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Why I remain an Evangelical

Volnutt

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Asteriktos said:
From what?
I interpret it as "ugliness brutalizes us and makes us more likely to mistreat each other, while the beauty of Christianity elevates us and brings about world peace."

Then again it might be more existentialist than that.
 

Asteriktos

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My issue is, the "beauty" passage in the novel (The Idiot) doesn't really explain; it's not presented as some philosophical point, but rather as a way for some characters to mock the naivete or simplicity of the Christ-like protagonist. I get the feeling it was meant to be a larger point, as with Dostoevsky's Underground man and the stuff with the "sublime and beautiful," yet the story of the underground man seems to argue in completely the opposite direction of what is said in The Idiot, and the underground man seems closer to the Prince's antagonists in mocking the idea of beauty saving the world. So for me, I can get what it could mean, but in trying to understand how it was originally intended it doesn't seem to add up. With the underground man stuff Dostoevsky was critiquing certain European philosophy, so perhaps the "beauty" passage in The Idiot is related certain Russian or Byzantine religious ideas about beauty... but I don't know where to go to find out more.
 

Volnutt

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Asteriktos said:
My issue is, the "beauty" passage in the novel (The Idiot) doesn't really explain; it's not presented as some philosophical point, but rather as a way for some characters to mock the naivete or simplicity of the Christ-like protagonist. I get the feeling it was meant to be a larger point, as with Dostoevsky's Underground man and the stuff with the "sublime and beautiful," yet the story of the underground man seems to argue in completely the opposite direction of what is said in The Idiot, and the underground man seems closer to the Prince's antagonists in mocking the idea of beauty saving the world. So for me, I can get what it could mean, but in trying to understand how it was originally intended it doesn't seem to add up. With the underground man stuff Dostoevsky was critiquing certain European philosophy, so perhaps the "beauty" passage in The Idiot is related certain Russian or Byzantine religious ideas about beauty... but I don't know where to go to find out more.
Ah, ok. Well, I've not read either yet. I was just taking a shot in the dark.
 

Asteriktos

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Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you (or other posters) are wrong, I'm just wondering about the philosophical/religious backstory to it.
 

Brilko

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Asteriktos said:
My issue is, the "beauty" passage in the novel (The Idiot) doesn't really explain; it's not presented as some philosophical point, but rather as a way for some characters to mock the naivete or simplicity of the Christ-like protagonist. I get the feeling it was meant to be a larger point, as with Dostoevsky's Underground man and the stuff with the "sublime and beautiful," yet the story of the underground man seems to argue in completely the opposite direction of what is said in The Idiot, and the underground man seems closer to the Prince's antagonists in mocking the idea of beauty saving the world. So for me, I can get what it could mean, but in trying to understand how it was originally intended it doesn't seem to add up. With the underground man stuff Dostoevsky was critiquing certain European philosophy, so perhaps the "beauty" passage in The Idiot is related certain Russian or Byzantine religious ideas about beauty... but I don't know where to go to find out more.
I haven’t read the novel, so no idea what Dostoevsky intended.

What is beauty? Is just anything that looks pretty? Is it something deeper and bigger? Maybe Keats was correct that “Beauty is truth, truth beauty”. So then what is truth? Maybe I’ll just wash my hands of the whole thing.
 

Alpha60

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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 agree almost entirely, once again.  Spooky. :p

The sole bone of contention we face might concern the Baroque era; while conceding there was enormous frippery, some of the liturgical music composed by Bach and Handel is a delight (Bach’s Lutheran masses intended for actual liturgical use, and his cantatas, excluding the Mass in B Minor, which is not liturgically usable and which I do not believe Bach wrote for that purpose); in the case of Handel, aside from some briliant sacred oratorios, like Messiah, his liturgical music for the British coronation service including a setting of the Te Deum and the spectacular anthem “Zadok the Priest” seem entirely correct to me.
 

