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Author Topic: To the Orthodox Apologists  (Read 44287 times) Average Rating: 0
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Linus7
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« on: February 07, 2003, 01:01:33 PM »

I have now begun to see a few of you over on that "other" web site - www.christianbbs.com - challenging the heretical views of the Protestants.

I have seen quite a few great posts by Oblio, Podromos, and at least one by Aklie. Tom-dr has been there in the past. I knew him there before I am came to this site.

Anyway, I think it is great to see Orthodox Christians providing information for those who by and large have no idea what Orthodoxy is. It is also great to see them standing up for the faith once delivered to the saints.

So, what are your impressions?

Are you surprised by the level of hatred at CBBS?

What do you think?

Should we persist in visiting that site or are we wasting our time or worse?
« Last Edit: February 07, 2003, 01:08:41 PM by Linus7 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2003, 01:29:11 PM »

Oh dear ...

Thank you noticing my humble efforts.  I am afraid that the level of hatred, and I think it is truly that, has taken me by surprize.  Especially berean, who resorts to lies, name calling, more lies, hatred and more repetative lies.

I was thinking of starting an Ask the Orthodox Christian thread where we can answer repectful questions of our faith.  I'm not sure the TOS over there will keep the likes of berean from polluting it with more lies and distortions.  Would others be interested in fielding honest questions from inquirers ??
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2003, 06:25:02 PM »

More thoughts,

After today, I'm beginning to think we are wasting our time over there Is saving souls ever a waste of time ??
I'm a new convert, and much of this is beyond me in knowlege and I am afraid I might err and misrepresent our faith.  And sometime it is a struggle to stay focused and objective in response to their posts ...
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Aklie Semaet
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2003, 08:33:58 PM »

Yes the hatred is astounding. I find it amazing that some of these Protestants have all these pet verses memorized yet they don’t know more simple stuff like “thou shall not lie.” I mean it is understandable to be ignorant of Orthodoxy as most Americans are. Metropolitan Phillip called Orthodoxy the best kept secret in America after all. But people like Breenan know better (I believe he said he went to school of as a Catholic and was also almost a Catholic Priest).

The more I look at that site and see all the Doomsday prophets of dispensationalism among other heretical trash my stomach is even weaker in tolerance for this kind of stuff. I should add also that it is difficult to argue with Protestants. When you criticize one of their doctrines like “universal salvation,” “once saved always saved,” “baptism in Jesus name alone, or no baptism at all for that matter,” all they do is say “well I don’t believe that xyz denomination believes that, I can’t answer that question.” Linus you are right to focus on Sola Scripitura, Sola Fide, and individualism as getting to their foundation, at least that is the thread that ties them all together. I must also take my hat off to your tolerance and patience. After all of that barrage of insults and scorn I doubt that many of us could have kept a good temper and charitable tone as you did. I know for myself I only have two cheeks to turn, hit me again and I am only turning my cheek to relocate where I left my Smith and Wesson. (j/k)

Overall, I think dialogue, debate and discussion should be focused on Oriental Orthodox and Byzantine Orthodox, all Orthodox and Catholics, and all Apostolics with more serious oriented Protestants like Anglicans and Lutherans.    

These discussions with the more wild buffalo type Protestants and especially Pentecostals seems to go nowhere. We are probably better off having some of these discussions with Muslims instead of them.
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2003, 09:14:38 PM »

It took me awhile to figure this out, but if someone doesn't want to listen to what you have to say, trying to make them listen will only frustrate you.
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2003, 09:40:36 PM »

To Linus7, Oblio, Aklie I commend you guys for the way represented yourselves.  I stay away from Apologetics because I know so little about the church despite the fact that I learn more each day.
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« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2003, 05:37:23 AM »

Hi, guys! I'm not sure we're wasting our time. Sure there is a lot of hatred and people are very narrow minded, but think about it, we are chalenging their faith. It's not everyday that someone walks up to you and says "you are totally wrong" , and he has the data to prove it too. For some of them the notion that the church that christ founded is still arround is prepostrous! In order to be an apologist, no only knowledge is needed. I think what we need is also patience and humility. We need first to love the person that we are facing, if not, then why do we want him to be Orthodox? I know it's difficult, but who said apologetic is easy? And think about this: Even if only one soul is saved ,we have succeeded!

In Christ
Thomas
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Linus7
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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2003, 09:48:54 AM »

I agree with tOm-dR.

I know it is wild and crazy over there, but believe me, there are people who read the posts but never post themselves.

I have received many private messages and emails asking me about Orthodoxy and for info on books, what church to attend (e.g., where can they find one where the liturgy is in English), etc. I have also received PMs of encouragement, not just from Orthodox, but from Roman Catholics and the more "orthodox" Protestants (Anglicans, Lutherans, some Presbyterians).

I recently got a message from a Roman Catholic guy (who I think mistook me for a Roman Catholic!) who said my posts have helped him decide to stay in the RCC instead of going Protestant! Grin

That's not exactly the result I am looking for, but it's better than a punch in the nose!

One good thing about apologetics is that it forces us to learn. The apologist must know his/her faith and how to give a reason for the hope that is in us. Helping others to the fullness of the Gospel is a great incentive to study the Bible and the writings of the Fathers.

And this is something we simply must do. We must take the REAL Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, and we must disspel the fog of heretical lies that has blanketed and oppressed the West for too long.

You are all doing a great job! Don't let Berean get the best of you. Pity him. He is lost. Pray for him.

There are many over there for whom our posts may be the beginning of a journey to Orthodoxy that will only bear fruit 5, 10, 15, maybe 20 years from now.

Sow the seed now and let God give the increase.

May God bless you all and strengthen you!

And don't give up!
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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2003, 07:40:39 PM »

To everyone -

I would like to add one thing.

When you are over at www.christianbbs.com , it is probably not a good idea to get into anti-Roman Catholic polemics.

