Can Eastern Orthodox prove they’re the One True Church?

Eastern Orthodox adherents are very passionate about their faith. While that is all fine and good, there are a number of problems with that faith and their practices, and I have found the answers to these problems evasive, confusing, or non-existent. Since this church also claims to be the “One True Church,” it is disappointing to find its scholarship rather weak and misguided.

While there are a number of errors and practices of Orthodoxy that need to be addressed, I believe that foundational truths, those things on which the whole of this church should stand or fall, should be challenged first.

The first and ultimate question I have for Orthodox believers is, can they prove that Eastern Orthodoxy is the “One True Church” and that all others are outside the faith and apostate? While there a number of arguments that Orthodox believers postulate, none of these arguments, under scrutiny, hold water.

First, they state that they are the one true church because they hold the line of Apostolic succession. That is, since the “True Church” will consist of an unbroken line of Apostles from Peter and Paul until today, they claim that they are the True Church because their bishops are part of that unbroken line.

The first problem with this belief is that more than a dozen churches, Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant, also claim this line as proof that they are the one true church. In each of these churches they have a public listing of their unbroken line of bishops. Why then is the Orthodox right and them wrong?

The Orthodox claims the rightful line of Apostolic succession because they have not apostatized. And because the other churches have apostatized, they are not the True Church.

But how do we know that those other churches have apostatized and not the Orthodox Church? Because the Eastern Orthodox are the True Church, of course. They are the ones who have been given the Truth, and when others disagree with them, those other churches are wrong. And for the Orthodox, the Bible is not the final authority, the Church is. Therefore, what they say is the truth, is the truth. There is no higher authority or objective standard to which they appeal. Thus, when the church says that they are the True Church, it’s true, because they are the Final Authority, and they are the Final Authority because they are the True Church. This is a rather obvious tautological statement, and completely meaningless.

Can we appeal to the Bible? No. Not at all. As any non-Orthodox believer soon finds out, the Bible can only be rightly interpreted by the Eastern Orthodox believer, because they are in the Truth, and no one else is. Thus, any passage of scripture that we appeal to is rejected as a wrong interpretation. According to Orthodoxy, Scripture is not only interpreted and defined by them, they wrote it.

Can we then appeal to truth or logic? Again, no. For the Orthodox, truth can also only be interpreted by them. “Truth, to the Orthodox,” according to one official Eastern Orthodox web site, “is not a proposition or conclusion; Truth is a Person, a living experience accessible in the communion of the Church and expressed in the Scriptures, the councils, and the theology of the saints. Even the Ecumenical Councils needed to be received as normative by the body of the Church. Ultimately, there are signs that point to truth, but none of these signs is a substitute for a free and personal experience of truth, which is encountered in the sacramental community of the Church.” (emphasis mine). Again, truth is defined within the confines of the Orthodox Church.

However, we have to understand that the Orthodox know this “free and personal experience” of truth is true because “Truth is a Person,” namely the Holy Spirit. While we can agree that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (Jn. 16:13), the Orthodox believe that He works only in their lives, and gives them the truth by experience. Or as the Mormons would call it, a “burning in the bosom.” So if their experience were to tell the Church that God is dead, and the church all agreed, then God would then be dead, for the Holy Spirit has given them the truth.

To conclude, the Orthodox lay claim to the Holy Spirit, truth, the interpretation of the Scriptures, the final authority, and Apostolic succession, because they are the True Church. And they are the True Church because they lay claim to all these things. None of these are proofs, and many other churches also claim these same proofs as their own.

But the real confusion is how and why do intellectual and discerning Christians, even staunch Calvinists, leave the Protestant faith to follow Orthodoxy? While I am quite sure of my assessment of Eastern Orthodoxy, I honestly wonder if I am missing something. Why would any Christian follow Orthodoxy given their beliefs?

Thus I ask if anyone can give an answer. What makes the Eastern Orthodox Church the True Church? Where is the proof? What makes Orthodox claims true – which are the same baseless claims as many other churches – and those other church claims false?

There is one request I have for anyone who answers. Your answer cannot be that Orthodoxy is true because Protestants are false. Proving one person wrong does not prove you right. We can both be wrong, but we cannot both be right. The question is not whether or not Protestants, Catholics, Anglicans, or Mormons are false, the question is how is Orthodoxy right? And more specifically, prove that Orthodoxy is the True Church when many others make the same claim.

