Thank-you for your post! Certainly, we trust in God, as Starlight stated, but at the same time, we have to differentiate where we can have a symbiosis with those outside of Orthodoxy, and where we can't. First off, I don't think anyone would deny that if a soul, any soul, reads the Holy Scriptures, they are going to have some spiritual benefit, and that God is going to start working on that soul--for truly, how can one come to the Holy Scriptures, and not be edified at least in some regard?
And you're right, some Orthodox have said that to me. Many have taken it upon themselves to tell me I'm not Orthodox at all, because I celebrate Christmas on a different day, or because my church has pews, or something of this nature. I have to accept that people are free to believe and think what they like about me. And you know what, maybe they're right? Maybe they are more Orthodox than I am, who knows? It just seems that when there is any correction, if it is genuine correction, it will not be smug arrogant correction, but that of MEEKNESS and LOVE--the correction of the Holy Apostles. We do not love our brothers any less when we say "no, you can't teach Sola Scriptura", or when we say "No, the Spirit does not proceed from the Father and the Son". Ecumenicity is in the Church through Her very nature. This is not pride that inspires me to say this, but just belief that the Church is full and complete--the Ecumenical Church has no need for Ecumenism.
What does she have need for in regard to others? Humility. As the Church most certainly is the hospital of our souls, we must know that just because we are Orthodox (whether "True", "Genuine", "World" "Old" "New", better-than-you), this does not guarantee us anything. Nor can we be so brash to say that those protestant and roman catholic parishioners who sincerely love Christ, who have good in their hearts, and humility in their souls, will be lost. What can be more Christian, more "love thy neighbours", then hoping that God's grace suffices to SAVE US ALL? Who hopes for heaven, hopes to escape the torments of separation from God, and then delights in others who are on a wrong path, or in condemning those who perhaps don't know any better? Are we justified in this? We know that salvation is a mystery between God and the soul of every person.
We know that those who do good, are not against God. Those heterodox who teach correctly on a certain aspect of the faith, are to be commended, that they walk with what light they are given. Perhaps even more sobering, when we think we have all our i's dotted, our t's crossed, our dogmatics and canonicity impeccably fine-tuned, we must know that our account is going to be far far greater. For those who are not where we perceive ourselves to be (perceive, because we are all horrible judges of ourselves, and we don't always have 20/20 vision in these things), perhaps rather than being so quick to scoff a message of despair, how about a message of encouragement, how about a private prayer for that soul's enlightenment? Tomorrow, by the grace of God, that soul surpasses our own in its orthopraxy, its zeal, its holiness.
The Orthodox Church is not alone in the world, but She alone is the Church. This is our Orthodox belief. This is not said because we don't love our brothers of various heterodox groups. A brother loves when he speaks lovingly, he loves also when he rebukes (if not, he wouldn't even bother). I think it all boils down to our disposition--if we're willing to speak in good charity, or with smugness and pride. And charity, shouldnever come at the expense of the Truth--for such is not love and charity, but farce.
Just as a final point, I am reminded of St. Gregory the Theologian, whose father, St. Gregory the Elder (d.374), was initially a member of a monotheistic sect called the Hypsistarii. St. Gregory wrote, "Even before he was of our fold [in the Church], he was ours. His character made him one of us [the faithful]. For, as manyof our own are not with us, whose life alientates them from the common body [the Church], so many of those without are ON OUR SIDE, whose character anticipates their faith, and need only the name of that which indeed they possess. My father was one of these, an alien shoot, but inclined by his life towards us...It was a reward for such conduct, I think, he attained to the faith". Many Orthodox brothers and sisters on this board, came from Protestantism, and Roman Catholicism, with sincere love for Christ and the Church--who can honestly say that God's grace was not working on them as heterodox, to search to find the pearl of great price? And finally, if God's grace was working on them, who is to say that the good in their heterodox sects, the light they had to walk by, was not God-pleasing? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it was Christ Himself who rebuked the Apostles for hindering faithful for casting out demons in His name, because they were not part of "the group". Right?
In Christ Jesus, the least,
P.S. Sorry for the ramble.