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Author Topic: What's Wrong with Incorporating Protestantism into Orthodoxy?  (Read 1499 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 01, 2014, 07:13:32 PM »

One criticism I often hear from the nationalistic cradle Orthodox people is that we American Orthodox are too watered down with "Protestant influence" or "Protestant theology" seeping its way into the Church. I see a similar attitude coming from American Protestant converts to Orthodoxy who go through great lengths to try to abandon their previous faith affiliation by criticizing virtually anything that resembles it, going so far as to condemn coffee-hour as "Protestant innovation" or sermons in the middle of the Liturgy (common in the OCA) as bad.

My questions and thoughts are this: does it really matter? The Church has ALWAYS incorporated elements from native religions and/or cultures into its worship and theology. We stole monogamy from the pagan Romans even though the monotheist Jews were polygamous, the Church Fathers practically built our theology upon Greek philosophy taken from pagans--see St. Justin the Philosopher--many of our "New Calendar" holidays fall exactly on or at a very close date to ancient pagan holidays, etc. Heck, the Russians even have Western Choirs and Synods, and the Greeks have Western pews.

Why does it somehow become "bad" and "wrong" when it comes to Americanism and thus American Protestantism? I see Phyletism peaking its ugly head once again. It's okay for the Greeks and Slavs to incorporate their heathen pre-Christian cultures and faiths into their Orthodoxy but it's not okay for the American Orthodox to do the same?
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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2014, 07:25:23 PM »

One criticism I often hear from the nationalistic cradle Orthodox people is that we American Orthodox are too watered down with "Protestant influence" or "Protestant theology" seeping its way into the Church. I see a similar attitude coming from American Protestant converts to Orthodoxy who go through great lengths to try to abandon their previous faith affiliation by criticizing virtually anything that resembles it, going so far as to condemn coffee-hour as "Protestant innovation" or sermons in the middle of the Liturgy (common in the OCA) as bad.

My questions and thoughts are this: does it really matter? The Church has ALWAYS incorporated elements from native religions and/or cultures into its worship and theology. We stole monogamy from the pagan Romans even though the monotheist Jews were polygamous, the Church Fathers practically built our theology upon Greek philosophy taken from pagans--see St. Justin the Philosopher--many of our "New Calendar" holidays fall exactly on or at a very close date to ancient pagan holidays, etc. Heck, the Russians even have Western Choirs and Synods, and the Greeks have Western pews.

Why does it somehow become "bad" and "wrong" when it comes to Americanism and thus American Protestantism? I see Phyletism peaking its ugly head once again. It's okay for the Greeks and Slavs to incorporate their heathen pre-Christian cultures and faiths into their Orthodoxy but it's not okay for the American Orthodox to do the same?

There might be some anti-western bigotry that causes some of this.
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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2014, 07:26:48 PM »

Why does it somehow become "bad" and "wrong" when it comes to Americanism and thus American Protestantism? I see Phyletism peaking its ugly head once again. It's okay for the Greeks and Slavs to incorporate their heathen pre-Christian cultures and faiths into their Orthodoxy but it's not okay for the American Orthodox to do the same?

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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2014, 07:31:04 PM »

We stole monogamy from the pagan Romans
No, we adopted it because Christ told us to.

even though the monotheist Jews were polygamous,
We're the true Jews (I.e. Israel).

the Church Fathers practically built our theology upon Greek philosophy taken from pagans--see St. Justin the Philosopher--
No, they didn't. Rather, they used philosophy and certain philosophical terms (e.g. hypostasis, ousia, etc.) to describe our theology. The terms and the philosophy are made for the faith, not the other way around.
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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2014, 07:36:31 PM »

One criticism I often hear from the nationalistic cradle Orthodox people is that we American Orthodox are too watered down with "Protestant influence" or "Protestant theology" seeping its way into the Church. I see a similar attitude coming from American Protestant converts to Orthodoxy who go through great lengths to try to abandon their previous faith affiliation by criticizing virtually anything that resembles it, going so far as to condemn coffee-hour as "Protestant innovation" or sermons in the middle of the Liturgy (common in the OCA) as bad.

My questions and thoughts are this: does it really matter? The Church has ALWAYS incorporated elements from native religions and/or cultures into its worship and theology. We stole monogamy from the pagan Romans even though the monotheist Jews were polygamous, the Church Fathers practically built our theology upon Greek philosophy taken from pagans--see St. Justin the Philosopher--many of our "New Calendar" holidays fall exactly on or at a very close date to ancient pagan holidays, etc. Heck, the Russians even have Western Choirs and Synods, and the Greeks have Western pews.

Why does it somehow become "bad" and "wrong" when it comes to Americanism and thus American Protestantism? I see Phyletism peaking its ugly head once again. It's okay for the Greeks and Slavs to incorporate their heathen pre-Christian cultures and faiths into their Orthodoxy but it's not okay for the American Orthodox to do the same?
That's pretty ripe coming from someone who has been among the most virulent in condemning the Protestantism of his own background. (Or am I confusing you with someone else?)
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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2014, 07:43:35 PM »

One criticism I often hear from the nationalistic cradle Orthodox people is that we American Orthodox are too watered down with "Protestant influence" or "Protestant theology" seeping its way into the Church. I see a similar attitude coming from American Protestant converts to Orthodoxy who go through great lengths to try to abandon their previous faith affiliation by criticizing virtually anything that resembles it, going so far as to condemn coffee-hour as "Protestant innovation" or sermons in the middle of the Liturgy (common in the OCA) as bad.