Dante Tremayne

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144 thoughts on “Can Eastern Orthodox prove they’re the One True Church?

  1. Dear Dante,

    I am sorry to hear that you have found nothing but unhelpful and circular statements from Orthodox quarters. This doesn’t help, but let me say that the above statements do make some sense once you see the perspective.

    The basic Orthodox claim is similar to that of Rome: the Orthodox Church is the Body of Christ, spread throughout the Roman empire and beyond by the apostles, and nourished by the Holy Spirit throughout the ages. For the Orthodox, there is no sudden change — no apostasy, no turbulent switch — in Christian history. From Paul to Justin to John Chrysostom to John of Damascus to Gregory Palamas to today, there is a public continuous Christian community that lives in the light of Christ’s resurrection. Rome claims the same. Protestant communities, as you mention, also claim as much, but rather dishonestly.

    How should we judge these competing claims? Well, we can look for continuity. It is not enough to find some sort of precedence — we must find a general and consistent acceptance of doctrines throughout the Christian era. If you do this, you will see that the Protestant confessions are aberrations in Christian history. It is true that Luther and Calvin found their inspiration in Saint Augustine of Hippo, but his peculiar views were quite singular, and they were rejected by the Western Churches for a thousand years after his death, despite his being the greatest Church Father who wrote in Latin. In the East, Augustine’s quirky theological speculations never influenced anyone. All of the great teachers in Christian history had their individual doctrinal musings. Favorite sons of the Orthodox Church Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory of Nazianzus also had peculiar ideas. However, such views were simply their own and did not reflect the general consensus of the faith as inherited through the centuries from the apostles. As such, they were considered the private opinions of wise and holy men — but they were not doctrine. The East had an advantage in this, as most early Fathers were Greek speaking and writing — there was no lack of witnesses writing in Greek from any era of the apostolic faith. No one person and his theological idiosyncrasies could substitute for the general catholic faith that everyone held.

    It is a common Orthodox contention that most Western errors resulted from this lack of patristic diversity in the West. As the Empire in the West crumbled, fewer people knew Greek, and the knowledge of the early Church was lost in a way that never happened in the Greek East. Moreover, with the onset of the Dark Ages and fewer educated folks in the West, the place of Augustine and the few Western Fathers held an inappropriate influence over the West. Furthermore, the bishop of Rome was forced to take on secular responsibilities as civil authority either crumbled or was taken over by heretical Arians. Over centuries, this aggrandizement of power perverted Rome — from the Orthodox perspective — and made it more about princely power than about guarding the ancient faith for the salvation of souls.

    Therefore, the Orthodox acknowledge that Rome has ancient roots, but they hold that historical circumstances facilitated Rome’s slow departure from the apostolic faith. Rome also acknowledges its changes, but it argues that such changes were divinely ordained. To weigh the two, you should consider the relative arguments. However, I think that the burden of proof must rest on Rome, which changed and gathered great power by those changes. Did the papacy transform into a super-episcopacy due to the will of God or due to the self-interest of power hungry men?

    The Roman position puts so much stock in the power and infallibility of the papacy because it then allows Rome to justify all other changes. To any question, “Why did the Roman Church change from the ancient practice to another?,” Rome can simply answer “Because the Holy Spirit works through the magesterium of the papacy and directs the Church through Christ’s vicar on earth, the pope.” In one stroke, Roman Catholicism self-justifies.

    The Orthodox reject such papal authority and rest with the ancient apostolic and patristic consensus. Obviously, new questions always arise, and new answers must develop to address them. Yet, the Orthodox position is that these new answers are based in the consistent unchanged “phronema” — the mind set — of the Church. Roman theologians often accuse the Orthodox of being stuck in the past, but for the Orthodox, God’s truth isn’t constrained by time. The Word of God is eternal.

    The “truth is a person” bit that you mention is not an excuse not to engage intellectually, though many Western Christians initially think that of Orthodox Christians. Rather, it is a typical Orthodox response to what they see as the hyper-rationalization of divine matters. For the Orthodox, theology is not an academic exercise; it is not an engagement with abstract concepts but rather an engagement with the living God. Out of pastoral reasons, Orthodox priests try to steer Western inquirers to consider their faith more like a life lived — in a relationship of love — than one of propositions to which one assents. Westerners often misunderstand this move, since their prior experience with such responses usually comes from the post-modern, post-doctrinal, post-Christian factions of their own religious tradition: “Only the closet atheists say such things.” Thus, they dismiss Orthodoxy as wishy-washy feel good mystical gobbly gook nonsense.

