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Author Topic: The infamous MANUAL TO CONVERT ORTHODOX to Protestantism  (Read 61697 times) Average Rating: 0
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Anastasios
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« on: March 19, 2003, 06:15:08 PM »

I am posting this again since the last time I posted it was on the previous incarnation of this board.

http://www.namb.net/evangelism/iev/PDF/BB_E_Orthodox_Manual.pdf

It is the infamous "manual for witnessing to persons of an Eastern Orthodox background."

Let's get together and write a response to be posted on OC.net!

In Christ,

anastasios
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2003, 07:42:33 PM »

I believe that this manual is something that will lead to the attrition of Orthodox young people away from Orthodoxy. When one does not know much about their faith, it is easy to convert them to something else. Orthodoxy needs to do a better job of preserving its young, and I think this manual demonstrates the need for that.  I think a response is needed here.  We cannot be passive and play social club like the way most of Orthodox have been in the US.  We need to go on the offensive and start doing some missionary work because believe it or not, this is a war.  It is not war in the way we think of war but rather more of a spiritual war against those who spread their gnostic and dispensationalist lies. It is a war for the salvation of people's souls. We have the truth in Orthodoxy, now we must go out and be confessors of our faith.  Now is not the time for us to be ethnic club with gyros sales but rather to preach the true faith. We need to demonstrate to these people that their doctrines are based on heretical ideas that have been rehashed over and over during the millenia. This manual is very well written, just look at page 59 in the booklet. This manual should be a wake-up call. In fact, it should be sent to every patriarch, bishop, priest, deacon in the Orthodox church to let them know that our Protestant friends want to convert us and teach us the 'error of our ways.'  If Orthodoxy is to survive, then we must fight and understand that we are in a war for souls. That is how the Baptists view it, and this is how we must respond to it with love and prayer but realizing that we must stand up for the truth and fight for it. We have this tendency to want to get along with everyone or we get defensive about our doctrines, the time has come to go on offense. Your best defense is your offense.  It is time to go on the offense and to quit playing cover 2 defensive. Orthodoxy will not survive playing cover 2 defense.
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2003, 09:03:30 PM »

Being such a warhawk as I am, I fully agree with you!

 Grin

Seriously, though, I would like to do a teamwork response to this awful document.

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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2003, 12:28:20 AM »

Some of it is very useful, though.  The writer correctly identifies the view of grace held by the Orthodox and the view of grace held by the Protestants (Baptists).  Of course, being a convert to Orthodoxy from Baptistanity, I believe that the church's understanding of grace is the one held by the fathers and is the one taught in Scripture.

This is a document worthy of response.
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« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2003, 12:37:09 AM »

Wait till you find the part on namb that talks about infiltrating Russian immigrant communities in order to convert them.  Angry
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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2003, 10:39:40 AM »

You have to love that Adobe Acrobat gloss though.

And surprisingly enough, these authours have a grasp of Orthodoxy that is unusual for your average evangelical.  Could the writer of this "manual" have been an Orthodox in the past?

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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2003, 12:28:21 PM »

You know, I don't have a lot of knowledge of the Protestant faith.  After reading this, I know more than I would like to.  I never realized just how much of their faith they take from out of context.  Nor did I realize what light we Orthodox are seen in (and an inaccurate light, at that).  Oy...
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« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2003, 02:27:52 PM »

There is no global "Protestant" imho.  There are different churches/groups within the continuum.  The Southern Baptist Convention which backs the group that put out this book holds to different things then, for example, the Amish or Anglicans (within which are also different groups) let alone other Baptist conventions.

Ebor

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« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2003, 02:41:52 PM »

Ksenia,

This is but one example of a Protestant group, of which are thousands.  There are a few that hold traditional apostolic beliefs such as Anglicans or Lutherans, but most of them depart wildly from Orthodox and Catholic belief, often wildly such as denying the Trinity or the divinity/humanity of Christ.  Sacraments are routinely seen as purely symbolic and no importance, and many of them do not honor the Theotokos.  If you'd like to see this firsthand, I invite you to view the forums at http://forums.christianity.com.  There are a few members of this site who attempt to enter into a dialogue, but the Orthodox and Catholic prescence is a slight but vocal minority.  I hope this helps.
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« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2003, 11:11:41 PM »

People reading this text as a source of "edification" would do well to read the comments found in it's opening paragraphs...

O.C. (Orthodox Christian): "We Orthodox like mystery.  It is our way of describing God."
P.P. (Protestant Person): "How do you know about God?  I thought the Communists made sure nobody believed in God anymore?"
O.C. : "They tried, but we all knew He is still there.  Russia has been a Christian nation for over a thousand years.  It would take more than 70 years of Communism to change who we are."
P.P.:  "Wow, a thousand years - that's over four times older than America.  I had no idea!"


As I read the opening of the .pdf document, I saw the picture of the bearded, old clergy in the altar of a Church, celebrating the Liturgy...an image so pure, so timeless, so Christian...it could just as well have been taken by a time traveler during the first centuries of the Church, as it could have today.

And these "Baptists", with their barn-like church edifaces and their Mc-theology, have anything to teach the Orthodox world?   It would be laughable in a way, if it were not for the fact that so many Russians (and other Eastern Europeans) are defenseless against this onslaught.

