Author Topic: Apologetics Problems  (Read 3977 times)

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Offline sakura95

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Apologetics Problems
« on: June 09, 2014, 08:23:25 AM »
I have recently been into Apologetics recently and has engaged in debate with some Protestants on a Protestant blog. It occurs to me that many Protestants or those that I currently encounter either draw up strawmen, try to overwhelm you with arguments and articles, ignore important parts of comments made or twist Historical evidences such as the Church Fathers and History itself and even manipulate the actual definitions of the doctrines they believe in. Insofar, these are what I got from Protestants on that blog which I debated with. It had been one of the most time consuming moments of my life to be honest and they either ignore the flaws I pointed out in their position which is Sola Fide and Solus Christus or simply commit the fallacy of "Proof by Assertion" without actual proper explanation. Eventually, I gotten fed up and simply left the debate all together due to the repeated misinformation and unethical tactics they so seem to use.

Are a majority of Protestants like that when it comes to apologetics? ??? Have anyone of you guys(and girls) encounter similar traits as mentioned before as well?

To be fair though, these Protestants I debated with are not belonging to any of the mainline denominations.
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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2014, 09:47:48 AM »
I know some very well informed protestants that, while I disagree with them, they do have fairly well thought out theologies.  Those kind typically are not haunting internet forums. More frequently, you will run into non-denominationalists who frequently have a very confused theology primarily based on what they feel is important in the Bible and ignore the rest.
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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2014, 10:21:38 AM »
Sounds like most apologists I've met, including Catholics and Orthodox. Though usually I don't assume dishonesty, but rather that the problem is in a warped zeal, ignorance, inability to understand subtleties, and/or unfounded certitude.

Offline sakura95

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2014, 11:01:47 AM »
I know some very well informed protestants that, while I disagree with them, they do have fairly well thought out theologies.  Those kind typically are not haunting internet forums. More frequently, you will run into non-denominationalists who frequently have a very confused theology primarily based on what they feel is important in the Bible and ignore the rest.

Well, these well informed Protestants seem to be quite lacking in the Internet Space. Of course the only one I can consider to be Well Informed would be James White but then again, his polemics are primarily focused on Catholicism and not Orthodoxy. Of course, even James White himself gotten refuted before by Catholic Apologists but given his debating skills and craftful manipulation  of Protestantism's doctrines such as Sola Scriptura, he can actually get away with it without the Catholic or Orthodox apologist knowing about it.

As for the non-denomininationalists, I've seen that quite a lot. I'm not so sure about Mainline Protestants though but from my time at my college's Christian Fellowship, most of them ain't interested at all. Anything about the Church Fathers are simply foreign to them and even a Reformed Protestant that I know of simply does not understand basic philosophical concepts in regards to Free Will when I inquired him about it. He simply assumes that Free Will is just a mystery whist throughout his entire explanation about Calvinism, actually undermines and argues for its non-existence using poorly illustrated examples such as redefining Free Will into that of "being able to do what one wants" rather than "the ability to make a choice unconstrained by certain factors"
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Offline sakura95

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2014, 11:14:21 AM »
Sounds like most apologists I've met, including Catholics and Orthodox. Though usually I don't assume dishonesty, but rather that the problem is in a warped zeal, ignorance, inability to understand subtleties, and/or unfounded certitude.

Yes, this is true but most of the time, the uninformed I see are Catholics and Protestants who really just "Copy and Paste" from respective Apologetics websites. As for the Orthodox, I'm quite unsure since from past threads on this forum, there are quite a number here who are informed but as for Protestants, I can usually identify misrepresentations and flaws in their apologetic article after reading through a few times or simply doing more research on the sources they use. I have seen an article on the Real Presence in which the author simply takes all the quotes from the Church Fathers he used and ignored the proper historical contexts and philosophical understandings and leanings of these Fathers, simply to instead subjectively interpret all quotes as being the mere "Memorialist view" of the Eucharist which does not in themselves, make sense at all at some parts, which shoots down the entire article.

While I don't see this in Catholics and Orthodox a lot, Protestants often have the tendency to be prideful in their conduct no matter how ignorant or flawed their argument would be.
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Offline Sam G

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2014, 11:15:36 PM »
I meet with a friend of mine who is a protestant weekly for coffee and non-polemical discussion.  He has no agenda, and is therefore willing to admit when his own tradition (Calvinism) comes up short is is grasping at straw.

