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Author Topic: Feuding over Baptism  (Read 4253 times) Average Rating: 0
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drs2
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« on: May 19, 2006, 10:29:31 PM »

My wife ,my 8year old daughter and I are recent converts to the Orthodox faith. I have a teenage daughter from a previous marriage and am having a hard time convincing my ex-wife to allow my oldest daughter to convert as well. My ex-wife is from a Baptist background and currently attends a non-denominational church with my daughter and her two other children. She believes only my daughter can decide when and to what church she is to be baptised (I don't know if this is a Baptist belief or just hers). Her husband is a practicing RC but their two children are not. She also equates Orthodoxy with RC, which she despises. My question is does anyone know if Baptists accept any churches baptism? My line of thinking is our faith only accepts our baptism and if Baptists accept any it would be an easier sell. Any and all help and advice is appreciated.
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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2006, 10:39:42 PM »

The idea that a person must have faith before baptism is called "Believer's Baptism" and is a doctrine originally conceived by Anabaptists. It is fairly ubiquitous in more evangelical and "non-denominational" groups today.

In regards to the baptism itself, it depends on the individual church as to whether or not they will accept it. However, this shouldn't be a point of leverage, because it something extremely sacred, not a bargaining chip.

I believe the best course of action is to talk to her more about Orthodoxy, and show her how it is not Roman Catholicism. This should assuage most of her fears. If you can show her how we reject papal infalliability, purgatory, and some of the other Catholic doctrines, and at the same time show her how we baptize by immersion, commune often, and hold the Scriptures in very high regard (all things she would do as a Baptist/non-denom), you should be set.
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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2006, 10:52:17 PM »

As far as i understand baptists baptise as well and i'd suppose that's how they got their name of baptists...only difference is that they see it as more of a symbol rather than an endowment of grace...

As far as i understand as well is that if she's been baptised in the baptist church or in any other Christian church for that matter, some Orthodox churches may admit her only through chrismation, rather than a rebaptism...

As far as your daughter consenting to the baptism, if she is a teenager then i would think that it seems to me that she would be at the age of reason and i would assume that she would be the one to take the vows on her own behalf or perhaps in communion with her parents...therefore i'd have to agree with your ex on that one, i don't think the priest would be too happy baptising a teenager who is not even consenting to the faith and disagrees with it...

Maybe you can slowly introduce her to the church and once she's comfortable with it you can introduce her to the idea of baptism and if she agrees then she can make her mother comfortable with the knowledge that this is her decision, something that she has embraced and that isn't being imposed on her by her father...

Till then i suppose you'll have to agree that she's gonna be Baptist-Orthodox...
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2006, 11:02:46 PM »

Sorry, i forgot to mention that besides the Catholic and Orthodox churches, Lutherans, Anglicans and Pentecostals also baptise in a sacramental manner; and besides the Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists and Evangelicals may also baptise in a simply symbolic manner...
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2006, 12:02:52 AM »

Thank you both so much for your advice.

Bizz, I agree 100% that baptism is very sacred. Unfortunately, like a lot of divorced couples I assume, diplomacy goes in spurts. Over the years we've come to agree that we disagree...on just about everything. We are cordial to one another for my daughters sake. For that reason a lengthy theological debate is probably out of the question (though I'll give it a shot Tongue). As a father I feel it is my responsibility to teach Orthodoxy to my children at an early age. My daughter is fourteen and and I am on borrowed time. Daddy's little girl wants to spend less and less time with Ole' Dad. :'( Since when aren't dads cool? Tongue None the less I will try the reasoned approach and pray.

I'm sorry I forgot the name of the second post.
You have a very valid point as to her being old enough to choose for herself. As poorly as her mother and I get along we have enough respect for each other that these talks are without our daughters knowledge. I knew going into this it would be an issue with my ex-wife so I haven't mentioned it to my teenager yet. There are enough struggles for a teenager in life without the unjust stress of their parents debating her eternal soul. When she is at my house every Friday and Saturday she lives and practices as we do, fasts and all. I haven't pushed anything orthodox on her. We pray before meals as a family and I say prayers with both daughters before bed. My youngest starts with readings of saints lives and finishes with a prayer and crossing ourselves. My oldest is just prayers and no crossing.