Unfortunatly, due to this document being in .pdf format, it's difficult for me to cut and paste from it to offer a reply.  I will touch on a few points for now.

Under the heading "Church of the Seven Councils", the Protestant author makes the candid admission that Protestants selectively follow some of the Oecumenical Synods.  Conspicuously, the seventh is not one of them.  I'd be interested to see a Protestant author address this, and the inherent connection between the definitions of 2nd Nicea, and Christology (namely, the opponents of Ikons were always at least uncomfortable, if not in fact closet heretics, in regard to the teaching of the Incarnation.)

I thought that many of the explanations of Orthodox faith were not that bad (considering where they are coming from, they were actually quite good), but thank God, their "objections" were rather weak, and would only be of value to those who have no experience of Orthodoxy.  Sadly, that applies not only to the Protestant audience the text is preaching to, but many Eastern Europeans who have been robbed of their culture and religion.

In dealing with the subject of "Tradition", the author rightly puts forward that the Bible has primacy in a heirarchy of sources from which Orthodox draw their faith.  This system of "tradition" (as the author rightly points out) protects our faith from innovation and perversity of individualism.  Without actually attacking the veracity of these claims for tradition, however, the author then says they are an obstical to "personal faith in Jesus Christ" (I suppose they know nothing of the lives of the Saints), because they prevent "personal Bible study".

Of course this is not the case - but they do prevent an individualistic attitude towards the Bible, that draws conclusions out of ignorance or delusion that are not in accord with the truth.  I wonder however, do these same Protestants really entertain the sort of liberty they want for Orthodox amongst themselves?  That is to say, what if I (reading my Bible) came to not believe in sola-scriptura, or at least denied "sola fides"?  What if I came to believe that episcopal Church gov't was the only form that was valid, and that the Eucharist is the true body and blood of the Saviour?  Could I still be a "good Baptist" or their brother and friend?  Obviously not.

The truth is, they have their own "orthodoxy"; their own doctrines, their own "truths".  Thus, their basic position is hypocritical.  If anything, I'd say the typical Protestant has more direct guidance of his Bible reading habits than most Orthodox do (for the simple reason they have so many commentaries, and so much of their preaching centers on discussion of the interpretation of a given passage.)

However, the encouragement that Orthodox "read the Bible for themselves" is good.  I read the Bible every day, and it has done nothing but keep me where I am (since it's impossible to read a broad section of it, and come to Protestant conclusions - the Lord portrayed in the pages of the Holy Writ is certainly not Luther's god).

As for other points...the case studies offered (of supposedly hard done by Russians, who got nothing but grief from the Church when they went searching for God) should be taken for what they are, and nothing else.  While there is bad along with the good in the typical Church, I hardly think the examples given were typical (in fact I'm quite sure that if the persons in question really want to a Priest and poured their heart out to him, he'd receive them with at least some enthusiasm and do what he could for them.)

One area that was incorrect, was the portrayal of the Orthodox view of original sin.  Adam's fall did not simply mean there was a simple "disorientation"; it meant he was now subject to corruption, and in need of redemption.  The article goes so far as to say that the remedy for the fall, the solution offered by Orthodoxy is not as "dramatic" as that of the evangelicals.  This is curious, since I'm not aware of a strong ascetic, self mortifying tradition in evangelicalism...the truth is, there is nothing dramatic about their soterology, save on paper.  To say Jesus Christ's victory over sin and death "helps" us back on the right path, is either ignorant or intentionally misleading - simply put, we are hopeless without Christ, and would have forever been satan's subjects had He not rose on the third day.

Protestant missionaries are told to emphasize (to their Russian victims) that God must punish sin because of His holiness.  I always thought He punished sin, because He doesn't punish those He doesn't love (as someone rightly pointed out, the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.)

Quote
7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. (Hebrews 12:7-8)

Oddly enough, the article (unknowingly) even spouts a little Orthodox theology in this regard (all the while criticizing the Church) by stating that Protestant missionaries should tell Orthodox that...

Quote
God's holiness may be compared to a fire.  When a person is in a right relationship to fire, it brings warmth.  However, when a person is not in right relationship to fire, he or she is burned.

That could easily have been from an essay on the late Fr.John's (Romanides) website.  The only difference I suspect, is that the understanding of those words differs between Orthodox and Protestants (namely, that the Orthodox believe that the "fire" spoken of will consume Saints and sinners alike, but the Saints will find it as warmth and comfort...where as I suspect for the Protestants, they believe salvation is to be saved from that uncreated glory...that is to say, be saved from God, rather than by Him.

Another aside...the article often makes reference (and complains) about the Orthodox tendency to not view Adam and Eve as being "perfect" before the Fall (which is the view of the majority of the Fathers...St.Augustine is really the only major exception in this regard, which explains why western tradition eventually held to a very exalted view of our first parents).  I do not see how one can complain about this, since it is quite obvious they were not "perfect"; perfect creatures do not so readily fall for such a pathetic rouse as the devil offered our first parents, nor so quickly doubt what God has to say to mankind (as our first parents were quick to do.)

Seraphim


Of course, the hyper-Augustinian soterology of the Protestants is accuratly portrayed.

