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Author Topic: Curious Lutheran  (Read 2061 times) Average Rating: 0
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centwisit
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« on: December 11, 2013, 03:04:07 PM »

Let's see, where to start...I have much to say and ask.

I guess I will start with a short about me:
I'm 28 and I live in central WI USA. I've been married for 4 years and my wife and I have an 18 month old son. I'm a very conservative (both politically and religiously) Lutheran (Wisconsin synod) and have been so since I was born. I've always been very happy being Lutheran and I'm sure my ancestors made and handed Luther the nails he used to put his 95 Thesis on the church door (figuratively speaking of course). I almost feel like if I were to leave being a Lutheran to become Orthodox I would be betraying my heritiage (sp?), is that silly? Recently though I've been concerned with some of the goings on. Over the past year our so the WELS has been discussing the adoption of a new bible version (from the '85 NIV) as it is going out of print and I am not thrilled with the choices (specifics I can't recall at the moment) and nobody seems interested in the NKJV. There is also talk at my current church about offering a contemporary service although when I explain my objections (it turning into a big flashy concert, etc) the pastor says that's not the type of contemporary he means...although he can't explain what he does mean. I'm not sure if I'm looking because of silly reasons or not, I'm finding it hard to articulate some of my concerns.

My Questions:

After doing some reading on Orthodoxy, and listening to some Ancient Faith Radio I do find some sort of pull to Orthodoxy. I've got a few concerns and questions, I'm going to list them out and if someone (or multiple people) could address them I would appreciate it.

The two Orthodox churches closest are a Greek (40 minutes) and an Antiochian (50 minutes) from what I understand the base faith of both is Orthodox so what if any reason(s) would there be to choose one over the other besides driving time? (driving 40 minutes to church is a personal problem I would need to get over but that's just because my current church is just a few miles away)

I'm having trouble with the veneration of Mary/The Saints and the use of icons. It's big for me that I just used the word veneration and not worship. I don't really have a concern or specific question, I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around it/accepting it.

What is the role of women in the church? Lots of churches these days are starting to ordain women priests and the like. In the Orthodox church which roles can women preform?

What is the Orthodox position on homosexuality and homosexual "marriage"? Also on abortion and where life starts?

Creation, 7 literal days? I imagine Darwinian evolution is not a teaching of the church?

Fasting, really? I love bacon. Ok, that's kind of a joke but seriously, is fasting as difficult as it sounds to me?

To Wrap Up:

Wow, I wrote quite a but, sorry about that. I hope those questions are not too out in left field to ask. I'm sure they have been asked before but I think it may help me to write out my on thread and have the discussion separate from the already created/discussed questions left previously. Anyway, I appreciate any and all responses I get and thank you to anyone who takes the time to respond to me.
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Agabus
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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2013, 03:34:13 PM »

The two Orthodox churches closest are a Greek (40 minutes) and an Antiochian (50 minutes) from what I understand the base faith of both is Orthodox so what if any reason(s) would there be to choose one over the other besides driving time? (driving 40 minutes to church is a personal problem I would need to get over but that's just because my current church is just a few miles away)
Antiochian is more likely to be in English. If you’re interested, check both out. The time differential is not enough that you should exclude one option or the other out without looking into both. The faith is the same, and members are in full communion with each other.

Quote
I'm having trouble with the veneration of Mary/The Saints and the use of icons. It's big for me that I just used the word veneration and not worship. I don't really have a concern or specific question, I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around it/accepting it.
Not a big deal. Lots of people have to kind of get used to the idea even after they accept it.

Quote
What is the role of women in the church? Lots of churches these days are starting to ordain women priests and the like. In the Orthodox church which roles can women perform?
Women’s ordination ain’t a thing that even really gets discussed, except maybe on the Internet.

Maybe that deserves a discussion of its own, but if you’re worried about ladies at the altar, consider your worries slaked.

Quote
What is the Orthodox position on homosexuality and homosexual "marriage"?
Don’t have gay sex.

Men can only marry women and vice versa.

Quote
Also on abortion and where life starts?
Don’t have an abortion.

Quote
Creation, 7 literal days? I imagine Darwinian evolution is not a teaching of the church?
Doesn’t really get discussed. For most folks, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth, and of all things visible and invisible,” is sufficient.

Quote
Fasting, really? I love bacon. Ok, that's kind of a joke but seriously, is fasting as difficult as it sounds to me?
Not as difficult as it sounds; not as required as some people represent.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 03:35:05 PM by Agabus » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2013, 03:41:58 PM »

Let this former Lutheran (ALC/ELCA, but my heart belonged to the Misssouri Synod, my sympathies with the Wisconsin Synod) extend you a welcome home invitation:
Let's see, where to start...I have much to say and ask.

I guess I will start with a short about me:
I'm 28 and I live in central WI USA. I've been married for 4 years and my wife and I have an 18 month old son. I'm a very conservative (both politically and religiously) Lutheran (Wisconsin synod) and have been so since I was born. I've always been very happy being Lutheran and I'm sure my ancestors made and handed Luther the nails he used to put his 95 Thesis on the church door (figuratively speaking of course). I almost feel like if I were to leave being a Lutheran to become Orthodox I would be betraying my heritiage (sp?), is that silly? Recently though I've been concerned with some of the goings on. Over the past year our so the WELS has been discussing the adoption of a new bible version (from the '85 NIV) as it is going out of print and I am not thrilled with the choices (specifics I can't recall at the moment) and nobody seems interested in the NKJV. There is also talk at my current church about offering a contemporary service although when I explain my objections (it turning into a big flashy concert, etc) the pastor says that's not the type of contemporary he means...although he can't explain what he does mean. I'm not sure if I'm looking because of silly reasons or not, I'm finding it hard to articulate some of my concerns.

My Questions:

After doing some reading on Orthodoxy, and listening to some Ancient Faith Radio I do find some sort of pull to Orthodoxy. I've got a few concerns and questions, I'm going to list them out and if someone (or multiple people) could address them I would appreciate it.

The two Orthodox churches closest are a Greek (40 minutes) and an Antiochian (50 minutes) from what I understand the base faith of both is Orthodox so what if any reason(s) would there be to choose one over the other besides driving time? (driving 40 minutes to church is a personal problem I would need to get over but that's just because my current church is just a few miles away)
Depends.  Some Greek parishes, there will be no difference.  Some Antiochian parishes are mostly (at least originally) all converts.  Where you in central WI btw? (I'm just south of the border).

I'm having trouble with the veneration of Mary/The Saints and the use of icons. It's big for me that I just used the word veneration and not worship. I don't really have a concern or specific question, I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around it/accepting it.
I did as well.  This helped a lot:

http://www.amazon.com/Treatises-Divine-Images-Popular-Patristics-ebook/dp/B003JH8UGM/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1386790819&sr=1-3

I didn't completely get it until after being received into the Church.

What is the role of women in the church? Lots of churches these days are starting to ordain women priests and the like. In the Orthodox church which roles can women preform?
I'll let someone like Liza answer this.

