2013, 09:52:06 PM »

Oh, by the way, I met a recent graduate from Master's College, who is a firm believer in Once-saved always saved (OSAS).

He parroted what I have previously posted that our Orthodox Church teaches works-based salvation.
Then he smiled and said, "Why don't you accept the fact that Christ has saved you?"

I responded, "We believe that we have been saved, that we are being saved, and that we will be saved."

He replied, "For those who believe in Christ, we are saved. It is a done deal. What part of done don't you understand?"
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« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2013, 10:00:45 PM »

He replied, "For those who believe in Christ, we are saved. It is a done deal. What part of done don't you understand?"

I'd reply "the part where St. Peter says we are 'being' saved"  Wink
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« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2013, 10:02:46 PM »

Hello
As an orthodox christian I have been dealing with barrage of questions from born again christians that really questions if orthodoxy is a bible based church and faith

http://www.readgodsbible.org/greek-orthodox.html

has this been discussed and how are these accusations handled?
It isn't a matter of them believing the Bible and the Orthodox not, it is a matter of two different interpretations of what the Bible is saying.  Until they can give a legitimate basis of why anyone should accept their interpretation over any of the countless other interpretations, there really isn't any reason to accept what they have to say.
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« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2013, 10:03:22 PM »

He replied, "For those who believe in Christ, we are saved. It is a done deal. What part of done don't you understand?"

I'd reply "the part where St. Peter says we are 'being' saved"  Wink

Or St. Paul's epistle where he tells us to run the race.

We are a work in progress.
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« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2013, 10:04:07 PM »

Oh, by the way, I met a recent graduate from Master's College, who is a firm believer in Once-saved always saved (OSAS).

He parroted what I have previously posted that our Orthodox Church teaches works-based salvation.
Then he smiled and said, "Why don't you accept the fact that Christ has saved you?"

I responded, "We believe that we have been saved, that we are being saved, and that we will be saved."

He replied, "For those who believe in Christ, we are saved. It is a done deal. What part of done don't you understand?"
The part where "done deal" isn't mentioned in the Bible that you say is the sole basis of authority.
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« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2013, 10:05:29 PM »

I like in the article where it says:

Quote
Ecumenical?   Yes   

 laugh
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« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2013, 10:07:45 PM »

You want my honest advice? Don't bother with specific apologetics--in fact, don't specifically look for answers to their questions. Most apologetics are weak tbh, and will fall apart in either direction unless you really understand the theology behind them. My advice is to simply study the theology of the Church as well as its history, and then you will naturally be able to point out flaws in their arguments and be able to defend your beliefs.
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efthimios
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« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2013, 10:13:54 PM »

Specifically:
-toll roads..why does the orthodox church say souls go through toll roads when thats not in the bible. The bible says to be absent from the body is to be with the lord.

-traditions over Bible focus?

-saints, possible taking focus away from Christ?

 -the idea we orthodox dont have a personal relationshil with Christ but focus on the Priest, church, icons, and saints?

there is no arguing they go by the Bible and leverage Orthodoxy brings in and adds traditions etc
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« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2013, 10:15:42 PM »

Quote
- Greek orthodox churches reject image and relic worship which is prominent in Roman Churches

- Mass is performed in the Greek language instead of Latin.

- The honor Mary but do not worship her in the way Roman Catholicism does.

angel
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« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2013, 10:21:49 PM »

there is no arguing they go by the Bible and leverage Orthodoxy brings in and adds traditions etc

Yeah there is. They didn't write the Bible, they are just using it to make other people look bad. Orthodoxy doesn't 'add traditions' those traditions were from the earliest time of the Church. Protestants don't fast on Wed. and Fri., the 2nd century Church did. So, is a Protestant Church that began 1500+ years after Christ, or the Apostolic Church that only after some 150 years after Christ taught the exact same thing the Orthodox Church teaches today; more authoritative and authentic in your mind?

Read the Apostolic Fathers.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2013, 10:27:21 PM by xOrthodox4Christx » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2013, 10:28:45 PM »



 -the idea we orthodox dont have a personal relationshil with Christ but focus on the Priest, church, icons, and saints?



As opposed to prot 'churches' where you have "four bare walls and a pulpit," wherein the total focus is on a pastor--a man--and Christ is nowhere to be seen, His mother is nowhere to be seen, those who have actually lived their lives to please God and many who were martyred for refusing to denounce God and Christianity are nowhere to be seen, and then consider that 'censer' appears in the Bible 17 times but yet there are no censers in their churches.  That incense is Frankincense?  Good enough for the baby Jesus, not good enough for Baptists or Methodists or Presbyterians?  Odd.  

So the only thing in their churches is that pastor.  Prots worship a pastor.  That's worse than venerating icons could ever be, isn't it?  And sitting in churches every Sunday letting one pastor tell the congregation how to interpret scripture kinda blows a hole in that whole sola scriptura thing, right?  And it's not like McDonalds.  Each church, even within a particular denomination, there is one pastor and when he interprets scripture in a way that is doctrinally distinct, it counts as another church.  That's why it is estimated that there are 32,000 (some estimate even higher than that) protestant denominations.  For instance, most Baptists refuse to claim Westboro as one of their own.  Well, why not?  It's Westboro Baptist Church?