If someone has an agenda to prove, they will stop at nothing until they can convince themselves that they have proved their point.  I saw this a lot when I used to hang out on RC apologetic sites when they would quote the Father's out of context or omit key phrases that would completely chance the meaning of a passage.
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Offline sakura95

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2014, 02:30:50 AM »
I meet with a friend of mine who is a protestant weekly for coffee and non-polemical discussion.  He has no agenda, and is therefore willing to admit when his own tradition (Calvinism) comes up short is is grasping at straw.

If someone has an agenda to prove, they will stop at nothing until they can convince themselves that they have proved their point.  I saw this a lot when I used to hang out on RC apologetic sites when they would quote the Father's out of context or omit key phrases that would completely chance the meaning of a passage.

Reformed Protestants that I know of are usually boastful, I heard a Reformed Protestant collegemate of mine said that there is less proof for Arminism in the Bible than there is to Calvinism, in a boastful way. When I brought up the thoughts of the Church Fathers on this matter, he simply just asked me whether or not they are infallable and then proceeded to talk about Augustine by misrepresenting his theology by presenting him as one when really, Augustine merely have Calvinistic leanings and is not a Calvinist.

Well, given that their Protestant beliefs and doctrines which they believe in are rather personal to them, showing them that they are wrong simply isn't enough, it would simply drive them to psychological self defense because they cannot handle the truth.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 02:32:25 AM by sakura95 »
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2014, 03:22:53 AM »
even a Reformed Protestant that I know of simply does not understand basic philosophical concepts in regards to Free Will when I inquired him about it. He simply assumes that Free Will is just a mystery whist throughout his entire explanation about Calvinism, actually undermines and argues for its non-existence using poorly illustrated examples such as redefining Free Will into that of "being able to do what one wants" rather than "the ability to make a choice unconstrained by certain factors"
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/#3.1
Quote from: Fr. Thomas Hopko, dystopian parable of the prodigal son
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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2014, 03:31:10 AM »
Sounds like most apologists I've met, including Catholics and Orthodox. Though usually I don't assume dishonesty, but rather that the problem is in a warped zeal, ignorance, inability to understand subtleties, and/or unfounded certitude.

You're the worst, bro.  :P

Offline sakura95

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2014, 04:18:24 AM »
even a Reformed Protestant that I know of simply does not understand basic philosophical concepts in regards to Free Will when I inquired him about it. He simply assumes that Free Will is just a mystery whist throughout his entire explanation about Calvinism, actually undermines and argues for its non-existence using poorly illustrated examples such as redefining Free Will into that of "being able to do what one wants" rather than "the ability to make a choice unconstrained by certain factors"
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/#3.1

Interesting. While I'm aware of that Free Will have been defined in this manner as well by philosopher David Hume, the actual definition of Free Will from the compatibilist perspective requires that the agent that would make the 'choice' or would act is not coerced or restrained. In my discussion with that Reformed Protestant, while he did define Free Will in that sense(Without the condition of not coerced or restrained), his argument for Calvinism and monergism involves God coecesing some individuals towards Salvation, immediately contradicting the Compabilist perspective.

Regarding the Compatibilist definition of Free Will, given that the motives are already determined and that it is not understood of the ability to act differently but rather only makes the only possible decision that can be made which is already determined by prior causes. This would render the word "Free" in the compatibilist "Free Will" as rather contradictory as the agent is not actually Free in any sense at all to have the ability to act differently or act in opposition to his/her motives and desires.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 04:19:17 AM by sakura95 »
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2014, 12:14:08 PM »
his argument for Calvinism and monergism involves God coecesing some individuals towards Salvation
But they are predestined to "receive the seed properly", as the parable goes. It is general Christian doctrine that God gives us grace and lets us share in his will, without which we would not be able to repent. This gift is not coercion; the Calvinist might argue that, as a given individual is predestined for salvation, their regenerated will is causally fixed upon God. They would never feel "coerced".
 
Regarding the Compatibilist definition of Free Will, given that the motives are already determined and that it is not understood of the ability to act differently but rather only makes the only possible decision that can be made which is already determined by prior causes. This would render the word "Free" in the compatibilist "Free Will" as rather contradictory as the agent is not actually Free in any sense at all to have the ability to act differently or act in opposition to his/her motives and desires.
It isn't that the definition is contradictory, it's that this definition of free will contradicts our intuition about what free will has to be.
Quote from: Fr. Thomas Hopko, dystopian parable of the prodigal son
...you can imagine so-called healing services of the pigpen. The books that could be written, you know: Life in the Pigpen. How to Cope in the Pigpen. Being Happy in the Pigpen. Surviving in the Pigpen. And then there could be counselling, for people who feel unhappy in the pigpen, to try to get them to come to terms with the pigpen, and to accept the pigpen.

