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Orthodoxy, Ecumenism and Arrogance - a subjective query

xariskai

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Hrugnir said:
Thank you for the well-formulated reply!

I've read Metr. Kallistos' chapter on this before, but it was a good reminder.
I think to a degree, what I've reacted to is the reactionary tone of many Orthodox. I do understand the idea that doctrine is a unified whole, and that the church corporately feels a need to "keep the faith once delivered". I think it is primarily my charismatic background that I feel clashing with Orthodoxy. But then again, it's specifically statements by the more polemical converts who have hurt me.

One example is the stance on glossolalia/the gift of tongues. I've seen Orthodox say it's demonic, that it's psychological suggestion, or that it is "for children". And in a sense, I can get that last part. The same would relate to prophecy and healing. There's so much scepticism, and knowing a good portion of my best friends, who are some of the sanest and spiritually mature people I've met my age, I'm disturbed by those who simply assume that because something isn't Orthodox, it's probably demonic/prelest - and at least definitely nothing that an Orthodox person could learn something from.

While one would have to accept Tradition as a whole to be Orthodox, I wonder if Charismatics and Pentecostals could "bring their gifts into the Heavenly City" (cf. Rev 21:24-26) in any meaningful sense...

Gorazd: I've had a friend who went there! I might visit at some point. I've been to the only entirely Swedish-speaking Ortodox congregation in Sweden once (St. Anna, Serbian Patriarchate), and the brother of a friend is a parishioner there.
Thanks for the clarification about glossolalia. I am sorry that your feelings were hurt concerning this issue by others and hope that you have a better experience at our forum. We Orthodox are not cessationists, of course, by any stretch of the imagination, however there is still reason for caution about much of what derives from charismatic and pentecostal trajectories stemming from the Azusa Street incident at the turn of the 20th century in the considered opinion of many scholarly investigators in a manner in which I am personally fairly sympathetic to (more below). Perhaps it would be useful to turn to that subject a bit if that is nearer to the heart of why you suppose Orthodox Christians seem arrogant to you (since you have not yet retracted the term) for hesitancy about incorporating aspects of this movement as rapidly as has taken place in other quarters of Christendom.

Protestant scholar F. F. Bruce tells the story of how one Bible-oriented movement -which would have been particularly horrified at any suggestion of basing any Christian belief on anything other than scripture- cited cessationist "proof text" 1 Cor 13:10 [in the sense of: "when the perfect, THAT IS, THE BIBLICAL CANON, comes, imperfect things ...LIKE TONGUES AND MIRACLES... will pass away"] as "the standard' interpretation in our movement's churches," as his first example of Protestant Tradition (even in the face of the strongest attempts to practice sola scriptura) in his fine little book Tradition: Old and New (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970): "Quite apart from the validity of the exegesis -and that the concept of the completed New Testament canon was present to Paul's mind is extremely improbable- it is unwise to refer people of independent thought to a standard interpretation, for the very fact of its being so described renders it suspect" (ibid, p. 14)

The modern tongues movement essentially began 7:00 p.m. on New Year's Eve of the year 1900, and mushroomed due to a series of newspaper articles that were initially more interested in the fact that blacks and whites were having tiny joint services (which didn't last long -major branches, e.g. the Assembly of God denomination, began as little more than a continuation of the same movement by those who wanted whites only, a sordid origin which AOG formally repented of as a denomination not very long ago) which articles brought crowds of gawkers, and which crowds brought even more reporters to comment on the gawkers(!), which increased all the more as reports of "strange happenings" circulated... (I can recount the full history in much more depth, but won't go into all of it all for present purposes). Stranger things have surely worked the works of God, though, so what's the problem?

The first thing which strikes me as dubious is this. When the turn-of-the-twentieth-century Azusa street revival -the origin of the modern tongues movement- began, all the participants believed they had received the gift of speaking in other languages that would usher in the last day revival specifically in the form of being able to preach the Gospel to all the nations which was to take place before the end of all ends. Accordingly, many of the original Pentecostals sold possessions etc. in order to travel by sea and by air, to many foreign countries, fully believing that when they spoke in tongues their hearers would supernaturally hear the Gospel. Oops. When that expectation did not materialize, and only at that time, the chastened and to a tragic extent travel-weary movement as a whole adopted the "standard" interpretation (i.e. -as F. F. Bruce might say- soon-to-be "traditional" interpretation) that the gift they had received must be some kind of angelic language, or some kind of prayer language no person but God really understands. So what's the problem?

