If i understand you correctly you are equating other Christians with those who are unsaved...
Yes and no. Certainly non-Orthodox Christians (Baptists, Catholics, Anglicans, etc.) have more knowledge, and also (a seperate quality) have a surer relationship with God than, let's say, Mormons or Muslims. In that way, "other Christians" should definately not be lumped in with "the unsaved" (which is suppose to be non-Christians, I'm guessing). However
, the human aspect of Orthodoxy (ie. humans) cannot say what will happen regarding salvation to those outside of her theanthropic body. In this way, whether we talk about the possible salvation of Joe Baptist or Abdur Muslim, our position is one of agnosticism. In that way, the Orthodox see things as "in the body of Christ [ie. Orthodoxy]" or out of it, the body of Christ being the "ark of salvation". Whether someone outside what is (paradoxically) the only
ark of salvation can be saved is up to God.
I am afraid whatever the division is it would have to be Theology, even correct belief in every way about God would still be Theology, there is no way to escape the definition of the word.
No, most "theology" amounts to human understanding. Even Dogmas or certainties of theology (ie. "God is love") are only dogmatic or certain in a relative sense. God is so wholly incomprehensible that no statement can be thought of as being literally true, as it might be literally true for us. We say "God is love," but we have no idea what that means as we cannot ever imagein what the content of that love is like when experienced.
The "difference" between the Orthodox and non-Orthodox is not one that can be defined, since it is directly related to God Himself. It can be described, manifestations arising from the difference(s) can be pointed out, but a formal theological definition can never, ever be had. Saint Paul said that the mystery of the Church was "a great mystery," and it is indeed a mystery into which we can only penetrate so far. Theology (in this case ecclesiology) can tell us much--indeed, all that is needed for salvation. The difference(s) can never, however, be reduced merely
to "theological" differences upon which one could dialogue and come to a compromise concerning.
"Theology" as an intellectual discipline can never be considered the pinnacle or infallible vehicle for God's revelation. This is because theology can only be fully understood and have meaning when understood and experienced within the actual literal body of Christ. It is only in a mystery that truth becomes visible, and it is outside the mystery--in what so many think are clear and logical hermenutics, theological constructs, etc.--that the truth becomes blurred and sometimes even invisible.
However i cannot seem to understand, could you define exactly what you mean?
I would differentiate between "define" and "describe". Following along Florovsky, Lossky, et al., I would say that I cannot define what the Church is, but only describe it. I think this is faithful to the faith as handed down from Christ through the Apostles. Now, as to a description of the Church... well I'm working on that
(though it will take much time, I think)
You claim that your in a real relationship with God, yet without evidence deny such a level of relationship with all others who profess Christ. Are you saying that ones relationship with Christ is directly relational to being the most knowledgeable about the truth?
I hope not, I'm ignorant of most things!
My evidence for my position is the the law and the prophets, the Gospels, the epistles, the Apostolic writings, the Church Fathers, the lives of the saints, and so forth. All these spring from the same well of revelation, and all these manifest the truth that is Orthodoxy.
That is what i am understanding.. this surely cannot be true as there are many Religious studies teachers who are not Christian yet know a great deal many truths about Orthodox teachings..
I've met very few. Some seem to somewhat "get it," such as Lewis and Chesterton. For the most part, though most Orthodox
(Orthodox in name) don't get it, let alone those outside of Orthodoxy. Those outside the Church can understand what God sees fit to reveal to them. Hence, there was quite a bit of pre-Christian revelation to the pagan Greeks to prepare them for the coming of Christ. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, etc. were not totally and wholly ignorant, and neither was Plotinus for that matter. Having said that, regardless of how well they seemed
to understand and "handle" the knowledge, they still did not understand it properly or in a wholly correct way. It is only in a christocentric light--living a life in Christ in Christ's body--that one can understand the truth wholly and correctly. Outside of this situation, truth can be stated, and even understood, but not in the same way.
hat of those who are unable to study these kinds of truths? Would God deny them such a relationship due to a handycap in the capacity to learn?
God will judge them fairly. I'm sure many such people, in their childlike simplistic ignorance (not from negligence), will have a much easier time at the dread judgment seat than I will, for all my "knowledge" and "learning" (though in knowledge I admit that I am very inadequate as well). But again, the Orthodox position is one of agnosticism. You may find Orthodox theologians discussing theories such as "anonymous Christians" (though I hope you don't), but you won't find any authoritative pronouncement on the subject.
Surely King David was not Orthodox(As we know it today).. yet he had a close relationship with God..
Actually I would say that Kind David did in fact have an understanding of God and "theology" exactly as the Orthodox today do. Obviously he wouldn't have used the same terms, but all the truths of Orthodoxy were known by David, Moses, et al. The reason that they didn't openly reveal the truth to the Jews (and we can certainly see hints at truths such as the Trinity in the OT, no Christian denies this, do they?) was because the Jews simply weren't ready for it. After the initial fall, God spent thousands of years preparing humanity for His coming. It took a long preperatory stay in the spiritual hospital before the Doctor was actually ready to come and heal the patient. Some of the patients, however, became aware of what the doctor would do, and what the doctor "was about," before the doctor actually came.
are we about to say he had exactly the same teachings as the Orthodox Church has today?
I'd say that he had essentially
the same, yes
He certainly understood things in a more Orthodox way than I! For your example, I think a better person for discussion would be Gamaliel (though I probably won't be able to post again on this forum for quite a while after today, I just got lucky and had a whole day on the computer to use). In Orthodox Tradition, Gamaliel secrently became Orthodox later in his life. So the question for an Orthodox would be, did he understand Orthodoxy before he converted, and convert because Orthodoxy said what he knew to be true? or did he convert because he became convinced that he had been wrong, and that Orthodoxy was right? It's an interesting question.