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David Young said:
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".
I do agree that this is the intent, for in no way I consider Protestants as anything but believers, but I do not think that this is reflected in the architecture.  It may be rather complicated to expand on this, but I had in mind Protestant places of worship designed identically to auditoriums or amphitheaters.  Perhaps it's the absence of traits that would set the design of the building apart from other purposes.

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.
The anaphoras are straight from the Scriptures, so truncating them, IMO, mocks them.  I have specifically Presbytereans in mind here.
 

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Brilko said:
What is beauty? Is just anything that looks pretty? Is it something deeper and bigger? Maybe Keats was correct that “Beauty is truth, truth beauty”. So then what is truth? Maybe I’ll just wash my hands of the whole thing.
Which seems close to the Scholastic maxim that God is Truth, Goodness and Beauty Himself.
 

David Young

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Sharbel said:
The anaphoras are straight from the Scriptures, so truncating them, IMO, mocks them.  I have specifically Presbytereans in mind here.
I may have occasionally administered Communion in a Presbyterian church, certainly in a Congregational one, but I always warn them they'll have the style I have always used in Baptist churches. I don't know how the Presbyterians usually do it.
 

David Young

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Sharbel said:
... I had in mind Protestant places of worship designed identically to auditoriums or amphitheaters.  Perhaps it's the absence of traits that would set the design of the building apart from other purposes.
In the Victorian age (I can write only of England and Wales) many congregations numbered many hundreds or even into four figures, so such design was necessary in the circumstances. Like yourgoodself, I find them unconducive to a spirit or worship. But when there was a multitude worshipping from the heart, and preaching given under the anointing of the Spirit of God, the actually services brought many to God. It was then only the presence and working of God that effected this, not the design of the building, I think.

But many smaller churches and chapels, mainly in villages, were designed for smaller congregations, and (again I can speak only of England and Wales) do silently speak of the many years of the people's worship and experience of God, and perhaps of of the moving of God among his people, and such do inspire our worship worship of him, I find.
 

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Good let him or her stay until they are truly called ```

---------------------------------------------

Protestantism ~ all of it in their separate churches in the thousands ~ are Protesting The Roman Church  as it was back then ~ while doing that so much else was lost ~ so much of the knowledge of God and the tradition and memory of the Universal Church ~ which is with all of us ```

I meet people who I think and believe love the Lord ~ upon listening feel there is something missing ~ that they wouldn't have said this or that if they knew Our Lord ```
I'm not a missionary ~ I don't try to convert or preach or teach ~ I think ~ most of the time I would't do it well ```

There are glaring times when a person will sound disrespectful or too familiar ~ saying Jesus Christ he's my buddy ~ as if Christ was Our Lord's last name ~ or ~ refer to Our Lord as God's Son ~ so as to ~ well ~ have no belief that ~ The Father and Son are One with The Spirit ~ like no understanding of Trinity ~ together and equal ~ and ~ at times as if Christ was a man ~ a good, a great man ~ gone to the Father ~ but not exactly God ~ that the Son did not exist until conception or birth ```
You ~ Orthodox Christians ~ I feel we have an ~ I think Feeling may be the word as to the Magnitude of God and Persons of God ~ so that ~ I would hear ~ not a complete knowledge so you feel we can speak for him ~ but more of an Awe of His Greatness ~ yet feel He Knows us Well ```

I most likely did not say or write this well ~ but ``` I'll stop now ~ am I ~ in your eyes ~ close or way off base to your ears ```
 

David Young

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Sethrak said:
Protestantism ~ all of it in their separate churches in the thousands ~ are Protesting The Roman Church
It has been said that Protestants and Catholics are asking the same questions and getting different answers, whilst Orthodox are asking different questions. There may be a lot of sense in that statement.