That web site is predominantly Protestant, so the RCs that are there are isolated and regularly get jumped on by the majority crowd.

In my humble opinion it is best to focus on refuting the erroneous Protestant doctrines (there are plenty of them!). The RCs that are there usually end up supporting us.

It is a good chance to influence some Roman Catholics for good instead of battering them like the rest of the crowd over there does.
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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2003, 03:46:20 AM »

Just a thought I had on another possible approach to the 'tradition' vs 'sola scriptura' issue. What do you all think about the idea of challenging the 'sola scripturas' to explain certain difficult passages that are impossible to reconcile without recourse to tradition?
Alas, the only passages that come to mind are the different geneaologies presented by Luke and Matthew of Joseph, Jesus' 'father', but I'm sure there are other passages that are also difficult. Do you think it is worth pursuing?

I also wanted to post an analogy of kissing a photo of loved ones to illustrate that there is nothing unusual about kissing an icon, how our affection is not towards a piece of wood with paint etc., but I would appreciate your thoughts on how far to take it. Obviously my wife doesn't receive the kiss I give a photo yet our Lord and the saints do. They also hear our prayers. My question is this: do you think that they are ready to hear how being united with Christ, we share in His divine nature, we become like God (God became man that men might become gods). I worry that since there are a number who have such difficulty accepting the real presence of Christ in the eucharist, that this will just push them deeper into their misunderstanding as they rail in defence against such 'blasphemy', as I'm sure they would consider it. Would it be of benfit to the lurkers?

I would appreciate your thoughts.

Humbly, John.
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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2003, 06:25:25 AM »

Another approach I have considered is to look in depth at the reasons why each of the epistles in the bible were written. Basically to show that they mostly dealt with problems and issues which had arisen in the churches. Thus it is only where christians were not holding to the traditions passed to them that we find correction, and through this some description of how they should be acting. Where they follow the traditions they are commended, but a description of how they should be following those traditions does not follow for there is no need. Thus scripture does not describe such things as the veneration of icons and the relics of saints. It does not describe the triple immersion of baptism or the form of the liturgy or most of the sacraments. There was no need for the Apostles to write on these things as the churches did not have any issues with these things.

I won't personally follow this tack as I lack the depth of knowledge of scripture and the rest of tradition to present sound principles, but others may find it a useful approach.

Humbly, John.
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Aklie Semaet
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« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2003, 07:20:48 AM »

Sounds good brother John!

Alas, the only passages that come to mind are the different geneaologies presented by Luke and Matthew of Joseph, Jesus' 'father', but I'm sure there are other passages that are also difficult. Do you think it is worth pursuing?

It will be good as an example, but I think you are not considering the minimalist temperament of Protestants. Most of them are going to say something silly like: “well that doesn’t matter. That is not what saves us” or something along those lines.  But it is worth a try.

I also wanted to post an analogy of kissing a photo of loved ones to illustrate that there is nothing unusual about kissing an icon, how our affection is not towards a piece of wood with paint etc.

A good idea.

My question is this: do you think that they are ready to hear how being united with Christ, we share in His divine nature, we become like God (God became man that men might become gods)

No I don’t think they can handle that one at this point. I mean you could mention it, but only if you are willing to go the full 9 yards in defending it once you start to get attacked for that.

Thus it is only where christians were not holding to the traditions passed to them that we find correction, and through this some description of how they should be acting.

Good point. I can think of a few verses off hand:

III John 13-14: “I had many things to write, but I do not wish to write you with pen and ink; [v. 14] But I hope to see you shortly, and we shall speak face to faceGǪ”

What could be more clear than that?

I Timothy 3 :14-15 “These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; [v. 15] But if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

Look at the emphasis St. Paul places on the fact that he will come and personally teach them. It is almost as if he is saying something like: “this should hold you until I reach you in person” like when your parents gave you a small snack while you were waiting for dinner to finish cooking because you were so hungry.  

There is another place where Paul says something like “the rest I will deal with when I come.”

Overall though, I would just say that things that were not taken for granted got written down. So, I don’t think it was necessary to remind 1st Century Middle Eastern Jews that homosexuality and fornication was out of the question. Obviously that was not taken for granted by some Mediterranean communities (who as we know from history had some pretty different ideas of sexuality), hence the textual emphasis
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« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2003, 08:42:15 AM »

You might also try the analogy of the Granddaughter kissing the phone goodnight when she speaks to Grandmother.  Who is she kissing, and who does she love ?  Certainly not the phone !  I'm not sure if one of the more rabid ones over there would turn that into prrof that we are talking with the dead though  :-

I have tried hinting at the process of Theosis, and it was not met with the usual knee-jerk reactions.  I think we might be able to ease into that part of Orthodox Theology if we start with repentance, prayer, perhaps fasting.  These are all things that are clear in Scripture that we are to do so the 'it ain't in Scripture' argument is defused right off the bat.

My 0.02
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« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2003, 08:51:11 AM »

John -

I think your ideas are excellent, but I agree with Aklie that most Protestants are not ready for the concept of theosis yet.

The photo-kissing argument is a good one.

One argument I have used before is that if the use of  any images constitutes idolatry, then no one could even type or write the name of Jesus, since the letters J-e-s-u-s are nothing if not images. And no one could say His name, either, since human speech consists of phonetic symbols (images). The type-written name J-e-s-u-s and the spoken name Jesus are not the real Jesus. They are images.

I am afraid we are forced to argue very basic concepts with Protestants. They must be led to the truth in baby steps.

That is why one must know one's Bible to argue with them, because they will not take large doses of the Fathers. It is possible to use the very early Fathers with them, like St. Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, and perhaps Irenaeus and Justin Martyr. But go beyond the 2nd or 3rd centuries and you get into the Protestant pseudo-history that Constantine caused the whole Church to go apostate. Protestant presuppositions in this area cause them to view any Fathers of the 4th and subsequent centuries as highly suspect.