That modern tongues speaking probably isn't a language of any kind -angelic or human- was fairly well confirmed by a massive 5 year long multi-national linguistic analysis of tongue speakers from different cultures and language groups which confirmed not only that the tongues being spoken in the movement did not correspond to any known language, but, further, that the specific manner that people "spoke in tongues" was in accordance with the phonemes (basic vocalizations) which occurred in a given speaker's native language! The "heavenly language's" origin seemed to be of the earth, not just of the earth, but regional earth locations, varying very specifically by limitation to the specific language sounds known from birth by the given tongues speaker, varying according to one's native language and place of residence.

I. Howard Marshall, commenting on the skepticism-inducing nature of the exhaustive linguistic studies, nevertheless pointed to an example of a Marxist revolutionary and atheist known to Marshall who was converted to Christ after hearing his own daughter speak in a language that he had mastered, but that -he knew- his daughter was unable to speak. Marshall felt this case too convincing for him personally to discount despite the movement as a whole being still, well, entirely unconvincing to him (note, despite Marshall showing no bias for cessationism). To sum up, I have never thought scriptural arguments for cessationism by Protestant cessationists are even remotely convincing, however the nature of the phenomena in question themselves when placed under closer scrutiny (not to mention ancillary issues like heretical Sabellianism/monarchial modalism espoused by millions of pentecostals, e.g. United Pentecostal International et al, God wants you rich if you donate to me theology, sociological studies concerning an abysmal lack of fruitbearing, just to name a few reservations) and... well... just color me deeply skeptical of mostly the whole movement for now while being anything but a cessationist personally.


313 Azusa Street, AD 1900 -from whence the entire modern tongues movement sprang All major modern trajectories descend historically from this location/event.
__________
Addendum from the Wiki article on Glossolalia

Substantial scientific studies have been published that provide an objective description of the linguistics of glossolalic speech and the neural behaviour of the speakers.

Linguistics of Pentecostal glossolalia

William J. Samarin, a linguist from the University of Toronto, published a thorough assessment of Pentecostal glossolalia that became a classic work on its linguistic characteristics.[5] His assessment was based on a large sample of glossolalia recorded in public and private Christian meetings in Italy, Holland, Jamaica, Canada and the USA over the course of five years; his wide range included the Puerto Ricans of the Bronx, the Snake Handlers of the Appalachians, and Russian Molokan in Los Angeles.

Samarin found that glossolalic speech does resemble human language in some respects. The speaker uses accent, rhythm, intonation and pauses to break up the speech into distinct units. Each unit is itself made up of syllables, the syllables being formed from consonants and vowels taken from a language known to the speaker.

It is verbal behavior that consists of using a certain number of consonants and vowels[...]in a limited number of syllables that in turn are organized into larger units that are taken apart and rearranged pseudogrammatically[...]with variations in pitch, volume, speed and intensity.[6]

[Glossolalia] consists of strings of syllables, made up of sounds taken from all those that the speaker knows, put together more or less haphazardly but emerging nevertheless as word-like and sentence-like units because of realistic, language-like rhythm and melody.[7]

That the sounds are taken from the set of sounds already known to the speaker is confirmed by others: Felicitas Goodman found that the speech of glossolalists reflected the patterns of speech of the speaker's native language.[8]

Samarin found that the resemblance to human language was merely on the surface, and so concluded that glossolalia is "only a facade of language".[9] He reached this conclusion because the syllable string did not form words, the stream of speech was not internally organised, and– most importantly of all– there was no systematic relationship between units of speech and concepts. Humans use language to communicate, but glossolalia does not. Therefore he concluded that glossolalia is not "a specimen of human language because it is neither internally organized nor systematically related to the world man perceives".[9]

On the basis of his linguistic analysis, Samarin defined Pentecostal glossolalia as "meaningless but phonologically structured human utterance, believed by the speaker to be a real language but bearing no systematic resemblance to any natural language, living or dead".[10]

Practitioners of glossolalia may disagree with linguistic researchers and claim that they are speaking human languages (xenoglossia). For example Ralph Harris, in the work Spoken By the Spirit published by Radiant Life/GPH in 1973, describes seventy five occasions when glossolalic speech was understood by others. (Scientific research into such claims is documented in the article on xenoglossia.)
[edit] Comparative linguistics

Felicitas Goodman, a psychological anthropologist and linguist, studied a number of Pentecostal communities in the United States, Caribbean and Mexico; these included English, Spanish and Mayan speaking groups. She compared what she found with recordings of non-Christian rituals from Africa, Borneo, Indonesia and Japan. She took into account both the segmental structure (such as sounds, syllables, phrases) and the supra-segmental elements (rhythm, accent, intonation), and concluded that there was no distinction between what was practiced by the Pentecostal Protestants and the followers of other religions.[11]

