Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church

surajiype

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ozgeorge said:
You seem to think that before an Oecumenical Council is called, it's decisions are already known. That is not how it works. An Oecumenical Synod is convoked to settle disputes, not with the idea that the dispute is settled already. In the example of the dispute about the Iconoclasm, the Iconoclasts were equally cock-sure that they not only had Tradition on their side, but that God Himself had already decreed in their favour on Mount Sinai in the Second Commandment of the Decalogue. Both sides of the Iconoclasm dispute argued from Tradition, both sides were sure they were correct.
What could be the role of the Holy Spirit in the decision of the Ecumenical Council? Was the decision of the Ecumenical council a well considered but nevertheless a rational decision . In that case it is no more than a historical accident, is it not.

 

ozgeorge

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montalban

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ozgeorge said:
You seem to think that before an Oecumenical Council is called, it's decisions are already known. That is not how it works. An Oecumenical Synod is convoked to settle disputes, not with the idea that the dispute is settled already. In the example of the dispute about the Iconoclasm, the Iconoclasts were equally cock-sure that they not only had Tradition on their side, but that God Himself had already decreed in their favour on Mount Sinai in the Second Commandment of the Decalogue. Both sides of the Iconoclasm dispute argued from Tradition, both sides were sure they were correct.
It was indeed called to settle a dispute, but that's because some were teaching with 'authority' what wasn't tradition. The opposition in such cases tries to show through reworking of tradition that their beliefs were always 'traditional'. The members of council gather together and say "This is what was always taught".
 

montalban

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ozgeorge said:
Rather than repeat myself with what I have just spent an hour typing on another thread, can I just direct you there:
That took you an hour? Do you use more than two fingers? ;)
 

montalban

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ozgeorge said:
Rather than repeat myself with what I have just spent an hour typing on another thread, can I just direct you there:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=8926.msg118369#msg118369
Looking at that which you typed I note the following...
ozgeorge said:
The doctrines can be made clearer and clearer.
I agree. What can be made more clearer about accepting women as priests? Your defence of this 'progression' implies something is (as it is currently understood) not clear.
 

Theognosis

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The church does and has evolved to meet the cultural demands of the people...consider the difference between Slavic and Greek Christianity, there are substantial differences and changes dependent on culture. So also has the Church changed and adopted with time. We started as a small Jewish Community, became primarially Greek in thought, we went from a persecuted minority to the Imperial Religion and in doing so integrated the Empire into the Church (Imperial law had the same force of canon law within the Church, the Emperor would enter the Altar through the Royal Doors, the Emperor summoned Oecumenical Synods, etc.). Again, with the establishment of the Church outside the Empire different structures arose, when the Empire fell yet new adjustments were made...The Church has always evolved and adapted...that is the way it both expanded and survived.
Political and ceremonial issues?  You missed my point completely.  I was referring to the constituency of the Church, i.e. its PEOPLE. ÂÂ

Church = People

I say it again, the very structure of the Church does not change.

Actually, you can have it both ways...Imagine Jewish people brought up in a Greco-Roman Society had BOTH Jewish and Greco-Roman influences!!! WOW, who would have thought. Thus, I addressed the influence of the two primary influences.
One has no women priests.  The other has women priests.  Hence, they are mutually exclusive.  Either you have it, or you don't.

The Jewish culture would exclude women from religion, whereas the Greco-Roman would include them, but in lesser roles.
Your argument about "lesser roles" is a clever yet desperate attempt to defend your untenable position.  By itself, it is already an admission that women were appointed as priests in ancient times.

I want whoever is the most qualified and capable to be the Patriarch of Constantinople.
Fortunately, what you "want" doesn't matter.  The Church after all, is not a democracy.

No, that is not my perception or at least not it in it's entirety; but it is the posistion of many throughout history...and many on this board who would argue against the ordination of women based on a fear of women having any authority or power; thus pragmatism demands we address that point
The priesthood is about serving people.  It is a sacrifice.