My questions and thoughts are this: does it really matter? The Church has ALWAYS incorporated elements from native religions and/or cultures into its worship and theology. We stole monogamy from the pagan Romans even though the monotheist Jews were polygamous, the Church Fathers practically built our theology upon Greek philosophy taken from pagans--see St. Justin the Philosopher--many of our "New Calendar" holidays fall exactly on or at a very close date to ancient pagan holidays, etc. Heck, the Russians even have Western Choirs and Synods, and the Greeks have Western pews.

Why does it somehow become "bad" and "wrong" when it comes to Americanism and thus American Protestantism? I see Phyletism peaking its ugly head once again. It's okay for the Greeks and Slavs to incorporate their heathen pre-Christian cultures and faiths into their Orthodoxy but it's not okay for the American Orthodox to do the same?
That's pretty ripe coming from someone who has been among the most virulent in condemning the Protestantism of his own background. (Or am I confusing you with someone else?)

I've matured thanks to therapy Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2014, 08:16:04 PM »

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we American Orthodox are too watered down with "Protestant influence" or "Protestant theology"
Oh, if only things were watered down. But I've heard some stories were they were heightened up.
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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2014, 08:19:51 PM »

One criticism I often hear from the nationalistic cradle Orthodox people is that we American Orthodox are too watered down with "Protestant influence" or "Protestant theology" seeping its way into the Church. I see a similar attitude coming from American Protestant converts to Orthodoxy who go through great lengths to try to abandon their previous faith affiliation by criticizing virtually anything that resembles it, going so far as to condemn coffee-hour as "Protestant innovation" or sermons in the middle of the Liturgy (common in the OCA) as bad.

My questions and thoughts are this: does it really matter? The Church has ALWAYS incorporated elements from native religions and/or cultures into its worship and theology. We stole monogamy from the pagan Romans even though the monotheist Jews were polygamous, the Church Fathers practically built our theology upon Greek philosophy taken from pagans--see St. Justin the Philosopher--many of our "New Calendar" holidays fall exactly on or at a very close date to ancient pagan holidays, etc. Heck, the Russians even have Western Choirs and Synods, and the Greeks have Western pews.

Why does it somehow become "bad" and "wrong" when it comes to Americanism and thus American Protestantism? I see Phyletism peaking its ugly head once again. It's okay for the Greeks and Slavs to incorporate their heathen pre-Christian cultures and faiths into their Orthodoxy but it's not okay for the American Orthodox to do the same?

Honestly, you're being a bit too general here and in the process (perhaps inadvertently):

1.) Erecting strawmen (Coffee hour?  Have you met Hyperdox Herman's older, meaner brother in real life or something?)

2.) Conflating "Americanism" with "Protestantism" and the theologically neutral with the theologically pregnant

Theologically neutral American cultural customs are readily incorporated into a great many American Orthodox parishes: pot-lucks, clambakes, flea-markets, raffles.  The same is true with some theologically neutral customs which may be associated with (or even have their origins in) American Catholicism and Protestantism: Bible Study, Vacation Church School, the various attempts at establishing Orthodox parochial schools, et cetera.

This is different than actually "incorporating Protestantism", i.e. educational materials, forms of worship, et cetera, pregnant with Protestant theology (which you put in quotes for some reason) into the life of the Church.  Asking what's wrong with doing that would be like asking "What's wrong with incorporating Arianism into Orthodoxy?".  What is Protestantism?  It is by definition heterodoxy.  Or as Belloc defines it:

Quote
...a crop of heresies, but not one heresy; and its characteristic was that all its heresies attained and prolonged a common savour: that which we call "Protestantism" today.

It teaches in opposition to Orthodoxy, so it cannot be incorporated into Orthodoxy without compromising Orthodoxy.  I don't think one would have to be an Eastern phyletist or a hyperdox convert to object to "incorporating Catholicism" into Orthodoxy in the form of sacred heart iconography or other things pregnant with Catholic theology.  The same holds true for Protestantism.  To contend that coffee hour constitutes "incorporating Protestantism" into Orthodoxy is ridiculous.  But it is equally ridiculous to ask "What's wrong with incorporating Protestantism - which by its very definition means a deviation from Orthodoxy - into Orthodoxy?".
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« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2014, 08:29:23 PM »





2.) Conflating "Americanism" with "Protestantism" and the theologically neutral with the theologically pregnant

Theologically neutral American cultural customs are readily incorporated into a great many American Orthodox parishes: pot-lucks, clambakes, flea-markets, raffles.  The same is true with some theologically neutral customs which may be associated with (or even have their origins in) American Catholicism and Protestantism: Bible Study, Vacation Church School, the various attempts at establishing Orthodox parochial schools, et cetera.