What is the Orthodox position on homosexuality and homosexual "marriage"? Also on abortion and where life starts?
Quote
2013 Assembly Statement on Marriage and Sexuality
http://assemblyofbishops.org/about/documents/2013-assembly-statement-on-marriage-and-sexuality

Quote
The Orthodox Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality, firmly grounded in Holy Scripture, 2000 years of church tradition, and canon law, holds that marriage consists in the conjugal union of a man and a woman, and that authentic marriage is blessed by God as a sacrament of the Church. Neither Scripture nor Holy Tradition blesses or sanctions such a union between persons of the same sex...The Orthodox Church cannot and will not bless same-sex unions. Whereas marriage between a man and a woman is a sacred institution ordained by God, homosexual union is not. Like adultery and fornication, homosexual acts are condemned by Scripture (Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This being said, however, we must stress that persons with a homosexual orientation are to be cared for with the same mercy and love that is bestowed by our Lord Jesus Christ upon all of humanity. All persons are called by God to grow spiritually and morally toward holiness.
http://www.assemblyofbishops.org/news/2012/marriage-and-moral-crisis#sthash.thjclcu3.dpuf

Quote
The Holy Orthodox Christian Faith is unabashedly pro-life. The Lord Jesus Christ was recognized and worshipped in His mother’s womb while yet unborn by the Holy Forerunner who was also still in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:44); St. Basil the Great (4th Century), one of the universal teachers of the faith, dared to call murderers those who terminate the life of the fetus. The Church has consistently held that children developing in the womb should be afforded every protection given to those outside the womb. There is no moral, religious or scientific rationale which can justify making a distinction between the humanity of the newly-conceived and that of the newly-born.
http://www.assemblyofbishops.org/news/2013/jan-22-roe-vs-wade-anniversary

Quote
Record of Protest Against the Infringement of Religious Liberty by the Department of Health and Human Services
http://www.assemblyofbishops.org/news/2012/protest-against-hhs#sthash.TKpakDbA.dpuf


Quote
MOSCOW — The Russian Orthodox Church has demolished a chapel where a priest conducted a “marriage” ceremony between two men.
The Chapel of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God was torn down apparently after local churchmen decided it had been defiled.
The priest, the Rev. Vladimir Enert, was defrocked after the men said they paid him a $450 bribe to ignore a ban of same-sex “marriages.”
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2003/oct/8/20031008-113616-3077r/#ixzz2nCJm8Ak6

Creation, 7 literal days? I imagine Darwinian evolution is not a teaching of the church?
No, but there is some discussion on it.

Fasting, really? I love bacon. Ok, that's kind of a joke but seriously, is fasting as difficult as it sounds to me?
How many things worth while are not difficult?

(and bacon is what I miss most in Lent).

To Wrap Up:

Wow, I wrote quite a but, sorry about that. I hope those questions are not too out in left field to ask. I'm sure they have been asked before but I think it may help me to write out my on thread and have the discussion separate from the already created/discussed questions left previously. Anyway, I appreciate any and all responses I get and thank you to anyone who takes the time to respond to me.
Common and valid questions.  No problem.  The Orthodox Church can answer them all.
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A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
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if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2013, 03:45:57 PM »

The two Orthodox churches closest are a Greek (40 minutes) and an Antiochian (50 minutes) from what I understand the base faith of both is Orthodox so what if any reason(s) would there be to choose one over the other besides driving time? (driving 40 minutes to church is a personal problem I would need to get over but that's just because my current church is just a few miles away)

Antiochian services are usually in English. That might be worth the extra 10 minutes for you. Early on, the Liturgy can be very rewarding if you know the words.

I'm having trouble with the veneration of Mary/The Saints and the use of icons. It's big for me that I just used the word veneration and not worship. I don't really have a concern or specific question, I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around it/accepting it.

I think that this comes with understand life in the Church. As you experience more of what Orthodoxy has to offer (i.e. attend services, read books, take classes), you'll probably become more comfortable with veneration of the Mary and the saints.

What is the role of women in the church? Lots of churches these days are starting to ordain women priests and the like. In the Orthodox church which roles can women preform?

Someone will have more to say on this topic, but what I can tell you is that women are not ordained as clergy in the Orthodox church.


What is the Orthodox position on homosexuality and homosexual "marriage"? Also on abortion and where life starts?

Someone who is homosexual is a human being like everyone else. Homosexual acts are regarded as sinful. The sacrament of marriage is between a man and woman.

I'm not going to touch abortion. See some other responses.

Creation, 7 literal days? I imagine Darwinian evolution is not a teaching of the church?

I've always been taught that there is room for other beliefs (i.e. theistic evolution), as long as we profess that God created the universe and man, and that He is not like the clockmaker who leaves his work to run while he does something else in the background.


Fasting, really? I love bacon. Ok, that's kind of a joke but seriously, is fasting as difficult as it sounds to me?

Your spiritual director assigns you a fasting rule, and usually converts don't start off strict. The point of the fast is not to succeed at following a bunch of rules, which is a point that a lot of people miss. Fasting can be trying, but with proper guidance, you'll find it to be an invaluable practice.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 03:47:29 PM by lovesupreme » Logged
NicholasMyra
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2013, 03:46:22 PM »

I'm having trouble with the veneration of Mary/The Saints and the use of icons. It's big for me that I just used the word veneration and not worship. I don't really have a concern or specific question, I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around it/accepting it.
The same way that St. Paul said to give honor to secular leaders, and the Hebrews venerated the king (see 1 Chronicles 29), so we honor holy people and holy things. But unlike idolaters, who adore created things as the ultimate source and reality of the Divine, rather we honor holy people and holy things because God set them aside and used them, and shown his power through them. In other words, all of the glory goes to God.

It is the same as when you eat breakfast: You can either make the meal into a remembrance and honoring of the provision and grace of God, or you can treat breakfast as if it is the ultimate source of your sustenance. The former is Christian, and the latter is the sin of the first adam.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 03:48:11 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2013, 04:06:53 PM »

Dear centwisit,

Welcome to the forum!  

I do not think you are silly at all.  But I do think you will be interested in understanding the history of the Orthodox Church and how that is related (or not related) to the history of the Lutherans.   The Orthodox Church by Bishop (Timothy) Ware is a good place to start.

You may wish to visit both parishes and see where you feel most comfortable.  I am not of Greek heritage but do attend a Greek parish and am very happy there.

As you learn more, and hopefully visit an Orthodox Church, you will begin to understand the very important difference between veneration and worship.  The Virgin Mary (we'd never just say "Mary"), the Mother of God, is worthy of our love and respect, as are all the Saints.  They serve as an example for us to emulate, and we believe they pray for us.  We believe they are alive in Christ, and are part of the Church.  BTW, I also look up to some people who have not died, and ask for their prayers too.

Women are not ordained as priests in the Orthodox Church.  That does not mean that they are not highly valued and necessary!  Very few men are ordained as priests in the Orthodox Church either, but those who are not ordained are highly valued and necessary!  

Fasting (and abstinence) is a spiritual exercise used to strengthen the individual.  It is not a punishment and should not keep people away from the Church.  Each person can work out what level of fasting is beneficial for them together with their priest.  Inquirers are not asked to fast, so your bacon is safe.

The Church is open to all people, and wants all of God's children to draw closer to Him.  One of the ways we do this is by working to resist temptations.    

The Church does not publish biology textbooks.