Any other advice is deeply appreciated.
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2006, 12:32:31 AM »

For that reason a lengthy theological debate is probably out of the question (though I'll give it a shot Tongue).

I am not suggesting a debate so much as explanation. If she knew this, she'd be much more at ease, especially if you took the time to try and point out some similarities in practice between Orthodoxy and the Baptist faith. But good luck!
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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2006, 12:43:13 AM »

I was probably being dramatic about the debate ordeal. I was trying to convey the state of our relationship. I don't know how receptive I'd be if the shoe was on the other foot and it is my fear she feels the same way. Your idea about pointing out similarities was wonderful and sounds like my best bet. Do you happen to know what those are? Or are there any Baptist converts reading?

Thank you Bizz so much again
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2006, 12:59:54 AM »

I was probably being dramatic about the debate ordeal. I was trying to convey the state of our relationship. I don't know how receptive I'd be if the shoe was on the other foot and it is my fear she feels the same way. Your idea about pointing out similarities was wonderful and sounds like my best bet. Do you happen to know what those are? Or are there any Baptist converts reading?

Thank you Bizz so much again

Well, apologetics vs Catholics and Protestants is my forte, so I can give you some good similarities. Granted, there are not a great number, but here a few  that will probably help her out a lot:

Respect for Scripture: Both of us have great respect for the Bible, and use it extensively (The Divine Liturgy has over 300 scripture references alone). The Gospel reading is one of the central features of our Liturgy.

Baptism by Immersion: Orthodoxy has always believed in baptism by full immersion, something the Baptists are quite adamant on. Point out that any baptism in Orthodoxy would be done this way.

Frequent Communion: Most converts will commune frequently, and it is the prevailing practice in the US. This is something else that Baptists are very much in favor of.

Membership: There are no "non practicing Orthodox" that are allowed communion. One muct be active in Church or they cannot recieve the Eucharist

Congregational singing: Everyone in Orthodoxy is invited (and in some cases, expected) to sing. Liturgy means "work of the people" and there can be no service without participation. Participation is also something that is big for Baptists.

Fellowship: Many Orthodox parishes have meals (or snacks) after Liturgy. As many see traditional churches as being very rigid and impersonal, this is something to point out. Fellowship is key for living an Orthodox life.

Prayer/Study: Today, personal study and prayer is HUGE in Protestantism. Well, the same has always been true for Orthodoxy. We pray every morning and evening and at all meals (this should be similar to the practice of more pious Baptists) and every layman is encouraged to read their Bible everyday.

Fasting: Depending on the practice of the indiidual church, you may or may not want to go with this. If they do fast, though, you should point out that Orthodox have always fasted, and quite extensively at that!

Ultimately, what you want to do is take anything in Orthodoxy that is familiar and comfortable to her, and show that we do it. She must see that Orthodoxy really isn't some "weird" Church, but simply does the same kinds of things as everyone else (though much more of those things, and more often)
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« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2006, 01:22:09 AM »

Please let me start by saying I typically take advice by jumping into questions and whatever subject matter pops into my head. I mean no disrespect to anyone by doing this. Its a fault of mine that sometimes comes across ungracious. PLEASE over look this.

Now that I have the jackass disclaimer I can carry on. Grin

I didn't realise there were so many similarities. Those seem to be a very solid starting point. She has also mentioned concerns with icons, Mary, and confessing to a priest. I have some literature to overcome these objections (advice is welcome for these as well). My largest hurdle seems to be that I attend a GOA parish and the ethnic issue.  The nearest OCA parish is an hour away and quite frankly I love where I'm at. I can understand the concern as my wife had the same concerns before attending with me and realising for herself she didn't have to love Greek culture to love the Church. Unfortunately I will never have the same opportunity with my ex-wife to show her.