There are glaring times when a person will sound disrespectful or too familiar ~ saying Jesus Christ he's my buddy
I quite agree; it makes you cringe.

  no understanding of Trinity... at times as if Christ was a man ~ a good, a great man ~ gone to the Father ~ but not exactly God
I don't think anyone understands the Trinity, but we Prots are at least Trinitarian and believe in both the manhood and the deity of Jesus Christ.
 

noahzarc1

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David Young said:
I have taken part in this forum for no small time and have pondered the more thoughtful and cogent arguments y'all have put forward for becoming Orthodox - and yet I remain Evangelical! Why? There are two Scriptures which encapsulate my reason: Acts 11:22-3, "...they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad"; and Galatians 2:9, "they perceived the grace that was given to me." Over the past 55 years or so I have read much Protestant and Evangelical history, and many biographies and autobiographies, and there I believe I "see" or "perceive" the grace of God: prisoners for the faith sustained; drunkards reformed; wife-beaters made loving husbands and fathers; drug addicts reclaimed; adulterers, thieves, and criminals finding a sense of forgiveness and changed lives; atheists finding faith; and all of them, as a result, giving thanks and glory to God the Father and Jesus Christ as Son of God and Saviour, believing this new life to be given by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes this happens in isolated individuals, sometimes, at times of God's appointing, to multitudes together at times of visitation. And so, in the words of another scripture, my response is, "Your people shall be my people, and your God my God."

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, and indeed reading some Orthodox literature, not least Jim Forest's "The Resurrection of the Church in Albania", I believe I have seen it there too: but that is another matter.
David when I left Roman Catholicism (for the first time), I went into the Baptist Tradition, where I remained for the better part of 20 years before discovering Orthodoxy. After a about 18 months of examining Orthodoxy, I took a fresh look at Rome and went home, eventually into Rome. It wasn't long before I could not spend much time in the Novus Ordo and settled on an Eastern Rite Catholic Church. In conclusion, just my 18 month encounter with Orthodoxy made me far too orthodox to be back home in Rome, especially in the Novus Ordo. Additionally, I was doing nothing more than, "hiding out in the east," while back with Rome and one day I realized, "why should it not be so" that I should be Orthodox?

My point to you is this. Shortly after discovering Orthodoxy, as an evangelical bible teacher and leader of numerous ministries (and teaching director) I could no longer practice Protestantism in the face of Orthodoxy. Moreover, I was quickly becoming, "Orthodox at heart." This is the point I want to raise to you. I see your avatar has a photo of someone behind a pulpit. Is that you? Have you at any point, since interacting with the Orthodox, defended them, taken their side or even borrowed from the Orthodox Fathers to explain theology to your congregation or bible study group(s)? If so, then you also in some way become Orthodox at heart. This is where it normally starts. The question is not how long you will remain evangelical. It is a matter of long before you become and embrace Orthodoxy?

I sympathize with your plight and understand your questions. You will find minimal answers debating them on a forum, where things normally degenerate into "sword fights" and defending one's own views. Have you ever visited an Orthodox monastery? Have you ever attended the Divine Liturgy (not so much for an academic experience) but to enter into the liturgy itself? Have you sat one on one with an Orthodox priest? I believe these few different journies into a real experience with Orthodoxy will answer the questions you won't find in this forum, (which of course is not meant to take away from anyone's knowledge or contributions here.) Point being, you are putting words to a page to attempt to defend Protestantism the face of Orthodoxy, something in my opinion, completely melts away when one experiences the reality of Orthodoxy in person.
 

David Young

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I have now made a 16-minute YouTube video on this topic ("Why I remain an Evangelical") and have referred to our discussions over the years on this forum. I hope I have not misrepresented you.
 

rakovsky

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The foundational Protestant idea (minus Anglicans) is Luther's "Sola Scriptura", "Bible Alone" principle. Luther and the Lutheran Concord statement say that the "Bible Alone" (Sola Scriptura) is the only rule for deciding on all teachings. When Luther gave this principle, he said to interpret the Bible by itself.

