OrthodoxChristianity.net
July 29, 2014, 09:38:58 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: "branch theory" ?  (Read 1473 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
arjuna3110
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 132


« on: September 16, 2005, 12:35:09 AM »

Hi all,

I am genuinely confused about something.  I have noticed the term "branch theory" to descibe the growth of different denominations of Christianity.  Yet, I have also noticed that this term --branch theory-- seems to be almost universally despised at this forum.  Apparently, from what I can infer, some people believe that the "branch theory" denies any one Church (especially their own Church)  is "the one true Church".   


I am genuinely curious:

1. Do you despise the term "branch theory" to describe the rise of different denominations of Christinaity?  If so, why?

2. Do you believe that your Church is the only, one true Church?  If so, how do you view other Christians?  Non-Christians?

3. Do you instead believe that the Church is all who believe in Jesus Christ, are baptized and seek to follow Him?  If so, how do you view your own Church and other Churches?

4. Do you think your views are normal or average for members of your Church?
Logged
Silouan
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 818

Bogurodzica dziewica zbaw nas


« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2005, 01:00:11 AM »

1)  The Orthodox Church view herself as the entire One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.  Why?  Because we have always done so.

2)  We view their bodies as schismatic or heretical.  Personally speaking I think using the the term non-Christian is a bit over zealous for the fringe protestant groups (LDS, Jehova's Witnesses etc.) since they are based on a strange view of Christianity. 

3) The Chuch is all the baptized - but since Orthodoxy is the entire one and catholic church...

4) Yes, almost all Orthodox that I have met believe we are the true faith in the most absolute sense of the word.  The disagrement is how far away the others are.  But the notion of "all believers" (i.e protestants, catholic, orthodox etc.) being the same one church is quite rare.  What is most common is a belief that Anglo-Catholics and Roman Catholics are just a little in error, but could someday unite to the Orthodox.  But this has been my experience, which I think is fairly typical. 
Logged
Tallitot
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Jewish
Jurisdiction: United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Posts: 2,576



WWW
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2005, 01:51:13 AM »

The "Branch Theory"was a 19th century invention of "high church" or Anglo-Catholic Anglicans. I've never heard applied to all Protestants in genreral. It stated that the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church exsists in three braches; Roman Catholic, Anglican and Eastern Orthodox. It's main flaws were that 1. not all, or even a majority, of Anglicans subscribed to it 2. the Roman and Eastern churches never accepted it. See this article:
http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/aop24.aspx#branch
Logged

Proverbs 22:7
prodromos
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 1,463

Sydney, Australia


« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2005, 01:56:14 AM »


I am genuinely curious:

1. Do you despise the term "branch theory" to describe the rise of different denominations of Christinaity?  If so, why?

2. Do you believe that your Church is the only, one true Church?  If so, how do you view other Christians?  Non-Christians?

3. Do you instead believe that the Church is all who believe in Jesus Christ, are baptized and seek to follow Him?  If so, how do you view your own Church and other Churches?

4. Do you think your views are normal or average for members of your Church?


1. It is fine for describing the mess that is outside the church, but it is alien to Orthodox ecclesiology.

2. Yes.  In schism and in some cases outright heresy

3. No.

4. Seeing as my church is in a country which is nominally Orthodox and the vast majority in my church are cradles, I doubt they have given much thought to the matter.

John.
Logged
arjuna3110
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 132


« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2005, 06:51:52 AM »

Thank you all for your replies !
Logged
Augustine
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 565

pray for me, please


WWW
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2005, 09:16:54 AM »

I think Silouan puts the matter very well - in particular pointing out that the key disagreement you'll find amongst most Orthodox is just how big or "real" the divide is between Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism, in particular in it's spiritual dimension (arguments about whether or not Roman Catholics or the various Protestant confessions have "grace", etc.)

Personally, I'm inclined to believe that a lot of the argument over the "grace" issue is very misguided, and comes from positions which ultimatly "de-personalize" God.  God is God, and "grace" (at least according to the concordance for New Testament Greek that I use) is...