Protestantism is nothing but a huge mess.  I'm new to Orthodoxy, so I can't recall now--maybe someone else in here can.  Which of the Church Fathers said that there is no salvation outside the Church?  Prots deny Christ's mother, works as a component of true faith and therefore a requirement for salvation (faith without works is dead), all of the sacraments (deny they're anything but symbols) so none of them are baptized and none have received communion.  Prots show up empty-handed.  Not sure where these people think they're going, but I guarantee, heaven ain't it.
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« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2013, 10:30:57 PM »

Quote
- Greek orthodox churches reject image and relic worship which is prominent in Roman Churches

- Mass is performed in the Greek language instead of Latin.

- The honor Mary but do not worship her in the way Roman Catholicism does.

angel

They don't honor her at all.  No pictures of her, no veneration, no mention of her at any sermon, not even once per year.  They consider her just another woman.  That's from the horse's mouth--she was just some woman.  

I'm just human, and if you disrespect my mother, you're getting not nowhere's inside my house.  And this woman was Christ's mother.  Christ's.  What are these loony people thinking?
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« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2013, 10:51:16 PM »

Quote
I'm new to Orthodoxy, so I can't recall now--maybe someone else in here can.  Which of the Church Fathers said that there is no salvation outside the Church?

St. Cyprian of Carthage. The RCs made a dogma out of it called Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus.
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« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2013, 11:10:39 PM »

Oh, by the way, I met a recent graduate from Master's College, who is a firm believer in Once-saved always saved (OSAS).

He parroted what I have previously posted that our Orthodox Church teaches works-based salvation.
Then he smiled and said, "Why don't you accept the fact that Christ has saved you?"

I responded, "We believe that we have been saved, that we are being saved, and that we will be saved."

He replied, "For those who believe in Christ, we are saved. It is a done deal. What part of done don't you understand?"

Geez, if salvation was that easy why would not everyone want to be an Evangelical 'Christian'?  Heck, why work hard to be a better person when all you need is to declare your belief in Christ and THATS IT. 
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« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2013, 11:14:19 PM »

Oh, by the way, I met a recent graduate from Master's College, who is a firm believer in Once-saved always saved (OSAS).

He parroted what I have previously posted that our Orthodox Church teaches works-based salvation.
Then he smiled and said, "Why don't you accept the fact that Christ has saved you?"

I responded, "We believe that we have been saved, that we are being saved, and that we will be saved."

He replied, "For those who believe in Christ, we are saved. It is a done deal. What part of done don't you understand?"

"For those who believe in Christ, we are saved." Well he got the first part right but that's all.  There are a lot more parts.
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« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2013, 11:25:05 PM »

I think JamesR has some of the best advice in this thread so far.  I would direct any protestant to listen to Our Life in Christ podcasts they cover many of the issues you have brought up.
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« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2013, 11:46:47 PM »

-toll roads..why does the orthodox church say souls go through toll roads when thats not in the bible. The bible says to be absent from the body is to be with the lord.

Bible alone isn't in the Bible; and to be fair, the Toll-House thing isn't universally accepted by the Church.

Quote
-traditions over Bible focus?

Bible is Tradition; the distinction between the two is a Latin innovation.

Quote
-saints, possible taking focus away from Christ?

No; rather, the Saints glorify Christ even more because their testimonies show how Christ can work such wonders through sinful people.

Quote
-the idea we orthodox dont have a personal relationshil with Christ but focus on the Priest, church, icons, and saints?

Many of us do (esp. in the Old Country), but for many of us, these things are tools that help us grow closer to Christ. You can just as well accuse Protestants of the same thing when it comes to end-of-the-world/Rapture/"Left Behind!" novels, having rock bands in Church, and every other trend that they incorporate in their worship.

Quote
there is no arguing they go by the Bible and leverage Orthodoxy brings in and adds traditions etc

Then you need to debate Sola Scriptura with them but I wouldn't suggest it because for the most part, they don't get it and rely on EXTREMELY circular logic. Hence many atheist-Protestant arguments:

A: How do we know the Bible is "infallible"?
P: Because it says so. "Scripture is God-breathed/2-edged sword" etc. [insert passage here]
A: But that's a circular argument; you can't use the Bible to support the Bible
P: *GASP!* You don't believe in the Bible?!?!?!
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« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2013, 11:50:27 PM »


Geez, if salvation was that easy why would not everyone want to be an Evangelical 'Christian'?  Heck, why work hard to be a better person when all you need is to declare your belief in Christ and THATS IT. 


Yes, it's like the boy scout pledge.  Except they don't hold their hand up while saying the pledge.  They do that vulcan thing with their fingers.  I don't get the connection, but who am I to judge...
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« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2013, 01:16:42 AM »

Hello
As an orthodox christian I have been dealing with barrage of questions from born again christians that really questions if orthodoxy is a bible based church and faith


The liturgical deposit of the Orthodox church, its hymnody, prayers, and cycles of readings, is so loaded with scripture that it leaves any protestant worship service very much in the shade.
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« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2013, 01:23:19 AM »

Oh, by the way, I met a recent graduate from Master's College, who is a firm believer in Once-saved always saved (OSAS).