This is different than actually "incorporating Protestantism", i.e. educational materials, forms of worship, et cetera, pregnant with Protestant theology (which you put in quotes for some reason) into the life of the Church.  


This.  Adding in or taking on customs that are American in general but do not change the Theology of the Church, are not 'incorporating Protestantism' into the Church.

Just because a particular thing like Bible Study or Church school started in American Heterodox Churches does not mean they are not fine ideas when done to teach Orthodox Theology. 

It's rather like insisting that Americans learn to make Kulich and Paska for their Pascha Baskets rather than put in things that -mean- something to them......because those other items 'are not orthodox traditions'
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« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2014, 11:04:55 PM »

coffee-hour

The church I currently attend does coffee hour. I'm the only convert.
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« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2014, 11:07:03 PM »

The church I currently attend does coffee hour. I'm the only convert.

So your the guy!  Angry
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« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2014, 12:04:19 AM »

The church I currently attend does coffee hour. I'm the only convert.

So your the guy!  Angry

Lets understand this: we are Orthodox. We are NOT Protestant.  We are NOT Roman Catholic.
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« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2014, 12:44:31 AM »

One criticism I often hear from the nationalistic cradle Orthodox people is that we American Orthodox are too watered down with "Protestant influence" or "Protestant theology" seeping its way into the Church. I see a similar attitude coming from American Protestant converts to Orthodoxy who go through great lengths to try to abandon their previous faith affiliation by criticizing virtually anything that resembles it, going so far as to condemn coffee-hour as "Protestant innovation" or sermons in the middle of the Liturgy (common in the OCA) as bad.

Who condemns coffee hour?  Why would they bother to condemn it when they could just go home?  Does the priest hold a gun to their heads while parish council members shove doughnuts down their throats against their will? 

I don't believe it.  I don't believe anyone condemns coffee hour.   

Quote
We stole monogamy from the pagan Romans even though the monotheist Jews were polygamous, the Church Fathers practically built our theology upon Greek philosophy taken from pagans--see St. Justin the Philosopher--many of our "New Calendar" holidays fall exactly on or at a very close date to ancient pagan holidays, etc. Heck, the Russians even have Western Choirs and Synods, and the Greeks have Western pews.

You really ought to consider reading good books.  Seriously.
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« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2014, 01:07:28 AM »

I think the problem is that with the encroachment of Protestant practices comes the inevitable encroachment of Protestant theology. Too many human sermons and "Bible studies" where people discuss what this or that passage means to them will lead to erroneous doctrinal concepts. That's why the Liturgy is so important, and why it's so important not to tamper with it. The Divine Liturgy contains all the theology we really need to know, and if we start tinkering with the Liturgy then we are opening the doors for the corruption of our theology.

(As an aside, just ignore the condescending comments from those who mock you for asking questions. I'm glad you have the curiosity and courage to ask questions like this. Keep thinking and keep asking. Just remember that our Faith is not predicated on logical infallibility. Cling to God and cling to the Orthodox Faith even when your questions are not sufficiently answered. Some people here believe that they are better Christians than you simply because they have more life experience and have read more books. But there is a wisdom that leads to God, and then there is a knowledge that puffeth up and maketh proud. After all, we are to enter the Kingdom as little children. And children sure do ask a lot of questions, some of them that are very hard to answer.  Wink )


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« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2014, 01:15:33 AM »

As an aside, just ignore the condescending comments from those who mock you for asking questions.
Who's mocking James for asking questions?
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« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2014, 01:16:55 AM »

I have no idea what "coffee hour" is
 Grin
we only have coffee hour after funerals

BUT

I think church need ways to bring church people together. We don't know each other anymore. In past it was different in neighborhoods and villages, fewer people.

church must be more.... "community" with many ways and bring people closer
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« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2014, 01:17:58 AM »

Quote
Too many human sermons and "Bible studies" where people discuss what this or that passage means to them will lead to erroneous doctrinal concepts.

This won't happen if the passages are explained using established and accepted Orthodox sources, such as hymnography, prayers, icons, and, if the priest is diligent and careful, patristic writings.
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« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2014, 01:24:05 AM »

Quote
Too many human sermons and "Bible studies" where people discuss what this or that passage means to them will lead to erroneous doctrinal concepts.

This won't happen if the passages are explained using established and accepted Orthodox sources, such as hymnography, prayers, icons, and, if the priest is diligent and careful, patristic writings.

exactly!  an event -structure- is not going to suddenly turn people into Protestants if the content is Orthodox.

edited to add....a non-liturgical service event structure....
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« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2014, 01:30:20 AM »

We stole monogamy from the pagan Romans even though the monotheist Jews were polygamous,

False. God ordained the concept of one wife to a man. Read the Bible, starting with Genesis. Your ideas are modernist and not Orthodox.
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« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2014, 01:55:32 AM »

Doesn't matter whether you call the coffee hour protestant or orthodox. It is divine.
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« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2014, 04:14:25 AM »

Doesn't matter whether you call the coffee hour protestant or orthodox. It is divine.

