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Why I remain an Evangelical

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Volnutt

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Volnutt said:
So, then

I can attend any Orthodox liturgy anywhere in the world, and I know that the Body and Blood of Christ will be offered to me.
Is either a lie or a meaningless statement. A ROCOR Church, for example, is not going to offer the Body and Blood of Christ to you (unless you lie to the priest, I guess). If all you meant was "Orthodox Churches have the Real Presence and Protestant ones don't" then you didn't phrase that well at all and it was just kind of pointless grandstanding to boot.
Wherever the Body and Blood of Christ is offered, the Church is present. Whether or not priests choose to administer the Sacraments to me is up to them. And that's a private matter of confession and economia that I won't discuss here. I stand by my original statement: "I can attend any Orthodox liturgy anywhere in the world, and I know that the Body and Blood of Christ will be offered." Perhaps I should have left out "to me," although generally speaking I believe that Christ does indeed offer Himself to me through His body and blood, in every Orthodox Church.

Selam
Well, hurray for hair splitting, I guess...
 

Volnutt

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Tzimis said:
Volnutt said:
Tzimis said:
Volnutt said:
Tzimis said:
Volnutt said:
Tzimis said:
Volnutt said:
Tzimis said:
Volnutt said:
But ongoing sanctification of one's life is seen as essential evidence that a conversion has really taken place- the two are only separate in theory, not in practice. Few if any modern Protestants are antinomians.

Sometimes catechism is woefully lacking, yes. But I see no reason to attribute that to willful deception or blasphemy (especially considering how terrible catechism sometimes is in Orthodox Churches).
Its deception unless the person administering the sacrament believes that sanctification occurs on the spot.
You're not speaking the same language as they are. Justification occurs on the spot, sanctification only starts on the spot- and then continues throughout one's life. I've seen them appeal to Hebrews 10:14 for this.
How can one feel justified if they aren't sanctified first. Its like boasting about a football game that you haven't won yet.
Because of the imputed righteousness of Christ. His sinlessness and sacrificial atonement is "accounted" to the believer. I know that's arguably different from the Orthodox understanding, but it's more or less consistent within itself.
Sorry but, I still dont understand it. Im trying to make an attempt though.
I believe Martin Luther's phrase was we are "dung covered with snow." Since we are too sinful to cooperate with His grace for sanctification, then God must create a sort of "legal fiction" whereby He "pretends" that the perfect obedience of Christ is really our obedience and justifies on us on that basis. After that point, we are able to make the righteousness of Christ our own through the Holy Spirit working in our lives.
Basicly a Pass. Who sanctioned the pass though?
I find it fascinating how the human mind can overcome obstacles.  Even if they are nonexistent. The judicial concept of god would have lead to inovation we in the east never had.
It was sanctioned by the sacrifice of Christ, allowing the Father to forgive us without violating His own justice.
Let me rephrase the question. Who was the theologian that can up with this concept?
Assuming it's not Orthodox, and I think it could be argued that it at least partially is, Anselm is probably the earliest one to articulate it fully.
 

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
David Young: don't feel obligated to answer, but I was curious if you had any thoughts about my original response here.
I suspect you mean about the second part of your quote, about the sacraments being valid whatever else may or may not be right.

Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
I'm not interested in converting anyone to Orthodoxy anymore. ...  I am becoming increasingly ecumenical the older I get.

During my 20 years as an Evangelical, I encountered many churches where I did not see or experience the grace of God. ... With Protestant churches, I never know what I will experience or encounter.
Sadly, I find no difficulty in believing that; and like yourgoodself, I am less interested in convincing people about Baptist church order and soteriology, and more concerned to desire them to put their faith and their whole trust in Christ the Saviour and Lord.

