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DanielNC

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Hello,
Just wanted to say,
A few weeks ago I started looking into the question, "Is the original church still alive/around"
I am a Christian and am turned off by mega churches and the usual Baptist churches I've attended over the years. It seems to be all about "God has the best of everything for you" Better and better,healthier and healthier and so on"
I decided to look into the Catholic church and was put off by the many idols, worship of Mary, prayer to saints, calling men father. Also, can't believe how the Catholic church had hidden child molestation and even transferred instead of excommunicating priests who molest. On that note; Forbidding marriage attracted many homosexuals to the church. Forbidding marriage is not biblical.
Finally, I was excited at the prospect that the Orthodox Christian church was the original church and had not gone the way of the Catholic church.
Well my excitement was short lived.

1)Saints and Mary are prayed to...ignoring that Jesus is the only (way) and mediator. Idols and images of Saint's and Jesus used in worship.
2) Marriage forbidden if not married when ordained.
3) Calling a man Father other than God or earthly father.

Correct me where I'm wrong or mislead. I would like to find a place of worship for myself and family. I won't kiss pictures or pray to saints or call anyone Father. I also don't pray repetitious prayers with many words....
I just want a church that does what Jesus and the Disciples said to do and nothing else.
Is there such a church?

Not trying to start trouble or be disrespectful. I was just disappointed to see "The original church" so much like the Catholic church 😥
 

DanielNC

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Here is an excerpt explaining some of my concerns.
Of course I would appreciate and EXPECT a biblical reply justifying those things I have issue with...

The Bible is absolutely clear that we are to worship God alone. The only instances of anyone other than God receiving worship in the Bible are false gods, which are Satan and his demons. All followers of the Lord God refuse worship. Peter and the apostles refused to be worshiped (Acts 10:25–26; 14:13–14). The holy angels refuse to be worshiped (Revelation 19:10; 22:9). The response is always the same, “Worship God!”

Roman Catholics attempt to “bypass” these clear Scriptural principles by claiming they do not “worship” Mary or saints, but rather that they only “venerate” Mary and the saints. Using a different word does not change the essence of what is being done. A definition of “venerate” is “to regard with respect or reverence.” Nowhere in the Bible are we told to revere anyone but God alone. There is nothing wrong with respecting those faithful Christians who have gone before us (see Hebrews chapter 11). There is nothing wrong with honoring Mary as the earthly mother of Jesus. The Bible describes Mary as “highly favored” by God (Luke 1:28). At the same time, there is no instruction in the Bible to revere those who have gone to heaven. We are to follow their example, yes, but worship, revere, or venerate, no!

When forced to admit that they do, in fact, worship Mary, Catholics will claim that they worship God through her, by praising the wonderful creation that God has made. Mary, in their minds, is the most beautiful and wonderful creation of God, and by praising her, they are praising her Creator. For Catholics, this is analogous to directing praise to an artist by praising his sculpture or painting. The problem with this is that God explicitly commands against worshiping Him through created things. We are not to bow down and worship the form of anything in heaven above or earth below (Exodus 20:4–5). Romans 1:25 could not be more clear: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” Yes, God has created wonderful and amazing things. Yes, Mary was a godly woman who is worthy of our respect. No, we absolutely are not to worship God “vicariously” by praising things (or people) He has created. Doing so is blatant idolatry.

The major way Catholics “venerate” Mary and the saints is by praying to them. But prayer to anyone other than God alone is anti-biblical. Whether Mary and/or the saints are prayed to, or whether they are petitioned for their prayers—neither practice is biblical. Prayer is an act of worship. When we pray to God, we are admitting that we need His help. Directing our prayers to anyone other than God is robbing God of the glory that is His alone.