Offline primuspilus

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2014, 12:44:33 PM »
Don't waste your time. Arguing won't convince anyone. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. Just say that these people will either be Orthodox in this life, or the next. One way or another they'll get it sooner or later :)

PP
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 12:45:15 PM by primuspilus »
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Offline sakura95

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2014, 02:58:09 PM »
his argument for Calvinism and monergism involves God coecesing some individuals towards Salvation
But they are predestined to "receive the seed properly", as the parable goes. It is general Christian doctrine that God gives us grace and lets us share in his will, without which we would not be able to repent. This gift is not coercion; the Calvinist might argue that, as a given individual is predestined for salvation, their regenerated will is causally fixed upon God. They would never feel "coerced".
 
Regarding the Compatibilist definition of Free Will, given that the motives are already determined and that it is not understood of the ability to act differently but rather only makes the only possible decision that can be made which is already determined by prior causes. This would render the word "Free" in the compatibilist "Free Will" as rather contradictory as the agent is not actually Free in any sense at all to have the ability to act differently or act in opposition to his/her motives and desires.
It isn't that the definition is contradictory, it's that this definition of free will contradicts our intuition about what free will has to be.

If you are referring to the parable of the Sower, then that is not Calvinistic predestination at all even if it seems to be that way. The different soils in the parable is categorizing the different types of individuals out there and that God calls out to them all and only the individuals who are like the "Good Soil" would respond positively to that call. The parable never mention that the personality of the individual cannot change eliminating the Calvinistic interpretation that the individuals like the "Good Soil" is the ones predestined to Salvation. Also, the definition of the compatabilist version of Free Will does not state that the individual must not "feel" coerced but is in actuality not coerced at all which would mean that the individual is still coerced since there is another entity that alters the original motivations and nature of the individual based on the Calvinist perspective which would be to say that they are Totally Depraved and would only act according to their depraved nature. Given that the predestined are human beings and all human beings are by the Calvinistic definition, totally sinful and cannot turn to God, then if the individual is predestined to Salvation, the individual would first be Totally Depraved before God intervenes and regenerates the will of that individual. Given that what God is doing is not what the individual wants by the Calvinistic perspective, the individual is coerced even if he/she doesn't feel that way.

The compatibilist cannot say that the "Will" is Free given that the "Will" is already determined and can only act according to the actions or motivations that have been determined by prior causes rather than actually being able to act in alternative manners. Free as in used in the tern "Free Will" means by definition, "to be unconfined" as, if Free Will is confined, it is not exactly "free" at all. While the definition of Free also includes "the ability to act as one desires", this is usually used in the context in which human beings are unable to act in accordance to their desires hence not being "Free" since there is no ability to act in such a manner.

If human beings only have the ability to merely act in accordance to their motivations and desires, then their "Wills" are not exactly Free as this situation is simply akin to a drug addict addicted to drugs or a smoker addicted to nicotine, both of which instances are surely not in which the addicts are "Free" as they are enslaved by their addiction. Similarly, the compatibilist version of Free Will makes human beings a slave to their own personal desires. There is not an option of acting otherwise or going against it. However, if the "Will" is able to act opposite to its desire, then it can indeed be truly free provided that it can also act in accordance to its desires as well. The compatibilist does not take this into account when defining Free Will hence a contradiction which would mean that the compatibilist can only say that something is compatible with determinism, not Free Will.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 03:04:04 PM by sakura95 »
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Offline sakura95

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2014, 03:02:41 PM »
Don't waste your time. Arguing won't convince anyone. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. Just say that these people will either be Orthodox in this life, or the next. One way or another they'll get it sooner or later :)

PP

You are right, it would take the Holy spirit to lead them to the truth and convert them but they must also accept the Holy Spirit's calling in the first place. At best, we can pray for them and for God to open their hearts.
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Offline Nicene

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2014, 02:46:05 AM »
At certain point you realize there are certain people worth talking to and certain people worth not talking to. Never attempt to talk with Jack Chick but rather try talking with William lane Craig. I think alot of the apologists for popular Protestantism, the "are you saved?" crowd or crazy Calvinist crowd (there are reasonable Calvinists to whom having a discussion with is quite refreshing) have their apologetic ready by merely quoting the bible or offering an argument they themselves have heard and repeating it, expecting the other to be convinced. They don't go beyond that and are incapable of thinking on the spot or going beyond what they have received, in that sense they are more bound to a tradition than they realize. It's apologetic for apologetic's sake, in which understanding is ignored for a super dogmatic orthodoxy and thinking outside of that orthodoxy, placing yourself in the other's position is utterly impossible.