One point I have yet to see any of them answer is the fact that the very canon of Scripture comes from outside the Bible. They don't seem to have ever realized this on their own. We should continually press home the fact that the Bible comes with no inspired table of contents, i.e., it never tells us what books belong in it.

One must accept a source outside of the Bible in order to know what books belong in the Bible. That source? - Holy Tradition.

This simple point completely destroys the notion of Sola Scriptura.

On the difficult questions theme: what about the four different endings for the Gospel of Mark? How do Protestants know which one is right?

How do they know who wrote the Gospel of Matthew? Matthew does not identify its author!

There are many books of the Bible that do not identify their authors. How do we know who wrote them? - Holy Tradition.
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« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2003, 08:54:02 AM »

prodromos,

I very much liked your exposition on the real presence in the Eucharist over there which refuted the Protestant spiritualization of the eating and drinking of His most Pure Body and Blood.  I was wondering if I may use it (unedited and with credit of course) on a more moderate board that I am a moderator on.  We are having some conversations WRT that very issue and I thought it may bear some fruit.

Thanks,
Oblio
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« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2003, 10:08:06 AM »

Oblio, the first part of my post is actually heavily plagiarised from www.protomartyr.net, so I would recommend you get in touch with them regarding permission. The rest of my post is mine which you may use without credit as I don't consider it worthy of use. I dare say it is the first part that you wanted anyway.

I'm generally far too tired from getting up all through the night looking after my six month old son to think clearly enough for full on apologetics, which is why I'm passing on my thoughts to others better equipped. I hope they may be of use.

Humbly, John.
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« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2003, 01:38:01 PM »

I would like to thank all of you for jumping in over at www.christianbbs.com . I have been reading your posts over there, and I think they are all excellent.

Oblio, you deserve a medal! You have really been standing strong for the truth. Please don't stop.

The same goes for Aklie (aka "Ethiopian Orthodox") and Podromos.

It's great to see a few Orthodox Christians over there. For a long time it was just a guy called "Monkey" and me, with occasional visits from "Elisha73" and tOm_dR.

The friend who recommended OrthodoxChristianity.net to me also debates over at CBBS, where he is known as "Orthodox Christian" (I don't know his screen name here). He does a super job when he has time to post.

You guys are really giving those folks something to think and pray and study about, and that is all to the good.
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« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2003, 10:32:12 AM »

Thanks, but no medal for me.  I praise God for any truth I may have revealed and ask forgiveness where I have failed to do so, or posted in anger and frustration (sadly, more than once over there).

Those that post over there, make sure you check the other forums, some threads get moved, and I have posted to why are those christians lost ?" over in Bible Study which begins with a thinly veiled polemic against Liturgical churches with rituals who 'don't know Christ'

By Guitarpicker
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They do good deeds, they are involved, they do rituals and liturgies, but they do not know Christ. They have never been born again. They have never accepted salvation as God is giving it...by faith alone.
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« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2003, 12:59:04 PM »

Oblio -

Thanks for the heads-up on Guitarpicker's thread. I will also look in on that one.

Some of those folks sneak over to the other forums to post their false doctrines because they know we spend most of our time in Religion and Doctrine. They know they can rant over in Bible Study virtually unopposed.

Guitarpicker is almost as ferocious as Berean in his invective. He is especially nasty when it comes to the Roman Catholic Church.
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« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2003, 03:32:02 PM »

Also, I think the "Jesus' Resurrection: Key to salvation? " thread could use some balance. After all it is the whole of Jesus incarnation that saves us.

I'd rather someone with a bit more head knowledge of the bible and Fathers posted as I would more than likely pick up bits from articles posted on the net and then not really be up to answering any difficulties they may have.

Baby is crying, gotta go.

John, the least.
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« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2003, 09:27:11 AM »

I wanted to share something with all of you that I think will encourage you greatly. I know it has certainly encouraged me. Here is a private message I received yesterday over at www.christianbbs.com :

From: HomoSapiensSuperlativus

Feb 11, 2003, 2:22 PM

  I have recently attended an Orthodox church. I have decided to join this church and will do so as soon as possible. I have realized that everything you have been saying about the Orthodox Church is true. I have you to thank for this realization.



And so: Thank you, and keep up the good work. Smiley



-- Eric Kroier  

_______________________________________________

I am not posting this to make myself look good. If you knew me you would know that I am the world's worst and less than nothing.

I am just tremendously grateful to our Lord Jesus Christ for this glorious news!

This private message (and I did obtain permission to post it, by the way) is proof positive that we need to be about the business of Orthodox Christian apologetics.

We must take the pure light of the Gospel to the Protestants and, of course, to everyone else.

Glory to Jesus Christ! Smiley Smiley Smiley
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« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2003, 10:06:56 AM »

 Smiley Smiley Smiley

Glory be to Jesus Christ !
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« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2003, 01:20:45 PM »

Glory forever!

Thanks, Oblio. You are doing a great job over there. Please keep it up!

I hope t0m_dR sees that PM. He is big into apologetics. I think it will encourage him especially and also lend credence to what he says.

I hope all our brothers who have stood up for Christ over at www.christianbbs.com see it. I think it will encourage them to keep fighting the good fight.

Here is a quote from St. Ignatius of Antioch for all of us involved in the struggle for the Gospel:

"You must not let yourself be upset by those who put forward their perverse teachings so plausibly. Stand your ground with firmness, like an anvil under the hammer. The mark of a true champion is to stand up to punishment and still come off victorious" (Letter to St. Polycarp, 3).

God bless you all!
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« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2003, 02:11:23 PM »

Linus --

Awesome news!!!

Sorry I haven't posted much at all. I am busy at work and I just started school...plus a family to take care of!

But I hope everyone will log on to www.christianbbs.com and join in. There are many there who are honestly trying to serve God. Why not try to bring them home?

Greg
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« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2003, 05:04:09 PM »

Greg -

I assume you are the Gregory I know as "Orthodox Christian" over at www.christianbbs.com (and the same Greg I met last year at our mutual friend's wedding! Smiley).

