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Efficacy of the Sacraments


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#61 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 07:00 PM

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

 

I assume we who have read the posts in this thread. Who else?



#62 Rick H.

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 07:14 PM

I assume we who have read the posts in this thread. Who else?

 

 

I think Mr. Moran has possibly missed the point of the question and made a poor and innacurate assumption.   



#63 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 07:45 PM

I think Mr. Moran has possibly missed the point of the question and made a poor and innacurate assumption.   

 

Then enlighten me.



#64 Algernon

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 11:11 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

 

I do know my responses. What I am asking you is what is "protestant" about them?



#65 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 12:00 AM

"One and undivided"? You can't possibly be serious. If that is what the Eucharist is intended to accomplish, then we can see that it is not effective in the least.


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.
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.


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.


...church membership? No. Ethnicity? No. Doctrine? Lineage? Fancy vestments? Ability to quote the Fathers? No. By their fruits.


could it be that there is something inherently flawed in the Orthodox approach?


rather than join what he sees as an unknown, unengaged, ethnic club?


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

 

All these statements should not be said by a sincere Orthodox person who loves the Church which is Christ. And they are mostly the sort of thing said by Protestants who reject the Church.



#66 Algernon

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 02:13 AM

Okay, fair enough. I can see why you'd think that.
 
But let's face reality here:
 
Is the Church "One and undivided"? No.
 
Does the Bible say that We can be saved only within the confines of, and in the manner prescribed by, the Orthodox Church? No.
 
Do 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? No.
 
Did Christ say "You will know them by their...church membership? Ethnicity? Doctrine? Lineage? Fancy vestments? Ability to quote the Fathers? No.
 
Do people see the Orthodox Church as an unknown, unengaged, ethnic club? Yes.
 
Is it wrong to be critical of the Church? No.
 
Please feel free to explain to me how I'm mistaken. It's not helpful simply to dismiss my statements and questions as "protestant." Thank you.


#67 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 08:46 AM

The Church is One and Undivided - the Creed says it is One.

 

To say that the Bible does not mention the Orthodox Church shows a lack of understanding as to what the Church is. You are treating the Orthodox Church and faith like a religion. Christ said He would establish His Church on earth and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. He and His Church are One. The Orthodox Church is not a version of Christ's Church - it is the Church He was referring to, the Kingdom of God. It is the Body of Christ on earth and in heaven.

 

Do 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? No.

 

Yes. "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." John 3:5 - this is Baptism and Chrismation.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” John 6:53. - this is Holy Communion.

 

Christ established His One, Holy Church to provide the sacraments He instituted. No other 'Christian body' can provide these.

 

 Did Christ say "You will know them by their...church membership? Ethnicity? Doctrine? Lineage? Fancy vestments? Ability to quote the Fathers? No.

 

Of course not. But the fruits of the Spirit are only full and ripe in the Church. There is no Church but the Orthodox Church. It has the fullness of the truth and of grace.

 

Do people see the Orthodox Church as an unknown, unengaged, ethnic club? Yes.

 

Yes. But obviously they are wrong to do so. The errors of people in the Church who treat it like an ethnic club do not diminish the Church but only themselves.

 

Is it wrong to be critical of the Church? No.

 

Yes. How can you criticise Christ Who is the Head of the Church? Can you criticise people in the Church? Perhaps if you have righteous indignation just as Christ had for the Pharisees, and one may have some understanding of what goes on among some in the Church but the Church is a place of sinners. But take care - who are you to judge another man's servant? Consider the beam in your own eye: attend to yourself.

 

Do you think you are encouraging people who may read this thread to join the Church when you are so critical of it? Does your priest know how critical you are?


Edited by Reader Andreas, 28 June 2014 - 08:47 AM.


#68 Olga

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 09:14 AM

Dear Algernon

 

Your posts on this thread have diverged considerably from the thread topic as expressed in the opening post. Here it is:


 

I'm not trying to be controversial here. I really want to know: what actual good does it do to receive the sacraments?

 

I ask this for two reasons.


1. One would expect that if receiving the Eucharist produced holiness, Orthodox Christians would be obviously more holy than other Christians who do not believe in or receive the Eucharist. They are not.


2. My godson was plagued by demonic attacks before his "exorcism" and baptism. Months later, he is still being plagued by demonic attacks.


Thanks.


A

 

The matter at hand is the efficacy of Orthodox sacraments, from which your posts have strayed considerably. Moreover, your posts have become increasingly heated. I ask that you, and everyone, to return to the topic at hand, and to post in a courteous and civil manner.