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« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2003, 11:37:30 PM »

Seraphim,

Thanks for the comments, I agree with you totally!  Would you like to join in the project to write a rebuttal that will be posted on this site?

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« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2003, 12:31:47 AM »

Ugh!

I had two or three pages of counterpoints typed when my computer crashed.  My fault for not saving.  I will retype sometime tomorrow.  I would also urge each of us to pass along this document to our clergy and mature laymen so that they might be aware that Baptists have targeted us such and how to have an answer.  I know I have encountered serveral Baptists at times who were going or have been to orthodox countries to steal sheep, and it good when you can challenge them.  Some don't even know that our mother and fatherlands are Christian.
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« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2003, 12:36:30 AM »

Seraphim,

I see these folks don't build up much of a solid case by any means.  In fact they do a good job, for folks of their background, in actually informing Protestants of the basics of Orthodoxy, giving a nice introduction.  You see the authour grasps the concepts.  He then later proceeds to concentrate his efforts on making small, weak jibes not built up on anything concrete, through this "barriers and bridges" format of his.  He doesn't focus on matters of doctrine and objective truth as much as on subjectivity by going through a contrived strawman psyche of Orthodox who try to approach God using "Orthodox methods".

The intent of the manual is the nuisance, rather than its content, which is as weak as the watery swill known as domestic beer.

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« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2003, 01:51:22 PM »

  At least for me it is not as I come from an Evangelical background, though I now see the heresies of Protestantism and attend a Orthodox parish. THE big push in Evangelicalism is to convert people, to get them "saved". Of course, this is because many Evangelicals believe that if one says a "sinners prayer" and "accepts Jesus as one's personal Lord and Saviour", usually at a highly emotional revival service or "altar call" then one is saved forever. The funny thing is is that many Evangelicals almost cannot imagine one having faith in Christ without such an emotional coming to faith experience, and despite claiming to be "traditionalism",
or having "the old-time religion", fundamentalists and Evangelical conversion practices only go back to the 19th century and thus are not very "traditional" at all!
  The Southern Baptist and many Evangelicals like them also very much so believe in this once-saved-always-saved heresy. Thus, the main goal becomes getting a person "saved" since once they are "saved" they are sure to go to heaven, no matter how they live afterwards. Some even claim that if you say one must live a righteous life after coming to faith in Christ then this is "works-based" salvation!  Evangelicals thus often practice evangelizing people at the expense of many other important things in the christian life. At my old Evangelical church, they went to "seeker-sensitive" services, which is worship specifically geared towards bringing in non-christians and getting them "saved". It basically turned into entertainment for the crowd instead of glory to God, and this is one of the first things that turned me off to Evangelicalism. It allowed the world's expectations of entertainment and advice (pop music, flashy drama presentations, sermons based on pop psychology) to replace the Gospel. The Divine Liturgy, on the other hand is not entertainment, but is worship and glory to God in a way I have never seen before! It is truly awesome ( real shock and awe I guess:) ) !
   Anyway, the Evangelical view of salvation drives much of what they do and is the reason why much of their theology and spirituality is in the end so shallow and often very much influenced by American culture. Ironically, as far as missionary activity goes, many Evangelicals will even target fellow Protestants, and sheep-stealing among Protestants, especially from Protestants Evangelicals hold as suspect such as Lutherans and Anglicans is not unknown. I wouldn't really worry about this manual or Evangelical missionaries converting Orthodox people who really know their faith. And in America, with so many converts from Evangelicalism to Orthodoxy, even Baptist ministers (such as Clark Carlton) it seems the Orthodox Church should be well-prepared to deal with Evangelicals. I believe that even some bishops, such as Demetri of Dallas are former Baptist or Evangelical.
  I think the main problem is in Russia and Eastern Europe where Evangelicals can make flashy presentations and go after Orthodox people who really don't know their faith that well. It seems like the Orthodox Church here in American could help the church in Eastern Europe and Russia combat Evangelical missionaries by using the stories of Evangelicals who have converted to Orthodox here in the USA. The Orthodox in the old country should know that there are two sides to what the Evangelical missionaries are telling them! And as one person already said, Evangelicals and Protestants in general are not interested in Orthodox people "going by the Bible alone" but going by their spin on the Bible. Funny how the Bible alone talks about things such as being baptized for the forgiveness of sins and eating and drinking the body and blood of Christ. But Evangelicals, with their built in distrust of the sacraments ignore these verses, as they do verse on many other issues.
   Anyway, it would be good to see a response to this manual, but I think overall it should keep in mind the Orthodox abroad who its main target and try and help them out.

God bless,

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« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2003, 12:29:42 AM »

First, God bless you on your journey.

Second, I have first hand experience with evangelical "evangelism."

When I was a teenager and had a budding interest in things Christian (having grown up in a household which was, as of that point, only nominally Catholic... a situation which would change later on), I remember taking up an offer I saw on a televised Billy Graham "crusade" for some free literature.

Little did I know, that I would not simply have an operator at the other end taking information down, but a hard sell "evangelist" (who could have been no older than I am now) practically shoving "acceptance of Jesus Christ" down my throat.

While in general my heart was in the right place, I must admit that I prayed the "sinners prayer" with the fellow on the phone more to just get him to shut up and send me the Bible study booklets than anything else.