Thanks again for the advice
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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2006, 01:46:11 AM »

Please let me start by saying I typically take advice by jumping into questions and whatever subject matter pops into my head. I mean no disrespect to anyone by doing this. Its a fault of mine that sometimes comes across ungracious. PLEASE over look this.

Now that I have the jackass disclaimer I can carry on. Grin

I didn't realise there were so many similarities. Those seem to be a very solid starting point. She has also mentioned concerns with icons, Mary, and confessing to a priest. I have some literature to overcome these objections (advice is welcome for these as well). My largest hurdle seems to be that I attend a GOA parish and the ethnic issue.  The nearest OCA parish is an hour away and quite frankly I love where I'm at. I can understand the concern as my wife had the same concerns before attending with me and realising for herself she didn't have to love Greek culture to love the Church. Unfortunately I will never have the same opportunity with my ex-wife to show her.

Thanks again for the advice

No disclaimer needed  Wink

As for the similarities, they are largely surface issues, not theological ones. As I mentioned before, we don;t have all that much in common with Baptists, theologically.

Icons are easy. Show her that even in the Old Testament (and if at any point images were condemned, it was the OT) God commanded Israel to make them!! Some references: Exodus 25:18-22, Exodus 26:1, Exodus 26:31, 1 Kings 6:23-35, and Ezekiel 41:18-25. Those will get you sarted!

In regards to Mary, show her this verse, and if there are any more problems, I am probably going to need specifics (this one is usually so shocking that it often works by itself, though). Luke 1:42

"And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb."

Confession in general is mandated in James 5:16. In regards to confession to a priest, just explain that one doesn't necessarily have to confess to a priest, as long as one confesses (which is commanded). However, you may want to emphasize that confession is a time of healing and help, where the priest acts like a counsellor. Make sure you state clearly that confession is not where you are judged or belittled.

As for the ethnic issue, the best you can do is explain. Tell her that the parish has Greek roots, but that there are non-Greek there, too, and that they have an English Liturgy.

I hope this has helped you! Just remember to be calm, ready to answer, and explain it in a way she understands. Make it seem natural and comfortable, because it is!
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« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2006, 05:30:36 PM »

Although, I am Orthodox and a convert, I would tend to agree at this time that your daughter at 14 is old enough to make the decision where she wishes to be baptised.  As a parent, I believe that it would be your duty to teach her Orthodox Christian beliefs just as your ex-wife will likely be teaching her the Baptist/non-denominational teachings.  When and if your daughter makes herchoice you have a greater likelihood of her understanding and being personally committed to her beliefs than if you were able to force her into a church she does not believe in.  With chilkdren under 12, I would say baptize away because they can be taught and are at a point parental teachings are listened to more carefully.  Rememebr that one of the developmental tasks of a 14-18 year is to determine what they accept from their parents and what they reject ie. becoming their own person---This is a time that many actually are looking into spirituality and the right presentation and meeting other Orthodox Children her age  could be effective missionary presentations. Beware at this time by the way, this age grouping 14-18 is a time that Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and other simular groups start proselytizing teens actively---they know they are very susceptible at this age.

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« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2006, 09:59:40 PM »

The Baptists believe you need to have a "believers baptism" (forgive me if this has already been mentioned).  I was christened in a protestant church when a baby, and when I was older and decided to start attending a Baptist church, I had to be baptised in the Baptist church to 1) show my true conversion and decision in following Christ, and 2) to become a member of the church ... even though I'd been christened as a child.  But in converting to the Orthodox Church, our Archbishop felt it necessary that I was baptised again in the True Baptism of the Orthodox Church ... so I was baptised again.  All this to say:  your daughter should be able to make the decision for herself, but if anything I wouldn't encourage her to be baptised in the Baptist or any other church, unless it's Orthodox, just for the sake of being baptised.
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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2006, 01:13:44 AM »

Although, I am Orthodox and a convert, I would tend to agree at this time that your daughter at 14 is old enough to make the decision where she wishes to be baptised.  As a parent, I believe that it would be your duty to teach her Orthodox Christian beliefs just as your ex-wife will likely be teaching her the Baptist/non-denominational teachings.