Anyway, thanks for recommending this web site to me, Greg. It is great and really boosts my sometimes flagging spirit.

It is wonderful to be able to come here and communicate with other Orthodox Christians and to get away from all the invective over at the "other" web site.

I hope everyone will read the private message your post refers to, the one I posted a few posts back. I want all of our Orthodox brothers and sisters to see it and share in the joy.

I hope your life does not become too hectic, Greg!

God bless you, brother!
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« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2003, 06:43:52 PM »

I have recently attended an Orthodox church. I have decided to join this church and will do so as soon as possible. I have realized that everything you have been saying about the Orthodox Church is true. I have you to thank for this realization.

Egziabher Yimisgin!!!

Linus, God has obviously gifted you with the ability to bring forth strong points while at the same time staying humble and not falling into the emotional abyss that many of those Protestant posters fall into.

This is good news and has made my day. I am convinced more than ever now that we all should be spending more time having these discussions with Protestants, Muslims, and non-believers. It is good for us to come out of our protective shell of talking among our selves every once in a while and apply our knowledge of the Faith by means of witnessing the truth of Orthodoxy to those that have never heard it. That is the mission of Christianity after all.
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« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2003, 08:03:12 PM »

Aklie -

Thanks. I do not know about any gifts I may have; I just try to stick with what I have learned from far better Orthodox Christians than I am.

It's all of us, though, not me. And the glory must go to Jesus Christ through the power of His Spirit.

I cannot answer all the heretical posts over there or watch all of the threads. Besides, if I stay on the computer too long, my wife gets upset! Grin

We all must work together.

I hope you don't mind me saying this, but it is important for the Protestants to see "Ethiopian Orthodox" standing up for the truth. They know from the Bible that Ethiopia was one of the first lands to go Christian. Your name alone impresses them. It is also important for persons of African heritage to see that there is an alternative to the same old Baptist propaganda they've gotten all their lives or the deceptive lure of Islam.

Thanks for your kind message. I hope to see you over on the "other" web site again soon.

In Christ,
Linus7
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« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2003, 10:57:24 PM »

Quote
I cannot answer all the heretical posts over there or watch all of the threads.

It is a full time job just keeping some of them honest.  I honestly want to pull my hair out at times.  I think this is teaching me (ever so slowly ...) patience and longsuffering.

I think it may help to slowly segue into sharing Orthodoxy in less controversial threads, perhaps starting ones where we have common beliefs (while of course guarding against heresy) .  One was started on Ceaseless Prayer which I need to get over to (been so busy chasing scarecrows).  With the start of the Triodion and Great Lent quickly approaching, we could discuss fasting, from the practical to the Spiritual aspects.  We could also share some of our prayers, I've shared some on another Protestant board and have been met with many thumbs up by posting them.  I think we have made a start and perhaps even have the initiative with lurkers out there.

Thanks be to God, and to all who labor for Him, I have learned so much from the efforts of everyone.

In Christ,

Oblio
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« Reply #28 on: February 13, 2003, 04:48:45 AM »

I have this silly joyful grin stuck on my face now as a result of that private message.

+ö-î+++¦ -â+++¦ ++ +ÿ+¦-î-é ++++-Ä++, +¦-î+++¦ -â+++¦.

I personally struggle with the issue of apologetics as I am torn between sharing my faith and the fear that I will do such a poor job that I will turn people away. Not all are teachers and I am certain that there are many orthodox who should steer well clear of trying to be. Zeal without proper understanding has the potential to do great damage (as is evidenced by our Protestant friends over on http://www.christianbbs.com/)

I also must confess that I am so used to posting on forums generally, that I forget the rather different purpose of these posts and neglect to take time out to pray before hand. You can see why I'm so afraid of stuffing things up. How can I possible produce fruit if it is not Christ centred?

So I ask for your prayers, and I in turn will pray for each of you. I think we may also benefit from the prayers of our beloved Father, Saint Justin Martyr, the first apologist (IIRC).

I want to add that having this thread as a base to discuss our approaches, correct each other if need be, and generally just to encourage each other is of great benefit. Lets make full use of it.

In His mercy, John.
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« Reply #29 on: February 13, 2003, 08:31:52 AM »

Thanks. I do not know about any gifts I may have; I just try to stick with what I have learned from far better Orthodox Christians than I am

Ah, well the humble people are usually the ones that deny they are gifted or humble, as our administrator “Mor Ephrem” is an example. Humility must be the greatest virtue to have as a Christian second only to love.

I hope you don't mind me saying this, but it is important for the Protestants to see "Ethiopian Orthodox" standing up for the truth. They know from the Bible that Ethiopia was one of the first lands to go Christian. Your name alone impresses them. It is also important for persons of African heritage to see that there is an alternative to the same old Baptist propaganda they've gotten all their lives

Of course I don’t mind. I believe this, and my Church as a whole believes this. What you said is similar to what some of our hierarchy say. Take this statement by Getahun Atlaw, Liqa Diyakon  (Archdeacon) of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church of Jerusalem and spokesperson of the Jerusalem Archbishop of the EOTC:

“I should indicate our interest in developing an Ethiopian Orthodox outreach program throughout the African diaspora, including Black America and the Caribbean. This outreach program has great potential for positively resolving certain aspects of the African-American identity crisis and we have already taken the initial steps in this direction through the Ethiopian Research Council at the Center for African American Culture, Florida State University in Tallahassee.”

Yes, the Baptist tradition is a mess and is indicative of the long-term results of adherence to Protestantism. Aside from the overall sectarianism that characterizes Baptists, such as the multiple conventions (Southern Baptists, First Baptists, Independent Baptists, etc.), the Black community by itself has three separate Baptists conventions with membership in the millions. This is not to mention the different conventions of African American Methodists and others.