However, I know the grace of God is present and active in every Orthodox Church, simply because regardless of the faith (or lack thereof) of the clergy and the people, the Sacraments remain ...  efficacious.
I understand exactly what you mean. If I am not mistaken, it is an Orthodox way or saying something similar to what I think C S Lewis said about his Anglican worship: he could sincerely repeat the prayers and psalms, whatever might have been going on in other people's minds. In our non-liturgical churches we do not have that assurance, and it is probably one reason why my wife and I seldom attend church when we are away on holiday, in France, Greece, or Britain: we don't know what we shall find in any gathering calling itself "Protestant" or "Evangelical" or "Baptist". There are of course networks that will help you find the sort of church you are looking for in France, Britain or even Greece, and I have over the years worshipped in various churches in France, and even in Greece from Alexandroupolis in the east across to Ioannina and Corfu in the west.

However, usually, here in Britain I would prefer to attend an 8 a.m. Communion service in the Church of England if I am away on holiday, if it is based on the 1662 Prayer Book, as - like yourself with your sacraments - I do know what I am likely to find and experience there, and that I will be able to join in sincerely. (Not having been confirmed, I would of course out of courtesy ask permission beforehand to take the bread and wine, which is usually granted and often announced anyway for any non-Anglican visitors.) We particularly enjoyed a morning service at Malmesbury Abbey one Sunday when we did attend church whilst away for a long weekend.
 

Tzimis

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Assuming it's not Orthodox, and I think it could be argued that it at least partially is, Anselm is probably the earliest one to articulate it fully.
Dont get me wrong. Im not denying that justification comes from god. i can see justification coming after sanctification. To say that one is justified pryer to santification is a real reach for me. Even some orthodox and catholic sources say that it happens at baptism.  I have to somewhat disaree with them as well. Justification is the assurance of salvation. No one but the saints know for sure they are saved.
 

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Tzimis said:
Dont get me wrong. Im not denying that justification comes from god. i can see justification coming after sanctification. To say that one is justified pryer to santification is a real reach for me. Even some orthodox and catholic sources say that it happens at baptism.  I have to somewhat disaree with them as well. Justification is the assurance of salvation. No one but the saints know for sure they are saved.
No, justification is the fact of salvation. Whether one knows, or can know, whether they're justified or not is a different question.

If sanctification has to come prior, then we wind up saying that nobody goes to Heaven without becoming truly perfect. And, while not necessarily denying the possibility of perfection in this life, I just don't see it as a hard requirement either logically or in Scripture (or in the Lives of the Saints, for that matter, my own dear St. Porphryios the Mime certainly had little time before martyrdom for a lifelong process of sanctification).
 

Tzimis

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Volnutt said:
Tzimis said:
Dont get me wrong. Im not denying that justification comes from god. i can see justification coming after sanctification. To say that one is justified pryer to santification is a real reach for me. Even some orthodox and catholic sources say that it happens at baptism.  I have to somewhat disaree with them as well. Justification is the assurance of salvation. No one but the saints know for sure they are saved.
No, justification is the fact of salvation. Whether one knows, or can know, whether they're justified or not is a different question.

If sanctification has to come prior, then we wind up saying that nobody goes to Heaven without becoming truly perfect. And, while not necessarily denying the possibility of perfection in this life, I just don't see it as a hard requirement either logically or in Scripture (or in the Lives of the Saints, for that matter, my own dear St. Porphryios the Mime certainly had little time before martyrdom for a lifelong process of sanctification).
The lenient side of me hopes you are correct. But the practical side knows you are wrong.
 

Volnutt

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Tzimis said:
Volnutt said:
Tzimis said:
Dont get me wrong. Im not denying that justification comes from god. i can see justification coming after sanctification. To say that one is justified pryer to santification is a real reach for me. Even some orthodox and catholic sources say that it happens at baptism.  I have to somewhat disaree with them as well. Justification is the assurance of salvation. No one but the saints know for sure they are saved.
No, justification is the fact of salvation. Whether one knows, or can know, whether they're justified or not is a different question.

