In short, I can only assume that it is much the same situation in those Orthodox countries where Baptists and other evangelicals go and find such a willing audience (I'm told Europe's largest church is a 26,000 member pentecostal assembly in Kiev).
And as much as I wish that the Orthodox churches were doing their job better, if the people are hungry, even starving for spiritual food, then more power to the Christian missionaries who are willing to go and do the feeding for the glory of Christ.
I also pray for "more power" to the Christian missionaries in Orthodox lands, provided that said Christian missionaries are Orthodox Christians of course.
Shawn, you wrote as if these assorted Protestant missionaries are all bearing the same sort of gospel food to feed those who are in need in Orthodox countries. As a former evangelical Protestant, I certainly remember the variety of missions appeals from all sorts of Protestant organizations, all set to bring their myriad versions of the gospel (e.g. Reformed, Armininian, Pre-Millennial Dispensationalist, Charismatic, anti-Charismatic and wow, so many flavors of Baptists! More than Baskin-Robbins!) to Russia/former Soviet Union, all in competition WITH EACH OTHER for the souls of the Orthodox. The only thing that unites these competing confessions is their shared antipathy towards the Orthodox Christian Faith.
Protestant and Mormon missionaries think that they are bringing a "basic understanding" of the Gospel when from the Orthodox Christian viewpoint, they are bringing back the same old "bad news" of the yesteryears. What sort of bad news? We see evangelical Protestants bringing back that Old Time religion of gnosticism. The essential features of gnosticism : hatred for the material world, the emphasis on private, individual illumination as opposed to the reception of a concrete Faith in the midst of a Communion, a spiritual elitism that holds the average Orthodox believer in contempt and the rejection of the centrality of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, the "Medicine of Immortality." And those 26,000 pentecostals in Kiev? The demon of the Montanists rears its ugly head again. (See: http://www.fatherale...al_s_rose_e.htm)
Shawn, as an evangelical Protestant, you must have had some instruction on the concept of spiritual warfare. Then you must understand that the Orthodox Church, throughout the 2000 years of its existence, has faced unrelenting combat with these evil "powers, principalities, thrones and dominions." The Church in Her wisdom, named these demonic foes in the past so that we can recognize them in the present.
If people are in want of spiritual food, we do not rejoice that sectarian missionaries are giving them various sorts of stones when they are starving for the Bread of Life.
Edited by John W., 05 January 2008 - 03:59 AM.