Of course, not all Orthodox are unlike this, and i include myself in that category as well. I think a good apologetic method is to be critical and somewhat original, don't be content merely with a repeated argument, instead work out its theological consequences by careful study, patristic, scholarly and personal. There's a reason why someone like Fr Alexander Schememann is remembered greatly or why NT Wright receives the adoration I think he rightly deserves, because they try to go beyond the basics and offer something more real by examining the heart of the matter. A more ancient example would be Athanasius on the incarnation, who explains the consequences of why we need an incarnation in the first place, one of the first great expositors on that doctrine.

Thank you.

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2014, 06:37:59 AM »
At certain point you realize there are certain people worth talking to and certain people worth not talking to. Never attempt to talk with Jack Chick but rather try talking with William lane Craig. I think alot of the apologists for popular Protestantism, the "are you saved?" crowd or crazy Calvinist crowd (there are reasonable Calvinists to whom having a discussion with is quite refreshing) have their apologetic ready by merely quoting the bible or offering an argument they themselves have heard and repeating it, expecting the other to be convinced. They don't go beyond that and are incapable of thinking on the spot or going beyond what they have received, in that sense they are more bound to a tradition than they realize. It's apologetic for apologetic's sake, in which understanding is ignored for a super dogmatic orthodoxy and thinking outside of that orthodoxy, placing yourself in the other's position is utterly impossible.

Of course, not all Orthodox are unlike this, and i include myself in that category as well. I think a good apologetic method is to be critical and somewhat original, don't be content merely with a repeated argument, instead work out its theological consequences by careful study, patristic, scholarly and personal. There's a reason why someone like Fr Alexander Schememann is remembered greatly or why NT Wright receives the adoration I think he rightly deserves, because they try to go beyond the basics and offer something more real by examining the heart of the matter. A more ancient example would be Athanasius on the incarnation, who explains the consequences of why we need an incarnation in the first place, one of the first great expositors on that doctrine.



No doubt I respect William Lane Craig even if he is an Evangelical. However, most of his Apologetics is directed towards arguments against Christianity and God by Atheists, he doesn't direct resources to formulating arguments against Orthodoxy or Catholicism. It should be important to note as well that the reaction by many of these Protestants are simply a psychological reaction to defend what is dear and personal to them which is their beliefs which their pastors passed on to them through sermons or Bible Studies. As such, that would be the reaction that would naturally flow from that as a consequence. Generally, I find Protestant arguments to have logical flaws and at times, manipulative of the original definitions of the terms in their doctrine such as Sola Scriptura or Sola Fide in which they would at times manipulate their definitions to the point that even an Orthodox Christian can actually agree with it.

I must admit that when debating Protestants, I used to simply take information from other websites and simply regurgitate them with a barrage of Copy and Paste comments. Overtime, I realized that I'm not actually learning anything from it at all and would in fact be incapable of properly defending the Faith through this. Thus, I began to actually read for myself from the actual sources firsthand whilst comparing what I learned to what Orthodox and Protestant apologetic websites have to say. Of course, as of now, my arguments against Protestantism's doctrines are usually philosophical and scientific in nature as in regards to monergism, Calvinism, Sola Scriptura and Solus Christus which are the three main doctrines of Protestantism that I usually get into debates or discussions with.

While I do agree that individuals who desire to Defend the Faith should strive to be original, I believe that Orthodox apologetic websites must also be informative as well whilst encouraging individuals to check out the original sources firsthand to grasp a better understanding and ability to formulate original arguments.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2014, 06:38:31 AM by sakura95 »
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Offline Jude1:3

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2014, 05:34:05 PM »
At certain point you realize there are certain people worth talking to and certain people worth not talking to. Never attempt to talk with Jack Chick but rather try talking with William lane Craig. I think alot of the apologists for popular Protestantism, the "are you saved?" crowd or crazy Calvinist crowd (there are reasonable Calvinists to whom having a discussion with is quite refreshing) have their apologetic ready by merely quoting the bible or offering an argument they themselves have heard and repeating it, expecting the other to be convinced. They don't go beyond that and are incapable of thinking on the spot or going beyond what they have received, in that sense they are more bound to a tradition than they realize. It's apologetic for apologetic's sake, in which understanding is ignored for a super dogmatic orthodoxy and thinking outside of that orthodoxy, placing yourself in the other's position is utterly impossible.