If sanctification has to come prior, then we wind up saying that nobody goes to Heaven without becoming truly perfect. And, while not necessarily denying the possibility of perfection in this life, I just don't see it as a hard requirement either logically or in Scripture (or in the Lives of the Saints, for that matter, my own dear St. Porphryios the Mime certainly had little time before martyrdom for a lifelong process of sanctification).
The lenient side of me hopes you are correct. But the practical side knows you are wrong.
So everybody who ever went to Heaven was literally perfect by the time of their death? That sounds like the opposite of practical to me.

Theosis takes time, does it not? When did the Thief on the Cross become perfect? How about those who converted to Christ mere minutes or hours before being martyred? I mean, I guess if you have a doctrine of Purgatory, but the closest Orthodox equivalent sounds too vague to do the job and I don't know how kosher the idea of a Saint going to Purgatory is to begin with.

My goal is not leniency, not really. Those of us who claim to follow Christ will still be judged for our laxity.
 

Tzimis

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Volnutt said:
Tzimis said:
Volnutt said:
Tzimis said:
Dont get me wrong. Im not denying that justification comes from god. i can see justification coming after sanctification. To say that one is justified pryer to santification is a real reach for me. Even some orthodox and catholic sources say that it happens at baptism.  I have to somewhat disaree with them as well. Justification is the assurance of salvation. No one but the saints know for sure they are saved.
No, justification is the fact of salvation. Whether one knows, or can know, whether they're justified or not is a different question.

If sanctification has to come prior, then we wind up saying that nobody goes to Heaven without becoming truly perfect. And, while not necessarily denying the possibility of perfection in this life, I just don't see it as a hard requirement either logically or in Scripture (or in the Lives of the Saints, for that matter, my own dear St. Porphryios the Mime certainly had little time before martyrdom for a lifelong process of sanctification).
The lenient side of me hopes you are correct. But the practical side knows you are wrong.
So everybody who ever went to Heaven was literally perfect by the time of their death? That sounds like the opposite of practical to me.

Theosis takes time, does it not? When did the Thief on the Cross become perfect? How about those who converted to Christ mere minutes or hours before being martyred? I mean, I guess if you have a doctrine of Purgatory, but the closest Orthodox equivalent sounds too vague to do the job and I don't know how kosher the idea of a Saint going to Purgatory is to begin with.

My goal is not leniency, not really. Those of us who claim to follow Christ will still be judged for our laxity.
The thief on the cross was blessed, in that he had direct contact with christ. Like I said. I hope you are right and I am wrong.
 

Volnutt

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Tzimis said:
Volnutt said:
Tzimis said:
Volnutt said:
Tzimis said:
Dont get me wrong. Im not denying that justification comes from god. i can see justification coming after sanctification. To say that one is justified pryer to santification is a real reach for me. Even some orthodox and catholic sources say that it happens at baptism.  I have to somewhat disaree with them as well. Justification is the assurance of salvation. No one but the saints know for sure they are saved.
No, justification is the fact of salvation. Whether one knows, or can know, whether they're justified or not is a different question.

If sanctification has to come prior, then we wind up saying that nobody goes to Heaven without becoming truly perfect. And, while not necessarily denying the possibility of perfection in this life, I just don't see it as a hard requirement either logically or in Scripture (or in the Lives of the Saints, for that matter, my own dear St. Porphryios the Mime certainly had little time before martyrdom for a lifelong process of sanctification).
The lenient side of me hopes you are correct. But the practical side knows you are wrong.
So everybody who ever went to Heaven was literally perfect by the time of their death? That sounds like the opposite of practical to me.

Theosis takes time, does it not? When did the Thief on the Cross become perfect? How about those who converted to Christ mere minutes or hours before being martyred? I mean, I guess if you have a doctrine of Purgatory, but the closest Orthodox equivalent sounds too vague to do the job and I don't know how kosher the idea of a Saint going to Purgatory is to begin with.