Neuroscience

In 2006, the brains of a group of individuals were scanned while they were speaking in tongues. Activity in the language centers of the brain decreased, while activity in the emotional centers of the brain increased. Activity in the area of control decreased, which corresponds with the reported experience of loss of control. There were no changes in any language areas, suggesting that glossolalia is not associated with usual language function.[12][13][14] Other brain wave studies have also found that brain activity alters in glossolalia.[15]
Scientific explanation

Attempts to explain these physical and psychological from a scientific perspective have been suggested, including mental illness, hypnosis, and learned behaviour...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossolalia#Neuroscience
 

mabsoota

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a comprehensive and fair treatment of the 'speaking in tongues' phenomenon, in my opinion.
just because God may give heavenly languages to some people at some times; there can still be many episodes of mass hysteria, or just 'trying to fit in' at other times.

i think i have seen all forms of this, in my travels around the churches that lead eventually to my spiritual journey to orthodoxy.
certainly there are no less miracles and prophecies in the orthodox church, but there is much less publicity and hysteria; which can only be a good thing.
 

NicholasMyra

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In the defense of "post-revival" glossolalia practitioners, just because a practice is clearly physiological does not make it "false" or "un-spiritual". After all, we lower testosterone levels through caloric deprivation, which we would also call a spiritual lust-reducing discipline. We call the gift of tears a gift from God, and yet crying, under scientific scrutiny, would surely be crying just the same.

I think one of the greater risks of glossolalia is the same as many disciplines and practices: The risk of "half-converting" a native population. Glossolalia is part of many African religions, and the popularity of Pentecostalism among former slaves in the early 1900's probably had something to do with this. A group could simply switch the name of their idol to that of "Jesus Christ" or "Holy Spirit" and continue on much the same as before. The same thing happened in Central and South America with saint veneration, which is why you have so much pagan non-saint veneration there today (see: Santa Muerte, for example).

Perhaps one should ask, "Is the Glossolalia of the post-revival period typically practiced 'decently and in order', as St. Paul demands in his 1st Epistle to the Corinthians?" If so, or if not, what are we to then conclude of it?
 

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Hrugnir said:
I think it is primarily my charismatic background that I feel clashing with Orthodoxy. But then again, it's specifically statements by the more polemical converts who have hurt me.
Such converts do more violence to their own brothers in the Church than to outsiders. They write silly polemical articles about how there is a revisionist conspiracy to make it look like long hair wasn't traditional among clergy before the Ottoman period. They fuss over scarves and lengths of clothing.

They actually *do* borrow from Protestants and Catholics quite extensively: Pseudo-geology from the Seventh-Day Adventists, political stances from the classical Evangelicals, Humanae Vitae from the Roman Catholics. They are all for ecumenism; just that ecumenism made in their own image.

I don't think there is a church that does not have such people in it. But their fervor lasts merely one generation, because very few, VERY few, of their offspring care to inherit such behavior. So their misguided zeal "goes out like burning thorns" as the Psalmist says. They have no wood to sustain them past kindling.
 

primuspilus

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But then again, it's specifically statements by the more polemical converts who have hurt me
Its easy to do. I think, as myself a convert, can sometimes get a bit hurtful in my criticisms of Protestantism, now that Im on the otherside.

Afterall, in American orthodoxy, what books sell the best? Converts pooping no their patrimony and writing a book about it.

PP
 

katherineofdixie

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Frankly, there are jerks everywhere, in every group. What seems like questionable behavior by some people should not turn us away from the Truth.

I keep reminding myself to see to myself and my own sins.
 

kurtismjohnson

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primuspilus said:
But then again, it's specifically statements by the more polemical converts who have hurt me
Its easy to do. I think, as myself a convert, can sometimes get a bit hurtful in my criticisms of Protestantism, now that Im on the otherside.

Afterall, in American orthodoxy, what books sell the best? Converts pooping no their patrimony and writing a book about it.

PP
Im not even a convert yet and i find myself at times being way too harsh toward protestantism!
 

Hrugnir

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I will reply more in detail soon, I just wanted to say I do recant of general accusations of "Orthodox arrogance" as something unique to Orthodoxy. The humility and love I find among many of you in taking the time to answer my confused questions is enough to assure me that there are many of you who take these things seriously and in love.

Thank you :)
 

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PS. I also tried searching for the word "arrogance" and found the final thread of Matthew777. If I understand things correctly as a lurker, he made somewhat of an impression on the forum, and not in the best way? I apologize if using such terms made you remember such behaviour.

