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Efficacy of the Sacraments


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#41 Algernon

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 01:28 PM

Algernon, who would you say are the top few dozen holiest people who ever walked on this world? Of course, you do not need to list them all, but roughly what is the distribution of religious belief of those saints? Is there a certain communion of believers who would stand out as having many, if not the most number of holy saints in those several dozen?

 

I don't know, Antonios. But I'm fairly certain you'd like to tell me that the Orthodox Church has the holiest people. And the greatest number of holy people. I will give you that the Orthodox calendar has more saints in it by far than any other church calendar. And that's a good thing. We should look to them as examples of how to live a Christian life in a non-Christian world. It's a shame we don't. Let me ask you this, Antonios: In general, do you think non-Christians can tell the difference between Orthodox Christians and non-Orthodox? Do you think we stand out among the crowd for our holiness and humility and patience and love? Do we distinguish ourselves among the the non-Orthodox by our sacrifice and service to the needy? By the strong stand we take against violence and oppression, and injustice? By the powerful example of our hierarchs to speak out and engage the culture? By our efforts to transform society? By the abundance of Orthodox charities, and schools, and hospitals? By our unity? 



#42 Phoebe K.

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 02:25 PM

Attending to ourselves and not worrying about others is a strong part of Holy Tradition, and if you are looking for a passage which relates to it John 21:21-23.  This is predominantly about not judging, it dose not mean we cannot show by our example of love and care for them as people.

 

As many of the Fathers say we know where grace is (within the Orthodox Church, the only reason She still exists despite her members) but we do not know where it is not.  We know the path to salvation is within the Church, we cannot say for those who are outside.

 

The Church is certainly let down by many of her members but this is the way it has been for much of history, we cannot change others but we can change ourselves, we must strive to live humbly and serve all and then we by grace will inspire others in the same way within the Church.  It is through this form of selfless service the Church first spread more so than the Preaching which many times cam only when people outside the Church asked Why, it is also what makes the Church so dangerous to the World.  

 

Phoebe



#43 Algernon

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 03:09 PM

 ... it is also what makes the Church so dangerous to the World.  

 

This is something else Orthodox Christians like to say a lot.

Can you please elaborate on how it is exactly that the Orthodox Church is so dangerous to the world? 

In case you haven't noticed, secularism, materialism, depravity, and the culture of death are gaining, not losing, ground. And in the richest, most powerful, influential, and materialistic nation in the world (the U.S.), the Orthodox Church is a non-entity. So please tell me how the Church poses such a threat to the World. By "attending to ourselves and not worrying about others"? 


Edited by Algernon, 23 June 2014 - 03:10 PM.


#44 Phoebe K.

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 05:23 PM

The Church in her true being as the Bride of Christ is not of the world as Christ was not of the world therefore the world rejects her (as Christ speeks about in the Great High Priestly Prayer).  The Church can only become that which she is eternally in the visible world if we each attend to repenting and turning to God in our own lives.

 

When we attend to repenting in out Lives and in grace cultivating the virtues for the love of Christ, especially trying to see Christ in each and every person we are changed by grace and thus stand out as rejecting the values of the World.  While we are negligant in our lives of faith and receat of the sacrements how can we expect other than for the world to gain ground.

 

I live in the UK where Orthodoxy is almost unknown (the Greek Archbishop aprears at some state occasions and that is about it).  Orthodoxy has only made progress where parishes have worked hard to cultivate a healthy devotion by their members, which means more converts are attracted.  In the UK as with most of the Western countries it is individual people who live out the faith in truth and Love which spur it on to growth (not the unforchanate tendencys to expat communities which happens in some areas). 

 

If we try by grace and in grace to live a life of faith and grow in Christlikeness we will become raident in Christ and by this show up the falsehoods of the world in the same way the the Saints throughout history have.  This can be a living Mayterdom at times, but to be a mayter is to be a witness to the truth.  We can but witness to the truth in our own lives and leave the rest to God, for all we relay have control of is our lives and where appropriate trying to bring up children faithfully.

 

Phoebe



#45 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 10:45 PM

Algernon, why are you so concerned about Orthodox Church observance in the USA? Do you know what the figures are for regular church attendance in Russia? About 5%. Most Russians I know in Moscow do not go to church.



#46 Algernon

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 11:13 PM

Algernon, why are you so concerned about Orthodox Church observance in the USA? Do you know what the figures are for regular church attendance in Russia? About 5%. Most Russians I know in Moscow do not go to church.

 

Because that is where I live.

That's too bad about Russia, but I can't say I'm surprised.

 

I had some questions for you in a post from earlier today, Andreas. I'm sure you'll get to them when you get a chance.



#47 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 07:33 AM

I see these two competing themes a lot among Orthodox Christians: 1. We much "attend to our own salvation," which is certainly biblical. 2. We must do so within the confines of, and in the manner prescribed by, the Orthodox Church, otherwise we forfeit our salvation, which is not biblical.