Another way Catholics “venerate” Mary and the saints is by creating statues and images of them. Many Catholics use images of Mary and/or the saints as “good luck charms.” Any cursory reading of the Bible will reveal this practice as blatant idolatry (Exodus 20:4–6; 1 Corinthians 12:1–2; 1 John 5:21). Rubbing rosary beads is idolatry. Lighting candles before a statue or portrayal of a saint is idolatry. Burying a Joseph statue in hopes of selling your home (and countless other Catholic practices) is idolatry.

The terminology is not the issue. Whether the practice is described as “worship” or “veneration” or any other term, the problem is the same. Any time we ascribe something that belongs to God to someone else, it is idolatry. The Bible nowhere instructs us to revere, pray to, rely on, or “idolize” anyone other than God. We are to worship God alone. Glory, praise, and honor belong to God alone. Only God is worthy to “receive glory and honor and power” (Revelation 4:11). God alone is worthy to receive our worship, adoration, and praise (Nehemiah 9:6; Revelation 15:4).
 

Arachne

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Here's a primer.

 

Ainnir

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Welcome! May God direct your steps.
 

DanielNC

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Thanks, but I've watched it. He seems sincere in his beliefs or convinced.
I still say Paul, Peter and the saints were men and did not allow worship or even bowing before them. Even Angels would not accept worship.
Thanks though and I'll continue to check this thread for biblical proof allowing for prayer through saints.
Even rosary beads are a manmade worship tool not in the original church.

Is there a sect of Orthodox Christians who are against the use of icons/prayer through saints...maybe an iconoclasts Orthodox Christian church?
 

DanielNC

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Thanks, but I've watched it. He seems sincere in his beliefs or convinced.
I still say Paul, Peter and the saints were men and did not allow worship or even bowing before them. Even Angels would not accept worship.
Thanks though and I'll continue to check this thread for biblical proof allowing for prayer through saints.
Even rosary beads are a manmade worship tool not in the original church.

Is there a sect of Orthodox Christians who are against the use of icons/prayer through saints...maybe an iconoclasts Orthodox Christian church?

I know I won't find an unblemished church. I believe that if the real original church is around still it will be weathered. I believe that the weeds are allowed to grow along with the wheat and will be separated at harvest...
Going to such a church would be fine with me. Jesus reprimanded the pharisees of Gods people as whitewashed toombs with their fancy clothes, public prayers and open fasting. He said nothing damning to the people as they were misled by the "leaders
 

DanielNC

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To honor and obey God while avoiding manmade and/or pagan practices.
Why else?
 

Arachne

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Is there a sect of Orthodox Christians who are against the use of icons/prayer through saints...maybe an iconoclasts Orthodox Christian church?
The Orthodox Church decided against iconoclasm in the 9th century.

If you're looking for a church cut to your measurements, you won't find it in Orthodoxy. Every convert struggled with something. I recommend you listen to them. With intent to understand, not respond.
 

DanielNC

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The Orthodox Church decided against iconoclasm in the 9th century.

If you're looking for a church cut to your measurements, you won't find it in Orthodoxy. Every convert struggled with something. I recommend you listen to them. With intent to understand, not respond.
I understand as mentioned earlier that any church will have bruises from the early church. I would be glad to attend a church that has differences in understanding doctrine. I won't attend a church that condones things God has deemed false worship.
I just want a church that recognizes where pagan practices have imbedded themselves and rights it's wrongs in a reasonable amount of time. Even the early Christians were mixing in pagan practices and had to be reprimanded. I get it....I just won't accept it without scriptures justification.

As advised in quote; I'm listening for biblical explanation of images/icons, Mary and saints as intercessors, not marrying after ordained...
 
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Arachne

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I understand as mentioned earlier that any church will have bruises from the early church. I would be glad to attend a church that has differences in understanding doctrine. I won't attend a church that condones things God has deemed false worship.
I just want a church that recognizes where pagan practices have imbedded themselves and rights it's wrongs in a reasonable amount of time. Even the early Christians were mixing in pagan practices and had to be reprimanded. I get it....I just won't accept it without scriptures justification.
The Church existed for a couple of centuries before Scripture did. The Church wrote, collated and canonised Scripture, not the other way around. Don't put the cart before the horse. Scripture is something that all Christians need to know, not ALL that Christians need to know. The 'pagan practices' you bemoan as bruises grew organically and were consciously adopted to help the people of the Church grow. You seem to need a lot more study on the early days than you think.
 

