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Author Topic: Greetings from a serious Orthodox inquirer  (Read 2283 times) Average Rating: 0
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KATHXOYMENOC
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« on: December 29, 2005, 06:07:56 PM »

Christ is born!

I just discovered this forum yesterday and decided to register.

By way of introduction as a potential/prospective convert to Eastern Orthodoxy, here is something I wrote a few months back about how we (my wife and I) became interested in the Orthodox church. It's sort of a testimony, but more of an essay.

We currently visit an OCA church and have been attending catechumen classes, though we are not yet officially catechumens.


WHY THE ORTHODOX CHURCH?
Being a short essay on some of our thoughts concerning our interest in the Orthodox Church

What attracted us about, or initially attracted us and continues to draw us toward, the Orthodox Church (initially both the Orthodox and the Catholic Church, but now almost exclusively toward the Orthodox Church) is its historicalness, or claim to such, which we were made aware of and have had somewhat confirmed to us by reading the Apostolic and Early Church Fathers.

As Evangelical/Charismatic Protestants (I’ll use “ECP” for short), our understanding and reading of the New Testament was almost in a vacuum - i.e., bringing 20th-century ideas and mindsets (informed by ECP scholarship and books and preaching and teaching, of course, much of which also seemed to suffer from the same shortsightedness) to our reading. Church history for us was largely the Book of Acts, and then a hop, skip and jump to the Protestant Reformation (briefly acknowledged with a tip of the hat), followed by Azusa Street (the beginning of Pentecostalism) and the Charismatic Movement. We'd heard of the "Church Fathers" but had never read them, or only just a little. We'd learned of Tyndale, Wycliffe, Calvin, Luther, Zwingli, Hus, the Reformers and the Reformation, etc., in high school and maybe also in college history, but had only read excerpts of their writings, or learned the parts used to support modern Protestantism - e.g., "the priesthood of all believers"; "Sola Scriptura" (i.e., the Scriptures alone are the rule of faith); "Sola Fide" (i.e., we are saved by faith alone); etc.

When we began reading the Apostolic and Early Church Fathers in earnest (well, sort of - it’ll really be "in earnest" when/if we read or read through the 38 volumes of their writings, and not just extracts), we felt we had entered another world, a world not familiar to modern ECPs.

* It called Baptism and the Eucharist "mysteries."
* It kept its central rites (esp. the Eucharist) a secret from outsiders and/or restricted them to initiates.
* It viewed the Eucharist as a sacrifice, and the bread and wine as being and being changed into the body and blood of Jesus.
* The Eucharist was in many ways the focus and climax of the worship service.
* It equated baptism with being "born again," and the concurrent chrismation (i.e., the anointing with oil), or sometimes baptism as well, with "receiving the Holy Spirit" or a "sealing."
* It had liturgical worship.
* It had a structured hierarchy, with bishops who were believed to stand in the place of Christ, and elders who stood in the place of the Apostles.
* It esteemed the Church at Rome and its bishop above the others.
* It exalted celibacy and had a special place for consecrated virgins.
* It called Mary the "Mother of God" (Theotokos), and many believed in her perpetual virginity.
* It offered sacrifices and prayers for the dead.

In other words, it looked very, very Catholic or Orthodox.

And most uncomfortable for us ... these Christians claimed that the church’s teachings and practices were what they had received directly from the Apostles - who had received them directly from the Lord, and who had passed them down faithfully to their successors. And some of these writings were by those who had been personally appointed and taught by the Apostles themselves, a fact that not even Protestant scholars contest.

(I’ve read that Calvin knew and quoted from the Church Fathers so well - St. John Chrysostom was his favorite, I recall - that he is rightly considered a Patristics (i.e., pertaining to the Early Church Fathers) scholar. Yet I suspect that, like us, few of today's ECPs, who accept much that is Lutheran or Calvinistic in thought or origin, even read these writings which were a major influence on the Reformers' faith.)

We learned that Luther and Calvin regarded baptism and the Eucharist as being sacramental and involved in one’s salvation. Yet most of the churches we’d been in that claimed to be Protestant and heirs of sorts of Luther and Calvin viewed both as merely signs or symbols, and optional. (Thus, in addition to rejecting the sacramentalism of the Early Church Fathers, ECPs apparently also have rejected the similar sacramental or "Catholic" elements of Calvin's and Luther's beliefs.)