The ‘once saved always saved’ doctrine is particularly strong with the Baptists. I know people who think that sense they ‘used to be very religious’ that they are still saved now no matter what they do. I have a friend that I grew up with whose grandfather is a Baptist pastor. He was active in the Church growing up of course but when we went to college he fell in love with a woman from Somalia and converted to Islam in order to marry her (her family insisted). This is a rejection of Christ, no way around it. But the amazing thing was to see how his family rationalized it. They figured that sense he used to confess that Jesus was Lord and died for his sins, and sense that (in Baptist understanding) is enough to save him, that he is still saved now because he already believed in Jesus at one time.  

Another theme that has emerged in the Black community is the practice of having different Churches, of the same denomination, separated by class. The middle class well-to-do’s go to a big Church in the suburbs with Rev. Dr. so and so, while the poorer and working class attend the more traditional brimstone and lake of fire preaching pastor who made it to the 9th grade.

I am sure that berean is probably frantically searching the internet looking for some pictures he can post of our clergy or practices but I am confident he will not find much.  

or the deceptive lure of Islam.

Very true. The distortions and hollowness of the modern American Protestant tradition, not to mention its sinister ties to slavery and the slave trade, have made Islam seem like an attractive alternative to Christianity for many.

Look at the left picture on this page and then read below. http://www.abyssinian.org/html/history_3.htm

I once read a speech that Malcolm X gave at Abyssinian Baptist Church while he was still a member of the Nation of Islam. During his speech he gave the usual NOI charade about Islam being the ‘true and natural religion of the Black man’ and claimed that African people were Muslims until they were forced to Christianity by westerners. During the question and answer period one member of the congregation got up and pointed to the Ethiopian Cross that H.I.M. Halie Sellasie, defender of the Orthodox Faith, gave to that Baptist Church as a gift in the 1950’s. The member of the congregation recalled the way Halie Sellasie reacted when he was told that there were groups in Harlem that were promoting this idea that Africans were Muslims. The king responded by saying that his country had been Christian centuries before there was such a thing as Islam and that it was an Ethiopian king that gave Muhammad and his followers refuge when they were fleeing from persecution in Medina. Upon hearing these words Malcolm X paused and then said “wellGǪuhGǪactually that is not trueGǪthe Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us thatGǪ” you get the point. He was stuck and stuttering upon hearing of Orthodoxy. What other time had Malcolm X ever stuttered or hesitated? This point obviously hit him hard.  

Overall, we have to realize that we are confronting not just Protestantism but American Protestantism. American Protestantism has of course Sola Scripitura and Sola Fide as it’s basis but the extra element is an almost hysterical Romophobia that makes our job even more difficult. The Puritans did not do us any justice I am afraid. The level of instinctual anti-Catholicism in this country is astounding. I am learning that many, and not just the crazies out there, Protestant denominations have this thing that Rome is the ‘whore of Babylon’ and the Pope is the anti-Christ. The way that anti-Catholicism is expressed in America makes it almost anti-Orthodox by default. It does not specifically oppose doctrines of the RC like Purgatory, Papal Infallibility and the like but opposes anything Liturgical or Sacramental itself.  

We have our work cut out for us, and it is surely a blessing to have you on our team.
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« Reply #30 on: February 13, 2003, 01:23:38 PM »

I hope you don't mind me saying this, but it is important for the Protestants to see "Ethiopian Orthodox" standing up for the truth. They know from the Bible that Ethiopia was one of the first lands to go Christian. Your name alone impresses them.

Now if I can organize a cabal of Middle Eastern Orthodox, Catholics, and Orientals, that would be impressive.  Descendants of the first Christians, folks mentioned in the Acts, can have, with the credibility their historical origins bestow, a resounding effect upon these kinds of individuals.  These are people who live in an area with many, many different Churches, but where the overwhelming majority is Apostolic that the word "Christian" is liberally used and automatically designates an Apostolic who believes in the Eucharist, the episcopacy and priesthood, the concept of the Church, and especially the Mother of God.  A good prick to the bubble of historical and geographic myopia that low church Prots are ensconced in.

But if they're anything like evangelicals, we might be instinctively labelled terrorists.

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« Reply #31 on: February 13, 2003, 02:23:31 PM »

“This outreach program has great potential for positively resolving certain aspects of the African-American identity crisis and we have already taken the initial steps in this direction through the Ethiopian Research Council at the Center for African American Culture, Florida State University in Tallahassee.”

Sham'mas Getahun spots the obvious.  Culture and religion are cooperating agents, and indeed the Ethiopian Church presents the essential bonus of providing Americans of African origins with a restoration of cultural ties and identity with their original homeland.  Two caveats:  Any enterprise of this sort can only be undertaken with serious intent, and a strong dose of caution, the necessity of which can't possibly be understated enough.  Strict priests of the old school should screen in potential converts with the eyes of a hawk and should be as "elitist" in their selection of whom may enter the Ethiopian Church as the Roman Church long ago once was in its selection of suitable candidates in the seminaries for the priesthood.  I am pointing to the insincerity of some Rasta converts, and others who may not be honest pilgrims to the Ethiopian Church.  If a true missionary spirit imbibes any outreach in America, there will be no quota for new Church members, but a search for sincere converts.  Second, one has to keep in mind that blacks in America have for the most part created a culture for themselves that is a good two hundred years old, especially a religious one that starts back from their days in the plantations, as the Christianity of the traditional and pious amongst them shows.  A Jamaican with his repatriate mentality may be easily receptive towards the Coptic and Ethiopian heritage, but how does one propose the Ethiopian Church interact and respond to the religious culture that imbibes the black North American spirit of the convert (and I would imagine the older generation of grandparents having a better and more refined religious sensibility closer to the solid traditions of their slave ancestors than the contemporary modern hollow Protestant tradition to which Aklie refers.) It's difficult to see that particular kind of people easily making a transition to the heritage of old world Africa that the Ethiopian Church presents.