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I see what your saying but the church on its own adopted pagan practices in that early time and those letters from the apostles corrected their errors. Yes?
 

DanielNC

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The Church existed for a couple of centuries before Scripture did. The Church wrote, collated and canonised Scripture, not the other way around. Don't put the cart before the horse. Scripture is something that all Christians need to know, not ALL that Christians need to know. The 'pagan practices' you bemoan as bruises grew organically and were consciously adopted to help the people of the Church grow. You seem to need a lot more study on the early days than you think.
I see what your saying but the church on its own adopted pagan practices in that early time and those letters from the apostles corrected their errors. Yes
 

Arachne

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I see what your saying but the church on its own adopted pagan practices in that early time and those letters from the apostles corrected their errors. Yes?
Yes. And later there were other errors that got similarly corrected by the bishops who succeeded the Apostles. Several centuries' worth of them; lots of text. What is your point?
 

hurrrah

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To honor and obey God
A lofty goal. But you can't. Let me adjust the wording a bit? To honor and obey God the way He wants it. You agree that God does not want pagan worship? On the other hand, you, as a human, may have some misconceptions about proper worship. I would suggest that you discard all additional conditions, and focus on the only important thing: the fulfillment of God's will; and pray for enlightenment, understanding.
 

Ainnir

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Daniel, it's not anyone's job to prove anything to you, here or anywhere else. The heart of Orthodoxy is, among other things, humility. Insisting that someone proves something to you is the opposite. It's also a denial of faith, which can't exist where there are undeniable proofs. When we get to the age of proof, it will be too late for change.

I was Southern Baptist for 10 years as an adult and spent the majority of each of those years in in-depth Bible studies to the point where I felt that the only way I could get closer to God was if I could live inside those pages. And then I stumbled upon Orthodoxy, which took all of those pages and turned them into living, breathing flesh. I have never felt closer to Christ than here... and yet never felt so unworthy of Him. It was a long, incredibly bumpy road from there to here, which cost everything precious to me. Some of it was returned, some wasn't.

Ultimately, like all of us, you'll have to discern what is really most important to you -- your own understanding/comfort/etc. or a life in Christ. No one but you and God knows that, and no one but you can decide what to do with it. God won't directly or indirectly force, compel, or coerce you to go somewhere you won't, even if it's His will. Likewise, He won't hold you back from folly if you're determined to run to it. Free will is part of what it means to be made in the Image of God.
 

DanielNC

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Yes. And later there were other errors that got similarly corrected by the bishops who succeeded the Apostles. Several centuries' worth of them; lots of text. What is your point?
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers
Above is one example of what I'm saying. No manmade image can capture the fullness of God. Just like a painting done by a poor artist of myself might be an insult.
There must be a church that sees what I'm saying.
No icons or graven images
No praying to Mary,Saints

Why would I need an icon or idol?
Why would I trade (Jesus) and the Holy spirit for intercession by men or women made holy by Jesus?
 

Ainnir

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Daniel, I realize you're new, but membership here presumes you've read the rules. If you're here to debate, please post threads in the appropriate section, which is Religious Topics. Convert Issues are for people who sincerely desire to learn about Orthodoxy. We welcome all, but we expect order. If you have any questions about navigating the forum, feel free to PM or any of the mods.

Everyone else, please remember this is Convert Issues.

Thanks,

--Ainnir
 

hurrrah

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Why would I trade (Jesus) and the Holy spirit for intercession by men or women made holy by Jesus?
Because they are His friends, and they talk to the Lord face to face, and you won't let on the threshold.
 