You may like to visit the website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and see articles that are posted there that will help with your questions.  http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/controversialissues

Love, elephant
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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2013, 04:32:58 PM »

The two Orthodox churches closest are a Greek (40 minutes) and an Antiochian (50 minutes) from what I understand the base faith of both is Orthodox so what if any reason(s) would there be to choose one over the other besides driving time? (driving 40 minutes to church is a personal problem I would need to get over but that's just because my current church is just a few miles away)

The Greek church will use Greek language in the liturgy, and the Antiochian will use Arabic.  How much English is used can vary.  I attend a Greek church which divides it pretty evenly between Greek and English, but I was told by the Presbytera that ours is a progressive church since many do not use so much English.  I understand about not liking to drive so far.  I was lucky that my church is only 15 minutes away and mostly in English as there isn't another church for 50-60 miles.

I'm having trouble with the veneration of Mary/The Saints and the use of icons. It's big for me that I just used the word veneration and not worship. I don't really have a concern or specific question, I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around it/accepting it.

This can be a tough one.  What I'd read about it made perfect sense in my head, but the first time I attended a Paraklesis, I was shocked and appalled.  I'm not sure what to tell you, except try to keep an open mind.  My priest explained it as showing respect.  If we wouldn't hesitate to stand when someone important walks into the room, this should be no different.

What is the role of women in the church? Lots of churches these days are starting to ordain women priests and the like. In the Orthodox church which roles can women preform?

Women are not ordained, but there are many ways they can serve.  The Greek church has the Philoptochos which is a group dedicated to charity and good works.

What is the Orthodox position on homosexuality and homosexual "marriage"?

Don't do it.

Also on abortion and where life starts?

Don't do it.

Creation, 7 literal days? I imagine Darwinian evolution is not a teaching of the church?

I don't think there's an official dogma, unless you count the Nicene Creed "creator of heaven and earth."

Fasting, really? I love bacon. Ok, that's kind of a joke but seriously, is fasting as difficult as it sounds to me?

It didn't sound all that difficult to me, but I was wrong.  The hardest thing for me to avoid is oil.  It's in everything apparently.  lol
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« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2013, 04:38:58 PM »

The two Orthodox churches closest are a Greek (40 minutes) and an Antiochian (50 minutes) from what I understand the base faith of both is Orthodox so what if any reason(s) would there be to choose one over the other besides driving time? (driving 40 minutes to church is a personal problem I would need to get over but that's just because my current church is just a few miles away)

The Greek church will use Greek language in the liturgy, and the Antiochian will use Arabic.
Not many use Arabic, even those with Arabs Cry (but as it should be in the US).
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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2013, 04:57:00 PM »

The two Orthodox churches closest are a Greek (40 minutes) and an Antiochian (50 minutes) from what I understand the base faith of both is Orthodox so what if any reason(s) would there be to choose one over the other besides driving time? (driving 40 minutes to church is a personal problem I would need to get over but that's just because my current church is just a few miles away)

The Greek church will use Greek language in the liturgy, and the Antiochian will use Arabic.
Not many use Arabic, even those with Arabs Cry (but as it should be in the US).

The parish in Lafayette, La., which was founded by a mix of immigrants and converts, uses Arabic in many of the repeated prayers. The Epistle is also read in Arabic, though it is read a second time in English.

St. George’s Antiochian in Vicksburg, Miss. (a lovely church and where forum member Fr. John Morris is priest), even though overwhelmingly “ethnic,” uses only English. I’ve only been a few times, but the impression I've gotten is that most folks there are at least second- if not third-generation. I was once told that in the case of St. George's, so few people know Arabic that no one in the church knew an old service book was upside down until a visitor pointed it out to them. It’s a good example of evolution of mission — the language of the people changed, so the language of the service changed...As it should in the U.S.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 04:57:31 PM by Agabus » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2013, 05:27:13 PM »

Thank you all for the quick helpful replies. I suspected the answers to many of my questions and am glad to see my suspicions proved right. Many of you provided a number of links and books which I look forward to reading in more depth. Another question I have is I've noticed children going up for the Eucharist. As I imagine many of you know it isn't done that way in Protestant churches, can someone explain the reasoning (for lack a better term) of that?

Also, I believe that being involved in the church and church life is important, I have a concern that being 40-50 minutes away from church would hinder involvement not from a willingness standpoint but from a time/ability standpoint, thoughts?

To address a couple of posters that had questions or said something I especially enjoyed:

@ialmisry: The two churches I am closest two are in Madison as I live northish of there.

@elephant: Fair point on the church not publishing bio textbooks, I'm just used to everyone having an opinion on everything these days.
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« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2013, 05:43:19 PM »

Thank you all for the quick helpful replies. I suspected the answers to many of my questions and am glad to see my suspicions proved right. Many of you provided a number of links and books which I look forward to reading in more depth. Another question I have is I've noticed children going up for the Eucharist. As I imagine many of you know it isn't done that way in Protestant churches, can someone explain the reasoning (for lack a better term) of that?
Children are not barred from the chalice because we take their baptism seriously.

To be less glib, "Let the little children come to me."

Quote
Also, I believe that being involved in the church and church life is important, I have a concern that being 40-50 minutes away from church would hinder involvement not from a willingness standpoint but from a time/ability standpoint, thoughts?
The time issue is a reality with which many of us deal. You try the best you can; sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. I know that's not what you want to hear, but it's reality.
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THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH
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« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2013, 05:44:19 PM »

Thank you all for the quick helpful replies. I suspected the answers to many of my questions and am glad to see my suspicions proved right. Many of you provided a number of links and books which I look forward to reading in more depth. Another question I have is I've noticed children going up for the Eucharist. As I imagine many of you know it isn't done that way in Protestant churches, can someone explain the reasoning (for lack a better term) of that?
The "age of reason" is a late, modern concept.  Same reason we baptize children we commune them.  Btw, this late development also reformed Chrismation into "Confirmation," something the Apostles knew nothing about.

Also, I believe that being involved in the church and church life is important, I have a concern that being 40-50 minutes away from church would hinder involvement not from a willingness standpoint but from a time/ability standpoint, thoughts?
You would have to see the specifics of each parish to know.

have you seen their websites?
http://saintignatiuschurch.org/
http://agocwi.org/externalsite/

To address a couple of posters that had questions or said something I especially enjoyed:

@ialmisry: The two churches I am closest two are in Madison as I live northish of there.

@elephant: Fair point on the church not publishing bio textbooks, I'm just used to everyone having an opinion on everything these days.
Oh, you're entitled to an opinion-the Church's.
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
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                           and both come out of your mouth
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« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2013, 06:08:19 PM »

Another question I have is I've noticed children going up for the Eucharist. As I imagine many of you know it isn't done that way in Protestant churches, can someone explain the reasoning (for lack a better term) of that?

"Being involved in the church and church life is important."  You'll also notice that infants and children aren't separated out from the congregation for Sunday school until after communion which is near the end of the liturgy.

Also, I believe that being involved in the church and church life is important, I have a concern that being 40-50 minutes away from church would hinder involvement not from a willingness standpoint but from a time/ability standpoint, thoughts?