    Concerning scripture, the Orthodox rightly treasure the Bible, but they do not see it as something separate from the rest of their heritage from God. The legacy of Abraham, the law of Moses, the prophets, the apostles, the first Christian communities, the martyrs, the great theologians of the early Church, the great councils, the wisdom of the desert monks, the hymnography, the liturgical riches, and the poetry of the Church — these are all aspects of the Christian life, lived in the community of Christ’s gospel. You may hear such and interpret it as denigrating the scriptures, whereas the Orthodox are, from their perspective, putting the Bible in its greater context. The Bible isn’t a document without a home; its home is the Church, where it was written, where it has been kept, and where it has been taught for two thousand years.

    So, with apostolic succession, scriptural interpretation, and doctrinal positions, the Orthodox can point to any century in the past and state that Christians held the same beliefs then. They do not see the Fathers as distant authorities — Orthodox Christians are not ecclesial archaeologists digging around in dusty cathedral basements — but rather the Orthodox see the Fathers as familiar pastors and teachers. For this reason, the Orthodox do not have the same crisis of faith that many Westerners have when it comes to learning the great upheavals in Church history. The Arian controversy is touted as evidence against the Trinity by some Protestants and apostate Christians, whereas the Orthodox remember it in the way that our parents remember Vietnam . . . it’s a family memory. They know that Arius was wrong, and they know why he was so successful for so long. The intricacies of the conflict are not arcane matters but stories that one knows because they defined a significant moment in one’s personal past — and often such moments are painful and complicated.

    This is not to say that Orthodoxy doesn’t have problems. Rather, it is to admit that the problem with Orthodoxy is Orthodox Christians, whereas the problem with Protestantism is Protestantism. Anything connected with fallen man will be tainted and disappointing. Nonetheless, God has given us a path, and it is available to all.

    My presentation of an Orthodox defense is highly unorthodox in that it is overtly intellectual. The more immediate Orthodox response to an inquirer of Orthodox claims would be an invitation to see if you find sanctity and spiritual nourishment in the Church. For it is easier to trick the intellect of most people than to deceive their hearts.

    I, myself, don’t find the historical arguments ultimately fulfilling. Sure, they might show that the Orthodox Church has more in continuity with the earliest Christians, but it does not establish that the earliest Christians were right. Why follow Jesus at all? For me, Orthodoxy makes the world make sense; it provides better answers to my questions than any other system. But that is my own path.

    However, each person comes to God in a unique manner. I wish you the best in your search.

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    • Hi Joseph,

      I just read your comment it sounds convincing but not really. As David mentioned, a lot of churches make the same claim and the question is, who is telling the truth? We need to have some solid proofs to find out who or what is the true church? My first question, do you believe that the New Testament churches were the true churches? If they were, it means that they had the correct doctrines or practices? Thus, this will be like our DNA to find out who or what is the true church? Anyone church which claims as the true one must have the same doctrines and practices with these New Testament churches.

      First issue, the teaching/doctrine of the Eastern Orthodox about praying to Mary. Can you show/prove that the New Testament churches ever prayed to Mary?

      Hope to hear from you. and thank you in advance.

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    • A most excellent post, Joseph.
      And furthermore, if I may be so bold…
      “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, with bishops as their signposts.”-St. John Chrysostom. This same comment can be made about every single Christian organization on earth today, be they of old or modern origin. The fact remains, that even with their errors, Orthodoxy is the only organization that began with the Apostles. It’s a matter of historical record. So.. One can argue over the details of apostate teachings and rituals, and who scores high on that card and who scores low. Nonetheless, no Christian organization cannot escape being on that score card. Even the first century congregations had serious issues. One only has to read about such hideous activities in the New Testament, and they had the Apostles!
      So, my brothers in Christ, quit scoring each other, and condemning each other.
      Orthodoxy is the original early church, and they have faults, and so does them all.
      It’s is your relationship with the Almighty God, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that is paramount. Orthodoxy has been a means of making that a reality for millions upon millions of faithful directly back to the Apostles.

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    • You can use all of the flowery language you want defending the Orthodox position.The bottom line is, it is the Orthodox Church who have deserted the chair of Peter, as St Cyprian quotes.The leading bishoprics today; Constantinople and Moscow have absolutely zero apostolic roots.