However, according to him, I was "saved."  Obviously if he heard this now, he'd probably tell me "oh, you weren't saved."  Whatever.  All that my experience demonstrates, is that a great number of their "converts" are probably extremely superficial...there is no room in their theology for the whole notion of sincerity...or the fact that even we as individuals, can never say unfailingly just how "sincere" we really are (which is precisely why we cannot be presumptuous about our salvation.)

btw., as a funny aside to that story...at the time, though I was quite "pan-Christian" in my interests, I had been warming up to Catholicism and Orthodoxy (in a vacilitating, back and forth kind of way), but still did not understand all of the ramifications of those divides (between Protestantism, Catholicism, and Orthodoxy.)  When I got "saved" at the hands of the phone evangelist, he said that I should now go seek a "Bible believing Church."  "Great" I said, and suggested outloud to myself that I should perhaps go to the neighbourhood Catholic parish (which is what I ended up doing, btw.)  In hindsight, I recall hearing a slight "choke" on the other end of the phone, with the simple repetition "go to a Bible believing Church...we can send you a list of the ones in your area" or something to that effect. Smiley

While these evangelicals pooh-pooh Orthodox lands for the phenomenon of some people just being "nominallly Orthodox", even this nominalism is far more beneficial and substantial than the rampant nominalism of evangelicalism...if only for the fact it lacks the presumptuousness (since even unlearned, rather lukewarm Orthodox are at least possessed by such quaint ideas as having to actually live a clean life to avoid Hell, and that God rewards good and evil accordingly.)

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« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2003, 01:36:39 PM »

Seraphim,

  Your experience with Evangelicalism seems fairly typically from my own experiences growing up as an Evangelical. To be fair though, most Evangelicals don't know the first thing about Orthodoxy and usually associate it with Catholicism, which they also are very ignorant about and have a lot of misconceptions on. I myself had never even heard of the Orthodox Church until a few years ago, and even then had no clue what it believed. Many Evangelical leaders, pastors and ministers are even this way. In this sense, many Evangelicals are simply acting out of ignorance in trying to "witness" to Catholics and Orthodox. There are, however, a few Evangelicals who do have a basic knowledge of Orthodoxy and Catholicism. Some simply see them as in error, but still Christian, while others such as apparently the authors of this manual think that Orthodox and Catholicism are not even Christian (are paganized versions of Christianity) and thus should be converted. These are the guys to really watch out for.
   But as for your experience with an operator for Billy Graham, I think part of that has to do with the Evangelical mindset. Despite trying to pose as opponents of secular American culture (which in some respects they are), American Evangelicalism has been deeply influenced by American culture. An example of this is that evangelizing techniques resemble business marketing strategies. In essence, getting someone "saved" is kind of like making a sale, so Evangelicals, like businessmen can be pushy at times. Also, as in the business world, numbers are important in many Evangelical churches. I know from personal experience that Baptists make a big deal of counting how many people were "saved" and joined the church per year as an indication of how well a church is doing. Oftentimes this leads to a false sense of whether or not a church is healthy or not. And of course, as one person has said to me, if all the numbers Evangelicals claimed were true about the number of people who had gotten "saved" at Evangelical churches, then the whole world would be Christian three times over!
   The business influence on Evangelicals can also be seen in the popularity of "seeker sensitive" worship, prosperity theology, and Evangelicalism unquestioning acceptance of American capitalism (I am by no means a left-wing communism, but I like the fact that Orthodoxy and Catholicism critique the materialistic assumptions of many capitalists). The fact that many Evangelical pastors wear a suit and tie (business attire) as opposed to vestments is also another sign of this.
   But as to Evangelical "conversion" experiences, they have a hard time explaining how someone who has had such an experience can abandon Christianity or fall into gross sin. The only explaination I have heard was that the "sinners prayer" "didn't take" or wasn't "sincere", but it seems a pretty lame explaination now. And you are corrrect that about nomialism in Evangelicalism. In the Southern Baptist Convention, for example, only of its members one-third go to church weekly, and one third never go at all. Nominalism is a problem for all christians, but as you say at least nominal Orthodox believers aren't under the illusion that the are "once-saved-always-saved" and have no chance of going to hell. Evangelicalism's theology tends to worsen nomialism in its ranks in my opinion. And the funny thing about "Bible believing churches" is how subjective that is in the first place. Even within Evangelicalism there are contradictions about what that means. A harline Reformed wouldn't list a Methodist Church as "Bible-believing" and vice-versa.
  To be fair though, I know from growing up that there are many sincere Evangelicals who do live godly lives, so not all Evangelicals are nominal. And as one priest told me, you should thank God for growing up Baptist, it is a perfect background to become Orthodox:) Despite realizing the errors of Evangelicalism, I still am glad that I grew up in a Evangelical family as opposed to with secular parents. My greatest hope would be that Evangelicals would abandon their errors, join Orthodoxy and bring their love of the Bible and zeal for God to the Orthodox Church with them. That is, God willing what I hope to do eventually!

God bless,

P.S.
 