+1  Smiley


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« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2014, 09:15:49 AM »

I like coffee hour after the abstinence fast, and with a 50 minute drive home, the nourishment provided by a cookie or two is beneficial. Smiley And the chance to greet and say hello to fellow parishioners is a plus too.
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« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2014, 09:17:18 AM »

I have no idea what "coffee hour" is
 Grin
we only have coffee hour after funerals

BUT

I think church need ways to bring church people together. We don't know each other anymore. In past it was different in neighborhoods and villages, fewer people.

church must be more.... "community" with many ways and bring people closer


"Coffee hour" = τραπέζι. You don't have them in Greece? I would think it among the oldest of (small t) traditions perhaps even coming from the earliest of times.

Here, in the Greek parishes I know, we have a traditional fried fish dinner after funerals. Not so in Greece?
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« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2014, 09:21:26 AM »

Doesn't matter whether you call the coffee hour protestant or orthodox. It is divine.

At my church it depends on who is making the coffee any given Sunday!
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« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2014, 10:34:36 AM »

I have no idea what "coffee hour" is
 Grin
we only have coffee hour after funerals

BUT

I think church need ways to bring church people together. We don't know each other anymore. In past it was different in neighborhoods and villages, fewer people.

church must be more.... "community" with many ways and bring people closer


"Coffee hour" = τραπέζι. You don't have them in Greece? I would think it among the oldest of (small t) traditions perhaps even coming from the earliest of times.

Here, in the Greek parishes I know, we have a traditional fried fish dinner after funerals. Not so in Greece?

usually greek coffee, cookies, greek pies and brandy after funerals
ok you feed the people who came from far
usually they went to reustarants at 40days and 1 year after death

but no, we don't have coffee hours or something similar as church
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« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2014, 10:35:49 AM »

I have no idea what "coffee hour" is
 Grin
we only have coffee hour after funerals

BUT

I think church need ways to bring church people together. We don't know each other anymore. In past it was different in neighborhoods and villages, fewer people.

church must be more.... "community" with many ways and bring people closer


"Coffee hour" = τραπέζι. You don't have them in Greece? I would think it among the oldest of (small t) traditions perhaps even coming from the earliest of times.

Here, in the Greek parishes I know, we have a traditional fried fish dinner after funerals. Not so in Greece?

Nope, we don't. Everyone just goes home after DL. It is traditional to serve coffee, brandy and special rusks flavoured with aniseed at condolences visits and after funerals, though. All cemeteries have a coffee shop attached, and all those who attended go there afterwards, if briefly. The fish dinner (usually boiled, with soup, in our case) is held at home, for the family and close friends.
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« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2014, 02:48:03 PM »

Coffee is Protestant? Oops, I'm in trouble.  Wink
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« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2014, 02:49:13 PM »

You and me both, biro.  I just finished my second mug of Protestantism, and it was very good. 
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« Reply #28 on: February 02, 2014, 04:08:42 PM »

If I can be corrected, that's fine. But I would hazard a guess that Protestants were arguing in Internet forums before the Orthodox.
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« Reply #29 on: February 02, 2014, 04:09:41 PM »

Coffee is Protestant?

Nah, according to the National Coffee Growers Association of the USA, it's very Oriental Orthodox.  Monastic, even!

Quote
In the Ethiopian highlands, where the legend of Kaldi, the goatherd, originated, coffee trees grow today as they have for centuries. Though we will never know with certainty, there probably is some truth to the Kaldi legend.

It is said that he discovered coffee after noticing that his goats, upon eating berries from a certain tree, became so spirited that they did not want to sleep at night.

Kaldi dutifully reported his findings to the abbot of the local monastery who made a drink with the berries and discovered that it kept him alert for the long hours of evening prayer.  Soon the abbot had shared his discovery with the other monks at the monastery, and ever so slowly knowledge of the energizing effects of the berries began to spread.

http://www.ncausa.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=68

Edit: Where's the Schlock Icon for Qiddus Kaldi?

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« Reply #30 on: February 03, 2014, 05:34:36 AM »

I have no idea what "coffee hour" is
 Grin
we only have coffee hour after funerals

BUT

I think church need ways to bring church people together. We don't know each other anymore. In past it was different in neighborhoods and villages, fewer people.

church must be more.... "community" with many ways and bring people closer


"Coffee hour" = τραπέζι. You don't have them in Greece? I would think it among the oldest of (small t) traditions perhaps even coming from the earliest of times.

Here, in the Greek parishes I know, we have a traditional fried fish dinner after funerals. Not so in Greece?

Nope, we don't. Everyone just goes home after DL. It is traditional to serve coffee, brandy and special rusks flavoured with aniseed at condolences visits and after funerals, though. All cemeteries have a coffee shop attached, and all those who attended go there afterwards, if briefly. The fish dinner (usually boiled, with soup, in our case) is held at home, for the family and close friends.

Thank you. I imagine that most who partake of the light fish dinner in the church hall here after the funeral and interment are family and close friends. We have no coffee shops as you describe.
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« Reply #31 on: February 03, 2014, 05:51:12 AM »

Doesn't matter whether you call the coffee hour protestant or orthodox. It is divine.

At my church it depends on who is making the coffee any given Sunday!

