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Lutheran Radio Show Atacking Orthodoxy Again

Brigidsboy

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The show: "Issues, Etc." on www.KFUO.ORG has run programs attacking us in the past.

A few days ago, they began a new 6-part series about what they think is wrong with our theology.
The guest speaker is a Rev. Eugene Smith, who supposedly served as an Orthodox priest for 10 years.

The whole thing seems very wrong-headed to me.

Thoughts, anyone?

Michael

 

BrotherAidan

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Perhaps you could summarize the talk and write down his essential points critiquing Orthodoxy
It' s tough to take the time to listen to the broadcast

 

Zoe

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This Smith guy, I think, is assuming that the host understands what we mean by "deification", when clearly, he does not.
 

Elisha

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BrotherAidan said:
Perhaps you could summarize the talk and write down his essential points critiquing Orthodoxy
It' s tough to take the time to listen to the broadcast
Transcript available?
 

Zoe

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Ah, I thought that's who you meant.

I got the impression that the former priest knew the host was really ignorant to the topic, and then willingly construed the information for his own purposes.  I wonder what happened to him as a priest  ???
 

aserb

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I think criticism should be expected. Converts are leaving their old churches, which are bereft of substance, and finding it in Orthodoxy.
 

Fr. George

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I listened to the broadcast (a fine use of 25 minutes of my morning), and had the following observations:

1. In many places, the former priest ("Dr. Gene Smith" who was a Deacon for 5 years and a priest for 10 according to the host) was accurate in his depiction of Theosis, but the host was, in his summaries, making the phrases to sound a bit like polytheism or some sort of Mormon divine destiny type stuff...

2. The focus of the conversation shifted to talking about justification/salvation, and the priest made some incorrect assertions about the Church's emphasis, claiming that the church was so focused on the Incarnation that it didn't do well with the Cross... In fact, he used the following analogy: The Incarnation is like a winning lottery ticket for the Church, they are excited and think "we've found the right thing!"... But the cross is only the place to cash in the ticket.

3. One statement that i though was interesting - and completely false - is that creation was inherently divided by God - male and female, heaven and earth, domesticated and wild.  Now, he ignores the Orthdox teaching on the Will of God for the perfect love of the different persons to reflect the unity in diversity of God Himself... and where does he get "domesticated and wild" from?  I believe domesticated came from God's command to have dominion over the animals...

4. He correctly states that he agrees with the western position, and clearly states his position as "according to Luther" rather than trying to pass it off as direct doctrine from God... one example that I thought was interesting was that he brought up Jacob's ladder and the Orthodox belief that we are climbing the ladder, and then he pointed out that in Lutheranism "there is no climbing!" - i.e. God picks us up.

5. early on, he makes a statement that is curious: In Christ, we (emphasis mine) have two wills: human and divine.  In the context of the discussion, he was using it to disprove theosis by claiming that, since "the Orthodox believe" that there is a comingling of the attributes of us with the attributes of Christ when we go towards theosis, that this cannot be possible, since we (Lutherans) believe that within Christ there is no comingling of the Human and Divine nature, and if Christ's attributes can comingle with ours, then the Orthodox are going against this true doctrine.  This whole part made ne sick to my stomach (I just ate breakfast an hour ago...)

All in all, I wasn't impressed with either the priest or the host, the host seemed to think he knew more about Orthodoxy than he did, and the "minsiter" or whatever he is read some of his own biases about the Church into his analysis of it.

What really makes me sick, though, is that this guy is getting 5 more cracks at getting it wrong!
 

Elisha

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cleveland said:
All in all, I wasn't impressed with either the priest or the host, the host seemed to think he knew more about Orthodoxy than he did, and the "minsiter" or whatever he is read some of his own biases about the Church into his analysis of it.

What really makes me sick, though, is that this guy is getting 5 more cracks at getting it wrong!
Hmmm?  I saw a Eastern Orthodoxy I:  Theosis archived program (I'm assuming that was it).  Is there a II-V scheduled as well?
 

Pravoslavbob

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cleveland said:
early on, he makes a statement that is curious: In Christ, we (emphasis mine) have two wills: human and divine.  In the context of the discussion, he was using it to disprove theosis by claiming that, since "the Orthodox believe" that there is a comingling of the attributes of us with the attributes of Christ when we go towards theosis, that this cannot be possible, since we (Lutherans) believe that within Christ there is no comingling of the Human and Divine nature, and if Christ's attributes can comingle with ours, then the Orthodox are going against this true doctrine.  This whole part made ne sick to my stomach (I just ate breakfast an hour ago...)

All in all, I wasn't impressed with either the priest or the host, the host seemed to think he knew more about Orthodoxy than he did, and the "minsiter" or whatever he is read some of his own biases about the Church into his analysis of it.

What really makes me sick, though, is that this guy is getting 5 more cracks at getting it wrong!
I listened to the first few minutes, and I had the exactly same reaction as you did here, Cleveland!

James Bob
 

Fr. George

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James Bob,

It seemed to me that the priest was attempting to make himself sound like he was sympathetic to our side but ultimately chose the other... but I perceived that to be merely a facade to make the listener think he was sincere in his semi-defense of Orthodoxy while simultaneously tearing us up.  I don't know, but it seemed to me that it was very disingenuous.  Did you get any sense of this, or is it just me?
 

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I have yet to listen to this (I've got it cued up in my WMP ready to play after school), but I gotta wonder who this guy was prior to being a deacon or--Orthodox? Did he convert to Orthodox out of something, or did he grow up Orthodox? And in what jurisdiction was he a deacon/priest? Anybody know?