Forgive me for any such accusations. In a sense, I suppose I also wanted to see what sort of reactions an accusation of arrogance would awaken... In the end it's me who finds myself having to repent of my own arrogance in presuming so much about "you Orthodox", as if it was this homogenous group, when in fact to a large extent it's a projected image of my worst fears of what a church I much admire might be like.

Lord, have mercy.
 

katherineofdixie

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Hrugnir said:
PS. I also tried searching for the word "arrogance" and found the final thread of Matthew777. If I understand things correctly as a lurker, he made somewhat of an impression on the forum, and not in the best way? I apologize if using such terms made you remember such behaviour.

Forgive me for any such accusations. In a sense, I suppose I also wanted to see what sort of reactions an accusation of arrogance would awaken... In the end it's me who finds myself having to repent of my own arrogance in presuming so much about "you Orthodox", as if it was this homogenous group, when in fact to a large extent it's a projected image of my worst fears of what a church I much admire might be like.

Lord, have mercy.
No problem, honey. As a former Lutheran, I can surely sympathize. See. the thing is, that Orthodoxy is not just another church or another denomination. It's a whole different ballgame. Orthodox may use the same words but mean totally different things. It is a radical re-orientation of your beliefs and outlook. A brave new world.

A priest I know reported that a member of his Inquirers' Class practically broke down and said, "But, Father, if all this is true, and it looks like it is - then everything I ever knew is wrong, and I'm going to have to start all over!" To which Father replied, "Well, son, that's true, but the good thing is, you don't have to do it alone, and all the heavy lifting has already been done for us."
 

PJ

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katherineofdixie said:
Hrugnir said:
PS. I also tried searching for the word "arrogance" and found the final thread of Matthew777. If I understand things correctly as a lurker, he made somewhat of an impression on the forum, and not in the best way? I apologize if using such terms made you remember such behaviour.

Forgive me for any such accusations. In a sense, I suppose I also wanted to see what sort of reactions an accusation of arrogance would awaken... In the end it's me who finds myself having to repent of my own arrogance in presuming so much about "you Orthodox", as if it was this homogenous group, when in fact to a large extent it's a projected image of my worst fears of what a church I much admire might be like.

Lord, have mercy.
No problem, honey. As a former Lutheran, I can surely sympathize. See. the thing is, that Orthodoxy is not just another church or another denomination. It's a whole different ballgame. Orthodox may use the same words but mean totally different things. It is a radical re-orientation of your beliefs and outlook. A brave new world.

A priest I know reported that a member of his Inquirers' Class practically broke down and said, "But, Father, if all this is true, and it looks like it is - then everything I ever knew is wrong, and I'm going to have to start all over!" To which Father replied, "Well, son, that's true, but the good thing is, you don't have to do it alone, and all the heavy lifting has already been done for us."
That, to me, sums it all up: the Orthodox consider Catholics and Protestants, not just as needing to correct a few things like (for Catholics) the Immaculate Conception, Papal Infallibility, etc. but rather as needing to start from scratch.
 

primuspilus

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No problem, honey. As a former Lutheran, I can surely sympathize. See. the thing is, that Orthodoxy is not just another church or another denomination. It's a whole different ballgame. Orthodox may use the same words but mean totally different things. It is a radical re-orientation of your beliefs and outlook. A brave new world.

A priest I know reported that a member of his Inquirers' Class practically broke down and said, "But, Father, if all this is true, and it looks like it is - then everything I ever knew is wrong, and I'm going to have to start all over!" To which Father replied, "Well, son, that's true, but the good thing is, you don't have to do it alone, and all the heavy lifting has already been done for us."
and

That, to me, sums it all up: the Orthodox consider Catholics and Protestants, not just as needing to correct a few things like (for Catholics) the Immaculate Conception, Papal Infallibility, etc. but rather as needing to start from scratch
I think that is too broad of a generalization. For me, Roman Catholics would not need to start over (Anglicans either really) as we share common ground on many things.


Protestants do need to start from scratch, because the myriad of views are so radically different to what would be considered the historical, truly biblical view of God, salvation, the saints, etc. reallyare all about.

I take my own convesion. I really had to re-think the way that I viewed God, and His plan of salvation. It was so radically different to what I believed for so long that it was almost like a night and day difference. Of course, this led me to question everything I thought about Christianity and how my views were in contrast to the original Church.

Now, that is not to say that some folks would not have that far to go. But overall, I think that to just say, "Orthodox think everyone has to start from scratch" is not really accurate.



