I spent about an hour looking for this as a previous topic here and even more hours on another more theologically driven Orthodox forum and on Ancient Faith podcasts. I have limited time to spend on forums reading threads and listening to long drawn out sermons that don't address the questions I have.
I have recently had occasion to talk with a person who attends some type of non-denominational group with whom they are culturally comfortable with the 'come as you are' mentality (unlike me who didn't choose Orthodoxy because I found it comfortable--it is anything but comfortable--so I don't get this either, but I can see how it would be more appealing to a broader class group), but has a Baptist background.
This person seems very serious about their faith, but I find that I don't understand what they are talking about most of the time.
This person asked me to explain Orthodoxy to them, but I can't explain Orthodoxy in a 30 second sound bite, so I tried to stick to the very basics, what the word 'Orthodox' means, the basics of the creed, that Christ left His Church here and promised that the 'gates of Hades will not prevail against it'.
Of course they immediately put down the idea that there could be one Church, and stated that that every individual is a church, that is what the Bible is talking about, not about a physical building somewhere. I didn't really have a pat answer for that one except that the Church is not just a building somewhere, that Christ is the head of the Church and his followers are his bride, He is the bridegroom. They didn't like the idea that people have the idea of theirs being the only, exclusively correct faith.
Another topic this person got very excited about (and I found out that I will hotly contest it and confess it as well) and really wanted to debate was whether Christ rose in the flesh. They do not believe he rose in the flesh, even when I pointed out Thomas physically touching his wounds and saying "My Lord and my God".
They said, "Jesus walked through a wall! He couldn't have been flesh because flesh can't walk through a wall! God is a spirit!"
My only answer, because I pretty much am only familiar with Orthodoxy, is that Jesus rose and ascended to the right hand of the Father in the flesh, so our flesh sits next to God, is drawn to God, our path to God was made clear by Christ. If He didn't rise in the flesh, then our faith is useless. It's St. Paul and St. Athanasius 101.
We could not agree on this point, though we found other points on which we could agree.
Afterward, I tried to look it up somewhere, and spent a day trying to find something in Orthodox readings or in the New Testament that clearly spells this out in a way a Bible-only believer could understand. The closest I could come up with is St. Paul saying that if Christ didn't rise, our faith is in vain, but he doesn't say 'rise in the flesh'.
My questions are:
(1) Do I have this right according to the Holy Orthodox faith, or are there various schools of thought on this? From where does our Orthodox interpretation derive? I'm guessing from the Apostles, but please correct me if I am wrong on this.
(2) Does the New Testament clearly state he rose in the flesh somewhere? If so, is there a translational difficulty that causes people to think He rose as a spirit only?
(3) Isn't the belief that Christ rose as spirit only a gnostic belief? Is this common for non-Orthodox Christians to believe this? If so, from where does this interpretation derive?
(4) I'm also probably missing some finer points on the 'glorification' of the flesh process of the Ascension?
Sorry this is a long post and fairly complex. I recommended the person talk with a priest, but was chastised for not being able to explain in a debate what my faith is, though I think I did explain, but just not in a way that was understandable to someone with no experience of Orthodoxy. Some things I just accept as a mystery that I will, God willing, understand fully later.
In any case, it has been interesting seeing this side of American Christianity, but it is bewildering to me.
Thanks in advance for any explanation, insight or links to sources in answer to the above!