...on our end...

that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech

...and on "God's end"...

good will, loving-kindness, favour

This word "grace" (charis) then is that which gives us strength and works in and upon us, being the expression of God's good-will and favour toward us.  In some wise, everyone then has received of God's grace, even the most vile of men and brutish of beasts.

The big debate though is usually over sacraments - i.e. is that grace specific to the sacraments missing from schisms, heresies, etc., and if it is so denied, how/why?  The two most influential answers to that, are those of St.Cyprian and St.Augustine, both interestingly enough Bishops in the same local Church (Romanized-Carthaginian North Africa).  In the end though, I've concluded that both were drawing their conclusions from a body of evidences - (different) conclusions based on the "facts" of schism and the visible reality of the Church as they understood them, and were not repeating something they received written on golden tablets which floated down from the sky on the backs of angels.  This is probably why I'm happier to remain (basically) agnostic about the matter, since in reality it has little effect upon the disciplinary activities of the Church (ex. how it receives converts from non-Orthodox confessions).  Even should a Bishop or Synod "re-Baptize" someone coming from say, Catholicism, this does not require one dogmatically hold to the opinion that all Roman Catholic baptisms are "graceless", useless, etc.  Nor is receiving someone from Catholicism via the laying on of hands and confession, a dogmatic endorsement of the reality of the sacraments they received in their old confession.

Logged
SouthSerb99
Archbishop of Shlivo, Patriarch of All Vodkas & Defender Against All Overstepping!
Site Supporter
Archon
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Serbian Orthodox Church
Posts: 2,800


Now Internet Forum Friendly


WWW
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2005, 09:51:41 AM »

1)ÂÂ  The Orthodox Church view herself as the entire One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.ÂÂ  Why?ÂÂ  Because we have always done so.

2)ÂÂ  We view their bodies as schismatic or heretical.ÂÂ  Personally speaking I think using the the term non-Christian is a bit over zealous for the fringe protestant groups (LDS, Jehova's Witnesses etc.) since they are based on a strange view of Christianity.ÂÂ  

3) The Chuch is all the baptized - but since Orthodoxy is the entire one and catholic church...

4) Yes, almost all Orthodox that I have met believe we are the true faith in the most absolute sense of the word.ÂÂ  The disagrement is how far away the others are.ÂÂ  But the notion of "all believers" (i.e protestants, catholic, orthodox etc.) being the same one church is quite rare.ÂÂ  What is most common is a belief that Anglo-Catholics and Roman Catholics are just a little in error, but could someday unite to the Orthodox.ÂÂ  But this has been my experience, which I think is fairly typical.ÂÂ  

That really was excellent.
Logged

"Wherever you go, there you are."
 Guy from my office

Orthodox Archbishopric of Ohrid
Hungry? Click Here
Grigorii
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church of America
Posts: 43

St. Evagrios of Pontos


WWW
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2005, 05:59:42 PM »

Quote
1. Do you despise the term "branch theory" to describe the rise of different denominations of Christinaity?  If so, why?

Not necessarily.

Because the grace of God is His to distribute, how He does this beyond canonical borders is not for man to limit.

Quote
2. Do you believe that your Church is the only, one true Church?  If so, how do you view other Christians?  Non-Christians?

Yes. There is only one, canonical, Orthodox Church.

Other Christians are separated from the Church to more or lesser degree. Only Orthodox receive the fulness of God's grace, not because they are "better" but because there is but one Christ, and therefore but one Church. The closer one gets to Christ, the more one grows into the Church. Christ and His Church are inseparable. Yet, everyone who prays to the Triune God and Christ our God, prays to the same God as I do as an Orthodox. We find ourselves in "imperfect, uncanonical, communion." This is Christianity as such, in its absolute minimum, a state in which it exists only by the sin of schism. No-one who prays to Christ as God and Saviour is denied by Him, however, how far one unites to Him depends upon one's response to God's answer.

Non-Christians are deprived of the salvific grace of God, which is why the Church exists, to "evangelize" so that they may yet be saved.