Just do what you can.  While my church isn't far away, I work 2nd shift which prevents me from being able to attend the women's Bible study and numerous other activities during the week.  This can make it hard to get to know people and feel included.  There are others who drive an hour to get to church, so of course, they aren't going to be there every time the doors are open either.  There have been Wednesdays when I and my son were the only ones there.
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« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2013, 07:02:38 PM »

Makes sense as to getting to church when you can. As often as possible though of course.

I know confirmation as I've gone through it, how's chrismation different?

Does anyone have any good detail on children and the Eucharist?
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« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2013, 07:36:38 PM »

Makes sense as to getting to church when you can. As often as possible though of course.

I know confirmation as I've gone through it, how's chrismation different?
Chrismation is essentially the second half of the baptismal rite. Just as a child does not have to be able to articulate the faith to be baptized, neither do they have to in order to receive the seal of the Holy Spirit. Some churches separating the two acts has led to a lot of confusion as to its actual role in the life of the believer.

Adult converts who were previously baptized as Trinitarians are often received by chrismation. It is understood more as completing and fulfilling any deficiencies in the baptismal rite than as “confirmation” as it is understood in churches of western heritage.

Quote
Does anyone have any good detail on children and the Eucharist?
Because children have been baptized into Christ and sealed with the Holy Spirit, they are fully a part of the people of God. If the Eucharist is for the healing of our body and soul, why would we keep the medicine that would keep them healthy away from our youngest?

As for how it is administered, the same as everyone else — with a spoon from the chalice, though babies are often given a very small piece of to prevent dropping it or gumming it out.
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« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2013, 07:43:23 PM »

Well when you put the question that way I can't think of a good reason.
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« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2013, 09:19:40 PM »

Creation, 7 literal days? I imagine Darwinian evolution is not a teaching of the church?

I've always been taught that there is room for other beliefs (i.e. theistic evolution), as long as we profess that God created the universe and man, and that He is not like the clockmaker who leaves his work to run while he does something else in the background.

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« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2013, 11:22:41 PM »

I think I can help some for some of these. I attend the Antiochian Church in Madison, St. Ignatius.

I'm 28 and I live in central WI USA. I've been married for 4 years and my wife and I have an 18 month old son. I'm a very conservative (both politically and religiously)

You'll be right at home. While not exclusively conservative, both ways I'd say more are than are not. Lots of young families, lots of babies.

Lutheran (Wisconsin synod) and have been so since I was born.


A number of former Lutherans both members and Inquirers.

and nobody seems interested in the NKJV.

 The Orthodox Study Bible uses NKJV.

There is also talk at my current church about offering a contemporary service

No contemporary service. The service is entirely in English except a couple of lines in some songs in which the choruses are sung first in English then repeated in Greek and Arabic or alternately Slavonic.

The two Orthodox churches closest are a Greek (40 minutes) and an Antiochian (50 minutes) from what I understand the base faith of both is Orthodox so what if any reason(s) would there be to choose one over the other besides driving time? (driving 40 minutes to church is a personal problem I would need to get over but that's just because my current church is just a few miles away)

The Greek Church is nice too, though I am biased.  Grin We do things together with them periodically. There are a fair number of us that come from an hour away or so. My previous church was 5 min.s away, now I drive an hour but I've gotten used to it. Lately the gas prices have been remarkably better near church too.  Smiley

I'm having trouble with the veneration of Mary/The Saints and the use of icons. It's big for me that I just used the word veneration and not worship. I don't really have a concern or specific question, I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around it/accepting it.

Yeah I had to work through that too, but I did.

What is the role of women in the church? Lots of churches these days are starting to ordain women priests and the like. In the Orthodox church which roles can women preform?

Women as chanters, church school teachers, greeters, on the church counsel. No women Priests, sub-deacons or alter servers.

What is the Orthodox position on homosexuality and homosexual "marriage"? Also on abortion and where life starts?
Creation, 7 literal days? I imagine Darwinian evolution is not a teaching of the church?

Others have touched on this, our church is not significantly different.

Fasting, really? I love bacon. Ok, that's kind of a joke but seriously, is fasting as difficult as it sounds to me?

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Christmas and Pascha meals are that much better when you've gone without before.

Also, I believe that being involved in the church and church life is important, I have a concern that being 40-50 minutes away from church would hinder involvement not from a willingness standpoint but from a time/ability standpoint, thoughts?

We go up every Sunday and every other Saturday or so for Inquirers/church school (adult and children) and Vespers. It's possible to help with church clean up days on Saturdays. There are monthly men's, women's, and youth groups some are on Fridays some during the week. Those are harder to get to on work days though some from a distance do.

I know confirmation as I've gone through it, how's chrismation different?

As others have mentioned and I can confirm if you've already been baptized in a Trinitarian formula you would be received by chrismation.

Does anyone have any good detail on children and the Eucharist?

Children are usually taken forward for communion by their Godparents and then return to their parents after. But some children will hangout with their Godparents longer or go to them earlier.

If you do come I can tell you you'll be welcome. Look for a big guy with a pony tail and a full beard and two Chinese daughters and that'll be me. Hope to meet you some time.
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« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2013, 12:32:21 AM »

Another question I have is I've noticed children going up for the Eucharist. As I imagine many of you know it isn't done that way in Protestant churches, can someone explain the reasoning (for lack a better term) of that?

It's a teaching of the ancient Church, the Roman Catholic Church stopped practicing it as some point, and the Reformers thought it ridiculous. But St. Augustine said nobody with any sanity would reject it, and if they did, they'd be rejecting Christ. Thus, the Orthodox don't reject it.

Quote from: St. Augustine,  Sermon 174, 7
Those who say that infancy has nothing in it for Jesus to save, are denying that Christ is Jesus for all believing infants. Those, I repeat, who say that infancy has nothing in it for Jesus to save, are saying nothing else than that for believing infants, infants that is who have been baptized in Christ, Christ the Lord is not Jesus. After all, what is Jesus? Jesus means Savior. Jesus is the Savior. Those whom he doesn’t save, having nothing to save in them, well for them he isn’t Jesus. Well now, if you can tolerate the idea that Christ is not Jesus for some persons who have been baptized, then I’m not sure your faith can be recognized as according with the sound rule. Yes, they’re infants, but they are his members. They’re infants, but they receive his sacraments. They are infants, but they share in his table, in order to have life in themselves. Source

Baptism, Chrismation (Confirmation) and Communion are all inter-related, so they are not separated from each other.

Quote
I know confirmation as I've gone through it, how's chrismation different?

Does anyone have any good detail on children and the Eucharist?
They are the same thing, except that Confirmation isn't separate from Baptism. Baptism and Chrismation happen at the same time, as was custom in Apostolic times (read Eusebius), and not 15 years separate from each other like the Western tradition.

Infant Communion, is again, an Apostolic tradition that the East has maintained that the West hasn't.

Lutheran website on Antiquity of Infant Communion.

More Information
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« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2013, 03:08:33 AM »

Also, I believe that being involved in the church and church life is important, I have a concern that being 40-50 minutes away from church would hinder involvement not from a willingness standpoint but from a time/ability standpoint, thoughts?

I commute to church about 50 minutes. Many people here twice as much or more. It's not a problem.