      The bishop of Rome and its preeminent authority, as St Irenaeus puts it, had jurisdiction over the entire church both east and west.Your attack on the Papacy by claiming it was established by power hungry men is completely false.This is a typical Orthodox claim against the papacy, and because of this false belief, your church has very nicely put itself into schism and into heresy, by abandoning the chair of Peter.I wouldn’t exactly be gloating about this on internet forums.

      The church in Rome did not change or invent any new doctrines.All of her doctrines have always been believed in the early church, up until the present day.It was because of attacks against these doctrines (papal infallibility,immaculate conception) that these doctrines were only formally pronounced.

      Jesus Christ founded the Catholic Church, the visible church on earth,on the rock of Peter.Those who do not believe this, have rejected Christ, they have rejected his words, spoken to Simon.

      The Orthodox Church traces its roots back to Constantinople, with zero roots.No one apostle founded this man made see, thus apostolic succession is dead coming out of Constantinople.

      You cannot possibly be in union with Christ without being in union with the Shepherd Peter, who was told to feed His lambs, feed His sheep,by Christ

      Peter.

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      • Your facts here are way off. You should present correct historical data so that people may read your post with good conscious.. not a clearly biased diet tribe to promote the Roman Catholic Church.
        1. To say Orthodoxy has NO apostolic roots is absurd. Any atheist historian would disagree with that. Ignorant claim here.
        2. There was 1 church under the chair of the bishop until doctrines changed. Who changed doctrines?? Hmmm. lets just say the Orthodox refused too. So in essence the 1st church stayed the first church in the EAST and remains with the same doctrines and traditions for 2000 years. —The WEST made some “Topical” and borderline “Radical Changes” to their doctrines. The chair of Peter was changed to “Pope.” Money Hungry Men can be a bit harsh as an explanation… However sadly it holds some substance. With the money the Vatican has gained over the many years and holds today, it can end world starvation… but they surely will not. They just do enough to stay “Holy.” What do you think Jesus Christ would have to say to that?

        .. Oh and for the record. I am a non – denominational Christian with a great interest in church history. I just find it very clear over my 27 years of theological studies to recognize the 1st church as the Orthodox Church. My quest is ongoing on its claim for the 1 true church. So far they show a good argument. As far as the Roman Catholic church’s claim.. I can write 100 pages on why it once was and is simply not anymore.

        -God Bless. Let us stay brothers in Christ.

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        • The leading bishoprics today in the so called eastern “orthodox” church, Constantinople and Moscow, have absolutely zero apostolic roots,this is an historic fact.The claim that Andrew founded Byzantium is complete nonsense.The infallible ecumenical canons prove this.

          The church fathers have said over and over again, that the Apostolic See,which is Rome,is the Supreme Head of the church.They have also said that anyone that refuses to be in communion with the Apostolic See are the schismatics and heretics.

          The infallible ecumenical councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon also state that St Peter and his successors are the heads of the church,as I have posted the quotes from the sessions of these councils.

          All Catholic dogma are both biblical,and are backed by patristics.Christ founded his church on “Kepha”,Peter alone received the keys to the kingdom of heaven.Your so called “orthodox” church has deserted the chair of Peter,as Cyprian states it.

          It is an infallible dogma, that there is No Salvation Outside the Catholic Church, yes, i said infallible,Christ gave this gift to His church to preserve it from error.

          You are an evangelical convert to so called “orthodoxy”?, so as an evangelical you hated the Pope,and now, as part of a schismatic church, you have brought with you your anti-papal sediment.

          If you are wrong about your choice in becoming so called eastern “orthodox”, and if you knowingly and willingly reject the Catholic faith, like you are doing,may God have mercy on your soul.

