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Is the God of Baptists the same as the God of Orthodox Christians?


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#261 Michael Albert

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 05:40 PM

This thread is not about Islam, that is another thread.

Oops. Wrong thread. You can move my post if you wish.

#262 Bill Schwan

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 02:00 AM

“Every person will know by this that you are my disciples, if you shall have love one to the other.”Jn 13:35

Something makes me think that all this discussion of who's righter and wronger in their mode of worship and understanding of doctrine gets trumped by this verse.

#263 Michael Stickles

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 10:17 PM

“Every person will know by this that you are my disciples, if you shall have love one to the other.”Jn 13:35

Something makes me think that all this discussion of who's righter and wronger in their mode of worship and understanding of doctrine gets trumped by this verse.


Well, I've known of agnostics and pagans who appear to do as good a job of having "love one to the other" as many (if not most) Christians. Love is the proof of discipleship; but first must come the evidence of discipleship, the right teaching. At St. John Chrysostom says regarding this passage in his homilies on St. John:

For nothing so raises respect in the heathen as virtue, nothing so offends them as vice. And with good reason. When one of them sees the greedy man, the plunderer, exhorting others to do the contrary, when he sees the man who was commanded to love even his enemies, treating his very kindred like brutes, he will say that the words are folly. When he sees one trembling at death, how will he receive the accounts of immortality? When he sees us fond of rule, and slaves to the other passions, he will more firmly remain in his own doctrines, forming no high opinion of us. We, we are the cause of their remaining in their error. Their own doctrines they have long condemned, and in like manner they admire ours, but they are hindered by our mode of life. To follow wisdom in talk is easy, many among themselves have done this; but they require the proof by works. “Then let them look to the ancients of our profession.” But about them they by no means believe; they enquire concerning those now living. For, “show me,” it saith, “thy faith by thy works” ( Jas. ii. 18 ); but this is not the case; on the contrary, seeing us tear our neighbors worse than any wild beast, they call us the curse of the world.


So: the words - i.e., the teachings and doctrine - are not in the least unimportant; quite the contrary (as we see in other places in Scripture). But without love as the proof, all the rest is vain (I Cor. 13).

#264 Bill Schwan

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 11:33 PM

When folks manage to so consistently miss my intended point, it's time to just quit talking. I expect I'll surprise a bunch of ya by being present at the marriage supper of the Lamb, though by then any differences will be moot points and maybe we'll talk sometime in the first thousand years.

#265 Aidan Kimel

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 05:00 AM

There is only one God....Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There are those who knowingly and consciously reject the Trinitarian God. 1 John 2:23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.


Michael, I suggest you need to think more deeply why it is that someone who denies the Son does not have the Father. Indeed, I think you need to think more deeply on what disbelief is and why it is significant. Why does it matter whether someone worships the "true" God? Why does it matter to God? Why does it matter to us? Why would denying the Son cause one to lose the Father also? And what precisely does damn us?

It's not sufficient to simply quote Bible texts, and it's especially dangerous to generalize from texts that were spoken or written in very specific polemical contexts.

I suggest that 1 John 2:23 needs to be read in light of Matt 11:27: "All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." Why does rejecting the Son entail losing the Father? Because until the Incarnation the Fatherhood of God, specifically, God as Father of the Son, was not known and could not be known. The great gift our Lord brought to humanity was precisely the revelation of God as Father and the invitation to know God as Father through and in his Son. Hence the decisive significance of our adoption as sons, as the Apostle Paul writes: "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!' So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God" (Gal 4:4-7). Only in Jesus Christ can God be known and experienced and loved as Father. And this is why denying the Son implies the loss of the Father. Not because we have failed a test or because God is arbitrary, but because Jesus Christ simply is the way to the Father (John 14:6).

God is the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is the God every human being will confront on the Day of Judgment. I am certainly not minimizing the salvific consequences of disbelief, but I do understand it differently than you. Precisely what the Trinitarian identity reveals to us is that God is absolute and infinite Love. It is this Love that confronts and summons us in Jesus Christ. Faith is not subscribing to a dogma. Faith is surrender to the abundant mercy and life that God offers us in the gospel. And God never withdraws that offer. One way or another we each must deal with the Love that is the Holy Trinity. The gospel is not a club wielded by the Church to terrorize sinners into submission to the "true God"--believe or else. The gospel is good news. Here is the water of life. Here is forgiveness and resurrection. Here is the Father who loves you unconditionally in his Son Jesus Christ and who now invites you to share in his love through the Holy Spirit. This is why there is no salvation outside the Church. Not because God hates Jews, Muslims, and Hindus, not because faith and baptism are legal requirements, but because, as Florovsky writes, "salvation is the Church."