My goal is not leniency, not really. Those of us who claim to follow Christ will still be judged for our laxity.
The thief on the cross was blessed, in that he had direct contact with christ.
So did Judas and Caiaphas. I'm not sure how that's relevant to the inner condition of one's heart.

Anyway, it doesn't apply to those martyrs who, for example, were soldiers who converted on the spot and were tossed on the fire with those who had been brought there to be burnt.
 

Tzimis

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Volnutt said:
Tzimis said:
Volnutt said:
Tzimis said:
Volnutt said:
Tzimis said:
Dont get me wrong. Im not denying that justification comes from god. i can see justification coming after sanctification. To say that one is justified pryer to santification is a real reach for me. Even some orthodox and catholic sources say that it happens at baptism.  I have to somewhat disaree with them as well. Justification is the assurance of salvation. No one but the saints know for sure they are saved.
No, justification is the fact of salvation. Whether one knows, or can know, whether they're justified or not is a different question.

If sanctification has to come prior, then we wind up saying that nobody goes to Heaven without becoming truly perfect. And, while not necessarily denying the possibility of perfection in this life, I just don't see it as a hard requirement either logically or in Scripture (or in the Lives of the Saints, for that matter, my own dear St. Porphryios the Mime certainly had little time before martyrdom for a lifelong process of sanctification).
The lenient side of me hopes you are correct. But the practical side knows you are wrong.
So everybody who ever went to Heaven was literally perfect by the time of their death? That sounds like the opposite of practical to me.

Theosis takes time, does it not? When did the Thief on the Cross become perfect? How about those who converted to Christ mere minutes or hours before being martyred? I mean, I guess if you have a doctrine of Purgatory, but the closest Orthodox equivalent sounds too vague to do the job and I don't know how kosher the idea of a Saint going to Purgatory is to begin with.

My goal is not leniency, not really. Those of us who claim to follow Christ will still be judged for our laxity.
The thief on the cross was blessed, in that he had direct contact with christ.
So did Judas and Caiaphas. I'm not sure how that's relevant to the inner condition of one's heart.

Anyway, it doesn't apply to those martyrs who, for example, were soldiers who converted on the spot and were tossed on the fire with those who had been brought there to be burnt.
Martyrdom while great. Is a one time event. Those of us who die a slow death are also great. We know whats coming in slow motion.  Plenty of time to think of the outcome.
 

Volnutt

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Yeah, but I'm saying that a martyr like St. Porphyrios didn't exactly have a lot of time for the slow, lifelong march towards perfection. Yet he was saved.
 

Tzimis

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Volnutt said:
Yeah, but I'm saying that a martyr like St. Porphyrios didn't exactly have a lot of time for the slow, lifelong march towards perfection. Yet he was saved.
I hope you aren't implying that people who recite a few sentences are equal to martyrs.
 

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David Young said:
Please note : I am saying that I see the grace of God in Evangelical churches; I am not saying it is absent from your churches,
This may not be the right idea regarding your topic, but for me it was the opposite when I attended Evangelical services a few times in Canada.

I did not see the Evangelical service as expressing something, anything, holy as it went on during the times I attended.

I don't mean to be offensive or to suggest that the Evangelical service is not God-centered or that it is not prepared in reference to the bible, to whatever degree. Not at all.

However, to me it comes off as an ordinary speech/presentation and not more than that. Perhaps this is only related to the particular modern style of Evangelical service that I experienced and that other service styles may indeed be different. I'm not sure.

In contrast, when I enter an Orthodox church there is something present there that is undeniably Holy. It is tangible for me for some reason. I can't really explain that but it is tangible.

I am not sure if this is attributable to grace or not but it seems to me that grace is a possible reason or a needed component for experiencing this tangible thing, in that it is even possible to experience.

I don't think this is logical, and cynically speaking, it may come down to simple skill in showmanship in the end, but it is something I noticed. I prefer to think that this is evidence of grace at some level.
 