He parroted what I have previously posted that our Orthodox Church teaches works-based salvation.
Then he smiled and said, "Why don't you accept the fact that Christ has saved you?"

I responded, "We believe that we have been saved, that we are being saved, and that we will be saved."

He replied, "For those who believe in Christ, we are saved. It is a done deal. What part of done don't you understand?"

Geez, if salvation was that easy why would not everyone want to be an Evangelical 'Christian'?  Heck, why work hard to be a better person when all you need is to declare your belief in Christ and THATS IT. 

Good point. I also think this shows how Islam can be so compelling, too.
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« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2013, 02:22:02 AM »

These Protestants may have invented those doctrines as the church through its wolves like people who would attack clergy if they opposed them in doctrine would never be fully biblical it does not believe in salvation after death it does not believe in hell as a purgatory for some  Martin Luther did oppose purgatory but he never opposed hell as a purgatory I think he himself one website said taught the possibility of salvation after death  he only opposed money can get one out of purgatory no it can only stop you going to hell with your loved ones which will increase their suffering besides praying for the dead works only so far as people have done their time so long as they have not commited the unforgivable sin if any
They invent the doctrines to show that people who never would come to the church are not as bad as they seem because they would come to Jesus
There may be no purgatory I mean even hell as a purgatory but it seems to be what the church taught but I am afraid our church fathers in not confessing universal salvation or hell as a purgatory  are wolves in Sheep clothing as Jesus's commandments insists one becomes a merciful person praying for his enemies  and if they so repent they will be received
You can google search pope Shenouda III video on after death there is no more chances and this teaching stops people from prospering in life and obeying Jesus commandments that's fine but many church hypocrites may hurt the honest followers of this doctrine when they prosper and others do not actually it is not fine as whoever does not provide for his own is worse than an unbeliever

However some people's rejection of Christ in this life commiting the unforgivable sin may mean Gods love will burn them which is why as Daniel says we must turn many to righteousness as they will have an everlasting reproach which will never be forgotten

Then again I should judge not that I be not judged which proves teaching damnation seems like a wolf in sheep clothing I understand the church can never teach universal salvation or hells purgatory until God reveals it by apparition but then what authority does it have ?

Indeed ones unconfessed sins may be an eternal burden on some or people

BEWARE: I perhaps live like a universalist and my father did not stop me do not walk over my empty tomb

Wouldn't it be nice if the church could be seen as truth as John came that all through him might believe did he teach universalism baptising in the open squares but the bible said he performed no sign but grace was on his life and his birth was miraculous

Please tell me if this post should be deleted and then moderator delete it
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« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2013, 06:38:42 AM »

Mikeforjesus why would you delete this post? Have you never had a debate such as this one? Im looking forward to more concrete reasoning that defends orthodoxy against the born again attacks that we are not a relifious following that is distracted by all these things as they say.

I find it very difficult discussing it with them and think it would be great to have this discussion here.
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« Reply #28 on: November 15, 2013, 06:41:30 AM »

Posts are not being deleted because you want to. You have already been told that, mikeforjesus.
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« Reply #29 on: November 15, 2013, 10:01:56 AM »

I will say this as someone who was a proseletyzer, a defender of Luther, and finally Orthodox.

You will never...ever.....ever....ever.....argue someone into the faith. You will never "win" a debate with a protestant.

Now, can you provide evidence, that if under independent review trounce protestant evidence? Yes. Does history back up our claims? Yes. Does this matter? Nope.

All you can do, is be prepared to defend the ludicrous claims that are made against us, give information, and leave it at that. If protestants are looking into Orthodoxy with the idea that there is more to God than spot quoting scripture, and milk being mistaken for meat, then and ONLY then will your arguments make any impact. Other than that, you are simply participating in a mutual, "GOTCHA!" exercise.

Most people...protestant, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Muslim, conservative, liberal, etc. have their opinions and unless they are re-evaluating their positions on things, will defend them despite all evidence to the contrary. That is because most folks debating such points are not interested in actually learning about someone else's position on anything, but engaging in stroking their own ego and how everyone else is wrong, but they, and their beliefs are superior.....myself included. Just take a trip to the politics section for Exhibit A through ZZABA.

Learn WHY you believe what you believe, and live it. Lord have mercy.

PP
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« Reply #30 on: November 15, 2013, 10:10:53 AM »

I will say this as someone who was a proseletyzer, a defender of Luther, and finally Orthodox.

You will never...ever.....ever....ever.....argue someone into the faith. You will never "win" a debate with a protestant.

Now, can you provide evidence, that if under independent review trounce protestant evidence? Yes. Does history back up our claims? Yes. Does this matter? Nope.

All you can do, is be prepared to defend the ludicrous claims that are made against us, give information, and leave it at that. If protestants are looking into Orthodoxy with the idea that there is more to God than spot quoting scripture, and milk being mistaken for meat, then and ONLY then will your arguments make any impact. Other than that, you are simply participating in a mutual, "GOTCHA!" exercise.

Most people...protestant, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Muslim, conservative, liberal, etc. have their opinions and unless they are re-evaluating their positions on things, will defend them despite all evidence to the contrary. That is because most folks debating such points are not interested in actually learning about someone else's position on anything, but engaging in stroking their own ego and how everyone else is wrong, but they, and their beliefs are superior.....myself included. Just take a trip to the politics section for Exhibit A through ZZABA.

