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Author Topic: Evangelical Perspective of Orthodoxy Article  (Read 3440 times) Average Rating: 0
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EkhristosAnesti
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« on: February 15, 2006, 09:04:21 AM »

http://www.equip.org/free/DE177.htm

I'm interested in any comments one may offer in response to the article located at the above link. I'm particularly interested in any responses to the comments and arguments made in relation to epistemology (forget the stuff about Orthodoxy not being "monolithic").

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« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2006, 09:26:21 AM »

I thought it might be the infamous Paul Negrut piece. Suffice it to say that I think he has an understanding of Orthodoxy that is way less than that I would expect from any reasonably informed Romanian of whatever faith. In fact, I find it hard to believe that his understanding is, in fact, that poor and find his article to be intentionally duplicitous. Further than that I really don't have much of a comment as I'm certainly not willing to wade through this trash again - once was more than enough.

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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2006, 11:10:38 AM »

"The Eastern tradition comprises all the Christian churches that separated at an early stage from the Western tradition (Rome) in order to follow one of the ancient patriarchies (Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople)."

This seems to me like a goofy way to put it. Yes, they parted ways  with Rome, but he makes it sound like they were a bunch of Roman Catholics who left where they were to go join something else.

He also goes on to group the Orthodox churches, lumping the four ancient "Patriarchies" with the OO groups, which is distinct from the Central and Eastern European group that includes the Slavs with Greece, Cyprus, and Sinai! This might make some sense if he were explicitly talking about a chronological development, but the impression it gives is that these groupings have something to do with differences of doctrine or practice. The impression is strengthened, when he goes on to talk about the Monophysite controversy as dividing the "ancient Eastern churches" from the "Byzantine."

He talks about disagreements on the "legitimacy of church hierarchy and sacraments," which presumably refers to jurisdictional disputes in the Diaspora but could easily be misunderstood to mean that they have different teachings about whether hierarchy or sacraments are legitimate parts of Christianity. He also says they "disregard" the rule of one bishop in one city, which is terribly misleading. From what I can tell, no one disregards the rule--everyone's bothered by it, but the problem is that it takes everyone working together to fix it.

He highlights the cultural and nationalistic differences without pointing out that this is a fairly recent development (the past century or so) or elaborating on the relationship between Church and empire that preceded it. He states without qualification that the "liturgies are spoken in their national languages and they are hesitant to welcome outsiders," which is certainly true in some parishes but by no means all.

And all that's in the first of seven pages (plus endnotes)--is it even worth reading the rest?

Trevor
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2006, 11:38:17 AM »

Yeah, like I said, forget everything he says pertaining to jurisdiction or the idea of the Orthodox Church being "monolithic"...i'm only really interested in his comments relating to doctrine and epistemology; particularly his comments on Tradition (and the idea of "consensus") and the whole essence/energies issue. I would simply like some food for thought as I attempt to compose a formal refutation for a project I am working on. I've already conceived of some pretty typical responses myself; i'm just wandering if anyone may offer something more interesting or cogent that I may take into consideration.
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« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2006, 02:01:44 PM »

Reading through it I noticed many factual errors, but I figure most are a blessing in disguise, for it reveals the author's level of ignorance on the matter.
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« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2006, 03:06:11 PM »

Reading through it I noticed many factual errors, but I figure most are a blessing in disguise, for it reveals the author's level of ignorance on the matter.

Blessing in disguise?  I don't see letting a columnist influence many people with misinformation can be a blessing in disguise.  How often do people really read those "corrections" in newspapers - especially since they are usually in small print at the bottom of later pages?
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2006, 03:11:10 PM »

Blessing in disguise?  I don't see letting a columnist influence many people with misinformation can be a blessing in disguise.  How often do people really read those "corrections" in newspapers - especially since they are usually in small print at the bottom of later pages?

