[I have another question for everyone:
What about those Protestants who are "more orthodox" than the rest?
I am thinking specifically of very conservative Anglicans who are trying to find and preserve the Apostolic Tradition; you know, the kind of guys who usually wind up with us in the long run.
And what of the Roman Catholics?
I know they are off on many things, but I would hardly put them in the same class with Baptists.
How far do we go with these folks?
No one wants to alienate them, but we don't want them to think they're totally okay, either.
I hate to keep harping on my debating experiences at www.christianbbs.com , but I have often found certain types of Protestants, as well as Roman Catholics, who make common cause with me on issues like the sacraments, Sola Scriptura, veneration of the saints, etc.
It is difficult to see these people in the same light as the "Fundie fringe."
They can very easily be brought into the Orthodox Church because they seem to already have one foot in the door.
What about them?
This is where I think Orthodox need to be very careful and define terms, such as "ecumenism", before engaging in categorical assertions.
The Royal Path in such matters is always harder to discern and follow, than the one extreme of compromising Orthodoxy's claim to be The Church of the Creed, and the other extreme of condemning everyone who professes Christ outside of Orthodoxy as being "graceless".
I've been in the Church now for almost a decade, and there are problems I notice in these two extremes. On the one hand, among those in the "canonical" jurisdictions who run off to places like Assissi at the drop of a hat, there is an unreflective, robotic quality to their participation. It gives scandal to the faithful and conveys the message that Orthodoxy endorses syncretism and relativism. On the other extreme, having had first-hand exposure to "super-correct" attitudes, in both SCOBA and of course non-SCOBA jurisdictions, where the motivation for condemning "ecumenism" is to preserve the uniqueness and witness of Orthodoxy, this ironically does not translate into a warmth or zeal for souls, or taking the Orthodox message to the unchurched and to protestants and catholics with whom we can make common cause on certain questions. In fact, the fear of "contamination" from the heterodox basically tends to ghettoize "super-correct" types who are unduly preoccupied with canonical rectitude in every minute particular.
If Orthodoxy is truly Catholic, as we profess it to be, we can rejoice in the truth of separated heterodox, engage in common cause and witness with them on certain things; and gently bear witness to our understanding that its fullness is to be found only in Orthodoxy. However, if our zeal for purity leads to a fear of "contamination", we'll never get anywhere with anyone, and we will become merely sectarian. In this regard, the witness of Fr. John Meyendorff (of blessed memory) would be an embodiment of the ideal.
There are several problems that bedevil discussions about ecumenism among Orthodox. Just to take one example, when someone brings up the topic, the issue is automatically conflated into whether or not we should take part in the NCC and the WCC. I happen to think that Orthodox should be aggressively involved in conversations and witness with conservative Roman Catholics and Evangelicals. That's ecumenism. On the other hand, it's clear that membership in the NCC and WCC has passed its expiration date. The moribund liberal protestant groups and erastian state churches that comprise the bulk of membership in these two groups do make us "guilty by association" and do compromise our witness. They are largely irrelevant and we need to turn our attention elsewhere.
Life is always more complicated than extremes; and the Royal Path can be a tightrope walk. If any of you have access to Archbp. Akervy's commentary on The Apocalypse, I urge you to look at an appendix that contains a remarkable article titled "Before the Face of Antichrist", by a ROCOR archimandrite who discusses an "ecumenism of the anti-ecumenical".