Learn WHY you believe what you believe, and live it. Lord have mercy.

PP

+1,  as a Protestant who was raised with a ton of misrepresentations of other Christians, I would recommend learning to "live it" as PP says, anchor yourself in Orthodoxy and reflect the love of Christ.  Orthodox stresses the virtue of humility.  So often these sorts of arguments become fueled by pride.
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« Reply #31 on: November 15, 2013, 10:20:07 AM »

Specifically:
-toll roads..why does the orthodox church say souls go through toll roads when thats not in the bible. The bible says to be absent from the body is to be with the lord.

-traditions over Bible focus?

-saints, possible taking focus away from Christ?

 -the idea we orthodox dont have a personal relationshil with Christ but focus on the Priest, church, icons, and saints?

there is no arguing they go by the Bible and leverage Orthodoxy brings in and adds traditions etc

It's like Trisagion said - it's not about who believes the Bible or not. It's about differing interpretations. So why should their interpretation be the correct one?
As far as toll houses go, that is not universally accepted dogma. I've heard it described as an extended metaphor.
I wouldn't argue but would ask questions in return: how does Tradition take away from Christ? How do saints take away from Christ? How do they know that Orthodox don't have a personal relationship with Christ?
In similar situations, I like to ask how much they actually know about Christian history and Orthodoxy, so that we can have a place to begin.
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« Reply #32 on: November 15, 2013, 10:24:26 AM »




Someone asked me yesterday if we Orthodox Christians had "the same Bible as my [her] Protestant Church does."I said "Yes!" She asked me of I "believed in the Bible" as they did and I told her "Yes! We believe in the Bible and the Church that wrote it! In fact, do you believe you can believe in the Bible when you don't believe in the 'Right Believing' Orthodox Christian Church that wrote the Holy Bible inspired of the Holy Spirit? Where in the entire Bible does it say there is more than One Church? If the Church is the Body of Christ (not Bodies of Christ) why do you believe in just one Bible but any Protestant can start a "new church" to the tune of over 45,000 different Protestant churches in the world believing sometimes radically different if not heretical beliefs about Jesus? Is your Protestant "Jesus" schizophrenic? Does your "Jesus" know Who He is? Or does the Apostle lie when he says there is "one faith, one Baptism one Lord of all?" I also went on to say "The Holy Orthodox Church is the Original Church and she believes in the Original Bible she wrote inspired of the Original Holy Spirit Who proclaims the Original Lord Jesus!

-Hieromonk Joshua
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« Reply #33 on: November 15, 2013, 11:32:12 AM »

So often Orthodox, in their rhetoric, are revealing themselves to be part of the same game as the Protestants they deride. The pigeon-holing, gross exaggerations, and snarky attitude aren't going to win you any ears (but perhaps this isn't the goal in the first place).  As a Protestant poster on this board I almost wish I wasn't even privy to these types of posts because it is only souring my own inquiry.  It is really shattering the airy notion that I'm trying to maintain that the "real Christians" are over there in Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #34 on: November 15, 2013, 11:39:01 AM »

So often Orthodox, in their rhetoric, are revealing themselves to be part of the same game as the Protestants they deride. The pigeon-holing, gross exaggerations, and snarky attitude aren't going to win you any ears (but perhaps this isn't the goal in the first place).  As a Protestant poster on this board I almost wish I wasn't even privy to these types of posts because it is only souring my own inquiry.  It is really shattering the airy notion that I'm trying to maintain that the "real Christians" are over there in Orthodoxy.

It's not a matter of 'feeling' you are a 'real Christian'. It's a reality that the early Church inspired, through the Bishops who safeguarded the Faith that Christ handed down to His Holy Apostles and that they handed down to their Bishops that inspired the Church.

Protestants maintain that they failed to safeguard the Faith, and that they fell into 'the Great Apostasy'.

It doesn't matter 'who wins ears,' it matters on what the truth is.
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« Reply #35 on: November 15, 2013, 12:43:08 PM »

Hey efthimios,

To be honest I was unsure as to whether I was to post in this thread again. I understand and sympathize with you asking the questions, but I also understand what Hinterlander is saying, and feel like my own responses (like in this thread) often fall into the same bad tendenciesas he described. Still, I am nothing if not prideful enough to think I have something helpful to say, so I'll add a bit more...

Specifically:
-toll roads..why does the orthodox church say souls go through toll roads when thats not in the bible. The bible says to be absent from the body is to be with the lord.

A few thoughts here. First, the Bible does not really say, or at least it does not make it obvious, that being absent from the body somehow immediately puts you smack dab in the presence of the Lord. Adding the word "is" in there, as often happens, tends to make the verse say something it doesn't necessarily say. Second, I think toll houses/roads are a controversial subject, but at best they are just some type of metaphor for something that may indeed happen. Many Christians (not just purgatory-accepting Catholics) believe in some type of test or cleansing or examination in the after life. Who is to say that Christ, who is the final and ultimate authority, cannot do so through the instrument of something or someone else? Will we not judge the angels, as the Scripture says? Does that then mean that we usurp the right to judgment that Christ has? I think it just means there's more to the story than perhaps we know for certain. Sometimes we are given only hints. Often times.