Depends on the person. If I'm waking up earlier than usual and have to delay that first cup of coffee til nearly noon, the coffee could be burned or weak and I wouldn't care.
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« Reply #32 on: February 03, 2014, 09:05:47 AM »

Doesn't matter whether you call the coffee hour protestant or orthodox. It is divine.

At my church it depends on who is making the coffee any given Sunday!

Depends on the person. If I'm waking up earlier than usual and have to delay that first cup of coffee til nearly noon, the coffee could be burned or weak and I wouldn't care.

Sugar and cream cover a multitude of sins.  Just ask Starbucks.
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« Reply #33 on: February 03, 2014, 11:34:09 AM »

 "What's Wrong with Incorporating Protestantism into Orthodoxy?"

If we go back to the earlier Orthodox presence in North America, we find a desire by the earliest immigrants to adopt and incorporate a number of Protestant innovations onto an Orthodox framework. Of course, this is not in terms of worship or even doctrine, but rather in terms of the legal status of many 19th and 20th century North American Orthodox Parishes. (In reality this was of course a doctrinal abberation, but the rather uneducated immigrant populace was likely unaware of this or indifferent at the time.) The foremost aberration in North America was the incorporation of local parishes as independent congregational units, i.e. 'congregationalism' - a typically Protestant concept. This fostered other 'Protestant' innovations such as the hiring and firing of local pastors independent of hierarchical authority, 'switching' jurisdictions (a Slavic favorite prior to say 1960 or so), anti-clericalism (of course the treatment of peasantry in east Europe helped foster that) and other related behaviors. In dealing with Protestant friends and neighbors (and the culture as a whole) other ideas foreign to Orthodoxy have crept in to our consciousness - those would include a 'sola-whatever' mindset, whether it be scripture, patristics, tradition - you name it; extreme individualism, "everyman is a priest" (who didn't read Leaves of Grass by Whitman in 20th century America - at least through 1975 or so....) and a certain superficial piety unique to American Protestantism.

One can make a far stronger argument in favor of 'unincorporating' Protestantism from North American Orthodoxy.

And - coffee hour, Sunday School, covered dish dinners and church camp are good things when run as part of parish life under the direction of your Orthodox priest and bishop.

 
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« Reply #34 on: February 03, 2014, 12:28:03 PM »

As crazy as it may seem - Pews are a Protestant innovation.   I know, I know, its not a salvific issue but as a Former RC I assumed that pews was a RC thing as well as a Protestant thing.  Little did I realize that early Christians churches both east and west did not have pews and it became a standard pretty much after the Protestant Reformation.  Most early western Catholic Cathedrals never had pews, in fact, St. Peter's in Rome still doesn't have pews.  I know its a pitifly small thing but we now have pews that were incorporated by the early Protestants of Europe.
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« Reply #35 on: February 03, 2014, 04:30:01 PM »

Oh.goody. Another pew thread. Love it.
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« Reply #36 on: February 03, 2014, 04:41:06 PM »

Coffee is Protestant? Oops, I'm in trouble.  Wink

Nope. I recall reading of a pope who allowed coffee-drinking and who said that it tastes so good that it shouldn't be relinquished to heretics.

EDIT: Apparently it was Pope Clement VIII.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Clement_VIII#Coffee
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« Reply #37 on: February 03, 2014, 04:54:14 PM »

I hope tea isn't protestant  Undecided
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« Reply #38 on: February 03, 2014, 04:59:31 PM »

There's no papal approval for tea or at least I'm not familiar with any. So it does sound fairly suspicious.
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« Reply #39 on: February 03, 2014, 05:07:48 PM »

"What's Wrong with Incorporating Protestantism into Orthodoxy?"

If we go back to the earlier Orthodox presence in North America, we find a desire by the earliest immigrants to adopt and incorporate a number of Protestant innovations onto an Orthodox framework. Of course, this is not in terms of worship or even doctrine, but rather in terms of the legal status of many 19th and 20th century North American Orthodox Parishes. (In reality this was of course a doctrinal abberation, but the rather uneducated immigrant populace was likely unaware of this or indifferent at the time.) The foremost aberration in North America was the incorporation of local parishes as independent congregational units, i.e. 'congregationalism' - a typically Protestant concept. This fostered other 'Protestant' innovations such as the hiring and firing of local pastors independent of hierarchical authority, 'switching' jurisdictions (a Slavic favorite prior to say 1960 or so), anti-clericalism (of course the treatment of peasantry in east Europe helped foster that) and other related behaviors. In dealing with Protestant friends and neighbors (and the culture as a whole) other ideas foreign to Orthodoxy have crept in to our consciousness - those would include a 'sola-whatever' mindset, whether it be scripture, patristics, tradition - you name it; extreme individualism, "everyman is a priest" (who didn't read Leaves of Grass by Whitman in 20th century America - at least through 1975 or so....) and a certain superficial piety unique to American Protestantism.

One can make a far stronger argument in favor of 'unincorporating' Protestantism from North American Orthodoxy.

And - coffee hour, Sunday School, covered dish dinners and church camp are good things when run as part of parish life under the direction of your Orthodox priest and bishop.