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« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2003, 03:02:46 AM »

It seems that this manual plays off the ignorance of some Orthodox rather than to educate them of what the Church actually teaches. This is troublesome. It seems that they go with the "officially what the Church teaches is true, but some of the average laymen we ran into on the street don't think this way so the whole concept is wrong". Interestingly enough this mainly focuses on Orthodox in Russia. IMHO, The Russian Church could counter a lot of the Protestant missionary work by simply putting out a Modern Russian Translation of the Orthodox Bible(the way we're doing in the States) and a Modern Russian Liturgy would be great. I hope they don't try and do this in the States because from what I've seen, especcially with the converts, we know how to handle all of this because we came from this and from what I've seen, American Orthodox tend to be more active in the faith than it seems that Russians are portrayed as being in this manual.
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« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2003, 10:32:18 PM »

Bump!

I just emailed a friend from church about this thread and perhaps he will comment on it.  I also wanted to see if any of the new members had anything to say about this or if anyone had any additional input.
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« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2003, 11:26:25 PM »

Having been raised a protestant, though unbaptised, as a Presbyterian, I cannot, nor I would think that my relatives and friends would ever come up with something so terrible.  I am against all forced or coersive conversion.  I believe that it is the choice of the individual to change religion and they should have at least an only partially biased side.  Trickery is a tool of Satan and these people seem to have lost sight of that.  I guess we can't all be intelligent enough to leave things well enough alone.
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« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2003, 12:48:32 PM »

I don't think these folks believe they are using trickery. They believe they are saving the souls of the Orthodox, who are hopelessly lost in "works-based religion" and the "traditions of men."

They believe we do not read or study the Bible, although in some cases I am afraid they are right about that.

I think they also believe that we are not interested in an actual relationship with Jesus Christ but merely in salvation-by-ritual and through legalistic obedience to conniving and underhanded priests.

We also worship idols and pray to and for the dead.

In other words, we're the bad guys.
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« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2003, 01:58:28 PM »

They believe we do not read or study the Bible, although in some cases I am afraid they are right about that.


Linus, how many of them actually read and study their Bibles on a daily basis? Just like you have lukewarm Orthodox, you have lukewarm evangelicals.
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« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2003, 03:55:58 PM »

sinjin -

I know what you mean, except that I was not really talking about lukewarm Orthodox. It seems to me that there is less emphasis on Bible study among Orthodox Christians than among Evangelical Protestants. Sometimes this means that even fairly enthusiastic Orthodox are less familiar with the Bible than they should be.

I have really seen that among my Roman Catholic friends. They seem to believe so strongly in the Magisterium of the Church that they neglect reading the Bible for themselves. Thus when they attempt to engage Evangelicals in discussion or debate, they are often unprepared and unable to answer. This reinforces Protestants in their errors.

If we are to counteract things like the methods outlined in this manual, we are going to have to be able to argue Bible with the Evangelicals; they are not going to hear anything else.
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« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2003, 04:07:41 PM »

Linus I understand what you are saying. However, many monks and priests that I know encourage us to read the Scriptures and other spiritual literature every week. Maybe the message needs to be broadcast frequently in obvious ways. Also, arguing the Bible with evangelicals I don't think is going to change their opinion.  I think our best witness is through the praxis of our faith, and when we treat others with love and care, even when we debate the scriptures.
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« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2003, 04:10:33 PM »

Quote
I know what you mean, except that I was not really talking about lukewarm Orthodox. It seems to me that there is less emphasis on Bible study among Orthodox Christians than among Evangelical Protestants. Sometimes this means that even fairly enthusiastic Orthodox are less familiar with the Bible than they should be.

Not that I'm a Bible expert, but I'm afraid it might be true, even though the Orthodox services, like traditional Roman Catholic ones, are full of Bible quotations.

A Byzantine Catholic priest once said he wished Roman Catholics knew the Bible like Protestants and worshipped like the Orthodox, but instead they know the Bible as badly as Orthodox and worship like Protestants.

Quote
I have really seen that among my Roman Catholic friends. They seem to believe so strongly in the Magisterium of the Church that they neglect reading the Bible for themselves. Thus when they attempt to engage Evangelicals in discussion or debate, they are often unprepared and unable to answer. This reinforces Protestants in their errors.

That might have been true of an immigrant generation that either couldn't read or didn't have time for reading because they had to work so hard, but I imagine less true of the nascent-restoration generation today, who thanks to some beneficial influence from conservative Protestantism (got to be careful with such influences) are interested in/pretty well versed in scripture.

Quote
If we are to counteract things like the methods outlined in this manual, we are going to have to be able to argue Bible with the Evangelicals; they are not going to hear anything else.

Certainly true in America's nominally Protestant/post-Protestant culture. The average religiously uninformed American has this vague notion of Christian history - there was God. And Jesus. And the Bible, from somewhere or somebody, whatever. Then 'those Catholics' (cue the music: duh-duh-DUMMMMM!) came along and messed it all up, but some good people stick to what's in the Good Book, which says things like, ah, uh, 'to thine own self be true'? Grin.