The larger issue here is the "it's not in the Bible" part. I think Orthodox sometimes push the idea too far, but not everything needs to be explicitly found in the Bible to be true or helpful. Clearly there were traditions, customs, and beliefs that early Christians (starting with the Apostles) held to that didn't make it into the Bible most people use. St. Paul himself says so, and others like St. John hint at it. And right from the start in documents like the Didache we can see evidence of it. Many Christians throughout history did not have a Bible, or perhaps had some books and not others, or perhaps were illiterate and had to trust that someone else was being honest with them. The Bible should be a check against heresy, not an A-to-Z guidebook. If something contradicts what the Bible teaches then that's one thing, but something simply not being in the Bible is completely different.

Quote
-traditions over Bible focus?

Sometimes there is, and sometimes (in much rarer cases) there was the opposite tendency. Finding the right balance between tradition (in all it's forms--icons, hymns, church fathers, etc.), Scripture, experience, reason, faith, etc. is a monumental task. I'm not sure which individuals have mastered that, if any. And because I myself am so far off, it's hard for me to even start to discern who might have it right. I think we tend to look towards those we happen to like or identify with or agree with. Not surprisingly, then, that I would put forward my favorite theologian, Gregory of Nazianzus, as someone who had a good go at finding balance between all the ways we try understand and relate to God.

I would imagine this is an unhelpful answer for you. I could give more apologetic-sounding thoughts, but frankly I increasingly doubt how much value there is in them. *shrugs*

Quote
-saints, possible taking focus away from Christ?

It's possible, but not necessary. As with the above, it's about balance. Saints are important, role models are important. St. Paul even put himself and others forward numerous times as people to emulate (Phil. 3:17; 1 Cor. 4:16; etc.)  Insofar as this distorts and detracts from Christ it is a negative thing. But if it helps and edifies and encourages, then it is a positive thing.

Quote
-the idea we orthodox dont have a personal relationshil with Christ but focus on the Priest, church, icons, and saints?

Ritual, iconography, etc. are used as tools, and not meant to replace a focus on Christ. It is through such tools that we develop a relationship. And everyone does it, it's just that some go beyond prayer and reading the Bible and adds other tools like fasting and confession and such. The question is, what is best? Does Christians or the Bible say to only read and pray, or does it give us many other tools like priests, saints, etc.? And, does it also give permission for the creation of new tools, if they so happen to be beneficial?
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« Reply #36 on: November 15, 2013, 12:53:25 PM »

So often Orthodox, in their rhetoric, are revealing themselves to be part of the same game as the Protestants they deride. The pigeon-holing, gross exaggerations, and snarky attitude aren't going to win you any ears (but perhaps this isn't the goal in the first place).  As a Protestant poster on this board I almost wish I wasn't even privy to these types of posts because it is only souring my own inquiry.  It is really shattering the airy notion that I'm trying to maintain that the "real Christians" are over there in Orthodoxy.

I sympathise with your point, and largely agree with you in one sense.  On the other hand, I have to wonder why a reader of the Bible such as yourself would be surprised.  Christ didn't choose saints for apostles, he chose ordinary men with typical problems and called them to apostleship.  One shot first and asked questions later, leading him to denial.  Another was avaricious and ended up being the traitor.  At least one was a terrorist or terrorist sympathiser.  A pair of brothers were so bad Jesus gave them a nickname--they went on to seek positions of authority in his kingdom by putting their mom up to asking, ask Jesus for permission to call down fire from heaven to destroy a town, and God knows what else.  One worked for the colonial overlords, one doubted, one was skeptical of Jesus just because of where he was from, one (Paul) was at least complicit, if not actively involved, in the persecution and murder of the early Christians, etc.  Jesus chose all of them being fully conscious of their issues, and calling them to fellowship with him didn't remove all those problems and transform them at once.  Even after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, even after Pentecost, they still found it difficult to resist "old Adam".  Christ didn't call saints and make them apostles, he called apostles and made them saints, but he did so by calling them to fellowship with himself.     
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« Reply #37 on: November 15, 2013, 01:35:42 PM »

You want my honest advice? Don't bother with specific apologetics--in fact, don't specifically look for answers to their questions. Most apologetics are weak tbh, and will fall apart in either direction unless you really understand the theology behind them. My advice is to simply study the theology of the Church as well as its history, and then you will naturally be able to point out flaws in their arguments and be able to defend your beliefs.
JamesR, this is another brilliant answer. I'm glad others noticed the same thing. People like the ones we're talking about here don't want answers. They want arguments. I'm finally beginning to get that notion fixed into my brain.

If you really want strange looks, tell people that the Orthodox Church doesn't have a Bible; we have the Holy Scriptures. Then walk away. If they want to follow up, then JamesR, you are quite right in your advice to be prepared to point out some Christian Church history. In this case, that a single bound volume of Holy Scripture is a relatively modern concept. There's more, of course, but I don't want to ramble.
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« Reply #38 on: November 15, 2013, 02:22:01 PM »

So often Orthodox, in their rhetoric, are revealing themselves to be part of the same game as the Protestants they deride. The pigeon-holing, gross exaggerations, and snarky attitude aren't going to win you any ears (but perhaps this isn't the goal in the first place).  As a Protestant poster on this board I almost wish I wasn't even privy to these types of posts because it is only souring my own inquiry.  It is really shattering the airy notion that I'm trying to maintain that the "real Christians" are over there in Orthodoxy.