Very, very true.  What an insightful post.

I hope tea isn't protestant  Undecided

Anglican, I should think.
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« Reply #40 on: February 03, 2014, 05:14:00 PM »

I hope tea isn't protestant  Undecided

Anglican, I should think.

Or Islamic? I have a friend who has spent some time in Lebanon. He said that while other nations have hobbies and do various things Arabs just talk, smoke and drink tea all day.
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« Reply #41 on: February 03, 2014, 05:32:15 PM »

Doesn't matter whether you call the coffee hour protestant or orthodox. It is divine.

+1  Smiley


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We have an actual meal served by one of nine teams, along with the coffee. Yesterday, our team provided a "make your own taco" meal that was very popular with convert and cradle alike. Speaking of food, Americanization is a terrific idea because I think that America is the most cosmopolitan nation on earth. Most everywhere, there are  restaurants from the four corners of the world. Unlike, say Italy, where it is hard to find even Italian cuisine from another province (except for pizza of course).
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« Reply #42 on: February 03, 2014, 05:37:33 PM »

As crazy as it may seem - Pews are a Protestant innovation.   I know, I know, its not a salvific issue but as a Former RC I assumed that pews was a RC thing as well as a Protestant thing.  Little did I realize that early Christians churches both east and west did not have pews and it became a standard pretty much after the Protestant Reformation.  Most early western Catholic Cathedrals never had pews, in fact, St. Peter's in Rome still doesn't have pews.  I know its a pitifly small thing but we now have pews that were incorporated by the early Protestants of Europe.

You are quite right. I was reading Father John Morris's book, The Historic Church: An Orthodox View of Christian History, and was struck with his description of how Zwingli and Calvin turned churches into lecture halls with pews.
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« Reply #43 on: February 03, 2014, 07:00:42 PM »

As crazy as it may seem - Pews are a Protestant innovation.   I know, I know, its not a salvific issue but as a Former RC I assumed that pews was a RC thing as well as a Protestant thing.  Little did I realize that early Christians churches both east and west did not have pews and it became a standard pretty much after the Protestant Reformation.  Most early western Catholic Cathedrals never had pews, in fact, St. Peter's in Rome still doesn't have pews.  I know its a pitifly small thing but we now have pews that were incorporated by the early Protestants of Europe.

You are quite right. I was reading Father John Morris's book, The Historic Church: An Orthodox View of Christian History, and was struck with his description of how Zwingli and Calvin turned churches into lecture halls with pews.

 I read once (and paintings form the era prove) that Reformation pastors wore the black gowns of a professor rather than vestments.
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« Reply #44 on: February 03, 2014, 07:19:10 PM »

IMO, It is just Orthodoxy on the surface. The real meaning lies in whether we really practice or not. This practice comes to us handed down from the Monastics (Prayer,Worship,Holy Communion) and etc as well as the bells and whistles of Liturgy.
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« Reply #45 on: February 03, 2014, 08:00:17 PM »

As crazy as it may seem - Pews are a Protestant innovation.   I know, I know, its not a salvific issue but as a Former RC I assumed that pews was a RC thing as well as a Protestant thing.  Little did I realize that early Christians churches both east and west did not have pews and it became a standard pretty much after the Protestant Reformation.  Most early western Catholic Cathedrals never had pews, in fact, St. Peter's in Rome still doesn't have pews.  I know its a pitifly small thing but we now have pews that were incorporated by the early Protestants of Europe.

You are quite right. I was reading Father John Morris's book, The Historic Church: An Orthodox View of Christian History, and was struck with his description of how Zwingli and Calvin turned churches into lecture halls with pews.

I will have to check that book out. "lecture halls with pews" is a very good way of putting it.
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« Reply #46 on: February 03, 2014, 08:06:34 PM »

I remember running into similar thoughts/descriptions in a book about the creation of the King James Bible, when they were talking about early 17th century Christianity in England. I didn't know whether to admire or pity them.  Cool
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« Reply #47 on: February 03, 2014, 08:16:44 PM »

JamesR, you might enjoy (and benefit from) a book entitled "Functional and Dysfunctional Christianity" by Fr. Philotheos Faros.

Here's the Amazon books link:

http://www.amazon.com/Functional-Dysfunctional-Christianity-Philotheos-Faros/dp/1885652070

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« Reply #48 on: February 03, 2014, 08:17:02 PM »

The church I currently attend does coffee hour. I'm the only convert.

So your the guy!  Angry

Lets understand this: we are Orthodox. We are NOT Protestant.  We are NOT Roman Catholic.


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We should love them as ourselves as fellow Christians who have faith in Jesus.
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« Reply #49 on: February 03, 2014, 08:23:39 PM »

The church I currently attend does coffee hour. I'm the only convert.

So your the guy!  Angry

Lets understand this: we are Orthodox. We are NOT Protestant.  We are NOT Roman Catholic.


We are not the owner of the Vineyard either, God is. Matthew 20:1-16

We should love them as ourselves as fellow Christians who have faith in Jesus.