While she may be old enough to make her own decision regarding her faith, it is your last sentence that may carry more weight - but in a different context.  Even if she is old enough, she'll attend whereever which parent has custody and SAYS she should attend.  If the custody parent was indifferent, then I don't see why they wouldn't allow the child to go where they wished, but it may be a different issue.
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« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2006, 09:59:21 AM »

My wife and I grew up Baptist, were married Baptist and although I have ventured into Catholicism and Orthodoxy she continues to be Baptist and our four year old child is unbaptized until she can have a Believer's Baptism which I and all Baptists believe to be Biblical. Believer's Baptism is nothing new just look at Peter's conversion of Cornelius or Philip and the eunuch. Baptists believe that 'regeneration through the Holy Ghost (spirit)' is a necessary requirement to be given the ordnance of Baptism which is an outward sign of the grace of the Holy Ghost within the Believer who is already saved by grace through faith. It is no guarantee but only recognition by the congregation that the individual has professed Christ as their Lord and Saviour. The work is ultimately one between the individual and God that the Church stands as a witness to not the cause through magical sacraments which they dispense.

 From a Baptist viewpoint I can see your wife's side of the argument that RC and Orthodoxy are similar in that 'traditions of men' have influenced their faith practice to the point that they rely on the institutions of men and not on Jesus Christ. This isn't stated to start an argument but to merely point out the view of Baptists like your wife and those who she might be discussing this issue with. From a Baptist point of view Orthodoxy may have thrown off the yoke of the Papacy but they haven't thrown off the yoke of the Traditions of Men that continue to distract them from the sole trust in Jesus Christ to all their needs. I'm speaking from a Baptist point of view here. These traditions are many and most Baptists look at them as unbiblical regardless the view of the Orthodox they share vastly 'more' with the RC than they do with Baptists.

I have touched on one chief difference in Baptism but there are a lot more which could be brought up which will raise red flags with Baptists. Confession to a Priest is another which Baptists don't recognize as Biblical nor Apostolic Secession. Now your wife might not be particularly knowledgeable of these differences but if you respect her faith you should bring them up.

I'm not trying to say that Baptist Theology is the only way to interpret the Scriptures, all I'm trying to say is that RC and Orthodoxy have a lot of traditions which act as 'filters' to interpreting Scripture and they are either valid or invalid is all.
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« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2006, 10:21:16 AM »

A bit of an off-topic "bunny trail" to chrisb, then to the topic at hand:

I'm not trying to say that Baptist Theology is the only way to interpret the Scriptures, all I'm trying to say is that RC and Orthodoxy have a lot of traditions which act as 'filters' to interpreting Scripture and they are either valid or invalid is all.

At least you realize that the Baptists have a "filter" of their own, as well!  Now to determine which "filter" lets the right stuff through!   Wink

drs2,

Yes, it's one of those difficult things parents need to sweat through.  My wife and I converted to Orthodoxy after having been raised in two very devout evangelical homes.  We have an 11 month-old daughter now, and are quite aware that the day may come when the faith she was baptized into last July is something she no longer wants and turns to other things (God forbid +).  But that's the only way to do it that will, in the end, foster good will between you and her.

Prayers for you.
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« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2006, 10:29:09 AM »

A bit of an off-topic "bunny trail" to chrisb, then to the topic at hand:

At least you realize that the Baptists have a "filter" of their own, as well!  Now to determine which "filter" lets the right stuff through!  ÃƒÆ’‚ Wink

exegesis... filters who's counting...  Grin
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« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2006, 10:43:45 AM »



I have touched on one chief difference in Baptism but there are a lot more which could be brought up which will raise red flags with Baptists. Confession to a Priest is another which Baptists don't recognize as Biblical nor Apostolic Secession.

