Your quote of Romans to support a condemnation of proselytizing is poor exegesis. Paul never condemns anyone for preaching where the Gospel has already been preached, nor does he say it is wrong. He simply states that he didn’t do it. Why? Because in his time it would have been a waste of time. Not evil, simply a waste of effort. Your application of it to current situations is anachronistic because Paul wouldn’t have even been concerned with a situation like the one to which you’re trying to apply it. It was all one Church at the time with everyone believing the same thing.
Now, now. It's you who are mistaken in your exegesis. It looks as though you either believe Paul was providing superfluous information, or he was boasting for not treading on evangelized land, and that there was nothing to be learned from this passage about how missionary work is to be properly carried out. But that's not the case, as he returns to this point in 2 Corinthians 10:12-16, where he had already evangelized Corinth and others came in afterwards boasting that they
had converted the locals to Christ, not Paul. He doesn't designate these other missionaries as false prophets, but seems to indicate they were indeed evangelicizing for God, albeit to people who were already taught by Paul and they were putting down Paul's mission. In the next chapter, Paul then warns the Corinthians about deceptions
by false prophets who teach a different Jesus than the one the legitimate Apostolic Church taught. Paul warns about the simple and innocent in the Church's flock being "deceived" by "persuasive words." He calls these men "deceitful" and masquerading as apostles of Christ. So let me guess... you would in turn rap Paul's knuckles for calling them dishonest, yes? You'd prefer that Paul recognize their "sincerity" and "love" and overlook the lies being taught, right? After all, Paul should have been grateful that these false apostles of Christ were bringing others to Christ (including the love-starved members of Paul's mission since you think the only reason people leave the Church is because we have no love), so what's the problem, right? Perhaps you believe it's ok that an evangelical boasts for "converting" an Orthodox Christian to Jesus given that Christ isn't in our Church?
May I ask, how long have you been Orthodox? The line you're pursuing doesn't sound Orthodox. For example, you wrote things like "People don't leave where they find Christ.", and "Just why are people leaving us if we truly preach Christ and manifest His love?" You seem to be implying Christ isn't in some Orthodox parishes, or perhaps all of them since you wrote that our Church leadership "has no real concept of Christian love and has basically forsaken the Church's mission of spreading the love of Christ to the world" and that you see "a lack of love, in the Church as a whole." Sorry, but what you describe isn't what I see nor what I've experienced during the last decade of my involvement in Orthodoxy in the US and in the former Soviet Union. What you're saying sounds like the usual claptrap I read from a few evangelicals who imagine much about high liturgical Christians. No matter whether a jerk priest and or an impious laity fill a particular parish, Christ is in the OC parish. He's certainly in the Sacraments, and it's really your problem if you believe otherwise.
...so it seems obvious to me you were directing your criticism, and this quote, at “sheep stealing”, not simply preaching lies.
My criticism was directed at the lies and
proselytizing against Orthodox Christians. If Paul isn't a model missionary for our evangelical friends, then they should just say as much. But if he is, then they should explain why they are behaving in an un-Paulesque manner. If they believe Orthodox are Christians, then those few who are targeting Orthodox are knowingly proselytizing, no matter their excuses for doing so. If they are telling Orthodox that the OC is not Christian, then they are being dishonest. I could care less about pedantic hair splitting over motives and intent.
Your later post leads to the same conclusion, when you stated, “And when they're purposely trying to lead the unwary from the Orthodox Church, when Paul wrote in Romans against doing suchÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦” Paul never stated any such thing, at least not in the passage you quoted. Again, he did criticize false teachers, but not in your quote from Romans.
I think you simply don't understand the thread, or the entirety of Paul's Epistles on the matter. Rather, you're perturbed by the word "dishonest", even though Paul used much harsher language. You're confusing two rants I made for one single rant. Read carefully the two rants -- 1) Self-proclaimed Christians trying to convert Orthodox Christians; 2) Self-proclaimed Christians spreading lies about Orthodox Christians and Christian doctrine.
The vast majority of Protestants are not being “blatantly dishonest” nor do they “lack interest in getting the facts straight”.