What happens when try to use the Bible as the ONLY rule for deciding on the issue of whether to use the Bible ALONE? You go and look if the Bible ever says to ONLY use the Bible ALONE to decide all teachings. You cannot find any place that says this.

The Bible says things like "all scripture is God-breathed" and you find the NT commending people for following the "traditions." You find Paul writing at that women should wear head coverings but that his teaching is NOT inspired and that if anyone disputes it, then we don't teach that women should wear head coverings. But we don't have a declaration in the Bible that the "Bible Alone" is the "Only" rule for deciding teachings.

So the "Bible Alone" foundation of Protestantism disproves itself. If you go by the Bible ALONE as the ONLY rule for deciding faith teachings, you DON'T get a principle to ONLY use the Bible to decide on teachings. The Lutheran and Reformed teaching of "Bible Only" is not something taught in the Bible. "Bible Only" is not "Biblical."
 

TheTrisagion

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I have now made a 16-minute YouTube video on this topic ("Why I remain an Evangelical") and have referred to our discussions over the years on this forum. I hope I have not misrepresented you.
I watched your video and felt that you did a good job of expressing your love for your faith. Just so I understand, would it be fair to say that the main issue you have with Orthodoxy is its exclusive nature, that it insists that it is the One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church? It seemed that that was your primary focus in discussing the Orthodox Church. I appreciate that there was no strawman arguments that we worship Mary or idols or that we don't believe that salvation is through faith.
 

David Young

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would it be fair to say that the main issue you have with Orthodoxy is its exclusive nature, that it insists that it is the One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church?
It is true that we don’t have the concept of a ‘one true church’, whether Baptist, Roman, Orthodox, or any other, but I don’t think I’ve identified one special, principal area of disagreement between Orthodox and Evangelical or personal objection to Orthodox belief and practice. The purpose of my OP and, later, of the YouTube video was to promote understanding. I think I know, from debating with you for several years, why Orthodox remain Orthodox (the ‘One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church’ concept), but I hoped it might be helpful the other way round to explain why I do the same and remain where I am (and have been now for some 60 years), namely in the Evangelical stream.
 

Tzimis

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Personally, I think we worship a different god.
 

TheTrisagion

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It is true that we don’t have the concept of a ‘one true church’, whether Baptist, Roman, Orthodox, or any other, but I don’t think I’ve identified one special, principal area of disagreement between Orthodox and Evangelical or personal objection to Orthodox belief and practice. The purpose of my OP and, later, of the YouTube video was to promote understanding. I think I know, from debating with you for several years, why Orthodox remain Orthodox (the ‘One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church’ concept), but I hoped it might be helpful the other way round to explain why I do the same and remain where I am (and have been now for some 60 years), namely in the Evangelical stream.
I appreciate your charitable attitude towards all of us. I was once Evangelical, but I will be honest, Evangelicalism in the US is quite different than it is in your country. Here, it has been infected with anti-intellectualism, nationalism and conspiracy theories. I frequently hear from old friends who are bailing on Christianity because their only experience of it has been through the US Evangelical lens. I suppose it is similar to some Eastern European countries where the Orthodox faith has become a proxy for nationalistic tendencies and created a gross distortion of the Christian faith.
 

David Young

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I will be honest, Evangelicalism in the US is quite different than it is in your country.
Yes, I've noticed the same, though only with Americans I have met over here in Europe, who may not be typical. The doctrines are the same, but some of the outworkings are different.
 

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Nice video, Pastor Young. I hope as the years go by you study the issue of Holy Communion more deeply, especially from John 6, 1 Cor 10 and 1 Cor 11. As you do, you may appreciate the Catholic and Orthodox perspective on that Sacrament more.

I personally also have no doubt that the Grace of God and the Spirit operates and works in the Evangelical Christian Communities. But imho the Fullness of the Christian Life is associated with the Apostolic Churches, the Christian Priesthood and the Holy Eucharist, the center of Christian Life.