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Tzimis said:
Volnutt said:
Yeah, but I'm saying that a martyr like St. Porphyrios didn't exactly have a lot of time for the slow, lifelong march towards perfection. Yet he was saved.
I hope you aren't implying that people who recite a few sentences are equal to martyrs.
Sorry, just saw this. He was killed for his faith when he refused to recant what he'd said.
 

Tzimis

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Volnutt said:
Tzimis said:
Volnutt said:
Yeah, but I'm saying that a martyr like St. Porphyrios didn't exactly have a lot of time for the slow, lifelong march towards perfection. Yet he was saved.
I hope you aren't implying that people who recite a few sentences are equal to martyrs.
Sorry, just saw this. He was killed for his faith when he refused to recant what he'd said.
With god anything is possible.  Only god knows his situation.  I personally wouldn't condemn anyone.  I'd rather be inside the church than out of it.
 

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HardHead said:
David Young said:
Please note : I am saying that I see the grace of God in Evangelical churches; I am not saying it is absent from your churches,
This may not be the right idea regarding your topic, but for me it was the opposite when I attended Evangelical services a few times in Canada.

I did not see the Evangelical service as expressing something, anything, holy as it went on during the times I attended.

I don't mean to be offensive or to suggest that the Evangelical service is not God-centered or that it is not prepared in reference to the bible, to whatever degree. Not at all.

However, to me it comes off as an ordinary speech/presentation and not more than that. Perhaps this is only related to the particular modern style of Evangelical service that I experienced and that other service styles may indeed be different. I'm not sure.

In contrast, when I enter an Orthodox church there is something present there that is undeniably Holy. It is tangible for me for some reason. I can't really explain that but it is tangible.

I am not sure if this is attributable to grace or not but it seems to me that grace is a possible reason or a needed component for experiencing this tangible thing, in that it is even possible to experience.

I don't think this is logical, and cynically speaking, it may come down to simple skill in showmanship in the end, but it is something I noticed. I prefer to think that this is evidence of grace at some level.
"To me it comes off..." and "for me..." are pretty subjective.
 

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However, to me it comes off as an ordinary speech/presentation and not more than that. Perhaps this is only related to the particular modern style of Evangelical service that I experienced and that other service styles may indeed be different. I'm not sure.
Yeah, I get it, looks like a regular lecture with a music time, doesnt look like someone is being adored and revered, doesnt look like a religion at all sometimes, looks like a TED talk (modern protestant nondenom churches) or like a cheesy talk show, others look like a corporative meeting. I dont wanna be judgemental, but that's my perception of the average evangelical service, excepting some anglican/lutheran or even presbyterian solemn services that are quite beautiful and reverent and have that tangible feeling of holyness you are talking about, but I havent seen much of those lately in the protestant side of the fence.

I remember the first time I saw a solemn mass and a divine liturgy, it was mindblowing for me.
 

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The aesthetic argument has serious weaknesses since it more or less boils down to, "I felt like it was too beautiful not to be holy."

And we're not alone. As julio noted, the non-Orthodox can do things well. For example, the Methodists down the street from me do a standard service one (the one in the front of their hymnal; the first one in the Book of Worship), and I found it quite beautiful with the interplay of the congregation, lector and chancel choir during the psalter portion of the service.
 

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Agabus said:
The aesthetic argument has serious weaknesses since it more or less boils down to, "I felt like it was too beautiful not to be holy."

And we're not alone. As julio noted, the non-Orthodox can do things well. For example, the Methodists down the street from me do a standard service one (the one in the front of their hymnal; the first one in the Book of Worship), and I found it quite beautiful with the interplay of the congregation, lector and chancel choir during the psalter portion of the service.
Yeah, I agree with apologists that the common mega church/nondenom service is too ugly or superficial to be holy, but the argument doesn't necessarily go in the other direction to Orthodoxy's exclusive favor.
 

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NicholasMyra said:
Agabus said:
The aesthetic argument has serious weaknesses since it more or less boils down to, "I felt like it was too beautiful not to be holy."
why is that a weakness
Let me reframe:

Beauty itself is not the weakness.