Yes, but they are wonderful ways to score points in a debate. While I am well versed in propaganda, and appreciate it as an art form, I rarely concern myself with the implementation thereof. If someone is truly interested in the truth, they will find out the problems for themselves, if they arn't then oh well, the probably do not diserve it.
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2006, 03:34:31 PM »

Yes, but they are wonderful ways to score points in a debate. While I am well versed in propaganda, and appreciate it as an art form, I rarely concern myself with the implementation thereof. If someone is truly interested in the truth, they will find out the problems for themselves, if they arn't then oh well, the probably do not diserve it.

Of course we score points IF a debate happens.  But it's not a blessing in disguise but lamentable.  I find your indifferent attitude rather distressing.
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« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2006, 04:03:41 PM »

Of course we score points IF a debate happens.  But it's not a blessing in disguise but lamentable.  I find your indifferent attitude rather distressing.

When I'm made minister of propaganda I'll take a more agressive stance. But as it is now, I'm not particularly concerned with how evangelical protestants view the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2006, 04:40:40 PM »

Quote
I'm not particularly concerned with how evangelical protestants view the Orthodox Church.

Unlike the saints, who tried to be "all things to all men".
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« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2006, 05:46:49 PM »

Unlike the saints, who tried to be "all things to all men".

Smiley

I actually work specifically with evangelical-type Christians to bring them to Orthodoxy. It has had some fruit too.
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« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2006, 09:17:39 PM »

Unlike the saints, who tried to be "all things to all men".

Most of them are probably happy being evangelicals, why deny them that? If they get sufficiently unhappy with it, they'll find the truth on their own. All men find what they truly seek.
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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2006, 09:28:22 PM »

Most of them are probably happy being evangelicals, why deny them that? If they get sufficiently unhappy with it, they'll find the truth on their own. All men find what they truly seek.   

So what about the people that don't get the strong urge to change because they're never exposed to the truth, but if they had even the briefest exposure to the truth it would begin the process of searching?
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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2006, 09:31:22 PM »

So what about the people that don't get the strong urge to change because they're never exposed to the truth, but if they had even the briefest exposure to the truth it would begin the process of searching?

I dont see the desire for truth being something that comes from the outside. If one is content with where they are, nothing you say would change anything. If anything, trying to convert them will probably just push them further away. The best was to witness the Orthodox faith is to love your neighbour, nothing more nothing less.
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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2006, 09:41:09 PM »

I dont see the desire for truth being something that comes from the outside. If one is content with where they are, nothing you say would change anything. If anything, trying to convert them will probably just push them further away. The best was to witness the Orthodox faith is to love your neighbour, nothing more nothing less.

Oh, I didn't say to actively try and convert them... But at the same time, we must be making as good an effort to let people know who we are - rightly, through our living the Christian life.  Alas, most of us (including myself) don't do this, so no one knows about the truth because they never see it.

And in cases where false information is being spread about Orthodoxy, we should take an active stance in defense of the doctrine, and then back it up by our actions, instead of allowing people to be lulled by the sweet talking of a sheister in evangelical clothing...
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« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2006, 10:07:06 PM »

Most of them are probably happy being evangelicals, why deny them that? If they get sufficiently unhappy with it, they'll find the truth on their own. All men find what they truly seek.

Their false sense of satisfaction and temporal happiness is more important than their embrace of the truth and their eternal salvation now? In which Father do you ground the precedent of that sort of attitude GiC? I’m not sure if anyone else notices, but I personally tend to see constant contradiction between the various positions you advocate. Your “leave the heteredox in peace if they’re content with their positions” directly opposes your past defense of…

In any event, I have, in this case, courteously been asked by an Evangelical friend for my response, as an Orthodox Christian, to the criticisms made in this particular article. I would like to fulfill her request with a formal response that I may archive and keep for other purposes later on.
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« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2006, 10:09:38 PM »

Oh, I didn't say to actively try and convert them... But at the same time, we must be making as good an effort to let people know who we are - rightly, through our living the Christian life.  Alas, most of us (including myself) don't do this, so no one knows about the truth because they never see it.