It became philosophically and theologically troubling for us as modern ECPs to be taught to accept all the doctrinal conclusions and statements of the Early Church with respect to the nature of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, etc., but be told to reject that same Church's views of salvation and the sacraments, and church structure and worship. It seemed inconsistent to be told to reject some of the practices of these first Christians as not being "what the Bible teaches" when they were the very people who preserved and gave us the books and canon of Scripture, and who saw no discrepancy between 1) what they did and believed and 2) what they claimed the Apostles and their successors had taught them and 3) what the Bible said (and they frequently quoted from and appealed to the Scriptures in their writings). They described their beliefs and practices as what had been believed by everyone everywhere at all times - i.e., the church and its practices and beliefs were "catholic" (universal); they were the same everywhere, and always had been, they said. In fact, that was how they countered heresies and heretics - i.e., by showing that what the heretics taught was not what the church had received from the Lord and His Apostles, and that the heretics could not show that their bishops formed an unbroken line from the Apostles, and that indeed the heretics and their teachings were "a new thing."

We ECPs, too, called people like the Arians (from Arius, who taught that “there was a time when the Son was not” - i.e., the Son was a creature) and the Gnostics and Marcion and the Sabellians and monophysites "heretics." I.e., we accepted the Early Church's judgment on these sects and movements and persons, and heartily agreed with the Early Church Fathers about these things and their leaders. Yet at the same time we declared or implied that many of the commonly‑held and foundational practices and beliefs of these same Church Fathers were not "what the Bible teaches." My wife and I increasingly found it odd that we accepted their conclusions and judgments about heretics and heresies (as well as their determination as to which books should be in the Bible), but rejected their beliefs about salvation, baptism, the Eucharist, bishops, liturgical worship, etc. If they were wrong about the latter, then why did we insist that they were right about the former? The very thing that caused the True Faith to persevere and triumph (i.e., the declaration and defense by the Church and the Church Fathers of what they claimed they had preserved of the authoritative teachings of the Lord and His Apostles in their traditions and teachings and texts and practices) was what we in some measure (and in some cases in large measure) had rejected in favor of holding to "just what the Bible teaches." (Or what we or our denomination or group said it teaches!)

Hence our attraction to the Ancient Church. But not the "New Testament Church" that "Bible Protestants" were and are always trying to recreate or follow or pattern themselves after while looking only to the New Testament for their answers, a practice we followed for many years. Instead, we are trying to find and understand the church and Christianity in the company of those who were closest to the Apostles and the writings of the New Testament and/or who received their traditions and teachings, and with their insights and comments to aid and inform us.

For us it has come down to a couple questions:

* What do Christians believe, and why do they believe it?
* What do Christians do, and why do they do it?

The answers the Early Church Fathers seem to give to these questions are changing some of our assumptions, and making us question some of our beliefs and practices.

- - -

From an earlier explanation of our changing views:

To us, context and the historical/contemporary background are important. E.g., ECPs (including myself) wrangle hard and mightily to explain away the idea of baptismal regeneration, or baptism removing one's sins. They write and struggle and work to explain John 3:5 and Acts 2:38 non‑sacramentally, despite the fact that the overwhelming testimony of even the earliest Early Church Fathers (and of the church and Christians for centuries thereafter as well) was that John 3:5 referred to water baptism, and baptism was called, and effected (i.e., brought about or resulted in), being "born again," "illuminated," "sealed," "sanctified," "having one's sins forgiven," etc.

So given the fact that the New Testament can be made to read or be understood either way, we asked ourselves which was likely more correct:

1. The teaching of the Apostolic and earliest Early Church Fathers (some of whom were living and writing at the time that some of the New Testament documents were being written or being accepted into the church’s canon, and some of whom were instructed or ordained by the Apostles Peter and John) that baptism was how one was "born again" and had one's sins forgiven or washed away, and included or could include infants?

- Or -

2. The teaching of present-day ECPs that water baptism is symbolic and even unnecessary or optional (but something that believers "ought" to do as a testimony of their faith), since one’s belief is what counts; and that it's only for "believers," as opposed to infants who can't yet "believe"?

We found this situation sort of analogous to the following:

Suppose we had the writings of James Madison's friends and students, as well as the students' students, and in their writings they explained that the Second Amendment to the Constitution ("A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.") means that the citizenry is allowed to own guns and rifles. (Madison, the "Father of the Constitution," was the primary author of the Bill of Rights, which included the Second Amendment.) We also have evidence that for the first 150 years of our country, everyone owned and kept guns and rifles. To this day the followers of these students teach and believe that private gun ownership was and is how to keep this country "saved," and they call themselves the National Rifle Association (NRA), as their forefathers had called themselves, and they cite the writings of Madison's friends and students in their by-laws or “catechism” (instruction).