Of course, not all Orthodox are unlike this, and i include myself in that category as well. I think a good apologetic method is to be critical and somewhat original, don't be content merely with a repeated argument, instead work out its theological consequences by careful study, patristic, scholarly and personal. There's a reason why someone like Fr Alexander Schememann is remembered greatly or why NT Wright receives the adoration I think he rightly deserves, because they try to go beyond the basics and offer something more real by examining the heart of the matter. A more ancient example would be Athanasius on the incarnation, who explains the consequences of why we need an incarnation in the first place, one of the first great expositors on that doctrine.



No doubt I respect William Lane Craig even if he is an Evangelical. However, most of his Apologetics is directed towards arguments against Christianity and God by Atheists, he doesn't direct resources to formulating arguments against Orthodoxy or Catholicism. It should be important to note as well that the reaction by many of these Protestants are simply a psychological reaction to defend what is dear and personal to them which is their beliefs which their pastors passed on to them through sermons or Bible Studies. As such, that would be the reaction that would naturally flow from that as a consequence. Generally, I find Protestant arguments to have logical flaws and at times, manipulative of the original definitions of the terms in their doctrine such as Sola Scriptura or Sola Fide in which they would at times manipulate their definitions to the point that even an Orthodox Christian can actually agree with it.

I must admit that when debating Protestants, I used to simply take information from other websites and simply regurgitate them with a barrage of Copy and Paste comments. Overtime, I realized that I'm not actually learning anything from it at all and would in fact be incapable of properly defending the Faith through this. Thus, I began to actually read for myself from the actual sources firsthand whilst comparing what I learned to what Orthodox and Protestant apologetic websites have to say. Of course, as of now, my arguments against Protestantism's doctrines are usually philosophical and scientific in nature as in regards to monergism, Calvinism, Sola Scriptura and Solus Christus which are the three main doctrines of Protestantism that I usually get into debates or discussions with.

While I do agree that individuals who desire to Defend the Faith should strive to be original, I believe that Orthodox apologetic websites must also be informative as well whilst encouraging individuals to check out the original sources firsthand to grasp a better understanding and ability to formulate original arguments.


    It's interesting to see the debates between Calvinism vs Arminianism with in Protestantism.  Even as a Protestant, I believe they are both heretical and wrong.

   I read somewhere that Orthodoxy condemned Calvinism as heresy. Did they ever condemn Arminianism as heresy ? I mean as in Officially.

Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2014, 05:45:40 PM »
At certain point you realize there are certain people worth talking to and certain people worth not talking to. Never attempt to talk with Jack Chick but rather try talking with William lane Craig. I think alot of the apologists for popular Protestantism, the "are you saved?" crowd or crazy Calvinist crowd (there are reasonable Calvinists to whom having a discussion with is quite refreshing) have their apologetic ready by merely quoting the bible or offering an argument they themselves have heard and repeating it, expecting the other to be convinced. They don't go beyond that and are incapable of thinking on the spot or going beyond what they have received, in that sense they are more bound to a tradition than they realize. It's apologetic for apologetic's sake, in which understanding is ignored for a super dogmatic orthodoxy and thinking outside of that orthodoxy, placing yourself in the other's position is utterly impossible.

Of course, not all Orthodox are unlike this, and i include myself in that category as well. I think a good apologetic method is to be critical and somewhat original, don't be content merely with a repeated argument, instead work out its theological consequences by careful study, patristic, scholarly and personal. There's a reason why someone like Fr Alexander Schememann is remembered greatly or why NT Wright receives the adoration I think he rightly deserves, because they try to go beyond the basics and offer something more real by examining the heart of the matter. A more ancient example would be Athanasius on the incarnation, who explains the consequences of why we need an incarnation in the first place, one of the first great expositors on that doctrine.