And in cases where false information is being spread about Orthodoxy, we should take an active stance in defense of the doctrine, and then back it up by our actions, instead of allowing people to be lulled by the sweet talking of a sheister in evangelical clothing...

Absolutely.  Faith comes by hearing, and they won't hear if no one tells them, sooo...

Their false sense of satisfaction and temporal happiness is more important than their embrace of the truth and their eternal salvation now? In which Father do you ground the precedent of that sort of attitude GiC?

Exactly what I was thinking when this was posted!  You beat me to it, EA!

And, btw, there is a response to this specific article here, in case you're interested and haven't read it yet (the latter of which would surprise me)...
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« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2006, 10:14:01 PM »

Their false sense of satisfaction and temporal happiness is more important than their embrace of the truth and their eternal salvation now? In which Father do you ground the precedent of that sort of attitude GiC? I’m not sure if anyone else notices, but I personally tend to see constant contradiction between the various positions you advocate. Your “leave the heteredox in peace if they’re content with their positions” directly opposes your past defense of…

In any event, I have, in this case, courteously been asked by an Evangelical friend for my response, as an Orthodox Christian, to the criticisms made in this particular article. I would like to fulfill her request with a formal response that I may archive and keep for other purposes later on.

EA, First welcome back I noticed you just started posting again. Second of all, this entire discussion started with my statement:

Quote
Reading through it I noticed many factual errors, but I figure most are a blessing in disguise, for it reveals the author's level of ignorance on the matter.

Implying the advantage of such a thing in case of a debate (or discussion), which is actually to your advantage, the rest of the debate arose from the fact that I'm happy when my opposistion makes such factual errors in a debate. Dont take it out of context, if your friend asked for a response, then by all means give her one, I would encourage you to do so.

P.S. My statement directly opposes my past defence of...what?
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« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2006, 10:22:43 PM »

And, btw, there is a response to this specific article here, in case you're interested and haven't read it yet (the latter of which would surprise me)...   

The refutation seems to be a decent one (i scanned much, read half), though he admits that it is terse, and thus could use some scriptural/patristic backups to solidify it.
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« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2006, 11:25:02 PM »

I agree with the refutation writer that Donald Clendenin offers a far better "critique" of Orthodoxy. I actually read his first book (there are two) right before I was chrismated, just to be certain that, as a former evangelical, I could be confronted by his critiques and answer them from the perspective of Orthodoxy. His book actually was the final process in my conversion and I went on to be chrismated.

The DIFFERENCE is that Clendenin desires a DIALOGUE  with Orthodoxy and believes that in the modern millieu, it is Evangelicals and Orthodox who share the most in common and should have an alliance. I detect in him a respect and love for Orthodoxy. I would reccommned him to any Orthodox or evangelical.

In a sense I agree with Pedro and GiC; there is the sense of how will they hear unless someone is sent and speaks; there is also, the idea that they will inevitably come if and when they are ready.

I would have the evangelical girl read Clendenin's book and Bishop Ware's The Orthodox Faith. Depending on her readiness the two books will speak to her one way or the other.
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« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2006, 12:02:02 AM »

back to the original post
there is an epistimological divide between East and West

in the West one knows by the exercise of the autonomous intellect sitting in judgement over various propositions, and competing truth-claims; one weighs one claim against the other and concludes the veracity of one or the other based on the evidence presented to one's reason

in the East, one knows by experiential apprehension of the uncreated light of God. The theologian is one who prays; one who prays is the theologian.

in the West they pay lip service to the old woman in church who prays and prays and prays as one greater than the theologians
in the East we realize that she may be the closest to God of all in the liturgy (even the priest)

In the East, we use our minds but we don't allow the intellect to be prosecuting attorney, defending attorney, judge and jury and court of highest appeal; we therfore are not subject to indiscriminite experience - our experience must always be judged by the experience and dogma of the Church;

I came from a very intellect-oriented protestantism (Calvinist Reformed theology) and people form that mindset have an almost pathological fear of religious experience. It is a religion of propositonal theological assents and great distrust of the emotive, intuitive, affective domain
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« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2006, 03:31:37 AM »

Ehkristos, didn't you leave this forum a while ago?