EDIT:

I've listened to the part about which cleveland commented--the supposed "comingling" of the "attributes of Christ and our attributes" and have to wonder what kind of an Orthodox priest this guy would have made...we do partake of His divine nature, and our humanity is changed and energized with the energies of God, though not comingled with Christ's divine essence...he seems to have us confused with Eutychians, who believed the nature of humanity was changed so that it no longer was human but now rather something else, divine...did he just not pay attention to the whole Chalcedonian controversy? Christ's human nature is united to the divine one and thus deified, though it does not cease to be completely human, distict from the divine.

The athonite monks don't "lose their identity" when they are deified; they're just made "fully human," energized by God...sigh...I repeat: who is this guy?! ???
 

Pravoslavbob

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cleveland said:
It seemed to me that the priest was attempting to make himself sound like he was sympathetic to our side but ultimately chose the other... but I perceived that to be merely a facade to make the listener think he was sincere in his semi-defense of Orthodoxy while simultaneously tearing us up.  I don't know, but it seemed to me that it was very disingenuous.  Did you get any sense of this, or is it just me?
Cleveland,

I got the feeling that the whole thing was a sham made to look sincere, when actually its sole purpose was to create this purposely false vision of Orthodoxy in order to dissuade those who had an interest in our faith from checking us out.  I agree, very disingenuous.  I guess the number one threat today is not really bears, but Orthodoxy.  ;)
 

Pravoslavbob

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Pedro said:
The athonite monks don't "lose their identity" when they are deified; they're just made "fully human," energized by God...sigh...I repeat: who is this guy?!  ???
Someone who doesn't know how to pronounce Vladimir Lossky's name correctly.  ;)
 

Fr. George

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Pravoslavbob said:
I got the feeling that the whole thing was a sham made to look sincere, when actually its sole purpose was to create this purposely false vision of Orthodoxy in order to dissuade those who had an interest in our faith from checking us out.  I agree, very disingenuous.  I guess the number one threat today is not really bears, but Orthodoxy.  ;)
I guess it is interesting to note that they think we're enough of a threat to run an "informational series" on us...
I think Volume 2 is going to be on monasticism...
 

aserb

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Cleveland

Thank you for listening and providing a summary/commentary.  With a name like "Smith" was he a convert to Orthodoxy before repudiating it?
 

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aserb said:
Thank you for listening and providing a summary/commentary. With a name like "Smith" was he a convert to Orthodoxy before repudiating it?
I got the sense that he was not always Orthodox as well.

I think there are certain people in life that are always searching for something and wouldn't know what they were searching for if it hit'm smack dab in the face. This "former" Orthodox Priest, will probably be a Buddhist in about 3 years, followed by 5 years of Hinduism and then he'll be found doing Kaballah chants with Madonna in Nepal (who will coincidentally be beside a meditating Ricki Martin).
 

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SouthSerb99 said:
I got the sense that he was not always Orthodox as well.

I think there are certain people in life that are always searching for something and wouldn't know what they were searching for if it hit'm smack dab in the face.  This "former" Orthodox Priest, will probably be a Buddhist in about 3 years, followed by 5 years of Hinduism and then he'll be found doing Kaballah chants with Madonna in Nepal (who will coincidentally be beside a meditating Ricki Martin).
Or hanging out with Shirley McClaine.
 

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Apostasy is apostasy, whether or not he was Orthodox from his youth or not...
Of course, knowing when he became Orthodox could help explain his "shopping around...."
 

JoeS

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cleveland said:
James Bob,

It seemed to me that the priest was attempting to make himself sound like he was sympathetic to our side but ultimately chose the other... but I perceived that to be merely a facade to make the listener think he was sincere in his semi-defense of Orthodoxy while simultaneously tearing us up. I don't know, but it seemed to me that it was very disingenuous. Did you get any sense of this, or is it just me?
I had a similar impression but my question why he chose Lutheranism over another?  Lutheranism would not be one of my choices under similar circumstances. This priest is going from the Holy Eucharis as we believe it to be to consubstantiation.  Just dosnt make sense to me. 

JoeS
 

Fr. George

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JoeS,
I wonder if he's going to address that in the later installments.... it is a great question.
 

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My guess would be he was an evangelical convert to Orthodoxy, who when it was all said and done just couldn't get over justification by faith (alone) --sola fide -- but liked the liturgics of Orthodoxy and didn't like the liberalism of the Episcopalians -- so he went to the Lutherans. With their strong Augustinianism , and Anselm-ianism that would be the logical destination. I don't think this guy will change again - I think he is stuck on Anselm's understanding of substitutionary atonement and Augustine's doctrine of original sin; the following concommitant of those doctrines is justification by faith alone base on God's sovereign (predestinating) grace (alone) - the same extremely juridical interpretation of the cross that the Latins have, only protestantized.

Also, as a Lutheran he can still entertain the fantasy of apostolic succession; with consubstantiation he can still pretend he is feeding on the body and blood of Christ;  with Lutheran church polity he can hold to sola scriptura in matters of faith and doctrine but "have his cake and eat it too" with a type of tradition: liturgical tradition borrowed from the Latins and a church government tradition based on the tradition of the church (with bishops, etc.) [What a lot of Orthodox don't understand about Protestants, especially of the mainline denominsations, is that sola scriptura just pertains to faith and morals; -- church government and "non-essentials" can have traditions based on your "branch" of the church; but since they subscribe to the branch theory, they don'g have Holy Tradition; but they hold to traditions within their various denominations; it's only the extreme fundamentalists, independents and charasmatics who think they are traditionless, with a small case and large case T]

This is my guess from reading the thread but not having listened to the broadcast.
 
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