Men trying to prevent women from getting power is nothing but a misogynistic chauvinist agenda.
I beg your pardon.  Are you accusing the Church of having a misogynistic chauvinist agenda?

btw, I consider myself a feminist, so my response is pretty much, so what?
That's quite obvious.

But what this celibacy does demonstrate is that the Church, in her practice, has not interpreted Paul's teachings in the manner you suggested...if she had, then we would have not only maintained a married episcopacy, but would have established marriage as a pre-requisite for the episcopacy.
That argument is based on the assumption that marriage is a prerequisite to priesthood.  Where did you get that idea?  That's absurd.  What Paul was concerned about was polygamy and disorder within the family; he was not advocating priests to marry at all!
 

surajiype

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ozgeorge said:
Let's look at another example which actually happened. A bishop stood up in Constantinople and told his congregation that Christ was actually two persons and the Virgin Mary was only the Mother of the human one of them. Half the congregation got up and walked out because they didn't recognise the Voice of the True Shepherd in the bishop. Christ's sheep know His voice, not by defined, inscribed dogmas, but by the Holy Spirit. The dogma of the One Hypostasis had not been defined yet, but the traditional hymns of the Church already praised the Virgin as "Theotokos" and her "in whom the Word was wholly circumscribed." This bishop, they understood, was introducing a "new" revelation which the Apostles had not received.
And it is not erroneous to say that nothing can be newly revealed to the Church simply because of the fact that it may be newly revealed to individuals within the Church. The fact that all the dogmas are not known to an individual at their baptism doesn't lessen the fact that the Church catholic knows them.
And we also need to look at what we mean by "knowing". We cannot speak of "knowing" in the Church only in terms of cognition. St Paul was "caught up to the Third Heaven" (whatever that means) and "heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter" (2Cor. 12:2-4). There is a "knowing" in the Church of things which cannot be expressed in words.

Two men see a bush in the dark and one imagines it to be a distant city, while the other (whose night vision is sharper) thinks it is just a bush. The imagination of the first man doesn't make the bush a city. If they light a lamp and look, they'll find it was always a bush, and the second man's opinion was correct. In the same way as the lamp, the Holy Spirit enlightens the People of God in the Church to see what was already there more clearly. And the second man with the sharper night vision who saw the bush for what it was from the beginning, could be said to have developed an "indwelling lamp" which aids his vision- as is the case with the Fathers of the Church, who, through prayer, ascesis, good works and diligent study have "aquired the Holy Spirit" Who enlightens us.
I absolutely agree with you, but does not the above example only bolster those ( like me) who believe that the idea of the ordination of women is an innovation . Now I have read GIC's long defenses on the above .
Still to me the duties of ordianed deaconesses were very different from those which are being expounded today. The roles women played then are different from those being demanded today .
Bp. Tikhon of the OCA(Diocese of the West) wrote this:
=======================================================
What the Reader describes here was done at some time and in some places,
but it was never part of the Holy Tradition or What is passed on to us. At
best we could say that it is a dead tradition, as opposed to Living Tradition.
There have always been those who wish to do something or teach something
outside the Living Tradition, and they dig and delve into ancient
manuscripts, travel diaries, historical anecdotes, back shelves of
libraries etc., and Lo! and Behold! Voila! Eureka1 They find it and when
someone firmly adhering to the Living Tradition questions it, they say,
"Well, this is a Tradition of.....century" or "This is a tradition of the
Church of Carthage (or the like). Only that Tradition Which lives and is
passed on to us, is Tradition. For how can there be such a thing as "that
which was passed on which was not passed on?"