I sympathise with your point, and largely agree with you in one sense.  On the other hand, I have to wonder why a reader of the Bible such as yourself would be surprised.  Christ didn't choose saints for apostles, he chose ordinary men with typical problems and called them to apostleship.  One shot first and asked questions later, leading him to denial.  Another was avaricious and ended up being the traitor.  At least one was a terrorist or terrorist sympathiser.  A pair of brothers were so bad Jesus gave them a nickname--they went on to seek positions of authority in his kingdom by putting their mom up to asking, ask Jesus for permission to call down fire from heaven to destroy a town, and God knows what else.  One worked for the colonial overlords, one doubted, one was skeptical of Jesus just because of where he was from, one (Paul) was at least complicit, if not actively involved, in the persecution and murder of the early Christians, etc.  Jesus chose all of them being fully conscious of their issues, and calling them to fellowship with him didn't remove all those problems and transform them at once.  Even after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, even after Pentecost, they still found it difficult to resist "old Adam".  Christ didn't call saints and make them apostles, he called apostles and made them saints, but he did so by calling them to fellowship with himself.     
I guess I would say it this way: We Orthodox believe that the Orthodox Church is the true Church, our surest means of salvation. However, on the level of each individual person, I'd be willing to bet that we're probably no better than those outside the Church at actually living in accordance with our faith. If one wants to maintain the airy notion that the "real Christians" are over there in Orthodoxy, then I think that one has some unrealistically lofty expectations to discard, lest he be sorely disappointed to learn that we're sinners just as much in need of salvation as anyone else.
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« Reply #39 on: November 15, 2013, 03:22:39 PM »

All false churches preach "faith without works" or "grace without works," despite what the Bible actually says, which is "...and NOT by faith alone."


I have never heard a person preach a dead faith saves, or that it is possible to have faith without producing fruit. Jesus said those that believed would do even greater works than he (John 14:12). The Orthodox study Bible I have says Grace, Faith, and Works are all gifts from God (Ephesians 2:8-10) and I couldn’t agree more. However, Scripture is very clear it is not works:

Titus 3:5 - he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

Romans 11:6 - But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

James 2

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?

James is talking about a living and true faith and being justified before man "someone will say", as clearly affirmed by Paul (otherwise you have an irreconcilable contradiction):

Romans 4:2 - For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.

I could post numerous quotes by the fathers that talk about faith alone, just as I could post many quotes from Luther and other western reformers on the importance of works.

Christ is the head of the Church (Colossians 1:18) and we are baptized into that body (Galatians 3:27 – 1 Corinthians 12:13). I love what I have learned about Orthodoxy but see no evidence Christianity and the Body of Christ begins and ends with any one church.

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« Reply #40 on: November 15, 2013, 03:54:36 PM »

All false churches preach "faith without works" or "grace without works," despite what the Bible actually says, which is "...and NOT by faith alone."


I have never heard a person preach a dead faith saves, or that it is possible to have faith without producing fruit. Jesus said those that believed would do even greater works than he (John 14:12). The Orthodox study Bible I have says Grace, Faith, and Works are all gifts from God (Ephesians 2:8-10) and I couldn’t agree more. However, Scripture is very clear it is not works:

Titus 3:5 - he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

Romans 11:6 - But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

James 2

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?

James is talking about a living and true faith and being justified before man "someone will say", as clearly affirmed by Paul (otherwise you have an irreconcilable contradiction):

Romans 4:2 - For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.

I could post numerous quotes by the fathers that talk about faith alone, just as I could post many quotes from Luther and other western reformers on the importance of works.

Christ is the head of the Church (Colossians 1:18) and we are baptized into that body (Galatians 3:27 – 1 Corinthians 12:13). I love what I have learned about Orthodoxy but see no evidence Christianity and the Body of Christ begins and ends with any one church.

This is because of your incorrect dogmatism. Of course we are saved by Grace and Mercy, but not those things alone. Of course we are saved by faith. But not faith alone. None of those quotes proves the alone part, and faith alone is an unbiblical belief. In fact, those quotes are simply anti-works.

Christ said: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) It's a command from Christ. If you don't follow Christ's words, whose words do you follow?

You can find whatever you want to selectively quote from in a book, that's not what matters.
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« Reply #41 on: November 15, 2013, 04:07:21 PM »

Hello
As an orthodox christian I have been dealing with barrage of questions from born again Christians that really questions if orthodoxy is a bible based church and faith

http://www.readgodsbible.org/greek-orthodox.html

has this been discussed and how are these accusations handled?
If any of the protestants you are communicating with can take the time to read a book about the Orthodox, have them read Eastern Orthodoxy through Western Eyes by Donald Fairbairn.  IMHO, he does the best job of being even handed with the protestants and Orthodox.
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« Reply #42 on: November 15, 2013, 04:21:14 PM »

Hello
As an orthodox christian I have been dealing with barrage of questions from born again Christians that really questions if orthodoxy is a bible based church and faith

http://www.readgodsbible.org/greek-orthodox.html

has this been discussed and how are these accusations handled?
If any of the protestants you are communicating with can take the time to read a book about the Orthodox, have them read Eastern Orthodoxy through Western Eyes by Donald Fairbairn.  IMHO, he does the best job of being even handed with the protestants and Orthodox.