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  2. dear everyone,
    if you want to know what the real church is let me tell you that in the bible it mentions many churches founded by many apostals and then it mentions THE CHURCH

    so theres churches and then theres the church …… The church is everyone who belives in the gosple has been baptised in the name of Jesus and received the holy ghost may they charismatics pentecostals roman catholic or eastern orthodox any man woman or child who has fullfilled the steps of savaltion

    (Acts 2:38)
    1 repentance

    2 baptism( in Jesus name)

    3 infilling of the holy ghost

    is a member of the church of Christ however seeing as the eastern orthodox proclaims they have authority over scripture much as Rome dose. I think they are simply a church in much need of a prophet of God to lead them back to the truth

    yours truly,

    Justin R De Ville Servant of the living God

    p.s even the early church was filled with conflict between it’s members . about whether to preach to gentiles and about how to moderate speaking in tongues how to honor a prophet and about tithes about how women should dress and if a woman was equal to a man… we are humans conflict is inevitable and unavoidable . throw in the corruption of Catholicism and you got a big pot of oil ready to burst into flames…. by the way it’s kinda hard to say you have an unbroken string of apostals when none of your bishops can lay hands on the sick and heal them. Judging by the bible it’s really hard not to recognize an apostal

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  3. Dante –

    You stated – ‘However, we have to understand that the Orthodox know this “free and personal experience” of truth is true because “Truth is a Person,” namely the Holy Spirit. While we can agree that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (Jn. 16:13), the Orthodox believe that He works only in their lives, and gives them the truth by experience. Or as the Mormons would call it, a “burning in the bosom.” So if their experience were to tell the Church that God is dead, and the church all agreed, then God would then be dead, for the Holy Spirit has given them the truth.’

    I happened to pull up this blog today, and though I am not part of the EO church, I must admit that this statement is a pretty unhelpful argument. Especially this statement – ‘So if their experience were to tell the Church that God is dead, and the church all agreed, then God would then be dead, for the Holy Spirit has given them the truth.’

    I am not trying to be harsh here, I just think you could have better addressed the issues, maybe even done a series on the EO and the challenges you have for them. I have one EO acquaintance and I have never heard him say that, because I am an evangelical Protestant, I am in apostasy.

    Just some thoughts.

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    • Your friend in the EO will never say anything to you about you being an apostate because he is not commissioned to go out and share the gospel like those who have been saved from their sins (Rom 10:9) In other words, he doesn’t know of Christ command to go out and make disciples of all the world. There is little to NO evangelizing in the EOC, which makes one wonder immediately…are they even saved?

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      • Every Orthodox Christian is given the commission to go out and preach the Gospel. The difference is we do this by living the Gospel daily, living as a witness by our actions and not po9unding on doors asking others to join our sect. The Holy Spirit has brought more people into Blessed Orthodoxy through my life than I ever have witnessed when I would knock on doors and hand out tracts throwing my personal interpretations around of what Sacred Scripture meant. The differences between our Soteriology, Michael, is that you are saved by a prayer said once by “asking Jesus into your heart” whereas my Salvation is an ongoing and continuing walk of faith seeking to become closer to His Uncreated Glory every minute for the rest of my life.

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  4. Here is the key,

    you wrote of the Eastern Orthodoxy, “the Bible is not the final authority, the Church is” and sadly don’t realize authority lies in someone greater than a book. In fact the book or books you hold in such high esteem never claims to be a final or more importantly “sole” rule of faith for all Christians. This idea is founded in your own tradition of authority originating outside the text yet you have yet to discover this small reality.

    The bible happens to be a product of a authentic Church in turn the Church is a creation of God hence neither are at odds with each other or the Godly creating authority of both unless of course your decided upon “Church” is not authentic.
    Jesus Christ did not come to create bickering communities (which is actually what you are supporting) all claiming authority over one another yet the creation and allow-ability of denomination-hood amongst non-Orthodox/non-Catholics was the end product of idealogues belonging to the “bible alone” , sola scriptura camp.

    Returning to Pastorhood
    When someone from a so-called “non-denominational”, non-orthodox community (quite often and truly of fundamentalist “Protestant” origin) suggests they don’t rely upon “Church” as a final authority I snicker.

    The amount of contradictions amongst those opposed to a required valid apostolic succession is frankly outstanding in my opinion and anyone still proposing a throwing out of this requirement truly lacks knowledge in what marks of the authentic Christian Church are.

    The recently created non-Orthodox communities all claiming Church-hood commonly enter into a game of semantics when attempting to argue away the connectivitiy of genealogy and true pastorship. One need only ask if you are in full communion with your pastor on theological topics and the profession of “bible alone” goes up in smoke.