But then about 1950, a dissenting group arose and complained that the leaders of the NRA have deceived their members by misreading and misunderstanding the Second Amendment, and wrongly teaching them to think that owning guns is the way to keep the country "saved." The dissenters say that the word "Militia" in the Second Amendment really means the official National Guard of each State, and only the National Guard troops are allowed to own and bear arms - and THAT, they say, is the best and historically‑accurate way to "save" this country and its people, and they also say that this was how this country was originally "saved."

Now, which of the two - i.e., 1) the NRA and Madison's contemporaries, etc., or 2) these modern‑day dissenters - do you think has a better idea of what Madison and the authors of the Constitution meant and intended, and has a better basis for their position? Remember, both groups are reading the same text (i.e., the Second Amendment), and both groups are basing their arguments on their reading and understanding of that same text.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2005, 10:39:56 PM by KATHXOUMENOC » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2005, 09:23:05 AM »

Well I took the time to read your "treatise" as it is and it is good to see that you have given serious thought to your faith. I too am a convert (Actually born into an Orthodox & Catholic family - returned to the faith.) Yet, I digress. Remember a few things, you may already know them.

1. Nothing takes the place of active participation in a local Orthodox Parish and in the sacraments (in time).
2. Take heed to your spiritual father
3. Pray
4. Read. Ask your spiritual father for suggested books.
5. Don't believe everything on this web site
6. Don't get lost in the rubrics of Orthodoxy, (i.e. how many times should I cross myself; what if I slip and have a hamburger on a fast day?' etc)

Orthodoxy is something to be lived and experienced more than studied.

Having had extensive experience with the ECP in my sojourning years lost from the fold of Orthodoxy, I cannot agree with you more. I have heard many a sermon that the Church went apostate when Constantine became a Christian ergo we can now skip to the sixteenth century.

Sadly, in my experience I find that many (not all) ECP's just want some happy pappy worship, a sappy sermon and a warm pew on Sunday's. Anything that requires work (HAAA I said it works) is off limits, not on their radar screen, heretical.

Finally, make sure you and your wife are on the same page. If not there could be rough sailing ahead.

Welcome
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« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2005, 10:23:38 AM »

Well I took the time to read your "treatise" as it is and it is good to see that you have given serious thought to your faith. I too am a convert (Actually born into an Orthodox & Catholic family - returned to the faith.) Yet, I digress. Remember a few things, you may already know them.

1. Nothing takes the place of active participation in a local Orthodox Parish and in the sacraments (in time).
2. Take heed to your spiritual father
3. Pray
4. Read. Ask your spiritual father for suggested books.
5. Don't believe everything on this web site
6. Don't get lost in the rubrics of Orthodoxy, (i.e. how many times should I cross myself; what if I slip and have a hamburger on a fast day?' etc)

Orthodoxy is something to be lived and experienced more than studied.

Having had extensive experience with the ECP in my sojourning years lost from the fold of Orthodoxy, I cannot agree with you more. I have heard many a sermon that the Church went apostate when Constantine became a Christian ergo we can now skip to the sixteenth century.

Sadly, in my experience I find that many (not all) ECP's just want some happy pappy worship, a sappy sermon and a warm pew on Sunday's. Anything that requires work (HAAA I said it works) is off limits, not on their radar screen, heretical.

Finally, make sure you and your wife are on the same page. If not there could be rough sailing ahead.

Welcome

Thank you for your reply.

1. and 2. will come later, if/when we become Orthodox.
3. We do the prayers, though not always daily or regularly.
4. We've been reading a lot, books recommended by Orthodox - the "standards" like Ware, Schmemann, Lossky - and the priest has recommended some, which we have not yet read.
5. :^)
6. The priest and his wife are both converts, as is the Bishop (Dmitri - Archbishop of Dallas (where I work) and the South). Father teaches the "rules" but also emphasizes that the rules are there to help your spiritual growth, not as an end in themselves.

I began this journey, and only with caution asked my wife if she wanted to go to an Orthodox church service. Now she is more eager to enter the church than I am! She will not go back to ECP worship, she says. However, we have not tried the disciplines of fasting, so we have at best dipped our toes in the water, but so far it feels fine.