Quote
Another theme that has emerged in the Black community is the practice of having different Churches, of the same denomination, separated by class.

Speaking of different classes, a small tangential question if I may.  There was a custom centuries ago amonst some kings to take the poor into their palace on Holy Thursday, have them sit alongside the king to eat, and then wash their feets, imitating Christ's example.  Was their any tradition observed by the Ethiopian Emperor concerning humility towards the poor amongst his subjects?

One more thing too.  From what I briefly read, the Emperor had something of a soft spot for Prots (or non-Catholic Western Christians as it was put).  If true, why do you think that was so, Aklie?

Quote
I am sure that berean is probably frantically searching the internet looking for some pictures he can post of our clergy or practices but I am confident he will not find much.

Nice pictures they are though.  He tries to play a psychological game, posting pictures that particulary seem to set off an aura of an occultish nature.  I put myself into the mind of a Baptist for a while and concentrating on the dick's words, captions, and pictures, I managed to catch a glimpse of the occultish feeling that a Baptist would feel and the menacing look he would perceive when viewing those photos.   The fellow probably has designed a few fundie websites.

Quote
During the question and answer period one member of the congregation got up and pointed to the Ethiopian Cross..... The king responded by saying that his country had been Christian centuries before there was such a thing as Islam and that it was an Ethiopian king that gave Muhammad and his followers refuge when they were fleeing from persecution in Medina.

Ah...the enlightening epiphany that comes from the words of the surviving remnants of the once mighty Levantine and North African Christendom.

Allah be from us, fo'!  So wisen up all of you or we go all eat yo faces fo breakfast.

Quote
Upon hearing these words Malcolm X paused and then said “wellGǪuhGǪactually that is not trueGǪthe Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us thatGǪ” you get the point. He was stuck and stuttering upon hearing of Orthodoxy. What other time had Malcolm X ever stuttered or hesitated? This point obviously hit him hard.

That is one scene they should have added to "Malcolm X".  Do you think Denzel Washington would have executed that scene nicely?

If only you had audio or video footage of that scene.  Maybe you should plunder BET's archives.

Quote
The way that anti-Catholicism is expressed in America makes it almost anti-Orthodox by default.

It is anti-Apostolic, therefore anti-Christian.  

Quote
We have our work cut out for us, and it is surely a blessing to have you on our team.

I still advise the use of a two by four.

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« Reply #32 on: February 13, 2003, 04:43:51 PM »

Ah, well the humble people are usually the ones that deny they are gifted or humble, as our administrator “Mor Ephrem” is an example. Humility must be the greatest virtue to have as a Christian second only to love.

Dear Aklie and Friends,

I have, by and large, stayed out of this thread out of a feeling of my own inadequateness, but since Aklie's brought me up, I feel I must enter the fray.  

I am not humble or charitable.  

I visited the site in question, and I was interested in participating in the apologetic discussions you are all having there.  I couldn't figure out where you all where (some of those threads seem rather long), but what I saw from the likes of Berean and others sickened me.  I didn't feel patient, or charitable, or humble, or anything; instead, I felt impatient, angry, and arrogant.  So I haven't come aboard yet, thinking that it would be better for me to stay away.  Also, while being somewhat knowledgeable about our Orthodox faith, I didn't think I can approach what you all are doing, and I am still not sure.

But when I read the private message Linus sent, I was filled with joy, and I felt a desire to get involved with this, to do my part to spread the message.  I had wondered whether debating theology with such people as I'd seen in my brief visit would bear any fruit; now that God has encouraged me and others with the private message in this thread, I would like to help, and perhaps others would.  So, aside from sharpening my skills in the practice of the virtues, what can I do?  What can the rest of us do?    

P.S.  Linus, check your private messages.  Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: February 13, 2003, 08:38:06 PM »

Everyone -

So many great posts!

I encourage everyone to get involved. If you are afraid of making mistakes, stick with what you know and are sure of.
Resist the urge to speculate and go out on a limb.

Also realize that not everything must be answered. Often it is best to let an heretical post pass without comment and to let it disappear quickly among the myriad of those that follow.

Of paramount importance is to NEVER lose one's cool. THAT is the single most difficult thing. I have to pray and guard against that constantly. The temptation to skewer some poor Protestant with a sarcastic rejoinder is extremely strong. But RESIST it. Such things are not of God but come from pride.

Just remember that in most cases these folks are sincerely trying to serve Jesus Christ. They really are. And many of them are pretty unlearned. Their heads begin spinning when they find out the Church decided what books belong in the Bible, that St. Matthew never actually autographed the Gospel that bears his name (not that we know of, anyway), and that all we have are copies of copies of copies of copies of the original manuscripts, etc.

There is a real danger that many of them will throw Christianity off altogether when their Fundamentalist illusions are shattered.

Of course, it may be necessary for them to pass through such a time of trial before they can come to the fullness of the truth. I know it was necessary for me.

We must not visit www.christianbbs.com to win arguments. Winning an argument or appearing to win an argument at all costs will only make us and the cause of Christ losers in the long run. WE are there only to present the truth and defend HIM.

If you have to choose between seeming to lose an argument and resorting to mockery and sarcasm, then lose the argument.

Remember St. Peter's admonition to "be courteous" (1 Peter 3:Cool.

I think Podromos' suggestion that we seek the intercession of St. Justin Martyr is a good one.

Perhaps we should start our own society of Orthodox apologists and call it the St. Justin Martyr Society!

Anyway, I think we should all keep in mind that the task we have taken on is not easy. We must pray (especially for each other) and study. We must all know as much as we can know.

I am thankful to the Lord Jesus that He led me to this web site. It is great to have so many friends and fellow-laborers.

May God help us to honor Him!

Oh! I wanted to add something to the above:

In addition to resisting the temptation to mockery and sarcasm, please resist the opposite temptation.

Resist the urge to get too friendly and compromise. Please don't get mushy and give in to the urge to tell those folks that we are all "brothers and sisters" and part of the big, happy, hopelessly divided "Church."