PP
 

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primuspilus said:
No problem, honey. As a former Lutheran, I can surely sympathize. See. the thing is, that Orthodoxy is not just another church or another denomination. It's a whole different ballgame. Orthodox may use the same words but mean totally different things. It is a radical re-orientation of your beliefs and outlook. A brave new world.

A priest I know reported that a member of his Inquirers' Class practically broke down and said, "But, Father, if all this is true, and it looks like it is - then everything I ever knew is wrong, and I'm going to have to start all over!" To which Father replied, "Well, son, that's true, but the good thing is, you don't have to do it alone, and all the heavy lifting has already been done for us."
and

That, to me, sums it all up: the Orthodox consider Catholics and Protestants, not just as needing to correct a few things like (for Catholics) the Immaculate Conception, Papal Infallibility, etc. but rather as needing to start from scratch
I think that is too broad of a generalization. For me, Roman Catholics would not need to start over (Anglicans either really) as we share common ground on many things.


Protestants do need to start from scratch, because the myriad of views are so radically different to what would be considered the historical, truly biblical view of God, salvation, the saints, etc. reallyare all about.

I take my own convesion. I really had to re-think the way that I viewed God, and His plan of salvation. It was so radically different to what I believed for so long that it was almost like a night and day difference. Of course, this led me to question everything I thought about Christianity and how my views were in contrast to the original Church.

Now, that is not to say that some folks would not have that far to go. But overall, I think that to just say, "Orthodox think everyone has to start from scratch" is not really accurate.



PP
Well, I glad you think that Roman Catholics and Anglicans would not need to start over. But I would have to take issue with your assertion that Protestants do need to. Seems to be that "classical Protestants" (not the radical liberal ones) mostly have at least a firm Christian grounding even though they are heretical in some of their beliefs.
 

katherineofdixie

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primuspilus said:
Protestants do need to start from scratch, because the myriad of views are so radically different to what would be considered the historical, truly biblical view of God, salvation, the saints, etc. reallyare all about.

I take my own convesion. I really had to re-think the way that I viewed God, and His plan of salvation. It was so radically different to what I believed for so long that it was almost like a night and day difference. Of course, this led me to question everything I thought about Christianity and how my views were in contrast to the original Church.
Exactly. That was my experience also.
 

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Peter J said:
primuspilus said:
No problem, honey. As a former Lutheran, I can surely sympathize. See. the thing is, that Orthodoxy is not just another church or another denomination. It's a whole different ballgame. Orthodox may use the same words but mean totally different things. It is a radical re-orientation of your beliefs and outlook. A brave new world.

A priest I know reported that a member of his Inquirers' Class practically broke down and said, "But, Father, if all this is true, and it looks like it is - then everything I ever knew is wrong, and I'm going to have to start all over!" To which Father replied, "Well, son, that's true, but the good thing is, you don't have to do it alone, and all the heavy lifting has already been done for us."
and

That, to me, sums it all up: the Orthodox consider Catholics and Protestants, not just as needing to correct a few things like (for Catholics) the Immaculate Conception, Papal Infallibility, etc. but rather as needing to start from scratch
I think that is too broad of a generalization. For me, Roman Catholics would not need to start over (Anglicans either really) as we share common ground on many things.


Protestants do need to start from scratch, because the myriad of views are so radically different to what would be considered the historical, truly biblical view of God, salvation, the saints, etc. reallyare all about.

I take my own convesion. I really had to re-think the way that I viewed God, and His plan of salvation. It was so radically different to what I believed for so long that it was almost like a night and day difference. Of course, this led me to question everything I thought about Christianity and how my views were in contrast to the original Church.

Now, that is not to say that some folks would not have that far to go. But overall, I think that to just say, "Orthodox think everyone has to start from scratch" is not really accurate.



PP
Well, I glad you think that Roman Catholics and Anglicans would not need to start over. But I would have to take issue with your assertion that Protestants do need to. Seems to be that "classical Protestants" (not the radical liberal ones) mostly have at least a firm Christian grounding even though they are heretical in some of their beliefs.
We just need Jesus to stop by here on earth every few hundred years and go over everything again so their is no confusion.  Then, everyone could stay on the same page!
 

primuspilus

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Well, I glad you think that Roman Catholics and Anglicans would not need to start over. But I would have to take issue with your assertion that Protestants do need to. Seems to be that "classical Protestants" (not the radical liberal ones) mostly have at least a firm Christian grounding even though they are heretical in some of their beliefs
I only say that in light of my conversion. "Classical" Protestants have far less road to travel, I can concede that.