Arachne

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Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers
Above is one example of what I'm saying. No manmade image can capture the fullness of God. Just like a painting done by a poor artist of myself might be an insult.
There must be a church that sees what I'm saying.
No icons or graven images
No praying to Mary,Saints

Why would I need an icon or idol?
Why would I trade (Jesus) and the Holy spirit for intercession by men or women made holy by Jesus?
We don't make images of God. We make images of people who walked the earth and lived lives of holiness, so we can learn from them. Jesus Christ gets top billing in this category. Icons were precious teaching tools over the centuries when people couldn't read. They are not idols any more than family photos are.

Why wouldn't you want people to put in a good word for you while you stand in judgment? People ask other people to pray for them all the time. Why stop at those around us and not include those who have gone before and found favour with God? Particularly concerning the Mother of God, deference to the Queen doesn't take any of the King's majesty away. Nothing is traded. Everything is grown.

Loads of Protestant churches see what you're saying. The Orthodox know better.
 

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We don't make images of God. We make images of people who walked the earth and lived lives of holiness, so we can learn from them. Jesus Christ gets top billing in this category. Icons were precious teaching tools over the centuries when people couldn't read. They are not idols any more than family photos are.

Why wouldn't you want people to put in a good word for you while you stand in judgment? People ask other people to pray for them all the time. Why stop at those around us and not include those who have gone before and found favour with God? Particularly concerning the Mother of God, deference to the Queen doesn't take any of the King's majesty away. Nothing is traded. Everything is grown.

Loads of Protestant churches see what you're saying. The Orthodox know better.
I do ask friends to pray for me as I know they do so through Jesus.
I don't worship or bow to pictures of loved ones. Those pictures are also a perfect representation of my loved ones and not a guess.
As I know and knew this thread would be blocked, moved or deleted I'll say here's what I hear


Don't worship idols of wood and stone
Do it anyway
Don't forbid marrying
Do it anyway
I understand admiring a Christian who is walking close to God. I would like to be closer to God myself. I won't follow or glorify that Christian though, I will follow who they follow and glorify Jesus since he is only worthy.
 

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Daniel, I realize you're new, but membership here presumes you've read the rules. If you're here to debate, please post threads in the appropriate section, which is Religious Topics. Convert Issues are for people who sincerely desire to learn about Orthodoxy. We welcome all, but we expect order. If you have any questions about navigating the forum, feel free to PM or any of the mods.

Everyone else, please remember this is Convert Issues.

Thanks,

--Ainnir
Thank you. I did not read the rules. I just figured it was appropriate here. I was excited after doing some searching and finding that the early church still exist. After my initial excitement I did some reading of the canon of eastern Orthodox. This slowed me down from converting. Just looking for scriptures being expounded upon to legitimize churches practices...
I hope to find scriptures that clarify on Christians after death hearing the prayers of those on earth. I don't pray to my family to intercede I ask them
 

Arachne

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I do ask friends to pray for me as I know they do so through Jesus.
I don't worship or bow to pictures of loved ones. Those pictures are also a perfect representation of my loved ones and not a guess.
As I know and knew this thread would be blocked, moved or deleted I'll say here's what I hear


Don't worship idols of wood and stone
Do it anyway
Don't forbid marrying
Do it anyway
I understand admiring a Christian who is walking close to God. I would like to be closer to God myself. I won't follow or glorify that Christian though, I will follow who they follow and glorify Jesus since he is only worthy.
You are deliberately misunderstanding what we say and do, and 2000 years of Church history can't be boiled down to a few lines. OC.net has been around for 20 years and many others have come in with the same questions. Feel free to browse our archives.

We don't delete threads here. We believe in letting people live with the words they put down.
 

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You are deliberately misunderstanding what we say and do, and 2000 years of Church history can't be boiled down to a few lines. OC.net has been around for 20 years and many others have come in with the same questions. Feel free to browse our archives.