    Now many posting here look toward these later splintering of Christianity as a true sprit of Godly authority over coming some falsely believed in apostacy but there is great irony for these as the vast majority of Protestant Evangelical, or so-called non-Denominational communities don’t stand the test of time, lasting only one or two generations beyond the founding preacher. Why? , because they lack authority as pastoral imposters, they lack an authentic apostolic annointing of First Christianity, they lack membership in Christ’s ministerial priesthood established by Christ and handed onto his first century apostles.

    In ending, since the period of Western “Protest”ant separation under men such as Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Wesley etc there as been great harm done under the guise of progress. Your focus is misguided as one should not be on the path of denial of Church but should be questioning,

    Am I using the written text preserved for me by that Church in a valid and correct way?

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  5. Hi Kevin,

    I hope you understand why Protestants find your kind of argumentation marvelously unconvincing. Your comments while even perhaps having some truth to them, do nothing to support a contrary claim. Since what you think of as unexamined is really incredibly common to us it is easy for us to think that it is you who have not thought through your position.

    That Bible is the product of the authentic church is something that we agree upon. That yours is the authentic church is something for which you seem to have handy rhetoric but no actual argument other than that you think it to be so. How would you know that your denomination, because that’s really all that it is, one more denomination, is the authentic one? Because it is old? Every heretical sect and unorthodox opinion was born in the life of the early church and the Apostle Paul’s writings are almost exclusively arguments of correction to an erring “authentic” church that was rife with moral and theological error. You seem to be simply ignoring the facts of history because it suits your purposes.

    Being old, and even being being “authentic” whatever that could possibly means in the context of a conversation like this, might or might not be useful, but you have made no serious attempt to deal with the issues of the historic faith you try to defend. Your supposed unanimity of thought and identity of theology in the Eastern Church is myth. Your assumption of an absence of conflict within the theological environment of your communion is a whitewash. If Jesus did not come to create bickering communities then please stop bickering with us as the self contradiction shows the weakness in claim.

    The one true church claim by Eastern Orthodoxy, and Rome, and the Mormons, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Apostolic Pentecostal Church are not at all lost upon Protestants; they are simply not credible interpretations of biblical ecclesiology. You might even say that the claim itself should make one wary of whomever makes the claim.

    The Protestant churches are the true church. This does not mean that we believe we are alone in that. The invisible church is the true church. Visible churches, like yours, have a passing value but only as a manifestation of a larger whole passing through history. Their value is measured by their purity, not their age or descent. This is known by their understanding and conformity to Scripture. If there is, was, or will be a True Church, there is no possible measurement of that identity other than from Scripture. If one says that the True Church is necessary to knowing the identity of the Scriptures themselves, having no way outside of Scripture to measure the identity of that True Church, this claim is itself a self contradiction and therefore meaningless. Sola Scriptura is the necessary default position for any thoughtful Christian.

    There are problems with this view. Things to be discussed and conclusions to arrive at. But at the end of the day, since the identity and nature of the church is something that we can know nothing about apart from the histories and explanations of the Apostles and the Prophets themselves, the arguments are moot… and dangerous.

    Neiswonger

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  6. Neiswonger,

    you write, “they are simply not credible interpretations of biblical ecclesiology”

    based on whose authority? and why suppose again an allegiance to “sola scriptura” by the ancient Christian Church when there is no such historical proof?

    G. K. Chesterton stated it quite well in THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND CONVERSION,

    I owe the fact that I find it very difficult to take some of the
    Protestant propositions even seriously. What is any man who has
    been in the real outer world, for instance, to make of the
    everlasting cry that Catholic traditions are condemned by the
    Bible? It indicates a jumble of topsy-turvy tests and tail-foremost
    arguments, of which I never could at any time see the sense. The
    ordinary sensible sceptic or pagan is standing in the street (in the
    supreme character of the man in the street) and he sees a
    procession go by of the priests of some strange cult, carrying their
    object of worship under a canopy, some of them wearing high
    head-dresses and carrying symbolical staffs, others carrying
    scrolls and sacred records, others carrying sacred images and
    lighted candles before them, others sacred relics in caskets or
    cases, and so on. I can understand the spectator saying, “This is all
    hocus-pocus”; I can even understand him, in moments of irritation,
    breaking up the procession, throwing down the images, tearing up
    the scrolls, dancing on the priests and anything else that might
    express that general view. I can understand his saying, “Your
    croziers are bosh, your candles are bosh, your statues and scrolls
    and relics and all the rest of it are bosh.” But in what conceivable
    frame of mind does he rush in to select one particular scroll of the
    scriptures of this one particular group (a scroll which had always
    belonged to them and been a part of their hocus-pocus, if it was
    hocus-pocus); why in the world should the man in the street say
    that one particular scroll was not bosh, but was the one and only
    truth by which all the other things were to be condemned? Why
    should it not be as superstitious to worship the scrolls as the
    statues, of that one particular procession? Why should it not be as
    reasonable to preserve the statues as the scrolls, by the tenets of
    that particular creed? To say to the priests, “Your statues and
    scrolls are condemned by our common sense,” is sensible. To say,
    “Your statues are condemned by your scrolls, and we are going to
    worship one part of your procession and wreck the rest,” is not
    sensible from any standpoint, least of all that of the man in the
    street.