Recently Elaine Pagels (sp?) has mined the rich lode of Gnostic literature
and found there all kinds of "forgotten" or "lost" traditions, or even
"suppressed" traditions on which to base the destruction of the Living, the
True Tradition, so that it even effected Roman Catholic nuns, once the
epitome of service, now much attenuated, and competing with quasi-monastic
women who have built up a Woman Church out of such excavated dead
traditions! This is impossible. Tradition is alive, not dead, not suppressed.
=======================================================


What do you think of it ?
 

ozgeorge

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surajiype said:
What do you think of it ?
I think it has many valid points (but I would have preferred if he had not cast apersions on Roman Catholic monastics).
The problem is: "what is the Tradition we are dealing with here?" For example, one thing which is claimed to be a Tradition (?dogma) is that the Priest is the icon of Christ and Christ is male therefore the Priest must be male. This may be a traditional theologumen, but I'm not sure if it is a Tradition, let alone a Dogma. If the Priest is dogmatically the Icon of Christ, then why does he offer the Sacrifice on behalf of himself also? And doesn't the notion of the Priest being the Icon of Christ make the Eucharist a re-enactment (which it isn't) rather than a memorial (which it is)? The theologumen of the Priest being the Icon of Christ in itself raises dogmatic questions. And if this premise of the Priest being the Icon of Christ needs to be questioned, then the premise that follows (that only men can be priests) needs to be questioned also.

For nearly two thousand years, Orthodox Churches traditionally had no pews- shouldn't we have assumed from this that it was against Tradition to sit in Church during Services? It is certainly against Holy Tradition to kneel on Sundays, this is in the Canons of our Oecumenical Councils. But if a tradition existed for 1900 years that we didn't sit during Services, shouldn't we have assumed that it is uncanonical to do so in anticipation of a decree on this by an Oecumenical Council? The same argument as was used to exclude pews from Churches- the argument of: "it has never been done before"- is being used to say that women should be excluded from the Priesthood. And yet, we now have pews. Clearly "Holy Tradition" does not simply mean "customary practice". It means the doctrinal teachings of the Holy Orthodox Church.
 

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An evolution from the Jewish system with a rather informal role for women to the Greco-Roman system with an Ordained office for women, just like for men, but a lower office than those available for men.
Is it true that the women priests held a "lower office?"

The answer is NO.

http://campus.houghton.edu/webs/employees/tpaige/Construct.html
When we turn from the profane to the realm of the sacred, it is striking what a difference is to be seen. Even in the Greek world during the classical era--in general a more restrictive time for women everywhere than the first century A.D.--women are found participating and officiating at every level in religious cults, both private and public. "Whereas inequality between the sexes was the rule in the political sphere, it appears that honors and responsibilities in the religious sphere were divided according to some other principle. Priestesses seem to have had the same rights and duties as priests religion offered the only sphere in which Greek women could be treated as citizens." Though excluded from some shrines, cults, or festivals (just as men are also banned from some), women and virgin maidens make up processions, serve as hierophants, priestesses, and other functionaries elsewhere. And this is not only in all-woman events such as the Thesmophoria, but in mixed-gender settings as well.

I'd like to add that it is important to study priesthood as it relates to Greek culture only, not the multi-cultural Greco-Roman world.

 

greekischristian

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montalban said:
As regards the so-called "feminist" position (of which we hear so much today), there are certain issues on which the Orthodox Christian (if not, perhaps, the rational individual) cannot yield. We do affirm and recognize an order, meaning, and functional differentiation in created things. Thus our Faith teaches us that the female is endowed by God with certain characteristics and tendencies that differ from those of men. (And this, rather than detracting from her, elevates her as part of the divine scheme. By no means does this teaching suggest. or tolerate the relegating of women to some lowly status.) Moreover, our intellects and senses teach us that women and men differ. We border on the insane (not an unusual thing in these bizarre times) if we deny the biological roles of men and women in procreation. These roles are verified by the external, physical distinctions of gender. And even the most radical psychological portrayals of men and women readily admit to fundamental differences between the sexes in cognitive style and mental functioning. (Paradoxically enough, it is part of the feminist movement itself that psychological profiles and categories standardized on males are not appropriate in the assessment of female behavior.)
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/general/women.aspx
orthodoxinfo.com eh? The mere fact it's something they publish on that BS site is just about sufficient grounds to reject it as absurd.

What we see here is someone spending an excessive amount of time trying to express a very simple concept. George Orwell expressed it far better and more eloquently, so I thought I'd post his more eloquent words so that we can better understand your posistion:

Freedom is Slavery.
 

serb1389

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PeterTheAleut said:
I guess I'm just being a nitpick.

