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Author Topic: What's Wrong with Incorporating Protestantism into Orthodoxy?  (Read 1663 times) Average Rating: 0
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Eastern Mind
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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.


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.
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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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