(heavy sigh)...

We do not confess to a priest. We confess to Jesus Christ our sins and through this Mystery we correct our impaired relationship with Him.

http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article7105.asp

Quote
Confession is the Sacrament through which our sins are forgiven, and our relationship to God and to others is restored and strengthened. Through the Sacrament, Christ our Lord continues to heal those broken in spirit and restore the Father's love those who are lost. According to Orthodox teaching, the penitent confess to God and is forgiven by God. The priest is the sacramental witness who represents both Christ and His people. The priest is viewed not as a judge, but as a physician and guide.
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« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2006, 11:51:29 AM »

(heavy sigh)...

We do not confess to a priest. We confess to Jesus Christ our sins and through this Mystery we correct our impaired relationship with Him.

http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article7105.asp

So anyone in the Body of Christ can 'witness' one's confessions? So you guys don't really need a Priest. Interesting! I didn't know that.
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« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2006, 12:27:03 PM »

So anyone in the Body of Christ can 'witness' one's confessions? So you guys don't really need a Priest. Interesting! I didn't know that.

Welllll.....not quite - the priest finishes it my declaring absolution (involving reading some prayers, putting his stole on your head and maybe other stuff).  As a practical example, you may have Gerontissa Mary who you confess to as your spiritual mother at the Skete outside of town or confess by letter or phone (most of the time except when you visit) to your spiritual father who lives hundreds of miles away.  But since they are not able pronounce absolution (the nun - since she isn't a priest and the other guy who may be a priest but is far away), they may give you a letter to give to your local priest who will then give you absolution (skipping the "confessing" part). 
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« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2006, 12:48:36 PM »

So anyone in the Body of Christ can 'witness' one's confessions? So you guys don't really need a Priest. Interesting! I didn't know that.

How do you get this (mis)understanding through reading the paragraph I quoted in my post?

What part of
Quote
The priest is the sacramental witness who represents both Christ and His people.
means to you that we don't need a priest?
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« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2006, 03:45:05 PM »

How do you get this (mis)understanding through reading the paragraph I quoted in my post? What part of  means to you that we don't need a priest?

Hi Chris,

Well I drew that from this: According to Orthodox teaching, the penitent confess to God and is forgiven by God. This fact makes the priest ultimately a witness, period. I didn't see any 'real' reason the witness 'had' to be a pastor if he only represented Christ and His people since everyone in the Body of Christ is in a real sense Christ and since they are His people they can represent themselves.

My big question is since we confess to God and are forgiven by God, what is absolution by the Priest?
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« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2006, 04:16:54 PM »

Believer's Baptism is nothing new just look at Peter's conversion of Cornelius or Philip and the eunuch. Baptists believe that 'regeneration through the Holy Ghost (spirit)' is a necessary requirement to be given the ordnance of Baptism which is an outward sign of the grace of the Holy Ghost within the Believer who is already saved by grace through faith.

Well, yes, the adults would have been baptized as believers, since they're adults with the capacity to believe.  But we also baptize infants because of the households that were baptized in the New Testament, kids included, because St. Peter said that baptism for the remission of sins was for our children as well (Acts 2), and because St. Paul calls baptism the new circumcision (which was done to infants) in Col. 2:11-12.  Since baptism is FOR the remission of sins, and only those who were baptised into Christ have put on Christ, and that only those baptized into Christ's death will see His resurrection (Rom 6:2-4), we do see baptism as grace-bestowing, and infants as eligible to receive this grace within their spirits, though their minds be not yet developed.

Quote
through magical sacraments which they dispense.

Easy, there, pilgrim... Shocked ...I know it's tempting to see the sacraments as "magical" because they can be given to humans who are not intellectually capable of understanding what's going on, but that doesn't make them "magical."  It makes them incarnational, since God's union with human nature incorporates the whole self; some things God does to us transcend and bypass the intellect and work within the body and/or spirit.  The sacraments are often used for this very thing.