We don't delete threads here. We believe in letting people live with the words they put down.
What am I deliberately doing?
I believe God's word. I won't just eat what I'm fed
If someone can enlighten me (with) his word in regards to my questions... I would be grateful for that better understanding. I'm not judging anyone but myself. I do however make judgements everyday regarding what is or isn't God's will for me in simple things and important ones like what friends I asocciate with....what church teaches truth.
 
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Have you ever read an ancient church manual titled: The Didache? It is from around 100 AD and a solid summary of basic Christian faith you should see as being Biblical but from a time before the Bible was finalized.



This document, or others like it but now lost, seems to have circulated as kind of a statement of faith benediction to a long preaching about Jesus Christ as Lord and savior. I believe the letters of St, Paul replaced various other recorded preachings of the Lord ( the other parts of the New Testament not withstanding) that would precede the summation of faith of manuals like the Didache.

I would suggest reading ( for ex.) the Sermon on the Mount, ( for ex) Colossians, and then the Didache and lastly, the Nicene Creed. I think these should give an example of what Orthodoxy is really about.

I
 

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I guess this is a bad place to question the things I question. I appreciate the replies.
I will continue to seek God and whatever knowledge he would give.
I'll check in occasionally to see if anyone has directions to what I'm looking for.
 

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Have you ever read an ancient church manual titled: The Didache? It is from around 100 AD and a solid summary of basic Christian faith you should see as being Biblical but from a time before the Bible was finalized.



This document, or others like it but now lost, seems to have circulated as kind of a statement of faith benediction to a long preaching about Jesus Christ as Lord and savior. I believe the letters of St, Paul replaced various other recorded preachings of the Lord ( the other parts of the New Testament not withstanding) that would precede the summation of faith of manuals like the Didache.

I would suggest reading ( for ex.) the Sermon on the Mount, ( for ex) Colossians, and then the Didache and lastly, the Nicene Creed. I think these should give an example of what Orthodoxy is really about.

I
Thank you.Will do
 

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1)Saints and Mary are prayed to...ignoring that Jesus is the only (way) and mediator. Idols and images of Saint's and Jesus used in worship.
First of all, it should be noted that your objection follows a traditionally Protestant interpretation of the Greek word mēsítēs in 1 Timothy 2:5. Since Greek is a language natively spoken by members of the Orthodox Church (both today and in the age of the Early Church Fathers), it's very hard to sustain Protestant interpretations in cases that go down to the meaning of particular words, much much more than when disagreements are based on at least the implications of entire sentences conveying a clear meaning.

Mēsítēs is a very general word for "mediator", indcating someone who takes part in any type of competition being equally committed to all parties, be it a judge in legal case, a referee in a game or a stakeholder in a bet. It's weird that Protestants seem to read "mediator" as if it meant "lawyer" and God and man were competing (that's honestly Gnosticism), while actually what St. Paul is implying is that, just like mediators commune with all parties equally, Christ communes with both God and man equally.

The Bible is very clear that: a) we should ask the living saints to pray for us (Job 42:8, James 5:16); b) the reposed saints can pray for us (2 Maccabees 15:12-16, Luke 15:7, Revelation 5:8, 6:9-10); c) the reposed saints are in communion with both us and one another (Luke 16:22, Hebrews 12:1, Revelation 8:3-4); d) the reposed saints can still perform miracles (2 Kings 13:21).

Sure, the only explicit reference to the living asking for the reposed saints to pray for him (Job 5:1) is ambiguous on its validity across interfaith debates, but it's easy to at least understand the Orthodox Christian interpretation if you consider: a) the aforementioned excerpts stating related points; b) the fact that prayer to the reposed saints is a tradition older than the closure of the Holy Scriptures themselves that is never really opposed to in the Holy Scriptures; c) the long history of miracles Holy Tradition leaves us on the intercession of the saints, not only in ancient written pieces, but also in firsthand witnesses of both the lives of living saints and the active intercession of reposed ones.