From the concerns you listed I cannot guess any reason why you do want to convert to Orthodoxy? Could you explain?
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« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2013, 11:41:21 AM »

From the concerns you listed I cannot guess any reason why you do want to convert to Orthodoxy? Could you explain?

I guess I've done a poor job explaining this. To be honest I'm not really sure, some days I panic a bit inside and think that maybe I'm just having a mid-life religious crisis at 28. I first started reading up on Orthodoxy due to someone I knew converting, basically it was something I was unfamiliar I was with and I wanted to know more, a fun research project if you will. He was a protestant so I was able to use lots of the information he share on his (now defunct and deleted) blog. One of the first things I read was the "Contra Sola Scriptura" series on The Orthodox-Reformed Bridge. Then I found Our Life in Christ and listened to a bunch of their podcasts and also listened to the series on Ecumenical Councils from At the Intersection of East and West. Also, actually reading a bit more about Luther other than the standard that most know about him (Thesis, diet of worms, etc) his views on Mary and the Saints, Children and the Eucharist (thanks for those links xOrthodox4Christx) seem to be a bit more varied/nuanced than I was led to believe. Maybe if the line isn't straight about the actual beliefs on one of the Reformers some other things may be off as well?

Those are just some quick thoughts on why...I am concerned that I may be looking at Orthodoxy for the wrong reasons...or maybe the right ones but I can't articulate them? I've not even begun to think about how I would bring this up with my wife and extended family, I guess I want to be sure before I share with those closest to me.

If you do come I can tell you you'll be welcome. Look for a big guy with a pony tail and a full beard and two Chinese daughters and that'll be me. Hope to meet you some time.

Thanks. I've been giving it some thought about going this Saturday evening but I am not sure I am quite ready to go that far.
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« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2013, 12:22:57 PM »

Former Lutheran here! Though since I was ELCA, you probably don't even consider me a former Lutheran.

My family too have always been Lutheran - it was part of my personal identity, and I won't kid you that it was easy to convert, but Orthodoxy is the pearl of great price and that was part of the price: my German Lutheran heritage and identity, as well as my heart's desire to serve as an ordained pastor.

The more I read and studied, the more I realized that Orthodoxy is the faith given by Christ to the Apostles, and that it maintains that faith. Veneration of Mary and the saints, communing of children etc. etc. are all ancient practices of historic Christianity. (And of course, you know that Luther, and IIRC all the Reformers, venerated the Most Holy Mother of God, and considered her Ever-Virgin.)

Don't let qualms and "on the one hand this...on the other hand that" (I'm a champion ditherer!) stop you. "Take up and read", attend Vespers on Saturday, and especially Divine Liturgy. Don't be afraid, but seize the opportunity to go where God is leading you.
You won't regret it. I promise.
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« Reply #22 on: December 12, 2013, 12:46:17 PM »

Based on what you’ve disclosed here about your consumption of information, you’ve gone a mile wide and haven’t really broken the surface beyond a few points of personal interest. It’s OK to be curious without feeling like you absolutely have to make a decision about converting (though I certainly hope you do, in the end), and Orthodoxy is a religion that is sometimes difficult to translate into books. While you can pick up a lot about it from the printed word, the only way to really understand if you can commit to it is to see it in action. Podcasts and Internet reading are helpful, but ultimately they’re limited in what they can actually provide. So I’d advise you visit a few services and talk to a few folks.

The other question, to kind of play of what Michal said, is to ask yourself, “Why Orthodoxy?” So you have some questions about your current communion, what is it about this one that makes you feel attracted to it?

Also — forget about the rest of the extended family for right now, but if you’re even halfway serious about this talk to the wife now. Trust me, it’s much easier to approach her and say, “Hey, I have an interest in this and would like to find out more,” than to wait until you reach a point of saying, “Hey, just a heads up but I thought you should know I’m pretty much at a place where I’m about to convert to a new religion.” She is the one person in your life who will have to live with your decisions for the rest of your life, and it does her a disservice to blindside her later. So talk with her sooner.
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« Reply #23 on: December 12, 2013, 02:47:27 PM »

Former Lutheran here! Though since I was ELCA, you probably don't even consider me a former Lutheran.

My family too have always been Lutheran - it was part of my personal identity, and I won't kid you that it was easy to convert, but Orthodoxy is the pearl of great price and that was part of the price: my German Lutheran heritage and identity, as well as my heart's desire to serve as an ordained pastor.

The more I read and studied, the more I realized that Orthodoxy is the faith given by Christ to the Apostles, and that it maintains that faith. Veneration of Mary and the saints, communing of children etc. etc. are all ancient practices of historic Christianity. (And of course, you know that Luther, and IIRC all the Reformers, venerated the Most Holy Mother of God, and considered her Ever-Virgin.)

Don't let qualms and "on the one hand this...on the other hand that" (I'm a champion ditherer!) stop you. "Take up and read", attend Vespers on Saturday, and especially Divine Liturgy. Don't be afraid, but seize the opportunity to go where God is leading you.
You won't regret it. I promise.

Without meeting and speaking with you I wouldn't dare make assumptions as to your faith while you were Lutheran...especially since I have my own questions.

It's comforting to see that it wasn't an easy decision for you. I'm not even sure if I'm truly interested yet or if my mind is just playing tricks on me and it's driving me nuts.

Based on what you’ve disclosed here about your consumption of information, you’ve gone a mile wide and haven’t really broken the surface beyond a few points of personal interest. It’s OK to be curious without feeling like you absolutely have to make a decision about converting (though I certainly hope you do, in the end), and Orthodoxy is a religion that is sometimes difficult to translate into books. While you can pick up a lot about it from the printed word, the only way to really understand if you can commit to it is to see it in action. Podcasts and Internet reading are helpful, but ultimately they’re limited in what they can actually provide. So I’d advise you visit a few services and talk to a few folks.

The other question, to kind of play of what Michal said, is to ask yourself, “Why Orthodoxy?” So you have some questions about your current communion, what is it about this one that makes you feel attracted to it?

Also — forget about the rest of the extended family for right now, but if you’re even halfway serious about this talk to the wife now. Trust me, it’s much easier to approach her and say, “Hey, I have an interest in this and would like to find out more,” than to wait until you reach a point of saying, “Hey, just a heads up but I thought you should know I’m pretty much at a place where I’m about to convert to a new religion.” She is the one person in your life who will have to live with your decisions for the rest of your life, and it does her a disservice to blindside her later. So talk with her sooner.

I'm trying to remind myself that a decision either way should not be rushed and include lots of prayer.

I'm honestly not sure about "Why Orthodoxy?". I know it wouldn't work for me to be in one of those fluffy contemporary churches, one its not my style and two I don't find it very fulfilling or honoring of God. For some reason protestant hopping seems silly, although there are differences it's just one form of protestant to another. Being a Lutheran I'm a bit of a Romeophobe in general and specifically I don't buy Rome setting itself above the other patriarchates (correct term?), it just seems...egotistical. Maybe I need to sit down and list things out "Like/Don't Like Lutheran" and "Like/Don't Like Orthodox". Please don't get the impression I am church shopping just to find something I "Like" I want to find the church of Truth, I just might not use the correct words to describe things sometimes.