I never said such about the majority of Protestants. My critique was narrowly focused on a particular set of missionaries that are proselytizing Orthodox and/or trying to persuade Orthodox with lies. But you seem intent on twisting my posts into something else. Why? Because of a problem you've encountered in your parish?
But even in that document, the person who wrote it wasn’t being “blatantly dishonest”. He was just ignorant.
Note that I didn't originally call these individuals "dishonest", but the endeavor itself. I wrote, "It's the blantant dishonesty..." --- NOT --- "It's these dishonest individuals..."
You can criticize them for being wrong, but I think it’s blatantly dishonest on your part to criticize them for being willfully deceitful. They are, for the most part, very sincere.
Ok, help me understand this. I designate a missionary activity as dishonest because -- a) a missionary says he's not proselytizing when in fact he is; b) he says Orthodox aren't Christian; and c) he portrays his beliefs (i.e. iconoclasm, anti-infant baptism) as the Protestant norm. You would say he's simply ignorant, though I would expect him to know better, especially if he labels himself as a "professional" missionary knowledgable in Christianity. You don't like me using the word dishonest
to describe these behaviors, but interestingly you have no reservation in extending that epithet towards myself (rather than the word ignorant
!). Whether or not the individual spreading lies is internally ignorant is beyond anyone's ability to divine, and the verbal semantics of allowing that possibility is as irrelevant as entertaining the possibility that he has brussel sprouts for brains.
The person doing the items I listed above is indeed acting dishonestly, willful or not. Whether it's dishonesty out of willful
ignorance isn't my concern (though I consider it willful when he goes to another country and refuses to learn the local religion(s)), nor is it my concern if he's sincere or full of love. If I wanted to start a thread about missionary love (ba da bing, ba da boom) I would have done so. As I wrote earlier, I remember this individual being provided the accurate information in another list but instead he chose to return to the talking notes.
If we have been the true Church for 2000+ years as we claim, why are we a marginalized Church in the largest country on the planet? Why do the vast majority of America not even know we exist? And we’ve been here for over 100 years and yet we’re invisible.
You complained, as I quoted above, that they’re “purposely trying to lead the unwary from the Orthodox Church.” Why should they not try to purposefully lead people to Christ? This is what they’re trying to do.
Leading people away from the OC is leading people away from Christ. Do you really believe what you're writing here? If you believe Christ is best found outside the OC, then for a bargain price I've got a luxury sedan to sell you called an AMC Pacer.
You act as if they know Orthodoxy is the true Faith and simply don’t care. This is false. Why should they know Orthodoxy is the Truth? HOW should they know that?
Again, straying off-topic. I don't expect them to know the fine details of Orthodox Truth. What I expect them to know is -- a) the missionary is proselytizing other Christians; b) Orthodox are Christians; and c) many of the missionary's beliefs are not the Protestant norm. He should know these things from seminary school, or from the elders in his sect who sent him off with the prepared material. If he's truly that ignorant, that proves my earlier point about Android Christians.
This is exactly the same “blatant dishonesty” and “lack of interest in getting the facts straight” for which you condemn them. At least be honest and recognize their sincerity. And again, I repeat what I have said over and over again.
And I repeat... I don't care about their sincerity, love, or fine oratory skills. I raised the factual errors, which result from either being dishonest or being a human vegetable reciting Brother Bufford's talking points. You're desperately trying to divert this thread off course because of apparent personal issues unrelated to the topic.
There would be no “unwary” for them to mislead if we were doing our job.
True, but nevertheless it happens today as it happened during Paul's missions, for which he warned repeatedly.
That may not be your point, but it SHOULD be your point, which is why I stated, “I understand where you’re coming from. I just think it’s the wrong place.”
That's why I continue to state that you don't understand the thrust of the thread, and have oriented it off to a tangent about love. That might be YOUR point, but it's not going to be MY point.
As I have repeatedly stated in this thread. The problem is ours, not theirs.
Yes, we've a problem and look at what happens when someone like myself points it out -- you call me dishonest. You complain we don't have love and don't have Christ. Surely we have to do our work, but it doesn't change the fact that the innocent in our flock can and will be led away from the Body of Christ. Our duty is to warn them, as Paul commanded. But you say otherwise. Fine. You're entitled to your opinion, however contrary it may be.