I have gone through an obviously miraculous situation myself, in which the intercession of Sts. Seraphim of Sarov, Matrona of Moscow and Varus was basically signed in the lives of many people who witnessed the birth and death of my son. Many bones and icons of reposed saints gush myrrh, one of my closest friends has personally seen it dripping from a relic in Sao Paolo. Bodies are often undug incorrupted, and there are pictures online. I don't suggest you to go simply looking for miracles, since they can be deceiving wonders rather than miracles, but we believe God's grace performs them when he wants to bring us to salvation, while the demons do it for our perdition, leading us to a false understanding of ourselves, the world or Orthodoxy.

2) Marriage forbidden if not married when ordained.
It's not forbidden, priests will just have to "resign". It's a matter of discipline, because priests are: a) in a position of authority that shouldn't be mixed up with seeking a wife; b) in a position that requires a degree of sanctity that shouldn't be disturbed by the temptations of courtship and engagement; c) required to have strong commitments, so, if they're not in a very Christian marriage (which is why there are many rules dictating requirements for both the priests and their wives), they usually have to make very Christian vows of chastity, poverty, obedience and stability.

3) Calling a man Father other than God or earthly father.
I understand your concern, the practice of the Orthodox Church seems to directly counter Christ's instructions. If you think about it, however, Christ doesn't even open an exception to biological fathers, stepfathers or leviratic fathers/uncles, which indicates it's not something you can just immediately apply on life. We can call our male parents "fathers" because they partake God's fatherhood by their adamic nature, being an image of God the Father in the household, reigning over those he generated. It's an analogy similar to that of Ephesians 5:22-24.

A similar analogy works for spiritual fathers. As St. Jerome said, just like our male parents partake God's fatherhood by created nature, our higher clergy partakes God's fatherhood by grace. Obedience to them for our own salvation is a very biblical doctrine (Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 5:5; not to mention the apostles appointed bishops that appointed other bishops and all of our clergy comes from there).

Christ did urge people not to call rabbis their fathers, but this is because rabbis are not a divine institution. Their occupation was a Hellenistic novelty in Christ's time that only became central for Judaism after the destruction of the Second Temple. The Orthodox Christian priesthood, on the other hand, was divinely instituted, even prophesid (Jeremiah 3:15).

I won't kiss pictures
That's okay since you're not a baptised Orthodox Christian, but I may say it may look very extreme, but it's not. Kissing was a normal way to express deep affection back when and where this was instituted. Male friends were okay with pecking on each other's lips, which was still the case in Eastern Europe until recently. Kissing a saint's icon with faith fills us with humility and affection for the represented saint. It's not about the external act, but rather about the non-verbal prayer when we actually mean it.

Of course, this only makes sense if you believe the intercession of the saints and the biblical (although not wholly explicit) nuances of the Second Commandment. On the latter point, I strongly recommend this exposition by St. John of Damascus. You can question any of it right here, we're not sensitive. It's just that the forum has strict rules on what should go in each subforum, and people who come to Convert Issues are usually more convinced of the truth of Orthodoxy. My first thread here was very similar to yours.

I also don't pray repetitious prayers with many words....
Back to the Greek, you're probably thinking about battalogḗsētē, which is widely translated as "do not use vain repetitions". This word never appeared in any text that wasn't directly derived from the Gospel of St. Matthew, so, unlike most of the Greek vocabulary, it's impossible to deduce its meaning by looking at other sources.

The Early Church Fathers didn't really understand it as commanding against repetitions, that's a manmade Protestant tradition. They usually quoted this verse to exhort other Christians not to have long "conversations" with God that would give space for people to contaminate their piety with their creativity. They would actually endorse repetition to allow for ordinary people to have very long prayers (like David, Daniel, Nehemiah, Christ and even St. Paul did) without having these spiritually dangerous "conversations".

I just want a church that does what Jesus and the Disciples said to do and nothing else.
Is there such a church?
Yes, the Orthodox Church. You just have to humbly accept it, because our claim is very clear, but our doctrines and practices don't necessarily reflect some explanations you're used to. They're continuous practices from back when the Holy Apostles instituted our first bishops, however. You're already doing a great job coming here with questions and engaging in conversation.
 