Again, thanks.
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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2005, 01:26:58 PM »

It became philosophically and theologically troubling for us as modern ECPs to be taught to accept all the doctrinal conclusions and statements of the Early Church with respect to the nature of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, etc., but be told to reject that same Church's views of salvation and the sacraments, and church structure and worship. It seemed inconsistent to be told to reject some of the practices of these first Christians as not being "what the Bible teaches" when they were the very people who preserved and gave us the books and canon of Scripture, and who saw no discrepancy between 1) what they did and believed and 2) what they claimed the Apostles and their successors had taught them and 3) what the Bible said (and they frequently quoted from and appealed to the Scriptures in their writings). They described their beliefs and practices as what had been believed by everyone everywhere at all times - i.e., the church and its practices and beliefs were "catholic" (universal); they were the same everywhere, and always had been, they said. In fact, that was how they countered heresies and heretics - i.e., by showing that what the heretics taught was not what the church had received from the Lord and His Apostles, and that the heretics could not show that their bishops formed an unbroken line from the Apostles, and that indeed the heretics and their teachings were "a new thing."

Welcome to the forum!  This was an excellent essay.  As a convert from mainline Protestantism, I was most impressed by the above paragraph.  Well put.  I recall a TV interview with a convert to the RCC in which he said that he finally couldn't stomach the idea that "Evangelical Church History" seemed to consist of the Gospels, Acts, Paul, then a skip to Augustine, and then a skip all way to the Reformation.

May you be blessed in your journey.  I echo ASerbs's post:  Go to Divine Liturgy.  Pray.  Talk to the priest.  Read.  And don't believe all you read here!

In Christ,
BJohnD
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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2005, 02:29:22 PM »

I wasn't clear. We go to Divine Liturgy almost every Sunday, and have been doing so for months now.
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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2005, 03:07:13 PM »

Most excellent, Theophilus!  Wink  Seriously, great to hear that.  As they say, if you want to know about the Orthodox Church, "come and see."
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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2005, 03:31:47 PM »

Welcome to the Forum,

I hope that we will be able to assist you with resources and references to help you as you study the Faith.

In Christ,
Thomas
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« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2005, 04:27:02 PM »

Welcome to the Forum,

I hope that we will be able to assist you with resources and references to help you as you study the Faith.

In Christ,
Thomas

Thanks. At some point I'll list the books we have and/or have read.
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« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2005, 04:35:47 PM »

Catechumenos, two thoughts:

-I find your analogy between apostolic teachings and Second Amendment rights a bit tricky to understand. In fact, I don't think the analogy works real well. Come again?

-Coming from a Pentacostal background, you might find one thing about the Orthodox Church to your liking: Orthodox, like Pentacostals, stress the importance of a "personal relationship" with Jesus, although they might not be using the same language as Pentacostals. In other words, the Orthodox writings that I've read (such as the writings of the Desert Fathers on prayer) stress the importance of a prayer life, and that this prayer life can bring about such a "relationship", if you will, with Jesus Christ.

An added benefit is that many Orthodox (and Catholics) often can also feel a "personal relationship" with a saint or saints (although no Catholic or Orthodox Christian claim that this was necessary for salvation).
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« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2005, 08:23:50 PM »

Catechumenos, two thoughts:

-I find your analogy between apostolic teachings and Second Amendment rights a bit tricky to understand. In fact, I don't think the analogy works real well. Come again?

-Coming from a Pentacostal background, you might find one thing about the Orthodox Church to your liking: Orthodox, like Pentacostals, stress the importance of a "personal relationship" with Jesus, although they might not be using the same language as Pentacostals. In other words, the Orthodox writings that I've read (such as the writings of the Desert Fathers on prayer) stress the importance of a prayer life, and that this prayer life can bring about such a "relationship", if you will, with Jesus Christ.

An added benefit is that many Orthodox (and Catholics) often can also feel a "personal relationship" with a saint or saints (although no Catholic or Orthodox Christian claim that this was necessary for salvation).