Lord Bless.
 

David Young

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I hope as the years go by you study the issue of Holy Communion more deeply, especially from John 6, 1 Cor 10 and 1 Cor 11.
Well, my hours of discussion on this forum over the years have drawn me to a deeper appreciation of the Communion/Lord's Supper, and enriched my devotion especially when leading the Communion service, as well of course as when in the congregation. As we have no set liturgy but can let the service take the form each minister wishes, I have had opportunity to dwell on that sense of deepened appreciation. When I first arrived in Albania in 1991 (i.e. when it opened to outsiders) I knew little of Orthodoxy except the visible externals, and my experience of it was from the earlier, more rabid vehemence against us in Albania and later was of Orthodoxy when visiting Kosova during the 1998 war and after (including Graçanica). Nonetheless, I thought I ought to learn more about the heart of Orthodoxy, so started reading men like Ware, Harper, Hopko, Bulgakov,and others, and from 1997 going on holiday to Greece (till the pandemic put a stop on that) where both my wife and I enjoy visiting some of the many Orthodox churches (I have a painting of one on my study wall, done by a local artist at Spili). And I began to see a different Orthodoxy from that of 1991-2 Albania and 1997-8 Kosova. Later I spent a little time with two Orthodox bishops, one in Albania, one in Sicily (among the Arbëresh), and was given a friendly welcome by both.

It might be worth adding that I have also joined two Methodist fora, but have left one because on it I encountered from some Methodists the same intolerant and quarrelsome bigotry which some Orthodox and some Baptists evince towards others who profess Christianity.
 

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The foundational Protestant idea (minus Anglicans) is Luther's "Sola Scriptura", "Bible Alone" principle. Luther and the Lutheran Concord statement say that the "Bible Alone" (Sola Scriptura) is the only rule for deciding on all teachings. When Luther gave this principle, he said to interpret the Bible by itself.

What happens when try to use the Bible as the ONLY rule for deciding on the issue of whether to use the Bible ALONE? You go and look if the Bible ever says to ONLY use the Bible ALONE to decide all teachings. You cannot find any place that says this.

The Bible says things like "all scripture is God-breathed" and you find the NT commending people for following the "traditions." You find Paul writing at that women should wear head coverings but that his teaching is NOT inspired and that if anyone disputes it, then we don't teach that women should wear head coverings. But we don't have a declaration in the Bible that the "Bible Alone" is the "Only" rule for deciding teachings.

So the "Bible Alone" foundation of Protestantism disproves itself. If you go by the Bible ALONE as the ONLY rule for deciding faith teachings, you DON'T get a principle to ONLY use the Bible to decide on teachings. The Lutheran and Reformed teaching of "Bible Only" is not something taught in the Bible. "Bible Only" is not "Biblical."
Yes I would not say that Anglicans are actually protestants.
 

David Young

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The foundational Protestant idea (minus Anglicans) is Luther's "Sola Scriptura",
It is a fundamental principle, so I shan't strive with you over it, but I wonder whether it might be more accurate, or at least just as accurate, to say that the foundation principle is justification by faith.
 

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I know you probably will ignore me. I'm fine with that. Yet, the issue isn't about faith alone. It's to generalized of a statement. like do you believe in god?
The issue is that you actually witnessed the true church and turned your back. I'm sure you have your reasons but that is between you and god.
Good luck in your ministry. Communion is a strange phenomena.
 
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I believe a general credal understanding ( Nicene, Apostles creeds) for theology & the fact that keeping the Lord’s commandments ( John 14:15-18) are a necessary foundation for understanding salvation by grace. From there the role of works within faith can do much to foster a hopeful understanding for salvation for Christians in general. We may not, and should not, construct a false formal ecumenism but I think a sense of orthodoxy is often unrealized between Christians. C.S. Lewis comes to mind for me.
 
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