It's the inability to see beauty in other places because of the jaundice of one's own tastes, proclivities and baggage.
 

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Agabus said:
"To me it comes off..." and "for me..." are pretty subjective.
[/quote]

I agree completely. I'm not sure what else to say other than to convey how something seems to me.
 

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Agabus said:
NicholasMyra said:
Agabus said:
The aesthetic argument has serious weaknesses since it more or less boils down to, "I felt like it was too beautiful not to be holy."
why is that a weakness
Let me reframe:

Beauty itself is not the weakness.

It's the inability to see beauty in other places because of the jaundice of one's own tastes, proclivities and baggage.
I can live with the fact that, while I see the beauty of holiness most fully manifest in Orthodox worship, other people will have different perceptions because they have terrible taste in everything and think Maroon 5 is a cool band.
 

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Agabus said:
[q
It's the inability to see beauty in other places because of the jaundice of one's own tastes, proclivities and baggage.
There are challenges to overcome for people with sensory disabilities, too, is this any more concerning?
 

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Iconodule said:
Agabus said:
NicholasMyra said:
Agabus said:
The aesthetic argument has serious weaknesses since it more or less boils down to, "I felt like it was too beautiful not to be holy."
why is that a weakness
Let me reframe:

Beauty itself is not the weakness.

It's the inability to see beauty in other places because of the jaundice of one's own tastes, proclivities and baggage.
I can live with the fact that, while I see the beauty of holiness most fully manifest in Orthodox worship, other people will have different perceptions because they have terrible taste in everything and think Maroon 5 is a cool band.
I think you, me, and Agabus can all agree that contempo worship services are a farce. But what about the beauty of a Solemn Latin Mass (a Latin service was one of the ones that the Kievan Emissaries are said to have passed on, after all) or a traditional Lutheran service or the Methodist one that he mentioned?
 

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Volnutt said:
Iconodule said:
Agabus said:
NicholasMyra said:
Agabus said:
The aesthetic argument has serious weaknesses since it more or less boils down to, "I felt like it was too beautiful not to be holy."
why is that a weakness
Let me reframe:

Beauty itself is not the weakness.

It's the inability to see beauty in other places because of the jaundice of one's own tastes, proclivities and baggage.
I can live with the fact that, while I see the beauty of holiness most fully manifest in Orthodox worship, other people will have different perceptions because they have terrible taste in everything and think Maroon 5 is a cool band.
I think you, me, and Agabus can all agree that contempo worship services are a farce. But what about the beauty of a Solemn Latin Mass (a Latin service was one of the ones that the Kievan Emissaries are said to have passed on, after all) or a traditional Lutheran service or the Methodist one that he mentioned?
The Latin service the Kievan emissaries witnessed was an orthodox service.  I would say the Lutheran and Methodist rites are beautiful because, ultimately, they are derivations of the venerable Latin rite. The Latin rite hasn't changed much since the break with the East- though I would say baroque fripperies are a decided change for the worse. Nowadays I think the most beautiful Western rites are those influenced by medievalism, the Arts & Crafts movement, and all that.
 

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Iconodule said:
Volnutt said:
Iconodule said:
Agabus said:
NicholasMyra said:
Agabus said:
The aesthetic argument has serious weaknesses since it more or less boils down to, "I felt like it was too beautiful not to be holy."
why is that a weakness
Let me reframe:

Beauty itself is not the weakness.