I'm open to other analogies. The point of my analogy was to suggest that those who knew and were taught by the writers of the Constitution, or were taught by these students of the writers of the Constitution, probably had a better idea of what the writers of the Constitution meant than people who come along many, many generations later and claim that the plain reading of the Constitution means something different than these older interpreters and teachers said it meant. By analogy, I'm suggesting that those who were taught by the Apostles and by the students of the Apostles (i.e., the Apostolic and Early Church Fathers) probably had a better idea of what the New Testament writings meant and what NT church life was like than Christians who come along hundreds of years later and read the NT writings only and then decide and proclaim that those who are doing things the way the Church Fathers said to do them, and who interpret the NT and church life the way the Church Fathers did, are doing things wrongly.

Re: Pentecostalism and Orthodoxy (though I identify/identified myself as a Charismatic rather than a Pentecostal - we were never part of or members of a Pentecostal church, e.g., Assembly of God, Church of God, etc.), a recent book entitled ANCIENT & POSTMODERN CHRISTIANITY: PALEO-ORTHODOXY IN THE 21st CENTURY - Essays in Honor of Thomas C. Oden (InterVarsity Press ISBN 0830826548) has an essay by Edmund J. Rybarczyk entitled "What Are You, O Man? Theo-Anthropological Similarities in Classical Pentecostalism & Eastern Orthodoxy" (Chapter 6).
« Last Edit: December 30, 2005, 08:31:12 PM by KATHXOUMENOC » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2005, 09:21:03 PM »

Now, which of the two - i.e., 1) the NRA and Madison's contemporaries, etc., or 2) these modern‑day dissenters - do you think has a better idea of what Madison and the authors of the Constitution meant and intended, and has a better basis for their position? Remember, both groups are reading the same text (i.e., the Second Amendment), and both groups are basing their arguments on their reading and understanding of that same text.

The Church is a Living Organism existing in Five Dimensions- Space (3 dimensions), Time(4th dimension) and Eternity(5th dimension). Holy Tradition is likewise a Living thing- it is not a stagnant form of antiquity.
For example, we know that the early Church included the "Agape" or "Love Feast" in its liturgical worship. But due to abuses and scandal, the practice of the Agape or Love Feast was dropped from the Church, and only a remnant of it remains in the Eastern Orthodox Church today in the form of the "Artoclasia".
Again, we also know that in the early Church, Deaconesses were tonsured, however, this practice has fallen into disuse for many centuries.
Holy Tradition is not simply a text. It is living and breathing, and is transfered from one living generation of Orthodox Christians to the next.
The Church alone is the sole interpreter of Holy Tradition in that she concilliarly decides how Holy Tradition will be applied in whatever historical circumstances she finds herself in the 4th dimension in which she exists.
So, in answer to your question in the form of analogy (which, as we said, is a poor analogy), the most authentic traditionalists would be those you have labled the "modern day dissenters", since they are showing a Living Tradition, as opposed to those who follow a stagnant, dead tradition.
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« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2005, 09:34:53 PM »

The Church is a Living Organism existing in Five Dimensions- Space (3 dimensions), Time(4th dimension) and Eternity(5th dimension). Holy Tradition is likewise a Living thing- it is not a stagnant form of antiquity.
For example, we know that the early Church included the "Agape" or "Love Feast" in its liturgical worship. But due to abuses and scandal, the practice of the Agape or Love Feast was dropped from the Church, and only a remnant of it remains in the Eastern Orthodox Church today in the form of the "Artoclasia".
Again, we also know that in the early Church, Deaconesses were tonsured, however, this practice has fallen into disuse for many centuries.
Holy Tradition is not simply a text. It is living and breathing, and is transfered from one living generation of Orthodox Christians to the next.
The Church alone is the sole interpreter of Holy Tradition in that she concilliarly decides how Holy Tradition will be applied in whatever historical circumstances she finds herself in the 4th dimension in which she exists.
So, in answer to your question in the form of analogy (which, as we said, is a poor analogy), the most authentic traditionalists would be those you have labled the "modern day dissenters", since they are showing a Living Tradition, as opposed to those who follow a stagnant, dead tradition.

Then I'll need to change my analogy, because in my analogy (or what I meant to convey) the "modern day dissenters" are giving no credence or authority to the forefathers and the T/tradition(s), whether as originally received or even as T/they evolved, and like many ECPs (like we were and/or were associated with) were never or were only very tangentially part of the T/tradition(s) at any time. In fact, they are pretty much ignoring the T/tradition(s) completely. Thus, I don't think they are "the most authentic traditionalists."