Quote
Confession to a Priest is another which Baptists don't recognize as Biblical nor Apostolic Secession.


Well, chris already called you on "confession TO a priest, but as for the "biblical-ness" of A.S., see here for a post of mine on this very thing...
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« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2006, 04:20:52 PM »

My big question is since we confess to God and are forgiven by God, what is absolution by the Priest?

Absolution by the priest is the use of the grace given to the apostles and handed down through apostolic succession to forgive or retain sins.  Yes, the grace and forgiveness is God's, but it comes through the hand of the priest, as Christ originally instituted.  This is seen in action in James 5:14-15, where it's asked, "is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."  By whose prayer?  That of the elders of the congregation: the priest or bishop present.
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« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2006, 04:42:51 PM »

Well, yes, the adults would have been baptized as believers, since they're adults with the capacity to believe.ÂÂ  But we also baptize infants because of the households that were baptized in the New Testament, kids included, because St. Peter said that baptism for the remission of sins was for our children as well (Acts 2), and because St. Paul calls baptism the new circumcision (which was done to infants) in Col. 2:11-12.ÂÂ  Since baptism is FOR the remission of sins, and only those who were baptised into Christ have put on Christ, and that only those baptized into Christ's death will see His resurrection (Rom 6:2-4), we do see baptism as grace-bestowing, and infants as eligible to receive this grace within their spirits, though their minds be not yet developed.

I'll give it you Pedro you are good.  Wink

Would you call these other passages 'circumstantial' though?

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Easy, there, pilgrim... Shocked ...I know it's tempting to see the sacraments as "magical" because they can be given to humans who are not intellectually capable of understanding what's going on, but that doesn't make them "magical."ÂÂ  It makes them incarnational, since God's union with human nature incorporates the whole self; some things God does to us transcend and bypass the intellect and work within the body and/or spirit.ÂÂ  The sacraments are often used for this very thing.

My bad Pedro I was kicking in to Baptist-Mode...
 
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Well, chris already called you on "confession TO a priest, but as for the "biblical-ness" of A.S., see here for a post of mine on this very thing...

I will check that out but with regards to Confession if we have a one mediator between ourselves and God in Jesus Christ why do we need a Priest or Absolution? I can appreciate a pastors' advice on matters of sin but it's the absolution part which appears to me to stand on shaky ground.
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« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2006, 04:51:20 PM »

I'll give it you Pedro you are good.ÂÂ  Wink

Heh, I know.   Wink  Seriously, though, thanks.

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Would you call these other passages 'circumstantial' though?

I...don't know what you mean.  Believer's baptism is for the 'circumstance' of baptizing an adult, and infant baptism is for the 'circumstance' of baptizing an infant.

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My bad Pedro I was kicking in to Baptist-Mode...


Easy to do.  S'all good...

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I will check that out but with regards to Confession if we have a one mediator between ourselves and God in Jesus Christ why do we need a Priest or Absolution? I can appreciate a pastors' advice on matters of sin but it's the absolution part which appears to me to stand on shaky ground.

Well, remember that post on satisfaction a while back?  Christ is our mediator in that he reconciles the divine nature of God with the human nature of man in His very body.  He then dies on the Cross, tasting death for all men, then destroys death by His resurrection.  By uniting to His Body and Blood we partake of the life in His flesh and blood.  But this is not the same kind of "mediation" as "lawyer pleading a case in front of a judge" that's so popular an image in Evangelicalism.  Ask yourself this: If Christ was going to be the only one EVER to forgive the sins of men, why did He give this very same authority to His apostles as well?  This authority, btw, was seen as part of the "apostolic deposit" given to the likes of St. Timothy ("the gift w/in you given by the laying on of hands" and all that) and St. Clement of Rome (1st Century bishop who cites this very gift as part of the apostolically succeeded grace).  All the priest is doing is taking the mediation which has already been accomplished for the life of the entire world and applying it specifically to a person whose heart is (hopefully!) open to it in the way illustrated in James 5.
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« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2006, 05:04:40 PM »