I understand what you're trying to say, that Christ is not here physically as He was during His sojourn on earth, but He is truly here with us even today.  "Behold, I AM with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20)
I agree with this, and that is what I was trying to say. Sorry I was dealing with other things when I was writing. thanks for the help!

 

serb1389

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Mother Anastasia said:

I agree, but sometimes things are not as simple as that.  We have been called to be the living breath of the church and that means that we need to
look at things in a context Christ could not have.

Dear Brother,  you are implying that He is Not the Alpha and the Omega, the Eternal, Omniscient One,  that He is limited by His own creation, time and space??  That He did not foresee ALL things?
I do not agree, He knows all things in time and eternity, and He knew precisely what He was doing.

Also, how are you a Deaconess?  Is this an official title?  Were you ordained to this position?
[/color]

Yes I am an ordained Deaconess.
I did not mean it that way.  What I meant was that Christ did not leave us a clear understanding of how to address every issue that would befall us after his Ascension.  He left us the Holy Spirit and his presence as our Lord and Savior. ÂÂ

So I agree with what your assesment but we have no standardized answer from God or the HS about this issue, so that's what I was trying to get to...eventally

Would you mind telling us more about your ordination?  Like who ordained you?  What church?  How it happened = the liturgical experience.  Your role in the church...etc. ÂÂ
 

surajiype

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The reference to Rc monastics must be to those activist nuns running around . Well if they are not obedient to their magestirium, how could they expect any quarter from the Orthodox :)

I agree Holy Tradition does not equal customary practise, but WO is different from using pews is it not. Today most Orthodox churches, have a choir with musical instruments. That was not the practise for atleast 1500 years . Though I have reservations re the unrestrained use of keyboards and the like, WO is a different issue altogether . If am not wrong Greek priests use stoles inscribed with IC and XC. Even if it were a theologuemenon ; it seems to be a deeply ingrained one.

A women celebrating the eucharist to me seems to violate the symolic nature of the Eucharist. I hear Behr-Siegel had critiqued that view. Must confess I am not convinced. The reasons demands for WO are being made has nothing to do with the reasons for which deaconesses or myrrh bearers existed.
IMO todays demands stem from a relativistic view of Scripture and Tradition.
If St Paul was merely giving into cultural biases with respect to WO, could not the same apply to Homosexuality. And if St Paul could be behind todays times, how could SS Peter Mathew and John be protected from the same.
I have read from too many Anglo Catholics who were Pro WO in the seventies and today with the benefit of hindsight call it the beginning of the end.

Should'nt the singular failure of the liberal Protestant experience with WO, cause us to take a pause. Even if today clear cut knock down arguments against WO seem lacking.


 

ozgeorge

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surajiype said:
I agree Holy Tradition does not equal customary practise, but WO is different from using pews is it not.
I'm assuming "WO" stands for something to do with the ordination of women. The points I was making are, firstly that "it has never been done before" does not mean "not doing it is a teaching of the Church"- this cannot be used as a basis of dogma; and secondly, that everyone is so sure that they know the dogmas about the Priesthood, and that these include that women should be excluded from it. What I'm saying is that our understanding of the Priesthood may be wrong to begin with. If a belief can be questioned as to it's doctrinal soundness, should it not be questioned?

surajiype said:
If am not wrong Greek priests use stoles inscribed with IC and XC. Even if it were a theologuemenon ; it seems to be a deeply ingrained one.
My priest doesn't- and he's an Athonite monk.

surajiype said:
A women celebrating the eucharist to me seems to violate the symolic nature of the Eucharist.
"Seems to"? So you aren't certain? Well neither am I. So perhaps some dialogue is needed about it? Perhaps we both would like clarification about this? So rather than scream "heretic" or "reactionary" or "liberal" at each other, and accuse one another of being "modernist" (as though that actually means anything in the Church), let's talk about it, pray about it, study about it. Just don't try and tell me "it is dogma, the case is closed" before an Oecumenical Synod has decreed that to be the case or not.