Part of the reason Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses are so successful recruiting Americans, other than these non-Christian religions are homegrown and blend in well with Protestant religious culture, is that their door-to-door salesmen impress people by quoting lots and lot of chapter and verse from the Bible.
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« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2003, 04:34:08 PM »

Linus I understand what you are saying. However, many monks and priests that I know encourage us to read the Scriptures and other spiritual literature every week. Maybe the message needs to be broadcast frequently in obvious ways. Also, arguing the Bible with evangelicals I don't think is going to change their opinion.  I think our best witness is through the praxis of our faith, and when we treat others with love and care, even when we debate the scriptures.

True. It's all important: living as Christ enjoined and being able to give an answer for the hope that is in us.

One will not convince without the other, although the truly righteous life will certainly come a lot closer than mere Bible arguments alone.

Quote
From Serge: Certainly true in America's nominally Protestant/post-Protestant culture. The average religiously uninformed American has this vague notion of Christian history - there was God. And Jesus. And the Bible, from somewhere or somebody, whatever. Then 'those Catholics' (cue the music: duh-duh-DUMMMMM!) came along and messed it all up, but some good people stick to what's in the Good Book, which says things like, ah, uh, 'to thine own self be true'? .

Part of the reason Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses are so successful recruiting Americans, other than these non-Christian religions are homegrown and blend in well with Protestant religious culture, is that their door-to-door salesmen impress people by quoting lots and lot of chapter and verse from the Bible.

That is what I like about this web site: pretty frequently things are posted that capture what is going on with a stunning brevity that makes the truth of the statement all the more apparent.

Nicely said, Serge!  Grin

An Orthodox Christian (or a Roman Catholic) who knows his Bible and Church history will make a far greater impression on an Evangelical Protestant than one who tries to argue from Church history alone.

Quote
From Serge: That might have been true of an immigrant generation that either couldn't read or didn't have time for reading because they had to work so hard, but I imagine less true of the nascent-restoration generation today, who thanks to some beneficial influence from conservative Protestantism (got to be careful with such influences) are interested in/pretty well versed in scripture.

Perhaps, but not among the RCs I know (none of whom are immigrants). A good RC friend of mine once told me that I have an advantage in having been an Evangelical Protestant because it motivated me to become familiar with the Bible. He expressed regret because he has never read it all the way through himself.



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« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2003, 08:12:59 AM »

Part of the reason Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses are so successful recruiting Americans, other than these non-Christian religions are homegrown and blend in well with Protestant religious culture, is that their door-to-door salesmen impress people by quoting lots and lot of chapter and verse from the Bible.

There's more to it than that. I've never been in a Mormon building (other than touring the Washington temple at its completion), but as part of a religion course in college I went to JW services for some months. It was curious. The service was superficially low Protestant, and in many respects the congregation embodied the social ideals of decades earlier-- patriarchs leading, respectful sons and daughters, people dressed for church, etc....... The feeling of community was quite intense, though to me there was something dried out about any actual religion. ALso, kingdon halls tend to be pretty small-- they are generally still at the level where everyone in the congrgation knows everyone else at least superficially.

The other issue isn't so much that their missionaries spout a lot of scripture. It's that most people aren't equipped to reply. I'm very well-prepared to deal with the JWs, and my wife is well-prepared to deal with the Mormons. We generally don't because we don't have the time it would take, never mind whether they would even heed us. And it's not bragging to say that we are exceptional people in this regard. I have a level of interest in theology that most people don't have and an education in theolog that most people don't have time for, never mind aptitude. Most people are ill-equipped to deal with someone who comes well-prepared, and have to resort to eiher "not interested" or sheer stubbornness. And most people are not as bull-headed as people in the computer industry tend to be.
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« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2003, 04:04:12 PM »

Quote
And most people are not as bull-headed as people in the computer industry tend to be.

There is a reason why managing programmers is like herding cats   Wink

JW checklist of non-potential converts:

  • Orthodox
  • Baptists
  • Well grounded and studied Anglicans Wink
  • Programmers
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« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2003, 04:14:53 PM »

Quote
I'm very well-prepared to deal with the JWs, and my wife is well-prepared to deal with the Mormons. We generally don't because we don't have the time it would take, never mind whether they would even heed us.

That is a good point.

I must confess that when JWs come to my door I am more likely to tell them "not interested" than I am to stand there and argue with them for an hour.
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« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2003, 04:19:45 PM »

Just say "Oh, we were about to start praying, would you like to come in and join us? First you prostrate before the icons and kiss them, asking the saints to..."  Tongue

Seriously though, some valid points are being raised. We Orthodox (like just about all other groups) do need to spend more time studying what we believe so that we are ready to give an answer when asked (or at least attempt an answer).
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« Reply #29 on: May 22, 2003, 10:30:42 AM »

The thing that strikes me most is persistance of JWs.  This thread reminded me of a story a monk once told me about his experiences with them...
When he started becoming interesting in monastism, he decided to retreat from the world to contemplate and pray.  His method of doing this was moving into the middle of the Australian Outback, with a 50+ mile driveway.  There he lived for several months without seeing another living soul.  He had no electricity or running water.  He biked once a week to the end of his driveway to pick up newspapers at his mailbox.  
One fine evening, there's a knock on the door.  He opened the door to find 2 well dressed, well groomed young men.  Thinking they perhaps were lost, he invited them in.  As he poured them tea, they started asking him if he's ever heard of the JWs, or read any of their liturature.  Not wanting to ruin the evening, as he had invited them to spend the night, as it was several hundred miles to the nearest hotel, and to avoid the temptation to preach or argue on the subject of faith that he was still slightly shacky on, he claimed he couldn't read, this way avoiding being baddgered by JW prapoganda.  He learned not to even give little white lies on this occasion, because the next morning, as the two young men were getting ready to leave, were discussing a horrible pile-up accident that had happened a few weeks before in Sydney.  My friend said, "oh yes, I read about that a week ago in the paper, horrible tragedy it was."  The JWs turned and said, "Ah, we thought you couldn't read."  His punishment for lying was sitting for the rest of the day with the JWs re-educationing them.
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« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2003, 11:02:44 PM »