 

I will also remind contributors of the premise of this forum: the study and discussion of Orthodox Christianity through its patristic, monastic and liturgical heritage.

 

Olga. (forum moderator)



#69 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 06:19 AM

Quoting Algernon:
 

I'm not trying to be controversial here. I really want to know: what actual good does it do to receive the sacraments?


I ask this for two reasons.

1. One would expect that if receiving the Eucharist produced holiness, Orthodox Christians would be obviously more holy than other Christians who do not believe in or receive the Eucharist. They are not.

2. My godson was plagued by demonic attacks before his "exorcism" and baptism. Months later, he is still being plagued by demonic attacks.


Thanks.



Algernon, have you discussed your questions with your spiritual father?
Who told your godson's parents that he was experiencing "demonic attacks"? Perhaps this issue should be re-examined.

Orthodox Christians have never claimed to be holier or better than other Christians. We are all sinners. I have heard this so often that sometimes the meaning is lost. From my own experience I know that I continuously fall far short of my hopes of becoming more like Christ. The road to union with God is a lonely, frustrating one, but it is the only one, in my opinion, worth living. What other people do has long since ceased to interest me. Hypocrisy is rampant in all religions but, fortunately, we are sometimes lucky enough to come into contact with another human being who is an inspiration to us. These enlightened ones are present in all religions. I am an Orthodox Christian because I feel free to pursue my goal of enosisi/union with God.

perhaps you might like to read this :http://www.ancientfa...ther_christians

"......... because sometimes in Church history, the majority of people in the Church were wrong, and a few people were right, and only God knows who’s right and who’s wrong, and we’ll only know that on the day of judgment."


Edited by Olga, 30 June 2014 - 07:34 AM.
Fixed quote formatting


#70 Antonios

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 04:48 AM

Baptized Orthodox Christians who take frequent communion are not automatically liberated from their own will.  Indeed, they are statistically just as likely to commit great sins.  In fact, those who defile the Holy Sacraments by their own evil wills produce even greater attraction to the evil spirits then those who are not baptized and become muses to the demons.  Our spiritual warfare is not removed when we are baptized, indeed it is heightened!  For Christ Himself after His baptism then went into the desert and fasted for 40 days and fought Satan.  Baptism may free us from the reign of death but does not guarantee a life of no struggle.  Our very God struggled through torture and death in order to grant us the power to endure torture and death and raise in eternal glory.  The Sacraments are efficient if God wills, and He wills will that we follow His commandments.   Those who follow Him will raise with Him in His glory, because through and in Him we find our very being and promise of truth and life.

 

If we think as some Protestants do that grace is a thing, then we start defining it by what it may lack and it's limitations.  But grace is not a thing, it is God Himself.  It is the Holy Spirit.  There is no deficiency in God nor anything containable, neither is there anything lacking in the waters of Baptism or the Eucharistic offering of Christ's very body.  The lacking is in our own hearts, in our own minds, and in our own wills.  God will fill us by His mercy if He wills it, but He asks that we too will it and live lives in imitation of Him, of love and mercy towards others.

 

  Our life finds benefit when God abides in us.  When we become clothed in Christ Himself, of His Body, in communion with the Holy Trinity, then we find true being and life.  It is the transfiguration of our beings in the likeness of Christ made possible by the Holy Spirit.  All things, be it prayer or the Sacraments are means to attain this.  But we too need to open the doors of our hearts for this to be of benefit, otherwise Christ knocks at the door and we ignore Him or take our sweet time and in a way begin testing Him.  God made us with free will so that we might freely come to Him, and angels to guard us from the Garden if we begin to create corruption with the gifts we were endowed with.  And if we defile willingly what is pure, then it would be better for us to have a millstone tied around our necks and be cast into the sea.

 

We are not worthy to receive communion, but God allows us to anyway out of His love and mercy.  And if there appears no benefit, then something coming from us is facilitating this.  And if it makes us worse, then know that it is not the sacraments, but the demons which we have allowed to take over who mock God to their own destruction and the destruction of those who are harboring them. 

 

Yet while these may seem to be a great number, maybe even the majority, there exist in the world from the days of Noah those who have become holy saints, who have overcome the impossible and have raised the dead;  who have revealed to the world the power of God by God working through them and in them.  These are the Saints of the Church.  These all partook of the Holy Sacraments not unto their destruction by their evil wills but unto the very glory and participation in eternal life made possible by the Holy Spirit.

 

So, the root of the problem does not lie in the Sacraments, but in the heart of those who experience and unite with God.  Unless the heart opens up to God, then the Holy Spirit does not enter, for God wants willing children to serve Him.  And those people who serve Him (whether they commonly partake of the Holy Eucharist or not) are better off then those who willfully disobey and think eating of the Tree alone will make them in the likeness of God.