surajiype said:
The reasons demands for WO are being made has nothing to do with the reasons for which deaconesses or myrrh bearers existed.
Who is demanding anything? Can you tell me where anyone in the Orthodox Church has "demanded" ordination for women? Why is a request for dialogue on theological grounds assumed to be a "demand"?

surajiype said:
If St Paul was merely giving into cultural biases with respect to WO, could not the same apply to Homosexuality.
The same old illogical, emotional argument...
Tell me, what has homosexuality (which is a sin) have to do with womanhood? Do you consider it a sin to be born a woman? Are women not Icons of God? The old argument of "first it's women, and then it's homosexuals" makes as much logical sense as saying that infant baptism leads to murder.

surajiype said:
Should'nt the singular failure of the liberal Protestant experience with WO, cause us to take a pause.
Absolutely. We should, as you yourself say, "take pause" and be circumspect. But "take pause" does not mean "press the stop button and eject". If for nothing else than the fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury is not the head of the Orthodox Church, and hence the teachings of the Orthodox Church cannot be soley determined by the experiences of those you call "liberal protestants".
 

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ozgeorge said:
"Seems to"? So you aren't certain? Well neither am I. So perhaps some dialogue is needed about it? Perhaps we both would like clarification about this? So rather than scream "heretic" or "reactionary" or  "liberal" at each other, and accuse one another of being "modernist" (as though that actually means anything in the Church), let's talk about it, pray about it, study about it. Just don't try and tell me "it is dogma, the case is closed" before an Oecumenical Synod has decreed that to be the case or not.
Being radical again and asking for thoughtful and charitable discussion, OzGeorge.? ;) It would certainly be different for there to be defined terms and concepts (like what is meant and how is this assertion backed up that "men and women are different in things like "cognitive style and mental functioning""? maths abilities? Logic?) or to have discussions that don't toss off labels and don't really think about what other people might be saying. (or that don't slag off on other Churches)

Ebor

 

greekischristian

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Ebor said:
Being radical again and asking for thoughtful and charitable discussion, OzGeorge.? ;)  It would certainly be different for there to be defined terms and concepts (like what is meant and how is this assertion backed up that "men and women are different in things like "cognitive style and mental functioning""? maths abilities?  Logic?) or to have discussions that don't toss off labels and don't really think about what other people might be saying. (or that don't slag off on other Churches)
Come, come now Ebor...dont you know that the primary reason we dont ordain women is because those modernist anglican heretics do? ;)
 

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Wow.  What a thread...

First, to the guys...

greekischristian said:
Though a relationship between family leadership and Church leadership may have been envisioned by Paul, the fact that the leaders of the Church were generally (and are) celibate and not family men tends to undermine the analogy between one's family role and one's official ecclesiastical role.
Not sure I buy this argument...just as the man, being the physical patriarch of the family unit knit together by a common bloodline, is the head of said unit, so is the priest the head of the "spiritual family" of the parish which is knit together by the common Blood and Body of Christ.  St. Paul declared that the heads of both families would be male.

greekischristian]...in the 19th century when western cultures evolved to such a point as to reject slavery we enjoyed the luxury of abandoning our ancient support for this institution...[/quote] "Ancient support"?  How about "long-standing acknowledgement"?  It seems that said:
On the issue of the ordination of women I would say that just as there is no Greek or Jew in Christ, neither is there Male or Female; all are created in the image and likeness of God. Thus, what is important is not the race or gender, but rather the fact that the person is human and, thus, in the image and likeness of Christ.
...and, thus, is just as much a candidate for theosis as any other human.  This does not mean he or she is by default a candidate for the priesthood.  You stated elsewhere (I lost the link) that St. Paul states this quote you mention often in a "moment of clarity," or something like that, for he realizes deep down that his other statements prohibiting women from teaching were faulty, so the "neither male nor female" comment is a sort of, "well, yeah, okay, BUT" moment of backpaddling.  The lack of faith placed in St. Paul's ability to articulate truth aside, do you also think that he was merely having social friction within his own mind about whether or not slaves would be suitable to teach the Church?  Certainly it would make no sense to say St. Paul was so confused as to give equality to slaves to the extent that they, who were bound to their master in an apparently "anciently supported" institution, would be suitable for the presbytery.