I was reading up on infant communion this morning and I almost brought it up to her. I really just need to man up and speak with her about it. No good excuse on this one.
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« Reply #24 on: December 12, 2013, 03:21:10 PM »

I enjoy reading the thread and I encourage you centwisit to keep asking questions. Not only about the Orthodox church, but while doing that you can deepen the look into the church you´re part of now and see if it can answer the fullness of truth that you are searching for. Coming from atheism to Christianity through study and guiding from a western standpoint I later realized how much that had influenced me in my search for the true church. My own worldview and interpretation did in many occasions not cohere with what Christianity was about in the first millennium. Therefore I had many similar questions as you posted, regarding the Eucharist, veneration of icons and fasting. The only opportunities from there was either that my worldview was totally wrong, or that the first 1500 years of Christianity had been totally corrupted in it´s teaching and worship, but then contradicting the words of the Lord, that the gates of hell should not prevail against it, refering to the church. (Matthew 16:18) Because if it would be idolatrous to venerate icons, or by serving the Eucharist, the gates of hell most surely must had overcome the church and it´s truth, as it would be a very big issue.

Therefore I encourage you with much love and respect to keep on praying about this, and to study Orthodoxy and it´s roots, as well as the church you´re attending now. Because sometimes we believers miss out that the true church was established through one lens, one perspective, by which the truth could be both universal and personal in a community of believers. If that worldview, the further we go back in time, does not cohere with a traditional western one, then we seriously has to question that. If some answers might seem simple, regarding the icons for example, it´s because venerating coheres with the view the church always have had. Someone outside can stumble on the issue of veneration by many questions, but can only grasp it if he/she practices it within the perspective that the answer is presented.

Pray for me and forgive me dear brothers and sisters.
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« Reply #25 on: December 12, 2013, 03:22:57 PM »

I enjoy reading the thread and I encourage you centwisit to keep asking questions. Not only about the Orthodox church, but while doing that you can deepen the look into the church you´re part of now and see if it can answer the fullness of truth that you are searching for.

Spoiler alert:  Lutheranism doesn't and can't.  Believe me, I know.
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« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2013, 03:25:24 PM »

I enjoy reading the thread and I encourage you centwisit to keep asking questions. Not only about the Orthodox church, but while doing that you can deepen the look into the church you´re part of now and see if it can answer the fullness of truth that you are searching for.

Spoiler alert:  Lutheranism doesn't and can't.  Believe me, I know.
Yeah, the more it is investigated, the more it appears wanting.

In Orthodoxy, I might not know the answer, but I know where it can be found. And it's not the Book of Concord.
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« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2013, 03:28:14 PM »

I enjoy reading the thread and I encourage you centwisit to keep asking questions. Not only about the Orthodox church, but while doing that you can deepen the look into the church you´re part of now and see if it can answer the fullness of truth that you are searching for.

Spoiler alert:  Lutheranism doesn't and can't.  Believe me, I know.
Yeah, the more it is investigated, the more it appears wanting.

In Orthodoxy, I might not know the answer, but I know where it can be found. And it's not the Book of Concord.


Agree, a lot Tongue
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« Reply #28 on: December 12, 2013, 09:01:57 PM »

If you do come I can tell you you'll be welcome. Look for a big guy with a pony tail and a full beard and two Chinese daughters and that'll be me. Hope to meet you some time.

Thanks. I've been giving it some thought about going this Saturday evening but I am not sure I am quite ready to go that far.

Hey, there's time, no need to speed. Not to worry. There is an Inquirers class this Sat. @ 4:45 pm with the Priest, but I won't be there this week Saturday. I'll be there Sunday and next week Fri. at the 7 PM service. Not that you need to come when I'm there, of course. But like I said no hurry I explored Orthodoxy for 9 months before I visited the church. Now I would never go backwards but it was a process.  Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: December 13, 2013, 07:01:54 AM »

Hey, there's time, no need to speed. Not to worry. There is an Inquirers class this Sat. @ 4:45 pm with the Priest, but I won't be there this week Saturday. I'll be there Sunday and next week Fri. at the 7 PM service. Not that you need to come when I'm there, of course. But like I said no hurry I explored Orthodoxy for 9 months before I visited the church. Now I would never go backwards but it was a process.  Smiley

Yeah, I'm not ready to attend a service yet. Although when I do I may reach out to you and see when you will be attending, might be easier for new that way.
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« Reply #30 on: December 13, 2013, 10:52:05 AM »

Just wanted to share that last night I started reading St. John of Damascus on Icons. I think of myself as a moderately well read and intelligent person but I'm finding it slow going and heavy reading. Possibly as it's a topic I am really not familiar with at all.

I've also been reading on infant/child communion from the links provided to me above as well as here and I find that after my readings I don't reject it out of hand but don't think I am quite at the point of acceptance. In my case it doesn't hurt that Luther himself didn't condemn it even though he may not have expressly approved of the practice.

Some questions about the Five Solas.

The Five Solas being:
Sola scriptura ("by Scripture alone")
Sola fide ("by faith alone")
Sola gratia ("by grace alone")
Solus Christus or Solo Christo ("Christ alone" or "through Christ alone")
Soli Deo gloria ("glory to God alone")

I understand what Orthodoxy says about Sola scriptura...at least on the surface.

Pertaining to Sola fide and Sola gratia which although different essentially boil down to that works and merit don't get you into heaven. To myself as a Lutheran, works reflect my (very poor) attempts to be a Christian and show Christian character to the world, essentially an outward display of the faith inside me. Maybe I just don't understand the Orthodox position, and if I don't please correct me with kindness, but I am under the impression that works and merit don't get one into heaven if your Orthodox either.

For Sola Christo I'm not sure I get the Orthodox objection to this either, can someone offer a simple explanation?

As for Soli Deo gloria I understand it to be a repudiation of the veneration of Mary and the saints and believe I understand the Orthodox objection to it.
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« Reply #31 on: December 13, 2013, 11:41:08 AM »

Quote
Maybe I just don't understand the Orthodox position, and if I don't please correct me with kindness, but I am under the impression that works and merit don't get one into heaven if your Orthodox either.

The grace of God does that, through the inner transformation of the human being through sanctification (Theosis).

What Orthodox seem to object to, is the utter repudiation of works. Works are done for the benefit of others, the benefit of one's own sanctification and because the Scripture commands works.

For example:
Quote from: St. James 1:27
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Quote
For Sola Christo I'm not sure I get the Orthodox objection to this either, can someone offer a simple explanation?
It's the Holy Trinity together, not Christ alone that saves someone. That's the only explanation that I can think of. The main contentions are against Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide.
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« Reply #32 on: December 13, 2013, 12:05:25 PM »


I'm honestly not sure about "Why Orthodoxy?". I know it wouldn't work for me to be in one of those fluffy contemporary churches, one its not my style and two I don't find it very fulfilling or honoring of God. For some reason protestant hopping seems silly, although there are differences it's just one form of protestant to another. Being a Lutheran I'm a bit of a Romeophobe in general and specifically I don't buy Rome setting itself above the other patriarchates (correct term?), it just seems...egotistical. Maybe I need to sit down and list things out "Like/Don't Like Lutheran" and "Like/Don't Like Orthodox". Please don't get the impression I am church shopping just to find something I "Like" I want to find the church of Truth, I just might not use the correct words to describe things sometimes.