It's the inability to see beauty in other places because of the jaundice of one's own tastes, proclivities and baggage.
I can live with the fact that, while I see the beauty of holiness most fully manifest in Orthodox worship, other people will have different perceptions because they have terrible taste in everything and think Maroon 5 is a cool band.
I think you, me, and Agabus can all agree that contempo worship services are a farce. But what about the beauty of a Solemn Latin Mass (a Latin service was one of the ones that the Kievan Emissaries are said to have passed on, after all) or a traditional Lutheran service or the Methodist one that he mentioned?
The Latin service the Kievan emissaries witnessed was an orthodox service.  I would say the Lutheran and Methodist rites are beautiful because, ultimately, they are derivations of the venerable Latin rite. The Latin rite hasn't changed much since the break with the East- though I would say baroque fripperies are a decided change for the worse. Nowadays I think the most beautiful Western rites are those influenced by medievalism, the Arts & Crafts movement, and all that.
Fair enough. But there's still a lot of beauty there despite them not being Orthodox, which was the point.
 

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HardHead said:
In contrast, when I enter an Orthodox church there is something present there that is undeniably Holy. It is tangible for me for some reason. I can't really explain that but it is tangible [...]
I don't think this is logical, and cynically speaking, it may come down to simple skill in showmanship in the end, but it is something I noticed. I prefer to think that this is evidence of grace at some level.
Agreed; but this is why Orthodoxy makes so much sense to me. It's not about being purely logical, placing reason above everything else. There is a place for beauty and mystery which are also aspects of God, and which I found either totally lacking or seriously downplayed as a Protestant.

Agabus said:
NicholasMyra said:
Agabus said:
The aesthetic argument has serious weaknesses since it more or less boils down to, "I felt like it was too beautiful not to be holy."
why is that a weakness
Let me reframe:

Beauty itself is not the weakness.

It's the inability to see beauty in other places because of the jaundice of one's own tastes, proclivities and baggage.
I get what you're saying on an individual level, but I think on a mass scale beauty is not as subjective as we sometimes treat it.

Volnutt said:
Yeah, I agree with apologists that the common mega church/nondenom service is too ugly or superficial to be holy, but the argument doesn't necessarily go in the other direction to Orthodoxy's exclusive favor.
Okay but I don't think anyone was arguing that the presence of beauty in Orthodoxy is exclusive to only Orthodoxy. I think it's a sign though, about whether or not one can take a religion or denomination seriously.
 

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maneki_neko said:
There is a place for beauty and mystery which are also aspects of God, ... the presence of beauty... it's a sign though, about whether or not one can take a religion or denomination seriously.
As you know from many of my posts, my wife and I enjoy and respond to the beauty of many Orthodox churches when we visit the Greek mainland or Crete, and that beauty is undoubtedly conducive to prayer. Æsthetically one is drawn to such buildings. But that beauty has no power that I have experienced to draw me away from Evangelical belief. The two matters are separate, and there are Protestant churches which are equally conducive to meditation, reflection and prayer, though the character of the ambient beauty is different from in Greece.
 

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David Young said:
maneki_neko said:
There is a place for beauty and mystery which are also aspects of God, ... the presence of beauty... it's a sign though, about whether or not one can take a religion or denomination seriously.
As you know from many of my posts, my wife and I enjoy and respond to the beauty of many Orthodox churches when we visit the Greek mainland or Crete, and that beauty is undoubtedly conducive to prayer. Æsthetically one is drawn to such buildings. But that beauty has no power that I have experienced to draw me away from Evangelical belief. The two matters are separate, and there are Protestant churches which are equally conducive to meditation, reflection and prayer, though the character of the ambient beauty is different from in Greece.
I would say substantially different.
 

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Iconodule said:
Volnutt said:
Iconodule said:
Agabus said:
NicholasMyra said:
Agabus said:
The aesthetic argument has serious weaknesses since it more or less boils down to, "I felt like it was too beautiful not to be holy."
why is that a weakness
Let me reframe:

Beauty itself is not the weakness.