If anyone knows how to reach the author, tell me or else just send the orlapubs refutatonof Negrut's Protestant Critique of Orthodoxy to him

http://orlapubs.org.AR/R272.html

Afanasiy   orlapub@orlapubs.com
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« Reply #31 on: October 30, 2008, 11:17:07 AM »

Ksenia,

Protestant ... often wildly such as denying the Trinity or the divinity/humanity of Christ.  

No no! Discussion will get nowhere if not based on facts. No Protestants deny any of this. There are of course former Protestants who apostatise and cease to believe these things (as no doubt there are similar former Orthodox). But he who denies the Trinity, the deity or the humanity of Christ, is no longer a Christian of any sort.
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« Reply #32 on: October 30, 2008, 11:30:06 AM »

I am posting this again since the last time I posted it was on the previous incarnation of this board.

http://www.namb.net/evangelism/iev/PDF/BB_E_Orthodox_Manual.pdf

It is the infamous "manual for witnessing to persons of an Eastern Orthodox background."

Let's get together and write a response to be posted on OC.net!

In Christ,

anastasios


You know I'm down. But I'm still working on Morey's book. I have to finish writting about Icons, the LXX, as well as the claim of the Calvinistic Patriarch.

After that, I should be done with everything.

but I'll take a look at it, and if I can help out, I will try. I'm in the Saint Stephen's house of studies program, so I may not be consistant, and it may take a while to complete. But if I can help I will.


I have three more pieces to write in regards to Morey's book, but this is what I have so far:

Part 1
http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/2008/08/review-of-moreys-book-part-1.html

Part 2-a
http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/2008/08/review-of-robert-moreys-book-part-2.html

Part 2-b
http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/2008/08/review-of-robert-moreys-book-part-2-b.html




I'll print out the Manual to see what it says. And since I was raised Baptist, I could help out with what Baptists believe, why they are saying what they are saying, there background, the different theories on how they began......ect.

I can also talk about the different western views of "grace and free will".


I'm printing it out now.




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« Reply #33 on: October 30, 2008, 11:35:43 AM »

Ksenia,

Protestant ... often wildly such as denying the Trinity or the divinity/humanity of Christ.  

No no! Discussion will get nowhere if not based on facts. No Protestants deny any of this. There are of course former Protestants who apostatise and cease to believe these things (as no doubt there are similar former Orthodox). But he who denies the Trinity, the deity or the humanity of Christ, is no longer a Christian of any sort.

There are Protestants in America who deny it.

You have Oneness Pentecostals, the way international, and a new group I found last month through an early christian yahoo group I belong too. And they call themself "Ante-Nicene Christian Church". If you look at their bookstore you will see anti-Triniterian books there.

http://www.ante-nicenechurch.org/


And in regards to the two natures of Christ........some of the Reformed (Prespyterian andmaybe Dutch Reformed). Some some of the Reformed have a nestorian view. And in regards to the Trinity, some of them are on the verge of tri-theism.


so yeah, some protestants deny it.




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« Reply #34 on: October 30, 2008, 12:02:32 PM »

Ksenia,

Protestant ... often wildly such as denying the Trinity or the divinity/humanity of Christ.  

No no! Discussion will get nowhere if not based on facts. No Protestants deny any of this. There are of course former Protestants who apostatise and cease to believe these things (as no doubt there are similar former Orthodox). But he who denies the Trinity, the deity or the humanity of Christ, is no longer a Christian of any sort.
Post of the Month nominee! Very well said.
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« Reply #35 on: October 30, 2008, 12:16:05 PM »

Ouch!!! 75 pages!!! Shocked there goes my ink and printing paper  Cry

Yeah, I think I'm gonna give it a read.






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« Reply #36 on: October 30, 2008, 08:58:49 PM »

This is the journy of Father James Early.
http://iconnewmedianetwork.com/Channel/podcasts/journeys-to-orthodoxy/#

or

http://iconnewmedianetwork.com/Channel/podcasts/journeys-to-orthodoxy/

He has a blog. I don't know where it is at this time, but If someone is able to contact him. Then I'm sure he will be of great help in regards to this manual.

The manual was produced by someone who went to "Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary" (a southern Baptist school).

Before Father James became Orthodox. He too went to Southwestern Baptist Theological seminary. He also was a missionary for the Southern Baptists. His focus was mainly Eastern Europe, and he was in a high position for the mission in that area.

He eventually became Orthodox, and I'm sure you can hear the rest of his story from the podcast. But if we can get his perspective, then that would be great.......for he was out in the field in Bosnia, and I think Serbia. So he knows from first hand experience......how all of this works from a southern Baptist perspective.