No one has said we shouldn't, but this certainly doesn't entail incorporating their errors in theology or practice into the life of the Church.
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« Reply #50 on: February 03, 2014, 08:35:26 PM »

The church I currently attend does coffee hour. I'm the only convert.

So your the guy!  Angry

Lets understand this: we are Orthodox. We are NOT Protestant.  We are NOT Roman Catholic.


We are not the owner of the Vineyard either, God is. Matthew 20:1-16

We should love them as ourselves as fellow Christians who have faith in Jesus.

No one has said we shouldn't, but this certainly doesn't entail incorporating their errors in theology or practice into the life of the Church.

They would argue the same point.

We are not the Judge of the issue, I am just saying that describing them as below us or in error could be a sin in God's eyes.
It is as in the parable I mentioned , the workers who did more or better as you claim, were told by the owner to mind their own business.
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« Reply #51 on: February 03, 2014, 09:04:20 PM »

They would argue the same point.

They'd be wrong.

We are not the Judge of the issue,

Let's not pretend that using discernment as it pertains to doctrine or practice is the same as judging souls or endeavoring to take the place of God.  It is not.

I am just saying that describing them as below us or in error could be a sin in God's eyes.

Describing them as "below us" and describing them as being in error are two different things.  No one would say that they are below us.  They are human beings just as we are and God loves them as He loves us.  The same could be said of Muslims, Buddhists, atheists or anyone else.  This doesn't mean that we can't discern truth from falsehood as it pertains to points of divergence between their teaching and ours.  Were the Fathers sinning when they judged the Arians or the Nestorians to be in error?  Did they love them any less?

It is as in the parable I mentioned , the workers who did more or better as you claim, were told by the owner to mind their own business.

Is your interpretation of the Parable of the Vineyard the Apostolic interpretation or your personal interpretation?  Most of the Patristic interpretations that I've read say that this parable has to do with:

a.) Those who come to Christ at the end of their lives and those who've labored for Him their entire lives receiving an equal share and inheritance in the Kingdom

b.) The gentiles coming to embrace the true God so many centuries after the Jews

c.) The preparation of each person in approaching the Paschal Eucharist

Nothing I've read seems to indicate that heterodoxy is "just as good" as Orthodoxy or that the Orthodox should refrain from calling false teachings false or even embrace them for fear of appearing "judgmental". [And just to be clear, I'm not saying that the heterodox aren't as good as the Orthodox, but rather that heterodoxy isn't as good as Orthodoxy.  To say a) is not the same as saying b) and we shouldn't pretend that it is.]  It's really disingenuous to insist that loving the heterodox means that we should refrain from acknowledging their errors or even embrace them ourselves.  Rather, if we love them, we should lead them to the true Faith so that they, even if they have not labored in the Vineyard since the dawn can have a share and an inheritance with those who have.
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« Reply #52 on: February 03, 2014, 09:10:29 PM »

How can you love them like yourself if you feel righteous above them over what you cannot prove, any more than they?

It is about the end of the parable as well, which says those who are last will be first, this is also about Jesus saying the lowest servant of all will be first, and also the meek, and that those who humble themselves will be lifted up by God, and those who puff up their own  ideas will be humbled. It is that you are going out of your way to say where God is not. Which if you look under my name you will see that our own Bishop has warned against this.
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« Reply #53 on: February 03, 2014, 09:27:57 PM »

How can you love them like yourself if you feel righteous above them over what you cannot prove, any more than they?

I'm not righteous or above anyone.  I'm sinful and unworthy.  Thank God, it's not about my personal righteousness.  It is only through the grace of a loving and merciful God that I am blessed to be able to sing along with my brothers and sisters in Orthodoxy, "We have seen the True Light! We have received the Heavenly Spirit! We have found the True Faith! Worshiping the Undivided Trinity, Who has saved us."

This is certainly not through any merit of my own, but rather through the grace of an all-merciful God.  Likewise, it is no guarantee of my salvation.  Pray for me!

That said, this does not mean that we cannot say that one thing is right and another wrong, or that poison is as healthy for our consumption as milk.

If the Orthodox teach, for example, that we receive the True Body and Precious Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, and the heterodox teach that we do not, who - Sinful Hypocrite - is right?  If the Orthodox teach that Christ is fully man and fully God, and the Eutychians teach that He is God only, who is right?  Do we have to pretend that we don't know or that "it's not for us to say" in either case in order to love those who teach otherwise?  Or rather, should we say, "My brother, I love you, so I want you to share in the wonderful gift that God has permitted my weak and unworthy self to share in!"?
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« Reply #54 on: February 03, 2014, 10:39:10 PM »

Oh.goody. Another pew thread. Love it.

Sarcasm, the topic happens to be "incorporating Protestantism into Orthodoxy", what part don't you understand?
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« Reply #55 on: February 04, 2014, 07:46:12 AM »

As crazy as it may seem - Pews are a Protestant innovation.   I know, I know, its not a salvific issue but as a Former RC I assumed that pews was a RC thing as well as a Protestant thing.  Little did I realize that early Christians churches both east and west did not have pews and it became a standard pretty much after the Protestant Reformation.  Most early western Catholic Cathedrals never had pews, in fact, St. Peter's in Rome still doesn't have pews.  I know its a pitifly small thing but we now have pews that were incorporated by the early Protestants of Europe.