Edited by Antonios, 01 July 2014 - 04:53 AM.


#71 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 07:24 AM

Baptized Orthodox Christians who take frequent communion are not automatically liberated from their own will.  Indeed, they are statistically just as likely to commit great sins.  In fact, those who defile the Holy Sacraments by their own evil wills produce even greater attraction to the evil spirits then those who are not baptized and become muses to the demons.  Our spiritual warfare is not removed when we are baptized, indeed it is heightened!  For Christ Himself after His baptism then went into the desert and fasted for 40 days and fought Satan.  Baptism may free us from the reign of death but does not guarantee a life of no struggle.  Our very God struggled through torture and death in order to grant us the power to endure torture and death and raise in eternal glory.  The Sacraments are efficient if God wills, and He wills will that we follow His commandments.   Those who follow Him will raise with Him in His glory, because through and in Him we find our very being and promise of truth and life.
 
If we think as some Protestants do that grace is a thing, then we start defining it by what it may lack and it's limitations.  But grace is not a thing, it is God Himself.  It is the Holy Spirit.  There is no deficiency in God nor anything containable, neither is there anything lacking in the waters of Baptism or the Eucharistic offering of Christ's very body.  The lacking is in our own hearts, in our own minds, and in our own wills.  God will fill us by His mercy if He wills it, but He asks that we too will it and live lives in imitation of Him, of love and mercy towards others.
 
  Our life finds benefit when God abides in us.  When we become clothed in Christ Himself, of His Body, in communion with the Holy Trinity, then we find true being and life.  It is the transfiguration of our beings in the likeness of Christ made possible by the Holy Spirit.  All things, be it prayer or the Sacraments are means to attain this.  But we too need to open the doors of our hearts for this to be of benefit, otherwise Christ knocks at the door and we ignore Him or take our sweet time and in a way begin testing Him.  God made us with free will so that we might freely come to Him, and angels to guard us from the Garden if we begin to create corruption with the gifts we were endowed with.  And if we defile willingly what is pure, then it would be better for us to have a millstone tied around our necks and be cast into the sea.
 
We are not worthy to receive communion, but God allows us to anyway out of His love and mercy.  And if there appears no benefit, then something coming from us is facilitating this.  And if it makes us worse, then know that it is not the sacraments, but the demons which we have allowed to take over who mock God to their own destruction and the destruction of those who are harboring them. 
 
Yet while these may seem to be a great number, maybe even the majority, there exist in the world from the days of Noah those who have become holy saints, who have overcome the impossible and have raised the dead;  who have revealed to the world the power of God by God working through them and in them.  These are the Saints of the Church.  These all partook of the Holy Sacraments not unto their destruction by their evil wills but unto the very glory and participation in eternal life made possible by the Holy Spirit.
 
So, the root of the problem does not lie in the Sacraments, but in the heart of those who experience and unite with God.  Unless the heart opens up to God, then the Holy Spirit does not enter, for God wants willing children to serve Him.  And those people who serve Him (whether they commonly partake of the Holy Eucharist or not) are better off then those who willfully disobey and think eating of the Tree alone will make them in the likeness of God.

A really good response, Antonios. Thanks for posting this. Effie

#72 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 01:38 PM

A very interesting discussion.

 

As many have indicated already, the efficacy of the sacrament can only be understood from within the context of the entire life of the Church itself that we are part of. Thus our life as Orthodox Christians consists of participation in the sacraments, in prayer, in an ascetic life, in repentance, and many other things.

 

All of this though is lived in terms of our struggle with our passions and to find life in Christ. Through this struggle man is gradually re made and through his own efforts that which surrounds him is also offered such new life. The efficacy of the sacraments and the life of the Church then can not really be gauged except in this sense- ie the offer of a life renewed in Christ.

 

As to 'what of others' then there is really little to say except that our faith consists in the knowledge that it is by the Church in Christ, and through its life, that man is offered new life.

 

Beyond this we can only turn to our spiritual father, for it is impossible by our human understanding alone, to know whether at any particular time our sufferings and consolatons are being made the best use of unto the renewal of ourselves and the world.

 

In other words as many of us know from our life in the Church, what at first looks to be patience or tolerance can turn out to be the result of lack of spiritual engagement; while on the other hand zeal can easily be a cover for self direction and pride.

 

Only through discerning direction, accepted from those who are trustworthy wihtin the Church, can we really navigate our way safely amidst such issues.






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