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« Reply #37 on: October 30, 2008, 11:37:21 PM »

I've read this article before. I did get the impression that the person who wrote it did much better than the majority of criticism. I've seen many anti-Orthodox websites that look like they've just Googled in "bad things about Orthodox." My favorite website of all time is this:
http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Religions/Russian_Orthodox/ro-idolatry.htm
Probably the most stereotypical Fundy Protestant article in existence.
Another:
http://www.christianweek.org/stories/vol19/no05/record.html

Back to the article on topic, it does exhibit a lot of knowledge on Orthodoxy, but some of it gets to a point where I get confused. Especially all the charts and "turning barriers into bridges" sections. A lot of it is based off of assumptions like "veneration of icons takes people's attention away from God." However, this has got to be the first evangelical who calls it veneration instead of worship. At least this guy is criticizing Orthodoxy based on what we actually believe.
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« Reply #38 on: October 30, 2008, 11:45:51 PM »

Quote
A lot of it is based on assumptions like "veneration of icons takes people's attention away from God."


SNORRRT!!! Lucky I had nothing in my mouth when I read that, it would have ended up all over the screen. (Pity I couldn't get the font size to increase ...)

Quote
He eventually became Orthodox, and I'm sure you can hear the rest of his story from the podcast. But if we can get his perspective, then that would be great.......for he was out in the field in Bosnia, and I think Serbia.


Oooh, a Protestant trying to evangelise Serbs. Hoo! That would've been fun to watch.  laugh
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« Reply #39 on: October 30, 2008, 11:55:25 PM »

This is the journy of Father James Early.
http://iconnewmedianetwork.com/Channel/podcasts/journeys-to-orthodoxy/#

or

http://iconnewmedianetwork.com/Channel/podcasts/journeys-to-orthodoxy/

He has a blog. I don't know where it is at this time, but If someone is able to contact him. Then I'm sure he will be of great help in regards to this manual.

His blog: http://saintjameskids.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #40 on: October 31, 2008, 12:06:34 AM »

I can't believe I actually took the time to read this piece of garbage. 
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« Reply #41 on: October 31, 2008, 12:51:02 AM »

Archbishop Lazar responded to this "manual" on YouTube. An excellent series of vids...
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« Reply #42 on: October 31, 2008, 06:29:32 PM »


And these "Baptists", with their barn-like church edifaces


You are getting off the point: the discussion is not about architecture. I have never visited America, but in England these barn-like edifices were often erected by immeasurable personal sacrifice by very low-paid farm labourers, often under severe opposition and even physical persecution (loss of a tied farm cottage, being beaten up, stoned, thrown in rivers and ponds, imprisoned), and in these edifices they sought God, salvation and holiness. To me such chapels have a simple unadorned dignity: to many they are sacred.

You Orthodox have beautiful buildings, and I love to visit them, not least in mountain villages in Albania where bats still dwell in security and the priest visits from time to time for worship. But they are not MORE sacred (in my view) than our barn-like edifices. Indeed, a good deal of our early worship in the 19th century was actually in barns lent for the purpose, till a chapel could be built.

Another thing I would like to repeat here (for I have expressed it also in another thread) is that you are, in your discussion, mixing theology and culture. Much of what I read in this thread, of what American Orthodox say about American Evangelicals, is hard to distinguish from what we English Evangelicals say about our American Evangelical brethren. You need to distinguish between local culture and formal theology.

Finally, it seems to me that to a large extent you are all missing the point - both the author of the Manual and you who are discussing it. The author writes (as you say) with an unusually comprehensive understanding of Orthodoxy; but he writes as if every person of Orthodox background shares his understanding. You who are discussing his Manual do have that good, clear and comprehensive understanding of your Church's teachings and practice. In such debates there will always be a trickle of converts in one direction or the other. But from my experience, most "Orthodox" who convert to Evangelicalism have little knowledge and less practice of their family's or village's traditional faith: really, they are converting from no practised religion at all to an Evangelical faith. You and the Manual are, as it were, discussing matters at an almost scholarly level of knowledge - a debate between equally informed people. In day-to-day practice, both you and we (I write as an Evangelical) need to be bringing these non-religious people to appreciate and know Christ.

It may be of interest (though not germane to this thread really) that common experience is that converts to Evangelicalism tend to be more deeply or more lastingly committed if they come from a Moslem background than an Orthodox. Coverts to an Evangelical faith from Orthodox background revert more often to their previous ways than those from Moslem backgrounds. But this is probably irrelevant to this thread, and I don't know if it fits in at all.

Forgive nme for butting in, for this thread is really a discussion between committed Orthodox.
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« Reply #43 on: October 31, 2008, 06:38:31 PM »

David Young,

The poster known as "Seraphim Reeves" has not been active on this board for over hour years.

If you click on someone's name, their public profile will display, along with a few points of data.
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« Reply #44 on: October 31, 2008, 06:46:20 PM »

David Young,

The poster known as "Seraphim Reeves" has not been active on this board for over hour years.

If you click on someone's name, their public profile will display, along with a few points of data.

Which is also why we generally don't resurrect half-decade old threads. Undecided
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