You are quite right. I was reading Father John Morris's book, The Historic Church: An Orthodox View of Christian History, and was struck with his description of how Zwingli and Calvin turned churches into lecture halls with pews.

I will have to check that book out. "lecture halls with pews" is a very good way of putting it.

If it were only that.  The last few Protestant churches I visited are of the megachurch variety.  More like concert halls or theaters with comfy seats and deafening sound systems.
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« Reply #56 on: February 04, 2014, 12:25:22 PM »

As for Bible studies: I guess it's more Orthodox to have Bible classes. A priest or qualified theologian explains, the others listen and ask questions. But not every subjective opinion about Scripture is equal.

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« Reply #57 on: February 04, 2014, 12:29:49 PM »

As for Bible studies: I guess it's more Orthodox to have Bible classes. A priest or qualified theologian explains, the others listen and ask questions. But not every subjective opinion about Scripture is equal.

An important distinction.
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« Reply #58 on: February 04, 2014, 01:07:07 PM »

I was in Milan a month ago, and the city is full of sushi, Indian food, Chinese food...

My next door neighbours are Punjabis, and they have siblings living in Milan.  Two summers ago they visited, and they are lovely.  They have a lovely daughter (~5 years old at the time) who would tease me in Italian whenever I tried to speak to her in my unique blend of broken Italian with patches of Spanish to cover it up (I don't know Punjabi, which is the only other language she knew). 

I think she liked me.  Wink
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« Reply #59 on: February 04, 2014, 02:32:54 PM »

I have not been to an Orthodox parish yet but I think I know what JamesR may getting at to a degree. I think integrating Protestant practices like Bible School, Sunday school, etc. are fine. There is nothing contrary to the faith about them. Now incorporating actual Protestant ideas, like private interpretation or democratic congregational government of the Church is wrong. Parish councils or whatever they are called in the Orthodox Church allow some democratic or lay government of the Church within the parish, but congregational government is a problem.

As for coffee hours or other American/Protestant things like that, they may be American customs of the Protestant churches, but I think they are more of a general cultural thing. I think they are fine, even good for people to know each other. I do not know why any one would objection except on reactionary grounds. Yes, they may be Protestant and American, but whatever problems there are with American culture I do not think coffee hour after church is one. My problem with Americanism is its disgusting materialism and exceptionalism where America thinks it must be the police of the world, and that they define what liberty and justice are to everyone else. The materialism on the market culture of America, I mean. These are some simple ways I would define Americanism but it is more complex in my opinion and if I really explained myself I would have to be on the politics forum.

Coffee hour is a good way for Americans who are Orthodox do come together in a way they are familiar with, as is a parish barbque, fried chicken dinner, or fish fry. If American Orthodox want to depart from the Protestants a bit they should, like the Roman Catholics, make sure there is plenty of wine and beer at these things. It's important for a parish not just to be a place of liturgy but of fellowship. A church is the one place a Christian can find friends that share many of his views. Yes we can have friends in the world, but it's hard sometimes to fully express our faith. Besides, the Church is universal and brings all men together in fellowship. Yes, the Protestants and Freemasons have hijacked the beauty of fellowship and fraternity, but we don't have to be reactionary and say these things are Christian. However, actual Protestant errors are I think the problem Orthodox must rejection certain Protestant things. As long as there is none of that, I have no problem. We live in a pagan world, and like the early Church, we must come together in fellowship, eating and drinking together. We have to eat and drink with the heathens six days a week. Let us eat and drink with Christians one day a week.
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« Reply #60 on: February 04, 2014, 02:51:17 PM »

One criticism I often hear from the nationalistic cradle Orthodox people is that we American Orthodox are too watered down with "Protestant influence" or "Protestant theology" seeping its way into the Church. I see a similar attitude coming from American Protestant converts to Orthodoxy who go through great lengths to try to abandon their previous faith affiliation by criticizing virtually anything that resembles it, going so far as to condemn coffee-hour as "Protestant innovation" or sermons in the middle of the Liturgy (common in the OCA) as bad.

My questions and thoughts are this: does it really matter? The Church has ALWAYS incorporated elements from native religions and/or cultures into its worship and theology. We stole monogamy from the pagan Romans even though the monotheist Jews were polygamous, the Church Fathers practically built our theology upon Greek philosophy taken from pagans--see St. Justin the Philosopher--many of our "New Calendar" holidays fall exactly on or at a very close date to ancient pagan holidays, etc. Heck, the Russians even have Western Choirs and Synods, and the Greeks have Western pews.

Why does it somehow become "bad" and "wrong" when it comes to Americanism and thus American Protestantism? I see Phyletism peaking its ugly head once again. It's okay for the Greeks and Slavs to incorporate their heathen pre-Christian cultures and faiths into their Orthodoxy but it's not okay for the American Orthodox to do the same?

 I don't know where to start with all the incorrect assertions, JamesR.  What part of Protestantism do you feel could enhance Eastern Orthodoxy? 
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