But, I don't know if this forum is the proper place to discuss my analogy. I don't object to such discussion; it's just that being new to this site, I'm not sure where such discussions normally occur. I have no problem continuing the discussion, or letting others tinker with my analogy. In fact, if my analogy really is wrong or misleading, I need to know so I don't use it in discussions with my ECP friends. Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2005, 09:38:17 PM »

In fact, they are pretty much ignoring the T/tradition(s) completely.
Not really.
In your analogy, those you call "dissenters" see a "tradition" which was once important or indispensible, but no longer is.
Just as the Agape and Deaconesses were once considered important or indispensible, but no longer are.
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« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2005, 11:58:41 PM »

Thanks. At some point I'll list the books we have and/or have read.

Here is what we have; one or both of us have read most of them:

  • Timothy/Kallistos Ware - The Orthodox Church, The Orthodox Way
  • D. Clendenin - both books on Eastern Orthodoxy. I met and chatted with Dan at the ETS (Evangelical Theological Society) conference in Valley Forge last month (theme: Christianity in the Early Centuries), and then bought his books.
  • V. Lossky - Orthodox Theology, Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church
  • A. Schmemann - For the Life of the World
  • F. Schaeffer - Dancing Alone (I heard and spoke with him at the Festival of Orthodoxy in April (?) in Dallas)
  • A. Coniaris - Introducing the Orthodox Church
  • Gundry/Stamoolis, eds. - Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism
  • J. Forest - Praying With Icons
  • K. Markides - The Mountain of Silence
  • T. Doulis - Journeys to Orthodoxy
  • J. Bajis - Common Ground: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity for the American Christian* I have a question on this book (or, rather, the author) - see below - that I'll also put in the "Reviews" forum.
  • F. Mathewes-Green - At the Corner of East and Now
  • Orthodox Study Bible (NT and Psalms)
  • C. Carlton - I don't own his books, but I've read/skimmed them all. I met/heard him, too, at the Festival of Orthodoxy in Dallas.
  • P. Gillquist - Becoming Orthodox - don't own the book, but I've read it, and I met/heard him, too, at the Festival of Orthodoxy.
  • M. Evdokimov - Light from the East: Icons in Liturgy and Prayer
  • A few Orthodox prayer books, The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (Greek and English), Daily Prayers for Orthodox Christians (Greek and English)
  • I may have missed a book or two

plus several books on the Early Church Fathers, church history (a few by Everett Ferguson), some Catholic apologetics/conversion books (Stephen K. Ray, etc.), Christopher Hall's books on Learning Theology/Reading Scripture With the Church Fathers (he spoke at ETS and I briefly talked with him), etc.

* COMMON GROUND: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity for the American Christian by Jordan Bajis. This book is highly recommended by many people, including Light & Life, the publisher. My wife and I have read it and it seemed pretty good. My question/concern is with the author. He attended St. Vladimir's seminary, yet the book refers to him as a "pastor." He in fact is the pastor of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, Fort Collins, Colorado, an "intentional Christian community": http://www.holytrinitycommunity.org and http://www.holytrinitycommunity.org/pastor.html. Their beliefs and pamphlets http://www.holytrinitycommunity.org/pamphlets/orthodoxy/orthpmpltpg1htoc.html and http://www.holytrinitycommunity.org/pamphlets/worship/worshippage01.html are Orthodox, but they don't seem to be associated with any Orthodox jurisdiction in the U.S. or in the world. Their services apparently follow the Divine Liturgy, but also include Charismatic-style ministry time before and at the end of the worship/liturgy. I wrote (emailed) both the church and Light & Life for information on Pastor Bajis's and his church's relationship to the Orthodox Church, but never received a response from either of them. So, my basic questions are: How trustworthy is COMMON GROUND? Is it "kosher" - i.e., is its information about Orthodox practice, beliefs and theology accurate? As I said, many seem to highly recommend it, and it's a comprehensive book.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2005, 02:08:18 AM by KATHXOUMENOC » Logged

KYPIOCIHCOYCXPICTOC
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« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2006, 07:38:31 PM »

Your jouney reminds me alot of Peter Quilquist and some of his other friends from "The Evangelical Orthodox Church" prior to them converting  KATHXOUMENOC


Thanks for sharing it!
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« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2006, 01:51:31 AM »

Not really.
In your analogy, those you call "dissenters" see a "tradition" which was once important or indispensible, but no longer is.
Just as the Agape and Deaconesses were once considered important or indispensible, but no longer are.

His analogy seems compatible to me- just like Holy Tradition, the Constitution is alive. Have not there been many amendments to it?
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