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TheTrisagion

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Hello,
Just wanted to say,
A few weeks ago I started looking into the question, "Is the original church still alive/around"
I am a Christian and am turned off by mega churches and the usual Baptist churches I've attended over the years. It seems to be all about "God has the best of everything for you" Better and better,healthier and healthier and so on"
I decided to look into the Catholic church and was put off by the many idols, worship of Mary, prayer to saints, calling men father. Also, can't believe how the Catholic church had hidden child molestation and even transferred instead of excommunicating priests who molest. On that note; Forbidding marriage attracted many homosexuals to the church. Forbidding marriage is not biblical.
Finally, I was excited at the prospect that the Orthodox Christian church was the original church and had not gone the way of the Catholic church.
Well my excitement was short lived.

1)Saints and Mary are prayed to...ignoring that Jesus is the only (way) and mediator. Idols and images of Saint's and Jesus used in worship.
2) Marriage forbidden if not married when ordained.
3) Calling a man Father other than God or earthly father.

Correct me where I'm wrong or mislead. I would like to find a place of worship for myself and family. I won't kiss pictures or pray to saints or call anyone Father. I also don't pray repetitious prayers with many words....
I just want a church that does what Jesus and the Disciples said to do and nothing else.
Is there such a church?

Not trying to start trouble or be disrespectful. I was just disappointed to see "The original church" so much like the Catholic church 😥
Hi Daniel, I can very much understand where you are coming from. The Orthodox Church is a very different cultural experience from what most of American Christianity is. The only thing I can say is that the rules in Scripture and also in the Church are not abstract. There are reasons for those rules. I will do my best to answer the three issues you raise.

The reason idols and images were banned is because they were distractions from the worship of God. Images and "idols" as you call them were used, and even mandated by God in His Holy Temple. The tabernacle and the temple both had images and even graven image in it, on the curtains, on the Ark of the Covenant. If you think about what it must have looked like to an outsider, you had a priest walk in a circle around a box with golden "idols" on it and sprinkling blood on everything while chanting repetitious prayers and burning incense. Every aspect of that was commanded by God. If you were to stand there watching what was going on, you most assuredly would have condemned him for breaking the 10 commandments, yet that priest was doing exactly what he as commanded to do in Scripture.

Marriage is not forbidden to anyone. A priest or a monastic takes a vow to God. It is a voluntary sacrifice offered to God. Saint Paul also took a vow of celibacy and chose not to marry. If someone is in the priesthood and wishes to marry, they can rejoin the laity and marry. Rules have been implemented for reasons and not hastily made. When Saint Paul was talking about forbidding people to marry, he was referring to various religious sects of his day that didn't allow married people to be initiated into their sect. A more modern example would be the Shakers. That is most definitely not anything close to what the Orthodox Church believes.

As for calling a man father, I'm curious why you put a disclaimer for earthly father? That disclaimer wasn't said by Christ, so if you are going to follow His words literally, even an earthly father shouldn't be called father. Moreover, Christians have no problem with calling people teachers, yet the sentence directly after says call no man teacher. Why is there such an allergic reaction to calling a man "father", but we have no problem calling people "teachers"? It seems very inconsistent and illogical unless we realize that Christ often spoke hyperbolically to emphasize a point. We don't actually believe that we should pluck out our eyes if we look at porn. We don't believe that ANYTHING we ask for, we will get. If I ask God for a helicopter, I'm likely not going to get it. We don't sell ALL our possessions when we choose to follow Him. Those who, like myself, grew up in the Baptist tradition, have in innate distrust of the Roman Catholic Church, and so when we see potential contradictions in that faith tradition, it is easy to dismiss it, and then by extension, anything that looks like the Roman Catholic Church. There is a definite blind spot when we start to look at other quotes in Scripture that speak against things that we do or things that aren't quite so "Papisty". We find in Scripture places where both Paul and John talk about spiritual fathers. If such language was accepted by the apostles, are we to believe that they started heresy in the Church? They heard Christ talk about such things directly. Did they misunderstand him?