Well, remember that post on satisfaction a while back?ÂÂ  Christ is our mediator in that he reconciles the divine nature of God with the human nature of man in His very body.ÂÂ  He then dies on the Cross, tasting death for all men, then destroys death by His resurrection.ÂÂ  By uniting to His Body and Blood we partake of the life in His flesh and blood.ÂÂ  But this is not the same kind of "mediation" as "lawyer pleading a case in front of a judge" that's so popular an image in Evangelicalism.ÂÂ  Ask yourself this: If Christ was going to be the only one EVER to forgive the sins of men, why did He give this very same authority to His apostles as well?ÂÂ  This authority, btw, was seen as part of the "apostolic deposit" given to the likes of St. Timothy ("the gift w/in you given by the laying on of hands" and all that) and St. Clement of Rome (1st Century bishop who cites this very gift as part of the apostolically succeeded grace).ÂÂ  All the priest is doing is taking the mediation which has already been accomplished for the life of the entire world and applying it specifically to a person whose heart is (hopefully!) open to it in the way illustrated in James 5.

hmmm... That is something to think about. Nice point. Thanks.
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« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2006, 09:47:21 PM »

Thank you all so much for your advice!

The whole situation seems over whelming to me at times. The only approach I know to take at this point is to teach her our faith while at our house and respect those of her mothers. I want her to be Orthodox but I don't want to shove it down her throat and have her rebel. Prayers and a moderate Orthodox education seem to be the only tools I have. Though I will attempt to explain our faith to her mother I have little faith that it will bear any fruit. If any one thinks this approach is illadvised at this point please let me know. I am taking everything into consideration.

Thank you all so much
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« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2006, 11:42:27 PM »

You say 'I want her to be Orthodox".  Could your ex-wife possibly see this as an attempt to "take" your daughter away from her?  Could it look like a threat to the mother-daughter relationship?  Or a possible undercutting her authority as the parent the young lady lives with?  A third possiblity is: could your desire for the daughter to be EO be seen as somehow coming from an attitude of "I'm better then you/my Church is better then yours"?  Please note: I am not saying that *you* are doing any of this; but what your ex-wife might percieve.

This is a recent change for you.  It is part of your life that she does not share.  There could be many factors in this, maybe.

Respectfully,

Ebor
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« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2006, 03:19:21 AM »

I second Ebor's response. Theology may and probably has nothing to do with the issue between you and your wife over baptism.  It comes down to relationship. Your relationship to your Orthodo faith is important to you and alien to your ex-wife. If your daughter, God-willing, begins to evince more than a passing interest in Orthodoxy it may be seen as a threat by your ex-wife.

Lord have mercy.
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« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2006, 10:50:51 PM »

Unfortunately most of the time girls listen to their mothers and trust and value there advice over their fathers. My advice to you is to work more on your wife. Is it possible to persuade her to attend the church? If not. Does the church have social church functions. That the family can all attend. Such at feasts, fund raisers and such. She might feel more comfortable outside of the actual church. Once she meets the people and gets to know them she might feel more comfortable and may even step foot in. Remember the church is the people. If they can see that the people are everyday Joe's than you might not have to convince them of anything. Good luck and god bless.
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« Reply #30 on: May 25, 2006, 01:50:56 AM »

I will check that out but with regards to Confession if we have a one mediator between ourselves and God in Jesus Christ why do we need a Priest or Absolution? I can appreciate a pastors' advice on matters of sin but it's the absolution part which appears to me to stand on shaky ground.

In John 20:22-23, Jesus appears to the disciples and empowered them to forgive sins,

"Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.  And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.  Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.'"