No doubt I respect William Lane Craig even if he is an Evangelical. However, most of his Apologetics is directed towards arguments against Christianity and God by Atheists, he doesn't direct resources to formulating arguments against Orthodoxy or Catholicism. It should be important to note as well that the reaction by many of these Protestants are simply a psychological reaction to defend what is dear and personal to them which is their beliefs which their pastors passed on to them through sermons or Bible Studies. As such, that would be the reaction that would naturally flow from that as a consequence. Generally, I find Protestant arguments to have logical flaws and at times, manipulative of the original definitions of the terms in their doctrine such as Sola Scriptura or Sola Fide in which they would at times manipulate their definitions to the point that even an Orthodox Christian can actually agree with it.

I must admit that when debating Protestants, I used to simply take information from other websites and simply regurgitate them with a barrage of Copy and Paste comments. Overtime, I realized that I'm not actually learning anything from it at all and would in fact be incapable of properly defending the Faith through this. Thus, I began to actually read for myself from the actual sources firsthand whilst comparing what I learned to what Orthodox and Protestant apologetic websites have to say. Of course, as of now, my arguments against Protestantism's doctrines are usually philosophical and scientific in nature as in regards to monergism, Calvinism, Sola Scriptura and Solus Christus which are the three main doctrines of Protestantism that I usually get into debates or discussions with.

While I do agree that individuals who desire to Defend the Faith should strive to be original, I believe that Orthodox apologetic websites must also be informative as well whilst encouraging individuals to check out the original sources firsthand to grasp a better understanding and ability to formulate original arguments.


    It's interesting to see the debates between Calvinism vs Arminianism with in Protestantism.  Even as a Protestant, I believe they are both heretical and wrong.

   I read somewhere that Orthodoxy condemned Calvinism as heresy. Did they ever condemn Arminianism as heresy ? I mean as in Officially.

No. Arminianism seems far more Orthodox than Calvinism, but no, it was never formally condemned as far as I know. Calvinism and (by some extension) Protestantism was condemned at the Council of Jerusalem in 1672.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 05:45:57 PM by xOrthodox4Christx »
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2014, 06:17:11 PM »
At certain point you realize there are certain people worth talking to and certain people worth not talking to. Never attempt to talk with Jack Chick but rather try talking with William lane Craig. I think alot of the apologists for popular Protestantism, the "are you saved?" crowd or crazy Calvinist crowd (there are reasonable Calvinists to whom having a discussion with is quite refreshing) have their apologetic ready by merely quoting the bible or offering an argument they themselves have heard and repeating it, expecting the other to be convinced. They don't go beyond that and are incapable of thinking on the spot or going beyond what they have received, in that sense they are more bound to a tradition than they realize. It's apologetic for apologetic's sake, in which understanding is ignored for a super dogmatic orthodoxy and thinking outside of that orthodoxy, placing yourself in the other's position is utterly impossible.

Of course, not all Orthodox are unlike this, and i include myself in that category as well. I think a good apologetic method is to be critical and somewhat original, don't be content merely with a repeated argument, instead work out its theological consequences by careful study, patristic, scholarly and personal. There's a reason why someone like Fr Alexander Schememann is remembered greatly or why NT Wright receives the adoration I think he rightly deserves, because they try to go beyond the basics and offer something more real by examining the heart of the matter. A more ancient example would be Athanasius on the incarnation, who explains the consequences of why we need an incarnation in the first place, one of the first great expositors on that doctrine.



No doubt I respect William Lane Craig even if he is an Evangelical. However, most of his Apologetics is directed towards arguments against Christianity and God by Atheists, he doesn't direct resources to formulating arguments against Orthodoxy or Catholicism. It should be important to note as well that the reaction by many of these Protestants are simply a psychological reaction to defend what is dear and personal to them which is their beliefs which their pastors passed on to them through sermons or Bible Studies. As such, that would be the reaction that would naturally flow from that as a consequence. Generally, I find Protestant arguments to have logical flaws and at times, manipulative of the original definitions of the terms in their doctrine such as Sola Scriptura or Sola Fide in which they would at times manipulate their definitions to the point that even an Orthodox Christian can actually agree with it.

I must admit that when debating Protestants, I used to simply take information from other websites and simply regurgitate them with a barrage of Copy and Paste comments. Overtime, I realized that I'm not actually learning anything from it at all and would in fact be incapable of properly defending the Faith through this. Thus, I began to actually read for myself from the actual sources firsthand whilst comparing what I learned to what Orthodox and Protestant apologetic websites have to say. Of course, as of now, my arguments against Protestantism's doctrines are usually philosophical and scientific in nature as in regards to monergism, Calvinism, Sola Scriptura and Solus Christus which are the three main doctrines of Protestantism that I usually get into debates or discussions with.