I was reading up on infant communion this morning and I almost brought it up to her. I really just need to man up and speak with her about it. No good excuse on this one.

Protestant hopping, BTDT. Its really mind-blowing when you realize sola scriptura is not enough and there has to be something else.

About this Rome-ophobe complex. Look into that history. Look into how the Roman Catholics have been persecuted over the last 2 thousand years. It may help you if you realize that the Orthodox and Catholics were once one church. Look into what caused the separation from both sides objectively. I was an LCMS Lutheran for almost 6yrs until changes there made me look into Orthodoxy and back to my cradle Roman Catholic roots.

The one true church? Dont beat yourself up if you decide its your phobia (Roman Catholic). If you decide Orthodoxy, you will be at home with all of their Rome-ophobes.

 Failure to stay within the Convert Issues Forum Purpose, the Convert Issues forum is to provide a place on the OC.Net where inquirers, catechumen, and newly converted could ask their questions about the Orthodox Faith in a safe and supportive forum without retribution or recrimination...The convert forum is not a place for combative debate or argument." Your statements about "Rome-ophobe complex" and "If you decide Orthodoxy, you will be at home with all of their Rome-ophobes." These were anti-orthodox statements inappropriate for the Convert Issues Forum and insulting to protestant visitors to the site. Your warning period is set at 30 days.
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« Reply #33 on: December 13, 2013, 12:12:31 PM »

I am under the impression that works and merit don't get one into heaven if your Orthodox either.

It's important to note that our language has not been shaped by Western debates with pelagianism or shaped out of the Reformation. While Protestants and Catholics read St. Paul through the Reformation's language of "works vs. faith," we don't.

Anyway, you're correct if you're saying those works (I'm not familiar with "merit" language) are without grace. We believe very strongly that salvation is from, through, and by grace. Faith and works are necessary (often viewed as the same thing, or intrinsically linked, etc.), but they are gifts of grace. We cannot, without God's grace, earn grace/heaven, but it is by grace that we grow in grace.

I really don't think we're far from this part of Trent's decree on justification said (sorry I study at a Catholic university - it's what first comes to mind Cool):

Quote
Canon 4.
If anyone says that man's free will moved and aroused by God, by assenting to God's call and action, in no way cooperates toward disposing and preparing itself to obtain the grace of justification, that it cannot refuse its assent if it wishes, but that, as something inanimate, it does nothing whatever and is merely passive, let him be anathema.

In other words we don't do nothing while completely requiring and relying on grace, else it's like dirty rags etc.
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« Reply #34 on: December 13, 2013, 12:15:44 PM »

How wonderful, hope you will get some answers through the reading.

Great questions on the Five Solas. I will try to explain Soli Deo gloria the best I can and let other brothers and sisters develop later on.

To discuss Soli Deo gloria ("glory to God alone") we need first to take a step back in the terms used and see what the meaning of them really are. Why this is important is because whatever our definition of glory is, will affect the way we understand God, and later come to worship him in that glory that he resides in.

The topic can of course be discussed in many different ways, but my journey took course within three head questions, the following:

1:How does God describe his own glory, through scripture?
2:What part has creation to mirror the glory of God, and how has God used creation to show his glory?
3:Why is it impossible to react/comprehend to Gods glory without any involvement of creation?


1 and 2:
1 Corinthians 10:31
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Philippians 2:9-11
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Isaiah 60:1
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

Psalm 72:19
Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!

Looking on the passages mentioned above a protestant might literally go Hallelujah. All glory to God and that´s it. What he/she is doing in that case is isolating the glory of God to a point where it does not reflect what the fullness of it actually means. Looking on the passages there is directly one thing outside of God that is also presented, without many of us noticing it. 1: Response, either by us humans or by creation, or through us, it.

What would our understanding of the glory of God really be but a mystery, if we did not have any way to respond to it, through what Pauls presents, drinking & eating, doing (1 Corinthians 10:31), bowing & confessing (Philippians 2:9-11)?

Or through Isaiahs passage, rising & shining (Isaiah 60:1)? Or through the Psalm, blessing (Psalm 72:19).

Whatever way we look at it. These passages wouldn´t make sense to any human, but only to God and his kingdom, if we took away Gods creation in the question for his glory. His glory surpasses his creation, of course, that is for certain, but how would we really understand the glory of God outside it? If we stick to this mysterious way of looking at Gods glory, we ultimate create a distant God, a Father that didn´t work through creation and time, who didn´t make known his glory to us through the things which he gloriously created, and which He saw was good.


So answering the 3 questions shortly, we can see this just by a few examples I gave, and there are tons of it.

1: Gods glory surpasses all things, he does not need them to show his glory, but he does so for us to understand and react, respond to it.
2: Creation and we are the mirror through which Gods glory is shown, otherwise we have no question to ask. We´re then talking about a God not working in time, and not making his glory apprehensible to us. For even if we take the Soli Deo gloria ("glory to God alone") from a protestant perspective, does we not need a mind to even understand the letters which we discuss? Not a created human and soul through which we can give glory and see it? Therefore, creation is noting terrible in the sight of God, because he made his glory known through it. Why should we humans then not respond back through the persons and things through which God made his glory known? Therefore veneration is given, with ultimate purpose to the glory of God. As we even can see through eating, drinking, or explicitly through Paul(see passage below), and even more through the love and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 19:11-12
11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.  

3: Looking back at the previous points, creation is necessary for us to understand, and later rightly give glory to God through. The church is therefore the perfect body which have made known to us ways of reacting to Gods glory, and responding to it by given him the glory He deserves. Icon, Saints and relics are therefore, as the handkerchiefs and aprons of Paul, ways through which glory is seen, and glory is given, all to the glory of God the Father. What glory could we really give to God for the gospel and his mercy, if he would not become a human himself?

Please forgive me if I didn´t explain things that good. My english is not perfect, but I hope it gave an insight to the view that the Orthodox church holds to, and what every Christian ultimately needs to hold to.

Pray for me and forgive me.
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« Reply #35 on: December 13, 2013, 12:21:24 PM »

Speaking of solas, in yesterday's reading:
"Therefore it is said, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light." Ephesians 5:8-19

As a Lutheran, bound by Sola Scriptura, I would have missed that St. Paul is citing Tradition (here, a hymn) and not Scripture for authority.
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« Reply #36 on: December 13, 2013, 12:50:04 PM »

It's important to note that our language has not been shaped by Western debates with pelagianism or shaped out of the Reformation. While Protestants and Catholics read St. Paul through the Reformation's language of "works vs. faith," we don't.

Yes, it's important to understand that while Orthodox and Protestants may use the same terms (grace, salvation, etc.), they don't mean the same thing by them. Sometimes the meaning is radically different!
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« Reply #37 on: December 13, 2013, 01:08:56 PM »

Quote
What Orthodox seem to object to, is the utter repudiation of works. Works are done for the benefit of others, the benefit of one's own sanctification and because the Scripture commands works.

Works are done for the benefit of others - ok, I'm on board with that.
because the Scripture commands works - I'm with you there too.
benefit of one's own sanctification - definition of sanctification is "becoming holy". I would agree that works help me become a better person and help those around me but would find it hard to swallow that they would assist into entry of heaven.