ozgeorge said:
I remember a few years back there was an uproar on Orthodox forums because the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America tonsured a woman as a Reader. The reason for the uproar was because this is the first step toward Priesthood (as even the prayers for tonsuring a Reader say). If that is the case with merely tonsuring Readers, how much more the case actually ordaining a Deacon by cheirotonia?
Being tonsured a reader IS the first step of the priesthood.  That's why there are no female readers in the OCA.  That aside, isn't it true that the female deacons didn't even serve liturgical purposes like the deacons did back when the female deaconate even existed?

ozgeorge said:
And having read through the last posts as well as many other threads, I find a total lack of patristic support for Communing with a Spoon.....yet we now do. ;)
There is no patristic support for the use of the "Epitaphio" on Holy Friday either- it is not found in the rubrics of any typicon. Yet we began to use it.
As has been mentioned, the problem was not with distribution with instruments, but with reception through instruments.  THe quote-throwing shows that there were multiple customs within the Church re: reception of the Eucharist as well as re: many other things.  Women's ordination was consistently rejected.  Even if it is "mere theologoumena" and not defined by a council, the consistent, until-recently unquestioned theologoumenon of male-only priesthood should stand in contrast to the contested ones concerning communion and the epitaphio.

And now, for the ladies...

suzannes said:
I know, I sound nuts, but what I mean to say is, I've heard women say "I'm called to celebrate the sacraments" but wretches that we are, how fortunate are we just to *partake*??  I want to hear an argument in favor that is characterized by humility and self-effacement of Christ.  I just don't see that.  I see more of a "having it all" mentality, which will never be the way of Orthodoxy.
Right on.  Met a fellow this Pascha who, due to the fact that he'd gotten in trouble with the law earlier in life, was rejected by all Orthodox seminaries (and apparently can't be ordained), so he's solved that problem by coming to SW Theological Seminary (the Baptist one in Dallas) and is working his way towards being a Baptist minister, simply because he feels "called to preach."  I see those who run after women's ordination in much the same way; unwilling to accept that perhaps they are mishearing God, they push after this out of pride.  God knows, ultimately, but the women I've talked to who are in Protestant seminaries to become ministers are often very vocal about this "entitlement" of being in the clergy...

Mother Anastasia said:
Since Christ did everything by way of example, to instruct us, how can we miss the significance of His exclusion of women from the priesthood?  This is not any bias towards women, since He set so many precedences by choosing women to be first, His Mother, the woman at the well and Mary Magdalene.  This too He did as an example for the male dominated society.  He must have had a VERY good reason for excluding women from the priesthood, and I believe the answer (at least in part) is well explained here.
Like I said to GiC, and like you said so well, the Theotokos and the myrrhbearing women are some of our greatest saints.  It may be to the benefit of women that they're excluded from the priesthood; it may actually save their souls...

Anyone else notice that the Orthodox WOMEN here are against women's ordination and that it's only a couple of GUYS who are attempting to make room for it?
 

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Pedro

I have been peaking at this thread from time to time.....

I hear you!!...

Hold your breadth since if you note some of the comments some of the people here make they will argue you down (With biblical support) that for example: ...A mother should not be relegated to a second class motherhood status; but that women should also have the right to be men and fathers with the same rights and powers endowed to men...

It is a lost cause for people like you considering the level of thinking you seem to be at.

Oh!
Regarding slavery and uprising being non-Christian as it relates to slavery. I think you are right. But remember the master has to be bound by the same honor which is Christ. If he is truly a believer and following Christ commands he will no longer own his slaves since Christ owns him thus his slaves belong to Christ.
Christ did not leave any room for justifying slavery in any of its forms.

I think you know that; I thought that I would just make an emphasis on this issue.
 

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Pedro

I noticed that a few days ago. So did another poster.

These guys are in my opinion trying to feed the full.

"MetroOrthodoxual"

Hmmm.....
 
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