I read the article by Father Basile Sakkas that you recommended in the thread "Do different faiths worship different gods?" In my judgment it is an appalling bad piece. But not as appalling as the anti-Jewish diatribe that you quote earlier from St John Chrysostom.

I'll close with this saying of our Lord: "Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come" (Matt 12:31-32).

#266 Owen Jones

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 11:43 AM

The divisions in Christianity are very troubling to many people, and certainly used by non-Christians as proof that no one actually has a patent on the truth, or more, that there is no truth. As for me, I am a spiritual pragmatist. Given the type of world we live in today, it is possible to shop extensively until you get the product that appears to work best for you. When you do finally find the right product that works, when other products out thereseem to have been more based on hype than on substance, and when you tried them you felt that you would have loved to have sued them for false advertising, you are so convinced that you want other people to know about your product. Hey, buy this! And, by the way...I'm not working on commission. So, while I see that there are Biblical arguments and historical arguments and theological arguments for Orthodoxy, I have the benefit of comparative experience, and encourage people strongly to give Orthodoxy a try. You won't appreciate how much you were missing, and how much you really benefit from this product, until you try it.

#267 Michael Albert

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 01:46 PM

I read the article by Father Basile Sakkas that you recommended in the thread "Do different faiths worship different gods?" In my judgment it is an appalling bad piece. But not as appalling as the anti-Jewish diatribe that you quote earlier from St John Chrysostom.

Dear Father,

You should have responded in the other thread. I think Father Basile's article is excellent....and St John's writings are edifying. I am sorry that you beg to differ.

#268 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 05:13 PM

Re St John Chrysostom, does the article in the link below help? I rather thought it does:

http://orthodoxinfo....tisemitism.aspx

#269 Aidan Kimel

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 05:57 PM

Andreas, I've read this before, though I have never read Wilken's study on anti-Semitism in the early Church. For me, it helps to mitigate the harshness of the rhetoric, but I still find it deeply objectionable. I do not know see this rhetoric helps us either to preach the gospel to unbelievers or to love our enemies. I think it undermines both. I think it is spiritually and theologically dangerous.

If I had used this kind of language as a child, my father would have taken me to the woodshed.

#270 Michael Albert

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 06:54 PM

I think it is spiritually and theologically dangerous.


Fr Aidan:

Are you saying that St John Chrysostomos' work: "Against the Judaizers"..... is spiritually and theologically dangerous?

#271 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 07:19 PM

Andreas, I've read this before, though I have never read Wilken's study on anti-Semitism in the early Church. For me, it helps to mitigate the harshness of the rhetoric, but I still find it deeply objectionable. I do not know see this rhetoric helps us either to preach the gospel to unbelievers or to love our enemies. I think it undermines both. I think it is spiritually and theologically dangerous.

If I had used this kind of language as a child, my father would have taken me to the woodshed.


I think one point made in the article to which I gave the link is useful, namely that the historical context is important. In WWII, Americans called the Japanese 'Japs' and Churchill called the Germans 'Nazis'. In neither case was it intended that all Japanese and all Germans deserved opprobrium. Also, the point is made that the Fathers have some harsh words to say about women but which words are not to be taken as including all women (least of all the Mother of God). We today do find this ancient rhetorical device at best unhelpful and at worst thoroughly objectionable, and no one in their senses would use it in any context, least of all when preaching the Gospel. The historical aspect is why you would not have used this kind of language as a child (though what a child you would have been if you had known about and used the Greek rhetorical device of psogos!), and so were spared the woodshed. (Another sign of our times is that fathers, here in England at any rate, cannot do whatever is the English equivalent.)

#272 Ronnie Shakespeare

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 06:59 AM

Online contact on a forum concerns a focus on one's beliefs and views on that which is held dearest by oneself. Its expression is through writing which tends to tighten this focus even more. In this sense then online communication is different from personal contact in a more full setting (parish, home, etc) where so much else comes into play. It can inform someone who is seeking some of the 'facts' of the Faith. But it can never cover the full range or reveal the depth or complexity of what is being said, for that can only be experienced in contact with the Body of the Church as something full and living.