Although in my early years I was Lutheran, I eventually became an Evangelical Protestant. I believe these folks pretty much have to start over as their view on God, salvation, and authority is radically different.

PP
 

katherineofdixie

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Peter J said:
Well, I glad you think that Roman Catholics and Anglicans would not need to start over. But I would have to take issue with your assertion that Protestants do need to. Seems to be that "classical Protestants" (not the radical liberal ones) mostly have at least a firm Christian grounding even though they are heretical in some of their beliefs.
Naturally this is only anecdotal evidence. But I was born and raised "classical Protestant" - that is, Lutheran (and never thought I would be anything else). I was actually going to seminary with the goal of ordination as a Lutheran pastor, so I was fairly conversant with Lutheran theology and had a firm Christian grounding in the faith for my whole life. In addition, I was somewhat of a theology geek. I actually had a copy of the Book of Concord!
Coming into Orthodoxy involved a radical re-orientation of my beliefs and my way of life - so I sympathize with the person who said that everything he had ever learned was wrong.
Aside from that, I'm pretty sure that if you actually polled "classical Protestants," you would be astounded at the things that they actually believe or that they think are Christian. In my experience, of course, YMMV.
 

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Peter J said:
primuspilus said:
No problem, honey. As a former Lutheran, I can surely sympathize. See. the thing is, that Orthodoxy is not just another church or another denomination. It's a whole different ballgame. Orthodox may use the same words but mean totally different things. It is a radical re-orientation of your beliefs and outlook. A brave new world.

A priest I know reported that a member of his Inquirers' Class practically broke down and said, "But, Father, if all this is true, and it looks like it is - then everything I ever knew is wrong, and I'm going to have to start all over!" To which Father replied, "Well, son, that's true, but the good thing is, you don't have to do it alone, and all the heavy lifting has already been done for us."
and

That, to me, sums it all up: the Orthodox consider Catholics and Protestants, not just as needing to correct a few things like (for Catholics) the Immaculate Conception, Papal Infallibility, etc. but rather as needing to start from scratch
I think that is too broad of a generalization. For me, Roman Catholics would not need to start over (Anglicans either really) as we share common ground on many things.


Protestants do need to start from scratch, because the myriad of views are so radically different to what would be considered the historical, truly biblical view of God, salvation, the saints, etc. reallyare all about.

I take my own convesion. I really had to re-think the way that I viewed God, and His plan of salvation. It was so radically different to what I believed for so long that it was almost like a night and day difference. Of course, this led me to question everything I thought about Christianity and how my views were in contrast to the original Church.

Now, that is not to say that some folks would not have that far to go. But overall, I think that to just say, "Orthodox think everyone has to start from scratch" is not really accurate.



PP
Well, I glad you think that Roman Catholics and Anglicans would not need to start over. But I would have to take issue with your assertion that Protestants do need to. Seems to be that "classical Protestants" (not the radical liberal ones) mostly have at least a firm Christian grounding even though they are heretical in some of their beliefs.
I heard that Archbishop Dmitri (from the OCA Diocese of the South and who reposed this past summer) would tell converts to be grateful for their prior Christian upbringing, as that was what first brought them to Christ. He was Baptist before he joined the Orthodox Church.
 

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Agree.  If someone said they needed to "start over", I wonder just exactly what it is that they believed.  I was speaking with my Serbian priest last night on this subject, and like other priests have told me, he likes having Lutheran converts (from the "confessional" branches).  His view is like mine; they are already 80% there, they just need to be finished.  On the other hand, I have met many "Lutherans" (ELCA) that ascribe to beliefs that do not identify with any Lutheran teachings of which I am aware.  Those would have to start over.

Peter J said:
primuspilus said:
No problem, honey. As a former Lutheran, I can surely sympathize. See. the thing is, that Orthodoxy is not just another church or another denomination. It's a whole different ballgame. Orthodox may use the same words but mean totally different things. It is a radical re-orientation of your beliefs and outlook. A brave new world.

A priest I know reported that a member of his Inquirers' Class practically broke down and said, "But, Father, if all this is true, and it looks like it is - then everything I ever knew is wrong, and I'm going to have to start all over!" To which Father replied, "Well, son, that's true, but the good thing is, you don't have to do it alone, and all the heavy lifting has already been done for us."
and

That, to me, sums it all up: the Orthodox consider Catholics and Protestants, not just as needing to correct a few things like (for Catholics) the Immaculate Conception, Papal Infallibility, etc. but rather as needing to start from scratch
I think that is too broad of a generalization. For me, Roman Catholics would not need to start over (Anglicans either really) as we share common ground on many things.