If so, welcome back! Smiley

If not, ignore this lunatic Grin
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2006, 09:06:22 AM »

GiC,

Thank you for your welcome. I agree that if my aim were to score points in a debate with the author of the article, that it would certainly be a breeze considering the obvious and valuable opportunities he has negligently left wide open. However, I fail to see what this has to do with your comments relating to the idea that it is “okay” to leave the heterodox blinded by false conceptions, even if we are readily capable of addressing the issues in question, simply because they are content and happy with their false positions. I did indeed read all your posts in this thread before responding; i simply fail to see how your former point provides any context to the latter, for they seem like two obviously different and separate remarks. Regardless of whether the target of my intended response be the genuine evangelical inquirer who has stumbled across this article (and who thus doesn’t know any better), or the evangelical polemicist responsible for the very existence of this article (and who thus should have been more responsible in verifying the facts and premises of his arguments), we still have a duty to tear down the straw men, and present the facts for the sake of things beyond the scoreboard of a debate.

When reading the polemical/apologetic writings of certain Fathers (particularly St Athanasios, St Cyril of Alexandria, Origen, St Ignatios of Antioch, Tertullian and St Jerome), one cannot help but notice their use of satire, the mastery of their rhetoric, and other such skills (especially when exposing gross absurdities and overly simplistic fallacies) which all serve the purpose of “scoring points” in debate. However, one can likewise not help but notice their genuine concern for the salvation of others, even the very arch-heretics whom they are specifically addressing. Indeed, Christ Himself was a prime example of this; he employed satire to ridicule the arguments of his polemical opponents, whilst nonetheless loving them no less, and being motivated by none other than a divine purpose.

Pedro,

Thank you for the article. I had no idea a response already existed; hopefully that should save my time.

BA,

Thanks for your comments. You make an interesting point regarding the distinction between the East and West; it is a distinction that the author of the article readily recognises and admits. I guess, however, I’m more interested in actually validating Orthodox epistemology, and on a wider-scale at that.

I guess it is the problem of “consensus” that I have issues with. The concept of “consensus” certainly makes sense when determining the Apostolic tradition specifically i.e. it is only reasonable to conclude that if the majority of the early Christians of the Apostolic era believed X, that there must have been some specific basis for X grounded in the very preaching of the Apostles which was responsible for the very existence of these early Christian communities in the first place. Why, however, should I expect an Evangelical to accept upon reasonable basis, the validity of patristic consensus? Often the verse regarding the gates of hell never prevailing over the Church is invoked to validate the consensus argument; however this can very simply be dismissed as a case of willful eisegesis (and I have furthermore never heard of any Father advocating a consensus argument on the basis of this verse — though I am wiling to stand corrected). Furthermore, there is a problem with the definition of the expression “patristic consensus” in any event. The first and obvious problem is defining those who legitimately qualify as Fathers for the purpose of a “patristic survey” in the first place, which is obviously a very subjectively determined thing.

Some of you may have noticed by now that though such questions are raised by an Evangelical, they do in fact have some bearing to the whole EO vs. OO debate (and no, I did not create this thread as a smokescreen for another EO vs OO debate). The “consensus” argument was advocated by GiC in a debate we had a while ago on such issues; when I asked him to prove why the mere fact that 4/5 of the Patriarchates supported position X is in and of itself an objectively valid argument that should be submitted to by any Christian who seriously observes the Tradition of the pre-Chalcedonian Church, he could not and/or did not rise to the challenge. I simply bring this up as an example; however, I hope that discussion can continue in response to the main principles in question.
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« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2006, 09:55:50 AM »

Meekle,

Never mind me; i had forecasted a particular schedule which would have have made it impossible to keep up with net forums. That has now changed. Hence, here I am, as long as God wills it to last. Sorry to disappoint you.  Wink
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