On the contrary, the Bible states in several places (Acts, 2:21 Romans 10:13) that "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Furthermore, Christ Himself said that "whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." (Jn 3.16) He also said that "unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (Jn 8.24). He didn't say, unless you belong to the Orthodox Church and receive Communion every week. He said "unless you believe."

He also said that "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." (Mt 10.32, Lk 12.8)

Romans 10:9 states that "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

And John 1.22 says "to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."

I could find nothing in the Bible that required membership in the Orthodox Church (or any specific church) or participation in the Sacraments in order to receive salvation. (except for baptism, which is mentioned several times as being necessary for salvation).

Am I reading it wrong? Did I miss something? Perhaps you can show me where the Scriptures say that one must belong to the Orthodox Chruch--and no other Christian body--and participate regularly in the Sacraments in order to be saved.

 

You seem to be separating Christ from His Church and the Bible from the Church (both typically Protestant approaches). According to your logic, there is no need to be in the Church. Quote picking will not help: there must be other contrary quotes, eg ‘Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven . . . Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity’: Matthew 7:21-23. Scripture can only be understood through the Church.

 

If you read my second comment from 6/19 you'll see that my friend didn't avoid the Orthodox Church because "some people in it do not measure up to his expectations." But because the Orthodox Church "is simply not engaged. It is not--according to him--living out the Gospel in the world. It is too self-centered, too territorial, too insulated." Honestly, can you blame him for thinking this? You're right, not everyone has the gift of evangelization. But that's true too for the Christian bodies that ARE out there making disciples of all nations. There is no excuse for the Orthodox Church, if it truly is the "ark of salvation," not to be out there taking this country by storm and winning it over for Christ. But that is simply not happening.

 

It is not happening as you or your friend would like anywhere. Most people are not interested just as many were not when Christ was on earth. If the situation is as it is in supposedly Orthodox countries, why should it be any better in your country? Did not Christ indicate that He expects to find little faith on earth when He comes again (cf Luke 18:8)?

 

So, for someone who truly loves Christ, and wants to live for Him, and spread the Gospel, serve the needy, and evangelize the world, and "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ," and surround himself with a Christian (not Greek or Serbian, or Russian, or Romanian) culture, and for these reasons chooses not to join the Orthodox Church, do you mean to tell me that, on the day of judgement, Christ is going to cast him into outer darkness because he didn't belong to the Orthodox Church? Is that really what you believe? Is that really what the Church teaches?

 

It is not for me to tell God whom He may save, but if someone knows about the Church and would become part of it but refuses to do so because he thinks there is insufficient evangelization, he is surely very foolish; to refuse salvation just because others do makes no sense to me. That is why the Church teaches that we should attend to ourselves.
 


Edited by Andreas Moran, 24 June 2014 - 07:47 AM.


#48 Matthew Panchisin

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 04:54 AM

Dear Algernon,

I'm sure many Orthodox Christians have read your sayings and have been very patient, that is the Orthodox way.

Because of the sincerity, you can pray to the Mother of God, who loves the Lord God and human beings, you can find a firm and gentle advocate for your concerns.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin


Edited by Matthew Panchisin, 25 June 2014 - 04:58 AM.


#49 Algernon

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 02:21 PM

You seem to be separating Christ from His Church and the Bible from the Church (both typically Protestant approaches). According to your logic, there is no need to be in the Church. Quote picking will not help: there must be other contrary quotes, eg ‘Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven . . . Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity’: Matthew 7:21-23. Scripture can only be understood through the Church.

 

I'm not sure how quoting from the Bible is separating it and Christ from the Church. Again I ask: do the Scriptures say anywhere that we must belong to the Orthodox Church--and no other Christian body--and receive the sacraments from the Orthodox Church--and only the Orthodox Church--in order to be saved? The answer is no they do not. They say we must follow Christ and commit ourselves to following and living for Him. Perhaps for some people, this is best done in the Orthodox Church, and for others it is best done elsewhere? I don't know. But I do know many people outside the Orthodox Church who display the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance) far more consistently and apparently than those inside the OC. And, as Christ Himself said: Ye shall know them by their...church membership? No. Ethnicity? No. Doctrine? Lineage? Fancy vestments? Ability to quote the Fathers? No. By their fruits.



#50 Algernon

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 02:40 PM

 It is not happening as you or your friend would like anywhere. Most people are not interested just as many were not when Christ was on earth. If the situation is as it is in supposedly Orthodox countries, why should it be any better in your country? Did not Christ indicate that He expects to find little faith on earth when He comes again (cf Luke 18:8)?

 

So, therefore...what? We should just remain unknown and unengaged? And insist that people are "foolish" for not joining us?

 

I don't know how it is where you're from, but Christianity is huge in the U.S. The largest Christian denominations in the U.S. are the Roman Catholics and the Southern Baptists. Each of them claim about 25% of the total population. Another approximately 25% of the total population belong to other Christian denominations. How much of that is Orthodox? Less than 1/2%. Nice. The "ark of salvation" accounts for less than half a percent. But that's okay, I guess, because Christ said He'd expect to find little faith when He returns? Hogwash! The Apostles were right there when Christ spoke these words. Did they content themselves with remaining safely within their ethnic enclaves? No. Because they were also there when Christ said make disciples of ALL NATIONS. Some Christian bodies truly take these words of His seriously. Much more seriously than Orthodox Christians.