Protestants do need to start from scratch, because the myriad of views are so radically different to what would be considered the historical, truly biblical view of God, salvation, the saints, etc. reallyare all about.

I take my own convesion. I really had to re-think the way that I viewed God, and His plan of salvation. It was so radically different to what I believed for so long that it was almost like a night and day difference. Of course, this led me to question everything I thought about Christianity and how my views were in contrast to the original Church.

Now, that is not to say that some folks would not have that far to go. But overall, I think that to just say, "Orthodox think everyone has to start from scratch" is not really accurate.



PP
Well, I glad you think that Roman Catholics and Anglicans would not need to start over. But I would have to take issue with your assertion that Protestants do need to. Seems to be that "classical Protestants" (not the radical liberal ones) mostly have at least a firm Christian grounding even though they are heretical in some of their beliefs.
 

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katherineofdixie said:
Frankly, there are jerks everywhere, in every group. What seems like questionable behavior by some people should not turn us away from the Truth.

I keep reminding myself to see to myself and my own sins.
Yes indeed.
 

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I would certainly not say converting to Orthodoxy right now would be like "starting over", but that's because I've been slowly changing my opinions, or rather clarifying them in light of the things I've found, over time. I mean, I read the book "The Orthodox Way" by Kallistos Ware. While it is clearly a "light-weight" book and much more accessible than say The Ladder of Divine Ascent (for many, understandable reasons), I found myself agreeing with every single sentence in it, doctrinally.

But, while I happen to have consciously moved closer to Orthodoxy, I definitely cannot say it would be like a total repentance for most of my Christian friends less enthusiastic about Orthodoxy, if they were to accept its teachings. Sure, emphases might change and things would definitely shake them around, it still would not be as if they made a 180 turn from something. And if dare make a prediction here, those who DO make 180 turns must either A. have been from extremely heretical and damaging backgrounds, or B. run into the risk of becoming Hyperdox Herman.
 

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As you may or may not already know, I participate on the Catholic Answers Forum a fair bit. Occasionally, I'll come across an interesting post, in this case from an Orthodox:

dcointin said:
Although this has already been said, it bears repeating:

We Orthodox view watch the Eastern Catholic Church exprience to see what reunion with Rome would be like.

I realize that it has been said that the uniate model is no longer Rome's way for dealing with reunion in the future, but actions speak louder than words, and we pay far more heed to what happens than what is said.  Being unable to practice ones historic right to a married priesthood is *not* acceptable for us, and this will remain a significant barrier to reunion if this kind of action is allowed to continue.
- http://forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=9178744&postcount=57

I'm sympathetic to the desire to restore the married priesthood (as any traditionalist should be). But that post has got me to thinking: where does one draw the line with regard to how much say the Orthodox get in the affairs of the Roman Communion?

Also, with regard to reunion, isn't this a little like a "bait and switch"?
 

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Hrugnir said:
I would certainly not say converting to Orthodoxy right now would be like "starting over", but that's because I've been slowly changing my opinions, or rather clarifying them in light of the things I've found, over time. I mean, I read the book "The Orthodox Way" by Kallistos Ware. While it is clearly a "light-weight" book and much more accessible than say The Ladder of Divine Ascent (for many, understandable reasons), I found myself agreeing with every single sentence in it, doctrinally.

But, while I happen to have consciously moved closer to Orthodoxy, I definitely cannot say it would be like a total repentance for most of my Christian friends less enthusiastic about Orthodoxy, if they were to accept its teachings. Sure, emphases might change and things would definitely shake them around, it still would not be as if they made a 180 turn from something. And if dare make a prediction here, those who DO make 180 turns must either A. have been from extremely heretical and damaging backgrounds, or B. run into the risk of becoming Hyperdox Herman.


If you do become Orthodox, and I devoutly pray that you will, you might notice after your chrismation,how much changes. I don't think that as a Lutheran I was from a former heretical and damaging background, and I hope that I have not become Hyperdox Hermania (just can't seem to grow a beard for one thing!) But I look back, and I am astonished at how much my beliefs have changed. I hope that my actions have changed a little also.
 

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katherineofdixie said:
I was actually going to seminary with the goal of ordination as a Lutheran pastor, so I was fairly conversant with Lutheran theology and had a firm Christian grounding in the faith for my whole life.
If your handle reflects your real life name, then you were probably ELCA which is very nominally Lutheran. (If I'm wrong, then please forgive me.) My dad is LCMS and I attended an LCMS university, so I enjoyed debating Lutherans. As my mom would say to dad when theological debates arose, "You just don't get it."
 