James Payton Jr's Light from the Christian East is also a good book for Protestants to read who know nothing about Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #43 on: November 15, 2013, 04:36:06 PM »

I will say this as someone who was a proseletyzer, a defender of Luther, and finally Orthodox.

You will never...ever.....ever....ever.....argue someone into the faith. You will never "win" a debate with a protestant.
so trueI don't believe in the comments or thought that the Orthodox have the winning solution it's all about what's in your heart and your relationship with Christ
Now, can you provide evidence, that if under independent review trounce protestant evidence? Yes. Does history back up our claims? Yes. Does this matter? Nope.

All you can do, is be prepared to defend the ludicrous claims that are made against us, give information, and leave it at that. If protestants are looking into Orthodoxy with the idea that there is more to God than spot quoting scripture, and milk being mistaken for meat, then and ONLY then will your arguments make any impact. Other than that, you are simply participating in a mutual, "GOTCHA!" exercise.

Most people...protestant, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Muslim, conservative, liberal, etc. have their opinions and unless they are re-evaluating their positions on things, will defend them despite all evidence to the contrary. That is because most folks debating such points are not interested in actually learning about someone else's position on anything, but engaging in stroking their own ego and how everyone else is wrong, but they, and their beliefs are superior.....myself included. Just take a trip to the politics section for Exhibit A through ZZABA.

Learn WHY you believe what you believe, and live it. Lord have mercy.

PP

+1,  as a Protestant who was raised with a ton of misrepresentations of other Christians, I would recommend learning to "live it" as PP says, anchor yourself in Orthodoxy and reflect the love of Christ.  Orthodox stresses the virtue of humility.  So often these sorts of arguments become fueled by pride.
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« Reply #44 on: November 15, 2013, 06:11:28 PM »


This is because of your incorrect dogmatism.

May God have mercy on me for my Free Will has failed me on understanding the Gospel.

Luke 18:13 -  But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’

“But what is the “law of faith?” It is, being saved by grace. Here he shows God’s power, in that He has not only saved, but has even justified, and led them to boasting, and this too without needing works, but looking for faith only. For Scripture says that faith has saved us. Put better: Since God willed it, faith has saved us. Now in what case, tell me, does faith save without itself doing anything at all? Faith’s workings themselves are a gift of God, lest anyone should boast. What then is Paul saying? Not that God has forbidden works but that he has forbidden us to be justified by works. No one, Paul says, is justified by works, precisely in order that the grace and benevolence of God may become apparent.”

St. John Chrysostom

"Again, they said that he who adhered to Faith alone was cursed, but he shows that he who adhered to Faith alone is blessed."

St. John Chrysostom

"We also, being called through God's will in Christ Jesus, are not justified through ourselves, neither through our own wisdom or understanding, or piety, or works which we have done in holiness or heart, but through faith"

Clement of Rome

"When an ungodly man is converted, God justified him through faith alone, not on account of good works which he possessed not."

Jerome

“God has decreed that a person who believes in Christ can be saved without works. By faith alone he receives the forgiveness of sins”.

Ambrosiaster 

“Redemption by the blood of Christ would become of little value, neither would the preeminence of man's works be superseded by the mercy of God, if justification, which is wrought through grace, were due to the merits going before, so as to be, not the free gift of a donor, but the reward due to the laborer.”

Ambrose

"This is the true and perfect glorying in God, when a man is not lifted up on account of his own righteousness, but has known himself to be wanting in true righteousness and to be justified by faith alone in Christ."

Basil

"Shall not all our righteousness turn out to be mere unrighteousness and deficiency? What, then, shall it be concerning our sins, when not even our righteousness can answer for itself? Wherefore...let us flee, with all humility to Mercy which alone can save our souls...whoever hungers and thirsts after righteousness, let him believe in thee, who "justified the ungodly"; and thus, being justified by faith alone, he shall have peace with God."

Bernard of Clairvaux:

It is ordained of God that he who believes in Christ is saved, freely receiving remission of sins, without works, by faith alone.

Ambrose

We say, besides, that if good works do not follow, faith is false and not true.

Martin Luther

Quote
Christ said: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) It's a command from Christ. If you don't follow Christ's words, whose words do you follow?

Amen!!

Mark 16:16 - Whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Quote
You can find whatever you want to selectively quote from in a book, that's not what matters.

Yeah but the verses I posted are in direct context of what we are discussing.
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1 Corinthians 1:27 - But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong
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« Reply #45 on: November 15, 2013, 08:16:32 PM »

I could post numerous quotes by the fathers that talk about faith alone,
Then please do.

just as I could post many quotes from Luther and other western reformers on the importance of works.
Then please do.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 08:16:48 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
xOrthodox4Christx
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« Reply #46 on: November 15, 2013, 09:52:42 PM »


This is because of your incorrect dogmatism.