Protestant hopping, BTDT. Its really mind-blowing when you realize sola scriptura is not enough and there has to be something else.

About this Rome-ophobe complex. Look into that history. Look into how the Roman Catholics have been persecuted over the last 2 thousand years. It may help you if you realize that the Orthodox and Catholics were once one church. Look into what caused the separation from both sides objectively. I was an LCMS Lutheran for almost 6yrs until changes there made me look into Orthodoxy and back to my cradle Roman Catholic roots.

The one true church? Dont beat yourself up if you decide its your phobia (Roman Catholic). If you decide Orthodoxy, you will be at home with all of their Rome-ophobes.

Thank you for the advice and support.



Nephi, thank you for your comments. It makes me more comfortable with the Orthodox view on works.



Thank you for your support. You wrote quite a lot (which I appreciate) and I will have to read your post a few more times before I feel that I can respond to it.

Speaking of solas, in yesterday's reading:
"Therefore it is said, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light." Ephesians 5:8-19

As a Lutheran, bound by Sola Scriptura, I would have missed that St. Paul is citing Tradition (here, a hymn) and not Scripture for authority.

I've read that passage many times before but it never occurred to me. Do we know what hymn he is referencing?

It's important to note that our language has not been shaped by Western debates with pelagianism or shaped out of the Reformation. While Protestants and Catholics read St. Paul through the Reformation's language of "works vs. faith," we don't.

Yes, it's important to understand that while Orthodox and Protestants may use the same terms (grace, salvation, etc.), they don't mean the same thing by them. Sometimes the meaning is radically different!

*sigh* That just seems like cheating...like figuring our faith isn't hard enough already.
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« Reply #38 on: December 13, 2013, 02:33:28 PM »

Well, my answer (of course!) would be that the Orthodox have got it right! Grin


A priest that I know (a former Pentecostal preacher) told me that a man in his inquirer's class finally said in frustration, "But Father, if that's true, it means that everything I thought I knew is wrong!"

"I know, son, but you don't have to figure it all out for yourself. The Church has already done all the heavy lifting for you!"
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« Reply #39 on: December 13, 2013, 04:35:42 PM »

Not completely germane to the discussion but while I was looking into Nicea I found this thoroughly enjoyable article about St. Nicolas.

More on topic I hope to do some heavy organizing of thoughts/ideas over the weekend and try to organize everything bouncing around in my head. I appreciate all the help you guys have given so far.

As an aside I've been looking into Orthodoxy for about a month before finding this forum, just as an FYI.
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« Reply #40 on: December 13, 2013, 09:32:06 PM »

Speaking of solas, in yesterday's reading:
"Therefore it is said, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light." Ephesians 5:8-19

As a Lutheran, bound by Sola Scriptura, I would have missed that St. Paul is citing Tradition (here, a hymn) and not Scripture for authority.

Lex Orandi (the prayer), lex credendi.  Even Lutherans supposedly subscribe to this.
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« Reply #41 on: December 14, 2013, 04:31:48 PM »

Look into how the Roman Catholics have been persecuted over the last 2 thousand years

LOL. If anyone shouldn't complain about persecution...

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« Reply #42 on: December 14, 2013, 04:39:07 PM »

Let's see, where to start...I have much to say and ask.

I guess I will start with a short about me:
I'm 28 and I live in central WI USA. I've been married for 4 years and my wife and I have an 18 month old son. I'm a very conservative (both politically and religiously) Lutheran (Wisconsin synod) and have been so since I was born. I've always been very happy being Lutheran and I'm sure my ancestors made and handed Luther the nails he used to put his 95 Thesis on the church door (figuratively speaking of course). I almost feel like if I were to leave being a Lutheran to become Orthodox I would be betraying my heritiage (sp?), is that silly? Recently though I've been concerned with some of the goings on. Over the past year our so the WELS has been discussing the adoption of a new bible version (from the '85 NIV) as it is going out of print and I am not thrilled with the choices (specifics I can't recall at the moment) and nobody seems interested in the NKJV. There is also talk at my current church about offering a contemporary service although when I explain my objections (it turning into a big flashy concert, etc) the pastor says that's not the type of contemporary he means...although he can't explain what he does mean. I'm not sure if I'm looking because of silly reasons or not, I'm finding it hard to articulate some of my concerns.

My Questions:

After doing some reading on Orthodoxy, and listening to some Ancient Faith Radio I do find some sort of pull to Orthodoxy. I've got a few concerns and questions, I'm going to list them out and if someone (or multiple people) could address them I would appreciate it.

The two Orthodox churches closest are a Greek (40 minutes) and an Antiochian (50 minutes) from what I understand the base faith of both is Orthodox so what if any reason(s) would there be to choose one over the other besides driving time? (driving 40 minutes to church is a personal problem I would need to get over but that's just because my current church is just a few miles away)

I'm having trouble with the veneration of Mary/The Saints and the use of icons. It's big for me that I just used the word veneration and not worship. I don't really have a concern or specific question, I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around it/accepting it.

What is the role of women in the church? Lots of churches these days are starting to ordain women priests and the like. In the Orthodox church which roles can women preform?

What is the Orthodox position on homosexuality and homosexual "marriage"? Also on abortion and where life starts?

Creation, 7 literal days? I imagine Darwinian evolution is not a teaching of the church?

Fasting, really? I love bacon. Ok, that's kind of a joke but seriously, is fasting as difficult as it sounds to me?

To Wrap Up:

Wow, I wrote quite a but, sorry about that. I hope those questions are not too out in left field to ask. I'm sure they have been asked before but I think it may help me to write out my on thread and have the discussion separate from the already created/discussed questions left previously. Anyway, I appreciate any and all responses I get and thank you to anyone who takes the time to respond to me.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm..Bacon... Sorry

My wife is deceased. Sometimes I ask her to pray for us, especially if one of the kids is in some sort of trouble. Occasionally when I do this I look at a picture of her. It seems to help.

Other times, I pray to my Saint or other Saints or the Theotokos to intercede on my behalf and pray for me since they are close to God. Often I do this while in front of an icon of them.

How you understand the afterlife is important to this issue.
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« Reply #43 on: December 14, 2013, 07:36:41 PM »

Look into how the Roman Catholics have been persecuted over the last 2 thousand years

Look into how they did persecute the others.
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« Reply #44 on: December 16, 2013, 08:31:07 PM »

Hey, another Wisconsite! (Rodgers better be careful or Flynn might be taking his job.) Anywho, I attended Concordia, so I'm well familiar with the Lutheran world here in Wisconsin, despite being a cradle Orthodox. I also attend Assumption in Madison.

To clarify something, our services are mostly in English and the parts that are in Greek are very easy to follow using the hymnal. As a general rule, I wouldn't plan on meeting with either priest before or after a service. I would plan a separate meeting for one-on-one inquiries. Having said that, I am perfectly comfortable meeting for beers and answering whatever questions you may have to my best of my abilities.

Wisconsin is also home to two monasteries as well, St. Isaac of Syria Skete in Boscobel and St. John Chrysostomos in Pleasant Prairie (up the round from the Jelly Belly factory).
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