While I do agree that individuals who desire to Defend the Faith should strive to be original, I believe that Orthodox apologetic websites must also be informative as well whilst encouraging individuals to check out the original sources firsthand to grasp a better understanding and ability to formulate original arguments.


    It's interesting to see the debates between Calvinism vs Arminianism with in Protestantism.  Even as a Protestant, I believe they are both heretical and wrong.

   I read somewhere that Orthodoxy condemned Calvinism as heresy. Did they ever condemn Arminianism as heresy ? I mean as in Officially.
What is it about Arminianism that makes it heretical in your opinion?
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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2014, 06:18:42 PM »
What is it about Arminianism that makes it heretical in your opinion?

They reject the Council of Chalcedon!!

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2014, 06:46:36 PM »

What is it about Arminianism that makes it heretical in your opinion?



  Not Arminianism per say, but some of the other doctrines that resulted in other denominations because of it. The one that Really sticks out is "Wesleyan Perfectionism" or "Christian Perfection".

    From Wikipedia :

   According to Wesley's teaching, Christians could attain a state of practical perfection, meaning a lack of all voluntary sin by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, in this life. Christian perfection (or entire sanctification), according to Wesley, is "purity of intention, dedicating all the life to God" and "the mind which was in Christ, enabling us to walk as Christ walked." It is "loving God with all our heart, and our neighbor as ourselves".[28] It is 'a restoration not only to the favour, but likewise to the image of God," our "being filled with the fullness of God".[29] Wesley was clear that Christian perfection did not imply perfection of bodily health or an infallibility of judgment. It also does not mean we no longer violate the will of God, for involuntary transgressions remain. Perfected Christians remain subject to temptation, and have continued need to pray for forgiveness and holiness. It is not an absolute perfection but a perfection in love. Furthermore, Wesley did not teach a salvation by perfection, but rather says that, "Even perfect holiness is acceptable to God only through Jesus Christ."[28]


   

       

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2014, 07:00:00 PM »

What is it about Arminianism that makes it heretical in your opinion?



  Not Arminianism per say, but some of the other doctrines that resulted in other denominations because of it. The one that Really sticks out is "Wesleyan Perfectionism" or "Christian Perfection".

    From Wikipedia :

   According to Wesley's teaching, Christians could attain a state of practical perfection, meaning a lack of all voluntary sin by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, in this life. Christian perfection (or entire sanctification), according to Wesley, is "purity of intention, dedicating all the life to God" and "the mind which was in Christ, enabling us to walk as Christ walked." It is "loving God with all our heart, and our neighbor as ourselves".[28] It is 'a restoration not only to the favour, but likewise to the image of God," our "being filled with the fullness of God".[29] Wesley was clear that Christian perfection did not imply perfection of bodily health or an infallibility of judgment. It also does not mean we no longer violate the will of God, for involuntary transgressions remain. Perfected Christians remain subject to temptation, and have continued need to pray for forgiveness and holiness. It is not an absolute perfection but a perfection in love. Furthermore, Wesley did not teach a salvation by perfection, but rather says that, "Even perfect holiness is acceptable to God only through Jesus Christ."[28]       
How is that so different from the Orthodox doctrine of theosis? Are there not some Orthodox saints who have attained theosis in this life?

I also think you may be confusing Arminianism with those teachings original to John Wesley. Wesley taught an Arminian view of the role of free will in our salvation, but I think the Wesleyan teaching on entire sanctification is original to Wesley himself--I don't believe this was a part of Arminius's body of doctrine.
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Offline Jude1:3

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2014, 07:19:24 PM »



How is that so different from the Orthodox doctrine of theosis? Are there not some Orthodox saints who have attained theosis in this life?

I also think you may be confusing Arminianism with those teachings original to John Wesley. Wesley taught an Arminian view of the role of free will in our salvation, but I think the Wesleyan teaching on entire sanctification is original to Wesley himself--I don't believe this was a part of Arminius's body of doctrine.




    Interesting. There's just something off about thinking a person can achieve sinless perfection. I have tried in the past to completely repent of all sins and failed miserably. Lord God have mercy on me and please forgive me is my prayer.