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Luckster said:
katherineofdixie said:
I was actually going to seminary with the goal of ordination as a Lutheran pastor, so I was fairly conversant with Lutheran theology and had a firm Christian grounding in the faith for my whole life.
If your handle reflects your real life name, then you were probably ELCA which is very nominally Lutheran. (If I'm wrong, then please forgive me.) My dad is LCMS and I attended an LCMS university, so I enjoyed debating Lutherans. As my mom would say to dad when theological debates arose, "You just don't get it."
FWIW, I assure you that I was not (nor was my family of German Lutherans, for generations, including my mom who is still not happy about my conversion to Orthodoxy) nominally Lutheran. Also my handle does not reflect my real name but rather my saint's name, St. Katherine.
 

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My "branch" of Lutheranism is very much in the Pietistic tradition (by which I mean the original intra-Lutheran group). The forensic language of Luther, with emphasis on justicication, is then to a large extent complemented by an intense emphasis on piety, repentance and sanctification. Antinomianism and lukewarmness is a common problem among many in my church, but not within the branch I've grown up within.
 

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katherineofdixie said:
Luckster said:
katherineofdixie said:
I was actually going to seminary with the goal of ordination as a Lutheran pastor, so I was fairly conversant with Lutheran theology and had a firm Christian grounding in the faith for my whole life.
If your handle reflects your real life name, then you were probably ELCA which is very nominally Lutheran. (If I'm wrong, then please forgive me.) My dad is LCMS and I attended an LCMS university, so I enjoyed debating Lutherans. As my mom would say to dad when theological debates arose, "You just don't get it."
FWIW, I assure you that I was not (nor was my family of German Lutherans, for generations, including my mom who is still not happy about my conversion to Orthodoxy) nominally Lutheran. Also my handle does not reflect my real name but rather my saint's name, St. Katherine.
I think he is wondering if you are a boy or a girl.  If the latter, your attendance at a Seminary would indicate ELCA affiliation.  To the conservative Lutherans (LCMS and WELS), ELCA is hardly regarded as Christian, let alone Lutheran.  Perhaps this would clarify his statement.
 

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Hrugnir said:
My "branch" of Lutheranism is very much in the Pietistic tradition (by which I mean the original intra-Lutheran group). The forensic language of Luther, with emphasis on justicication, is then to a large extent complemented by an intense emphasis on piety, repentance and sanctification. Antinomianism and lukewarmness is a common problem among many in my church, but not within the branch I've grown up within.
Welcome.  My father is a retired LCMS pastor and I was in the WELS before becoming Orthodox.  I have noticed my views on some things "mature", but in no way feel like I had to "start over".
 

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Punch said:
...ELCA is hardly regarded as Christian, let alone Lutheran. 
In many ways, the ELCA has become that, which is one reason (though not really the main one) why I am now Orthodox. (But I do assure you that my upbringing and early Christian formation were as solidly and thoroughly Lutheran as you could wish. After all, the ELCA was formed after I was an adult.)
 

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Punch said:
katherineofdixie said:
Luckster said:
katherineofdixie said:
I was actually going to seminary with the goal of ordination as a Lutheran pastor, so I was fairly conversant with Lutheran theology and had a firm Christian grounding in the faith for my whole life.
If your handle reflects your real life name, then you were probably ELCA which is very nominally Lutheran. (If I'm wrong, then please forgive me.) My dad is LCMS and I attended an LCMS university, so I enjoyed debating Lutherans. As my mom would say to dad when theological debates arose, "You just don't get it."
FWIW, I assure you that I was not (nor was my family of German Lutherans, for generations, including my mom who is still not happy about my conversion to Orthodoxy) nominally Lutheran. Also my handle does not reflect my real name but rather my saint's name, St. Katherine.
I think he is wondering if you are a boy or a girl.  If the latter, your attendance at a Seminary would indicate ELCA affiliation.
Oh! I'm glad you said that, I was scratching my head thinking "How would a person's name be an indication of their denomination?"  But yes, in view of the seminary/ordination comment, Luckster's statement makes sense.

BTW, if you haven't already, you should watch Being Mistaken for the ELCA
 

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I suppose that a new convert would need to relearn to one degree or another depending on his previous denomination, but if anyone thinks Protestants need to "start from scratch" to become Orthodox--well, if you've ever witnessed the conversion of someone with no prior monotheistic background at all (someone from China, for instance), then that's what I would call starting from scratch. There is no comparison.
 
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