The main point of Christianity is being willing to submit yourself to a higher authority. Christ ordained the Church to lead us in the way we should go, and the Church is directly responsible to Christ. When we use our own interpretation of Scripture to decide what we will or will not allow in the church we attend, we are putting ourselves ahead of the Church. That is a misplaced order and a far greater sin than kissing an icon or calling a priest "father".
 

WR-News

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This is like something from Babylon Bee... "Follower of Fifteenth Century Heresy Shocked to Find Ancient Church Not Like Fifteenth Century Heresy!"
 

JTLoganville

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Be careful, lest you elect for yourself a paper Pope.

If you seek a "perfect Church" it will become less than perfect the moment you enter it.

Nevertheless; if you are looking for a replication of first century Christianity without Orthodox or Roman "issues" you might want to consider the Church of Christ (not to be confused with the United Church of Christ).
 

RaphaCam

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Nevertheless; if you are looking for a replication of first century Christianity without Orthodox or Roman "issues" you might want to consider the Church of Christ (not to be confused with the United Church of Christ).
Well, the Church of Christ rejects child baptism, priesthood, apostolic succession, Holy Tradition, catholicity, veneration of relics, prayer to the saints, prayer for the dead and the true presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. These refusals would not make solid 1st-century churches happy, and enough noise in refusing them would have merited answers in the epistles like other heresies did. Since the noise only came later, we had the same church that wrote the epistles debate and condemn them. Unfortunately, Protestants don't see it that way.

There was a strong restorationist spirit behind the Second Vatican Council, which contributed to abolishing the Tridentine rite and empowering laity. I wouldn't wish it for the Orthodox Church...
 
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Thank you all for taking the time to try and help me grasp those things that concern me.



I will study the abundance of material provided. God bless myself and you all with ears to hear and eyes to see in Jesus' name amen.
 

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Also, forgive me for being so quick to judge the things the Orthodox church does and doesn't do. I'm sure some things I think are wrong are holy as some things I think are holy are not. I pray I would not err in judgement (in my search)because of the wisdom of men over the wisdom given by the Holy spirit
 

TheTrisagion

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No worries! Coming from a similar background as yourself, I really wrestled with many of the same things you did. I heard many arguments, some clicked with me and some didn't. When encountering something very new and different, it is natural to put up mental defenses to ensure you aren't just being carried with a random current. That is healthy. I struggled with the teachings about the Virgin Mary for years, and I ended up kind of putting them on a shelf and working through other issues until I was ready to re-encounter the topic at a later period.

Ultimately for me, it actually came down to reading a lot of the early Christian writings from the first two centuries of its history. There was simply too much there that matched very similarly with the Orthodox Church and very little that matched with what I saw in modern Christianity. The trappings may be a bit different. I suspect the early church had less gold and beautiful buildings than we have today, but the doctrine, the structure, the teachings were all remarkably similar. Your path may lead you in a similar direction, or it may take you elsewhere, but the important thing is to make a decision based on a community's beliefs based on how they understand them as opposed to how they may appear to an outsider. If I were to investigate Islam, I would want to talk to Muslims about their beliefs, not to a Christian about what is wrong with Islam. It is the same with Orthodoxy, so the fact that you are hear speaking with us is a wonderful step to learning more about an oft-misunderstood section of Christendom.
 

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Have you researched Lutheran-Missouri Synod?
 

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Thank you all for taking the time to try and help me grasp those things that concern me.

I will study the abundance of material provided. God bless myself and you all with ears to hear and eyes to see in Jesus' name amen.
Feel free to question anything you find incoherent or unconvincing in any of our explanations, as long as it's done according to each subforum's rules. You'll have more leeway in Religious Topics, but you can use Convert Issues if you manage to avoid an argumentative posture.
 
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