May God have mercy on me for my Free Will has failed me on understanding the Gospel.

Luke 18:13 -  But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’

“But what is the “law of faith?” It is, being saved by grace. Here he shows God’s power, in that He has not only saved, but has even justified, and led them to boasting, and this too without needing works, but looking for faith only. For Scripture says that faith has saved us. Put better: Since God willed it, faith has saved us. Now in what case, tell me, does faith save without itself doing anything at all? Faith’s workings themselves are a gift of God, lest anyone should boast. What then is Paul saying? Not that God has forbidden works but that he has forbidden us to be justified by works. No one, Paul says, is justified by works, precisely in order that the grace and benevolence of God may become apparent.”

St. John Chrysostom

"Again, they said that he who adhered to Faith alone was cursed, but he shows that he who adhered to Faith alone is blessed."

St. John Chrysostom

"We also, being called through God's will in Christ Jesus, are not justified through ourselves, neither through our own wisdom or understanding, or piety, or works which we have done in holiness or heart, but through faith"

Clement of Rome

"When an ungodly man is converted, God justified him through faith alone, not on account of good works which he possessed not."

Jerome

“God has decreed that a person who believes in Christ can be saved without works. By faith alone he receives the forgiveness of sins”.

Ambrosiaster 

“Redemption by the blood of Christ would become of little value, neither would the preeminence of man's works be superseded by the mercy of God, if justification, which is wrought through grace, were due to the merits going before, so as to be, not the free gift of a donor, but the reward due to the laborer.”

Ambrose

"This is the true and perfect glorying in God, when a man is not lifted up on account of his own righteousness, but has known himself to be wanting in true righteousness and to be justified by faith alone in Christ."

Basil

"Shall not all our righteousness turn out to be mere unrighteousness and deficiency? What, then, shall it be concerning our sins, when not even our righteousness can answer for itself? Wherefore...let us flee, with all humility to Mercy which alone can save our souls...whoever hungers and thirsts after righteousness, let him believe in thee, who "justified the ungodly"; and thus, being justified by faith alone, he shall have peace with God."

Bernard of Clairvaux:

It is ordained of God that he who believes in Christ is saved, freely receiving remission of sins, without works, by faith alone.

Ambrose

We say, besides, that if good works do not follow, faith is false and not true.

Martin Luther

Quote
Christ said: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) It's a command from Christ. If you don't follow Christ's words, whose words do you follow?

Amen!!

Mark 16:16 - Whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Quote
You can find whatever you want to selectively quote from in a book, that's not what matters.

Yeah but the verses I posted are in direct context of what we are discussing.

Just attributing these quotes to the Fathers doesn't make them real quotes. Show where they said that. If Catholic Answers can fabricate quotes from the Fathers to support their theological view, then so can you.

Also, whether Abraham was justified by faith alone or whether man CAN be saved by faith alone is not in dispute. It's possible, but it's not the ordinary scenario.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 09:54:23 PM by xOrthodox4Christx » Logged

"Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth.... While there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free." (Eugene Debs)
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« Reply #47 on: November 15, 2013, 10:06:05 PM »

I dont feel special for being orthodox. I think there are plenty of non orthodox that are closer to Christ, that dont walk into chirch do the sign of the cross, kiss icons and think they are ahead of tjThee game.

It just saddens me. So inspite of some of the truths I see in the born agains points, I chose to learn from it. I read the bible more and it has changed my life, so I use it more in conjunction with going to church.

I feel though I still love the church. I cant picture being in a born again type church.

Its just tough hearing critisism of orthodoxy when growing up we were raised to think orthodoxy is the one and only truth.

To someone elses point..it doesnt make anyone else special or more correct belonging to any other faith. Its whats in our hearts and our rwlationship with God. Its living as much as possible a Christ like life.

What a great thread. Ironically once I was talking to a born again a while ago..they questioned all that goes on I. Orthodox churches.. I asked if they recieve communion.. no..or if they fast..no..

A year later they told me they started using incense , fasting, and rwceiving communion.
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Nicene
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« Reply #48 on: November 16, 2013, 11:30:03 AM »

There are those that can be reasoned with and those who will not be resoned with, the link you gave is an example of the latter wherein someone has approached orthodoxy without any semblance of charity, no attempt to understand our actual position on things. If the author of this article had done some research, basic research, maybe asked an Orthodox clarification on things he could have put together a much more thought provoking article.

If anyone is going to argue on this level I suggest you totally ignore them. There is one thing to point to, the apparent dichotomy the author sees in orthodoxy's emphasis on Tradition and practice, church life, icons and the like, between that and the bible. How might this man get things done in a precisely biblical way I might ask? Where is the biblical outline for a worship service? Should we gather on sunday? Thats not strictly speaking a biblical injunction. What is this bible that is to be my sole and only authority? Are hymn books permissable when they aren't biblical? Should Christians have specific buildings by which they gather in for the sole purpose of worship? The apostles worshipped in the temple and synagouges primarily. There is the underlying assumption "we have understood the bible where these Orthodox have not."
« Last Edit: November 16, 2013, 11:33:59 AM by Nicene » Logged

Thank you.
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