This took place between the disciples and Jesus, privately.  This was not given to anyone else.  Through the sacrament of Holy Orders,  this anointing is passed on down through the generations to the priests of  this day.

drs2
Prayers and a moderate Orthodox education seem to be the only tools I have. Though I will attempt to explain our faith to her mother I have little faith that it will bear any fruit. If any one thinks this approach is illadvised at this point please let me know. I am taking everything into consideration.

 
Dear brother drs2,  this truly is a painful dilemma, and one that could easily escalate into an issue.

I agree that you have prayer as a tool, it is a very powerful tool.  And there is also your love for your daughter, your empathy with her and willingness to understand and support her in her search for meaning in life.  Being there for her, coming along side her, even building her confidence levels by acknowledging times when she has shown Godly wisdom in her choices. 

By supporting her in her search,  and knowing the real issues in her life, acknowledging them and not showing any presumption, her trust and respect for you will deepen.  As it deepens, she will look to you for more wisdom.  She will want to be around you more because you strengthen rather than threaten her.

Teenagers have a way of telling parents what they want to hear, and keeping the things that they are really struggling with private.  So when she begins to ask you questions about the faith, that is a real sign that she is ready to listen.

Until she is ready to listen, and really wants to know, not because she wants dad's love and approval, but because she needs answers,  you may get only superficial interest.

When she begins to show even a slight interest, be prepared to give her what she asks for, but don't go overboard, just enough to satisfy her curiosity.  Be innovative in presenting opportunities that may appeal to her.

Her peers are exerting a very strong influence on her at this age, and if there is a good Orthodox youth group she might be able to find friends she could relate to enough to ask her own questions, things she might not want to ask you.  Possibly there are some teens in your church who share common interests, art, music, etc., that you could introduce her to and have over to your house.

If she is interested at all in travel, taking a trip to Greece, or Russia, or making a pilgrimage, even in this country,  where she might connect with other Orthodox youth who could be influential in her life, by sharing their faith, might be an option.  Arranging a few contacts in advance could make a big difference here, although the Holy Spirit knows how to bring the right person along at just the right time.  This is why prayer is your most powerful tool.  Most teens don't want to travel alone with a parent, they'd be more excited if their best friend came along.

Also, I would scour the Orthodox catalogs looking for anything that would appeal to a teenager, in the way of videos and books.   Most teenagers are going through the same issues at this time in their lives and much has been written that will appeal to them.  Have those things on hand, but don't force them on her.  You might even wait until she asks before you even tell her about them.  The lives of Orthodox saints written for her age group could touch her with inspiration and spark genuine interest.

As far as mom is concerned.  I think prayer is your best recourse.  The Holy Spirit will have to work in her life to soften her heart.  And if she's that antagonistic (about RC), she may react unpleasantly to any attempts to convert her daughter to Orthodoxy.  If you are scrupulous about being non-threatening, I think she will be pleasantly surprised and perhaps let her guard down and be more open to what your daughter is being exposed to, maybe even showing some interest.

I hope this helps, we will be praying for you.
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« Reply #31 on: May 25, 2006, 01:53:22 AM »

Though I must admit my relationship with my daughters mother has been rocky at best, I am convinced the problem rest mainly with theological issues. My ex-wife knows firsthand that I have a deep respect for anyones faith, Christian or not. She knows this through a myriad of issues that are inappropriate to discuss here. I think I may have portrayed her in manner that is unjust. She is good mother. Though I have personally disagreed with her many times  through the years, I have full confidence she does so with my daughters best interest in mind. As to her seeing the church first hand, she has. Her husband has some friends who are members of the exact church I attend. She attended a wedding three years ago. Though her husbands friends are Orthodox they attend rather infrequent, if at all, and are probably not the best examples. The good news through all this is that she mentioned yesterday she would do some "homework" herself on Orthodoxy. This may not bring anything to fruition, but its a step in the right direction. Grin


Thank you all so much
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« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2006, 01:59:11 AM »

Mother Anastasia

Sorry I posted before reading your post.

Wonderful heart felt advice.

Thank you very much
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