 

If, as you say (and I have no reason to doubt it), people in supposedly "Orthodox" countries don't take the faith seriously, could it be that there is something inherently flawed in the Orthodox approach? Again, I ask: are the sacraments truly effective?



#51 Algernon

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 02:47 PM

 It is not for me to tell God whom He may save, but if someone knows about the Church and would become part of it but refuses to do so because he thinks there is insufficient evangelization, he is surely very foolish; to refuse salvation just because others do makes no sense to me. That is why the Church teaches that we should attend to ourselves.

 

So, you don't want to say whom God may save, but you're pretty sure that it not someone who chooses not to join the Orthodox Church?

 

Is someone really refusing salvation when they truly desire to follow Christ and live for Him and make disciples of all nations, etc. rather than join what he sees as an unknown, unengaged, ethnic club? Come on, Andreas! You can't really believe that!



#52 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 02:59 PM

Algernon, if you are so critical of the Church and think that those outside it are better people and can be saved, why are you still a member of it?



#53 Algernon

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 03:26 PM

Algernon, if you are so critical of the Church and think that those outside it are better people and can be saved, why are you still a member of it?

 

As I said, "...for some people, this is best done in the Orthodox Church..." So far as I can tell, this applies to me.

 

Is it wrong to be critical of the Church? Perhaps Orthodox Christians ought to be more critical of the Church.



#54 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 03:58 PM

Not of they want to encourage others to come on board.



#55 Matthew Panchisin

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 10:41 PM

We have read through this thread and starting with the opening remarks of Algernon, I would not reduce his words as merely critical.

The Orthodox Church teaches that the God parent must be Orthodox, from your writings there are clearly serious issues that do call into question the assumption that you are indeed Orthodox. This is because you sound like so many other protestants that have been encountered in the past. Even so, what is your take on your godson's demonic attacks (referenced in your first post) besides your own attacks (referenced in many of your subsequent posts) against the Orthodox Church and Orthodox Christians that you consider to be critical commentary.
 

For more of your records, the Orthodox Church does not teach Orthodox Christians (members) to be critical of the Orthodox Church.

 
In Christ,
 
Matthew Panchisin

 

 



#56 Matthew Panchisin

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 03:16 PM

It is a great joy to know the Orthodox Church has so many beautiful Bishops and Priests and laypersons, friends. Thanks be to God, many of those are faithful and well educated from within the Orthodox Church. The great joy I have seen by others that have come from heterodox places when they embrace the Orthodox Church surely is delightful fruit from the Treasure of Blessings.

 

Such a beautiful prayer:

 

O Heavenly King, O Comforter, O Spirit of Truth, Who art in all places and fillest all things, Treasure of Blessings and giver of life, come and abide in us, cleanse us from all impurity and save our souls, O Good One.

 

Here is a good read from within the Orthodox Church:

 

"In the form of a question, our Lord warns us that towards the end of human history many shall fall away from the church. He asks in Luke 18:8, "...when the Son of Man comes, shall He find the faith on the earth? (Lk. 18:8)." The Orthodox New Testament translates this verse not as "faith" but "the faith." In other words, shall He find His Church, the Orthodox Church which He planted as the faith, the truth, as the light of the world? The passage is a warning to us. St Cyril comments on this passage and says, "The Lord tells us that the love of the multitude shall be made cold, and that in latter times some shall apostatize from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and teachings of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having been branded as to their own conscience." The forewarning is made in the context of a teaching that the Disciples of Christ must be people of continual and vigilant prayer. Living a life of prayer protects Christians from falling away from the true Life."

 

To us it good to be of good cheer, no matter what the circumstances are, for we know that Christ is the Son of God and the Orthodox Church remains steadfast in her teachings.

 

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.'

 

Such a beautiful passage from within the Orthodox Church.

 

Algernon, we are waiting patiently for your response, the Orthodox Church sees all of her members and all other human beings as precious.

 

 

In Christ,

 

Matthew Panchisin

Edited by Matthew Panchisin, 26 June 2014 - 03:19 PM.


#57 Algernon

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 01:55 PM

 ...from your writings there are clearly serious issues that do call into question the assumption that you are indeed Orthodox. 

 

Do you think a statement like this will make me less critical?



#58 Algernon

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 01:57 PM

 This is because you sound like so many other protestants that have been encountered in the past. 

 

May I ask what I have written that sounds "protestant"?



#59 Matthew Panchisin

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 02:41 PM

We have seen that you do not even know your own responses, so at least you don't know better.

Having read the terms of use for this forum this would preclude any further contributions from you.

In Christ,

 

Matthew Panchisin


#60 Rick H.

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 03:19 PM

Who is the "we" that Mr. Panchisin speaks of?






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