    I can only imagine the temptations that Monks and Hermits experience as they try to focus on The Lord 100% every minute of every day.

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2014, 10:53:53 PM »
The Theotokos managed to do it.  ;)
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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2014, 11:03:14 PM »
It was popular in some Orthodox circles about a decade ago (and perhaps this is still true), to speak positively of John Wesley and the similarity of his thought to the idea theosis.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 11:03:43 PM by Justin Kissel »

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2014, 12:39:34 AM »
Interesting. I too have quite a positive view on John Wesley especially in regards to his theology which parallels and reflects the Orthodox teaching on Theosis. Of course I can't say for sure about Arminianism given that Wesleyan and Arminianism are not exactly synonymous with each other. The element of Theosis is definitely missing in Arminianism. Despite my positive views on John Wesley however, his theology must be taken with a grain of salt by the end of the day especially given his belief in Total Depravity which is in contradiction with Patristical thought(Except Augustine).
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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2014, 01:36:03 AM »



How is that so different from the Orthodox doctrine of theosis? Are there not some Orthodox saints who have attained theosis in this life?

I also think you may be confusing Arminianism with those teachings original to John Wesley. Wesley taught an Arminian view of the role of free will in our salvation, but I think the Wesleyan teaching on entire sanctification is original to Wesley himself--I don't believe this was a part of Arminius's body of doctrine.




    Interesting. There's just something off about thinking a person can achieve sinless perfection. I have tried in the past to completely repent of all sins and failed miserably. Lord God have mercy on me and please forgive me is my prayer.
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Offline Jude1:3

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2014, 02:21:42 AM »



With man it's impossible. With God all things are possible.


  This is true. These threads always make me ponder and think in a good way.

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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2014, 04:26:57 PM »
What strikes me (and I know I said it before) is the seeming lack of desire or attempt among Orthodox to draw us Baptists etc into your fold. I visited Graçanica monastery, where I assume most non-Orthodox-Serbian visitors are foreign tourists (I was not a tourist, but working with an Evangelical mission!), and there was no literature to draw me to your (dare I say it?) denomination. Similarly, I visited Preveli monastery in Crete, and found the same. I always 'admit' I am a Baptist preacher, and have been given a friendly reception in a number of places (Lungro, Hora e Arbëreshëvet, Korçë, the monastery at the end of the Lousios Gorge (though to be honest regarding this last, I don't speak much Greek, and the monk didn't speak much English)); in Gjirokastër I enjoyed taking coffee on occasions with the Orthodox priest, even though he knew I was involved in church-planting in the town where he served. I have also heard of a lot of animus against us. I am also aware that, here in Britain, the Roman Catholics run retreats to which Christians of various denominations go, and I suspect (though I have never been) that there is no overt attempt to win them over to Catholicism, but simply to bless them with a deeper nearness to the Lord. Nonetheless, this probably attracts some people into the Roman Church. I am not aware of such retreats put on by Orthodox, but maybe it's just that I haven't come across them.
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Re: Apologetics Problems
« Reply #29 on: September 01, 2018, 08:54:17 PM »
What strikes me (and I know I said it before) is the seeming lack of desire or attempt among Orthodox to draw us Baptists etc into your fold. I visited Graçanica monastery, where I assume most non-Orthodox-Serbian visitors are foreign tourists (I was not a tourist, but working with an Evangelical mission!), and there was no literature to draw me to your (dare I say it?) denomination. Similarly, I visited Preveli monastery in Crete, and found the same. I always 'admit' I am a Baptist preacher, and have been given a friendly reception in a number of places (Lungro, Hora e Arbëreshëvet, Korçë, the monastery at the end of the Lousios Gorge (though to be honest regarding this last, I don't speak much Greek, and the monk didn't speak much English)); in Gjirokastër I enjoyed taking coffee on occasions with the Orthodox priest, even though he knew I was involved in church-planting in the town where he served. I have also heard of a lot of animus against us. I am also aware that, here in Britain, the Roman Catholics run retreats to which Christians of various denominations go, and I suspect (though I have never been) that there is no overt attempt to win them over to Catholicism, but simply to bless them with a deeper nearness to the Lord. Nonetheless, this probably attracts some people into the Roman Church. I am not aware of such retreats put on by Orthodox, but maybe it's just that I haven't come across them.

First time I've ever seen somebody ask for another religion to give them the hard sell lol! I've known people for whom this lack of overt evangelization is one of the things that they like about Orthodoxy.
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