I know all of you know better than that, but, believe me, strange things can happen when you get engaged in posting over there.

Okay, I've said enough! Who am I, anyway? Grin


« Last Edit: February 13, 2003, 08:49:53 PM by Linus7 » Logged

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« Reply #34 on: February 13, 2003, 10:40:31 PM »

Perhaps we should start our own society of Orthodox apologists and call it the St. Justin Martyr Society!


Sounds great, but last time I tried to start something similar on this board, I had 3 people sign up  Grin

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« Reply #35 on: February 13, 2003, 11:51:53 PM »

Is Anglican a sock puppet ?

Over on the Eucharist thread there is the following post by Anglican, a self-avowed ex-Greek Orthodox (kinda convenient I'd say) ...

A post from Anglican contains ...
Quote

Quote
A long post of berean misrepresentations of Scriptures based on his interpretations is posted here ...

from Anglican
Quote
Thank you, Berean.

BTW: You might want to go to www.orthodoxchristianity.net and scroll to 'Free for All,' then to 'Orthodox Apologists,' for a quick glimpse of what your interlocutors think of your responses.

Bill
[/i]

He sure doesn't sount like any Anglican I've ever talked to.
His quotes and responses fit the contrived pattern of a puppet.
The obvious choices are berean and/or Guitarpicker.

At any rate I would suspect a visit from our friends, based on a post from over there linking to here.  I say that we welcome them, expect them to play by the same rules we do, and make them feel at home.  
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« Reply #36 on: February 14, 2003, 04:10:23 AM »

Quote
We must not visit www.christianbbs.com to win arguments. Winning an argument or appearing to win an argument at all costs will only make us and the cause of Christ losers in the long run. WE are there only to present the truth and defend HIM.
I have to keep telling myself this all the time. I don't think I listen though Roll Eyes.

One thing that absolutely amazes me is how people of such divergent beliefs will rally together against Orthodoxy and Catholicism. Case in point, michael777. Obviously false belief, denigrates the trinity, but he is one of the good guys Huh

Holy Justin Martyr pray for us.

In ICXC, John
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« Reply #37 on: February 14, 2003, 07:57:53 AM »

Hmm, I've been trying to get onto the forums for more than four hours with no luck. Their server for member validation seems to have gone offline for the time being. So it seems to my browser anyways.

John.
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« Reply #38 on: February 14, 2003, 09:18:56 AM »

Quote
Hmm, I've been trying to get onto the forums for more than four hours with no luck

It seems to be up again.
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« Reply #39 on: February 14, 2003, 01:52:04 PM »

Quote
From Oblio: Is Anglican a sock puppet ?

Over on the Eucharist thread there is the following post by Anglican, a self-avowed ex-Greek Orthodox (kinda convenient I'd say) ...

A post from Anglican contains ...

Quote:


Quote:
A long post of berean misrepresentations of Scriptures based on his interpretations is posted here ...
 
from Anglican

Quote:
Thank you, Berean.

BTW: You might want to go to www.orthodoxchristianity.net and scroll to 'Free for All,' then to 'Orthodox Apologists,' for a quick glimpse of what your interlocutors think of your responses.

Bill
 

He sure doesn't sount like any Anglican I've ever talked to.
His quotes and responses fit the contrived pattern of a puppet.
The obvious choices are berean and/or Guitarpicker.

At any rate I would suspect a visit from our friends, based on a post from over there linking to here.  I say that we welcome them, expect them to play by the same rules we do, and make them feel at home.

Oblio -

I noticed that about "Anglican," too. He brings the term "Low Church" to new lows (if he is Anglican, which I doubt).

His arguments are the arguments of a Baptist.

How did they hear about this particular thread?

Anyway, it does not matter. We have not said anything about them to be ashamed of or that is not true.

If they come we should treat them with courtesy, as always.

However, we should remember that this site is OrthodoxChristianity.net. We should not let them make it a forum for blasphemy, as they have the other site. If they cannot engage in a civil discussion, they should be banned from here.

I think you may be right about Anglican. He could be the sock puppet of some other Fundie. It is readily apparent from many of their posts that they are essentially dishonest and unscrupulous. A lot of what they post is obviously inspired by the very "father of lies" himself.
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« Reply #40 on: February 14, 2003, 02:15:04 PM »

Glory to Jesus Christ !

Quote
How did they hear about this particular thread?

Anyway, it does not matter. We have not said anything about them to be ashamed of or that is not true.

Just a guess ...  
From a Google on Oblio Orthodox

Quote
Board News
... Happy Birthday Oblio! ...
www.orthodoxchristianity.net/ newboard/index.php?board=1 - 44k - Cached - Similar pages

A quick crawl up the forum heirarchy would get them here.

You are right Linus, as long as we abide in faith, truth and love, it doesn't matter **.  I for one hope that others, perhaps seekers of the truth will follow the link here.

** - I do hope that it does not cause problems for our gracious hosts and moderators though !
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« Reply #41 on: February 15, 2003, 06:10:34 AM »

Strict priests of the old school should screen in potential converts with the eyes of a hawk and should be as "elitist" in their selection of whom may enter the Ethiopian Church as the Roman Church long ago once was in its selection of suitable candidates in the seminaries for the priesthood.

Of course. Historically the Coptic Church used to make catechumens learn for a complete 3 years before they baptized them. While I think that would be too long of a period now the spirit of that emphasis must be implemented.

one has to keep in mind that blacks in America have for the most part created a culture for themselves that is a good two hundred years old, especially a religious one that starts back from their days in the plantations, as the Christianity of the traditional and pious amongst them shows.

Yes, the evolved tradition is actually approaching 400 years. I have always held the position that the traditional (not modern) African American Protestant tradition is one of the few rich and worthy tendencies to emerge from Protestantism. The values and community interaction that the Church instilled in the community in the rural south before the northern urban migrations is the basis of some of the nostalgia that is expressed in Blues and by some older gospel music. The great Mahila Jackson (if she was an Apostolic she would undoubtedly be considered a Saint) sung “give me that old time religion.”