It's the inability to see beauty in other places because of the jaundice of one's own tastes, proclivities and baggage.
I can live with the fact that, while I see the beauty of holiness most fully manifest in Orthodox worship, other people will have different perceptions because they have terrible taste in everything and think Maroon 5 is a cool band.
I think you, me, and Agabus can all agree that contempo worship services are a farce. But what about the beauty of a Solemn Latin Mass (a Latin service was one of the ones that the Kievan Emissaries are said to have passed on, after all) or a traditional Lutheran service or the Methodist one that he mentioned?
The Latin service the Kievan emissaries witnessed was an orthodox service.  I would say the Lutheran and Methodist rites are beautiful because, ultimately, they are derivations of the venerable Latin rite. The Latin rite hasn't changed much since the break with the East- though I would say baroque fripperies are a decided change for the worse. Nowadays I think the most beautiful Western rites are those influenced by medievalism, the Arts & Crafts movement, and all that.
I would dispute that, because it seems to me, and certainly the Westen Rite Orthodox, that the version of the Roman Rite currently in use in the vast majority of Roman Catholic parishes has changed so much that it hardly resembles either the Solemn High Mass, despite the amount of text they have in common, or the various Eastern Divine Liturgies. I ran across a nice article from New Liturgical Movement explaining the differences, complete with a handy one-page chart summarizing them that I guess you are meant to print out and hand out like tracts to your "Novus Ordo" friends?  ;)

Now, maybe you can dispute that some of these are unfairly harsh, and all these are a matter of style, and don't change the essential content significantly, but I don't think the two can be separated very easily.

I also don't like the Low Mass. But it is probably more due to the lack of singing in favor of nearly inaudible speaking, and how it came about to make it possible for more people to get more Masses dedicated for them alone rather than "on behalf of all and for all", than anything specifically wrong with them -- indeed it seems the Western Rite is more or less OK with them, though everyone should be saying the responses. Still, since nothing like it is in any of the other Apostolic Churches to my knowledge, it seems rather untraditional.
 

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Tzimis said:
David Young said:
maneki_neko said:
There is a place for beauty and mystery which are also aspects of God, ... the presence of beauty... it's a sign though, about whether or not one can take a religion or denomination seriously.
As you know from many of my posts, my wife and I enjoy and respond to the beauty of many Orthodox churches when we visit the Greek mainland or Crete, and that beauty is undoubtedly conducive to prayer. Æsthetically one is drawn to such buildings. But that beauty has no power that I have experienced to draw me away from Evangelical belief. The two matters are separate, and there are Protestant churches which are equally conducive to meditation, reflection and prayer, though the character of the ambient beauty is different from in Greece.
I would say substantially different.
I was referring, of course, only to the buildings, on the assumption that when one enters them no one else is there, so one has the place to oneself. There is a great different between a 1000-year-old Orthodox church in Greece, a 1000-year-old Anglican church in England, and a 170-year-old Methodist chapel. But each has its own beauty, each speaks in its own way of the presence (now or in the past) of God, and each prompts prayer, meditation and worship - of (I would say) the same God.
 

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David Young said:
... and there are Protestant churches which are equally conducive to meditation, reflection and prayer, though the character of the ambient beauty is different from in Greece.
No offense, but the lack of an altar tells me that non liturgical Protestant churches are not buildings erected, set apart, for the worship of God.  However, those liturgical Protestant churches, whose anaphoras are often truncated or invoked by women, make a mockery of it all.  Just saying...
 

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Sharbel said:
the lack of an altar tells me that non liturgical Protestant churches are not buildings erected, set apart, for the worship of God.
I think you are going too far when you say they are "not set apart for the worship of God." I can see why you might say that we Baptists, and other believers who do not have altars, are attempting to worship God but in an erroneous way (I don't agree, of course!), but we do at least intend build our chapels/meeting places/churches "for the worship of God".

those liturgical Protestant churches, whose anaphoras are often truncated or invoked by women, make a mockery of it all. 
I agree: not because we believe in a priesthood (on which, I think, there is a concurrent thread that I have not yet looked at), but because the Scriptures forbid female teachers and leaders in the churches.
 

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What do you want us to say. O' its so beautiful!  Revelation give the the instruction for how to build a church. The corner stone is there along with the saints.
 

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“Beauty will save the world” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky
 
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