In Christ
-Fr Raphael


After having discussions with Orthodox christians here and on facebook. 1 am thinking of Giving it a Go with being in actual contact with the body of the Church. Health Issues is causing me to be house bound allot at present. Orthodox England is much to far away. The closest church is Serbian Orthodox. I did go to a baptist church very close walking distance to my home for 6 weeks about 2 years ago. before that i never went to any church for 12 years because i did not know any more which is the Right church to go to. ''I have been asking to God to show me the right church''. before that i went to a few various different type pentecostal churches over a few years. before that i first started attending the Birmingham Church of Christ which was a sister church to the bosten church of christ. which i now think call themself the International Church of Christ. It was a cult. So most of my christian life has been away from churches. I was evangilised into most these churches but spirit led out of all. I believe i am being spirit led into Orthodoxy and have to follow it through. Recently I had a dream about being in a place where lots of metal darts was being fired at me and when i got past that i came to a place where everybody was fighting with swords. Then i saw a 2 stairways bending towards each other going up. At the top i saw a statue of Mary. When i climbed to the top. The statue came Alive and Mary was Singing a song with a heavenly voice. When she finished i started walking back down the stairs and as i was passing people they kept saying to me. Your going to hell! I kept asking them why am i going to hell! Then one of them said. Unless of Course you stay away from Africa. Then i woke up!
There is a particuler white African Preacher who i have known for the last 2 years on youtube>Finalcall07< who now lives in America trying to dissuade me from Orthodoxy. Saying to me the bigger the church the bigger the deception. So i think i should Ignore that.

Fr Raphael

When would be the right time to change my Profile too Orthodox Christian?

#273 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 01:47 PM

To be part of the Orthodox church one has to attend a parish, speak with the priest and then decide to commit to the process of an Orthodox life. At some point this results God willing in a sacramental entry into Orthodoxy.

In Christ
-Fr Raphael

#274 Moses Anthony

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 02:54 AM

To whom much is given, much is expected. At the end of the day (or the discussion), what we know about our own faith and what we do with it speaks much louder than what we think others believe or do. We can tell people that they worship the "wrong" god all day long, but if our actions do not reflect our own beliefs, we are much worse off than they are.

I, for one, don't worry about who or what "they" worship. The question that matters is do I truely worship and follow the God I claim to worship? Too many logs in my eye to pull out the splinters in the eyes of others. I will defend the hope in me and not worry about attacking the "wrong" hope in others. That is between them and a loving God. He is the one who changes hearts, not me. But I am merely a bear of little brain.

O bother.

Herman the Pooh


It is in obedience to the ministry that God has called them, that believers spend much time defending the faith. And while we're to be able to answer those who ask "..about the faith within us...", as the Apostle Paul wrote, one Christian plants another waters, but it is God who gives the increase.

Again here the practice of the U.S. Treasury (if they still do so): To train agents in the recognition of counterfeit bills, they do not study the best of forgeries, no; they study in minute detail real treasury bills. I am not so much concerned with the 'god' that Protestants worship -be they Baptists, Lutherans,Presbyterians, Nazarene, Episcopalians, Church of Christ, Assembly of God, etc., etc., etc.....

My primary point, and especially during this time of Great Lent, is whether or not I'm worshiping God according to how He has revealed himself, gaining victory over pride, the passions, anger wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech, jealousy, idle talk, covetousness, greed, contentment, acquiring humility, practicing brotherly kindness, patience, love.

Please forgive my rant. I only meant to say "ditto" to Herman's post.

the sinful and unworthy servant
Moses


Should it fall to me to be as

#275 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 11:36 AM

How different from the Church's teachings of God can a group be and still be just fine, with no problems? How far is it until the line is drawn and we say "different god, not God"? Can't a demonic cult have a "three-part" worship object that they call by whatever names could be convenient? If we can condemn the Jews to demonolatry, (after all, if they do not worship God, there is no one else around to worship but demons), why not Baptists?

#276 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 12:59 PM

Do we have to? Honestly? Why not simply let it go. Really.

#277 Michael Stickles

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 02:06 AM

How different from the Church's teachings of God can a group be and still be just fine, with no problems? How far is it until the line is drawn and we say "different god, not God"?


This argument presupposes that "not fine, has problems" = "different God". I don't believe that's necessarily true. There is room between "just fine, same God" and "not fine, different God" for "not fine, same God, wrong worship/belief/practice".

I believe we see the latter category in Scripture (Rev 3:14-16,19):

To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. ... Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.


Yes, I know this Scripture refers to those within the Church. Yet it is clear that having "the same God" is not enough by itself to guarantee anything for the Laodiceans (or us). Allowing that a group outside the Church has "the same God" likewise wouldn't be claiming any guarantees for them.

#278 Stephen Hayes

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 05:42 AM

Andreas, I've read this before, though I have never read Wilken's study on anti-Semitism in the early Church. For me, it helps to mitigate the harshness of the rhetoric, but I still find it deeply objectionable. I do not know see this rhetoric helps us either to preach the gospel to unbelievers or to love our enemies. I think it undermines both. I think it is spiritually and theologically dangerous.


Perhaps this can also help:

http://www.orthodoxy...com/antisem.htm




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