Quote
3. Do you instead believe that the Church is all who believe in Jesus Christ, are baptized and seek to follow Him?  If so, how do you view your own Church and other Churches?

No,.. the Church is one,.. it is not divided between several visisble separated denominations. Those who do not belong to the Orthodox Church are outside the canonical limits of the Church, and in that sense do not belong to her, and do not receive the full grace. It is not permissible to separate the visible Church from the "invisible"

Quote
4. Do you think your views are normal or average for members of your Church?

No.

Most would disagree,.. I approach the position represented by Fr. Michael Plekon (OCA) in his article "Still by Jacob's Well?" .

IC XC

Grigorii
Logged

If you have not yet received the charism of prayer or of psalmody, then ask perseveringly, and you will receive!

St. Evagrios of Pontos
Michael
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 225


« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2005, 03:11:56 AM »

Quote
Do you despise the term "branch theory" to describe the rise of different denominations of Christinaity?  If so, why?

I don't despise it.  I just see as as utter and complete nonsense.  It cannot be justified.

Quote
Do you believe that your Church is the only, one true Church?

Yes.  The Creed tells us that the Church is One, it is Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.  If we believe that, then we cannot accept "branch theory".

The Church is One in the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Faith, and so any group that departs from that cannot be said to be One with the Church, going by the Creed's list of characteristics of the Church.

From this perspective that the Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, such a group as mentioned above, may have some of the marks of the Church. It may be a community of God-fearing people, striving for or even abounding in holiness. It may have retained some elements of the Catholic Faith, but insofar as it has failed to recognise or, in some cases, outright rejected elements of the Catholic Faith, and not continued at least a tactile Apostolic Succession, it cannot be said to be One with the Church, its Holiness is compromised, and its faith is not Catholic/Universal bit is instead, individualistic.

Quote
If so, how do you view other Christians?  Non-Christians?

It isn't my place to comment on other groups claiming the name Christian.

I know that within the Church, we can be assured of God's Truth (for it is his promise to lead us into the Truth) and his Grace, but that without the Church, we do not know, for without the Church, there has been departure from the Catholic Faith, the Apostolic Succession has, in many cases, been broken and so groups without the Church are not One with the Church. I cannot comment on God's relationship with those without the Church, I only know of his New Covenant with those within the Church. However, the Orthodox Church's liturgies are riddled with the the words 'God is a good God and a friend of man', and, in prayer, I entrust those who reject the Church to God's mercy, for the mercy of God is their only hope.

Quote
Do you instead believe that the Church is all who believe in Jesus Christ, are baptized and seek to follow Him?  If so, how do you view your own Church and other Churches?

The Orthodox Church is the Church founded by Christ and his Apostles.  Other groups have chosen to separate themselves from it, and so are not part of the Church anymore.

Quote
Do you think your views are normal or average for members of your Church?

Yes.

There is a rather good article here.

The ROCOR Synod of Bishops in 1931 issued this statement:

Quote
Preserving faith in the One, Holy, Universal and Apostolic Church, the Synod of Bishops affirms that the Church never divided itself. The question lies only in who belongs to her and who does not. At the same time, the Synod of Bishops fervently welcomes all attempts of the heterodox to study Christ's teaching on the Church in the hope that through this study, especially with the participation of representatives of the Holy Orthodox Church, they will ultimately come to the conclusion that the Orthodox Church, as the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15), fully and without error preserved the teaching handed down by Christ the Savior to His disciples.

Also, see ROCOR's anathema against ecumenism:

Quote
Those who attack the Church of Christ by teaching that Christ's Church is divided into so-called "branches" which differ in doctrine and way of life, or that the Church does not exist visibly, but will be formed in the future when all "branches" or sects or denominations, and even religions will be united into one body; and who do not distinguish the priesthood and mysteries of the Church from those of the heretics, but say that the baptism and eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation; therefore, to those who knowingly have communion with these aforementioned heretics or who advocate, disseminate, or defend their new heresy of Ecumenism under the pretext of brotherly love or the supposed unification of separated Christians, Anathema!
Logged
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.061 seconds with 35 queries.