There are two traditions: the southern Baptist (NOT Southern Baptist) tradition that evolved from the plantation and is very charismatic. Because it was illegal to teach a slave how to read and write, verse memorization plays a strong role in this tradition. Unfortunately this has also meant that some pet verses are emphasized while other verses like the Church being the pillar of truth, are never heard of.

The hard core traditionalist Baptist will insist on keeping things ‘old school’ and traditional. For instance they reject all of the modern ‘gospel music’ and insist that in the Church only the standard, recognizable ‘Negro spirituals’ without any musical instruments can be sung (they even refuse to change the name from ‘Negro spiritual’).

The northern tradition was Methodist (the African Methodist Episcopal Church, this is the only group of African Americans that consistently referred to themselves as “Africans” [and not coloreds, Negroes, or blacks] through out the centuries). This was made up of free African Americans, many formally or informally educated and some middle class.

These are the main and biggest denominational traditions in African America. While both Protestants, the Methodists are the ones who are probably most open for Apostolic Christianity. In the Methodist Church, if a clergy advances a ‘heretical’ position they can be formally charged by the hierarchy for heresy and de-ordained or kicked out of the church. They have the position of bishops as well, if I am not mistaken.  

From what I briefly read, the Emperor had something of a soft spot for Prots (or non-Catholic Western Christians as it was put).  If true, why do you think that was so?

Well some people claim that but it is very exaggerated. Halie Sellasie received his education as a child from French Catholic tutors. He always had a soft spot for Western Christianity in general, he was very pro-ecumenist and involved the Church in the founding of the World Council of Churches. But he was consistently a champion of Orthodoxy. He was the one that put in the constitution that the emperor had to profess Orthodox Christianity or be dethroned. He insisted that Protestants could not open up churches in “closed areas” which were regions of solid Orthodox adherence but allowed them to open them up in “open areas” of Islam and paganism. Ultimately I think this was a mistake that has come back to haunt Ethiopia today. As they demonstrated with their betrayal of Russian Orthodoxy after the fall of communism, Protestants are out to proselytize and replace the apostolic Churches. Once they have any ground they are not going to stop there, they are going to keep going. In Ethiopia one of the most sinister things they did was to fund and send ‘reformers’ into the Orthodox Church (who displayed the biggest ignorance of Orthodoxy in the first place). When it was discovered that these ‘reformers’ were nothing but Protestant imposters they were kicked out, and they took 30,000 believers with them.

Was their any tradition observed by the Ethiopian Emperor concerning humility towards the poor amongst his subjects?

Wow, the emperor never washed any ones feet but they always threw banquets in which the poorest of society were invited to eat all they can of the best food available.

I managed to catch a glimpse of the occultish feeling that a Baptist would feel and the menacing look he would perceive when viewing those photos.

Yes of course, that is the purpose. But I am sure that there are far more compromising pictures of Protestant behavior that can be posted.

Ah...the enlightening epiphany that comes from the words of the surviving remnants of the once mighty Levantine and North African Christendom.

Oh yes, Christian Churches from Ethiopia, through Sudan to Egypt while sprinkling Chad, then across North Africa to the west and the Levant to the East. I can’t help but to think that the Ethiopian king that gave Muhammad refuge made a horrible mistake. But then again it has a checkered and contradictory history and making a generalization like that would be mistaken.

Do you think Denzel Washington would have executed that scene nicely?

Of course, but I think the way he rolled the tear when the old lady told him “son, don’t worry, Jesus will protect you” was world class.
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« Reply #42 on: February 15, 2003, 06:42:57 AM »

I visited the site in question, and I was interested in participating in the apologetic discussions you are all having there.  I couldn't figure out where you all where (some of those threads seem rather long), but what I saw from the likes of Berean and others sickened me.  I didn't feel patient, or charitable, or humble, or anything; instead, I felt impatient, angry, and arrogant.

I feel you brother Mor,

It is hard to be charitable when your ancient Church is being called ‘apostate’ and ‘whore’ by a bunch of people with a self-invented community that can’t trace the origin of their denomination beyond the 19th or 20th century. I almost resorted to reminding some of them that my ‘whore’ Church was building, expanding and saving souls and writing theological tracts while their ancestors were still running around caves playing with Neolithic stone flake technology. I am glad that I decided to go eat and think about it first.

But you should really say something over there. I know your humility would kill them.
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« Reply #43 on: February 15, 2003, 08:06:35 AM »

But Linus7, as good of a job as you do, one cannot live on apologetics alone, so feel free to engage in other discussions here as well. It may even help round out your apologetic skills.
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« Reply #44 on: February 15, 2003, 11:56:44 AM »

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From Nicholas: But Linus7, as good of a job as you do, one cannot live on apologetics alone, so feel free to engage in other discussions here as well. It may even help round out your apologetic skills.

So true.

I would love to become involved in other, more civil and more Christian, discussions. Unfortunately, my time before the glowing box is limited (i.e., my wife begins to get irritated when I spend more than two hours at a stretch at the computer!).

There may come a time when I shake the dust off my feet over at CBBS and retreat to this site permanently.

I want to spread the true Gospel of Christ's Church among the Protestants, but I am also being forced by my efforts to see the rank heresy that so many of them have embraced. I have also now been exposed to the spirit beneath the thin veneer of piety that some of them display so readily - a spirit of hatred, mockery, sarcasm, and lies, a spirit that marks them out as devotees of the "Father of Lies."

Still, I think we must not become discouraged. If we plant the seed, God will give the increase, in some cases perhaps many years from now.

Yet, the increase will come.

Glory to Jesus Christ!
« Last Edit: February 15, 2003, 08:10:30 PM by Linus7 » Logged

The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas
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