    again you write, “Visible churches, like yours, have a passing value but only as a manifestation of a larger whole passing through history. Their value is measured by their purity, not their age or descent. This is known by their understanding and conformity to Scripture.”

    You actually believe this tripe?

    The Church regardless of what you may claim that to be is built up of both sinners and saints hence perfection of overall piety (what you are labelling now as purity) will not be completely fulfilled until the end.

    The Church in the world is not validated by a great piety of all her members for that would mean it’s truth relies merely upon those individual members. And if those within choose to leave your equation would mean it becomes less authentic as it’s holy members diminish.

    The Church is never less authentic nor does it lack visibility in our age. As a promise of Christ was our Lord’s assertion to never leave it. And this is therefore the reasoning of the Church as holy because Christ her creator is holy. because of Christ the Church is called to be One (as in one faith, one baptism, one God) as in “let them be one so the world will know” , yet Protestantism chooses to venture away from this reality of Christ instead of toward. Protestantism could be explained as all the isms of the world with of course one exception… Catholicism.

    Lets be intellectually honest together, and open our bibles and take a look at the first chapter of Matthew and then tell me age and descent does not matter. Even better, direct me to ancient Protestants so I may study them. Perhaps we’ll discover together this revisionism you’ve so strongly embraced is not founded upon authentic Church, but upon the same heretical groups opposed to authentic Christianity.

    At this point I must my friend agree to disagree with you, Christ has created but one Church and many are in schism to it yet many are also separated brethren and the authentic Church continually prays for reunification with her brethren outside the one visible fold. Protestantism is not a Church(es) and can never be at best these are Christian communities in schism to the One Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church of Christ.

    Kevin

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  7. And by the way, you have not dealt with any of the issues involved or any of the arguments. You simply keep repeating the same things without argument or evidence. That’s why these arguments from supposed authority are so lame. They presume what it is necessary to show.

    Neiswonger

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  8. One reason that Calvinists (Paulinists) leave the faith is that they have never truly understood and embraced the doctrines of grace. Similarly, there are many “Christians” who deny the faith; they have never been Christian in the first place. The faith of the apostles was always faith alone! Before you reply to quickly from James, I will point out from Jas. 2:23 that Abraham’s blessing of imputed righteousness occurred when he believed God first. This justification of faith alone occurred long before he offered Isaac where he was justified by works. It is clear therefore that James speaks to both justifications: one the means to salvation, the other a result of salvation.

    There was a comment above that the church is built on sinners and saints. Of course, this reveals a lack of biblical understanding that all those who call upon the name of the Lord are saved. The Bible declares them to be saints. In fact, if you are not a saint, heaven is not your destination. 1 Cor. 1:2 shows that the church is comprised of saints. In Eph. 1:1, Paul writes to the saints at Ephesus. This presumes that the church there would have known that they were saints. They didn’t wonder whether or not they would become ‘saints’ after they died. This brings us also to the major issue that wherever we deal with ‘church’ we need to understand it in its context. ‘Church’ means assembly. Not everyone who is member of any church is a Christian. Only those who are connected to the Head, who is Christ, are truly born again. The true church is the body of Christ.

    In regards to the canon of scripture, it was not determined by the ecumenical councils, only affirmed. The NT writings were in circulation and in use much before councils ‘determined’ which books should be in or out. When you read the Bible and consider it as the truth of the Gospel of our Lord, it is not because a church has determined it for you, but because the written word is recognized. Hilkiah did not determine the book of the law; he recognized it. When he brought the scroll to Josiah, he too recognized it as the law of God, not determined.

    Regarding the matter of tradition, Orthodoxy claims that it is on par with scripture. With this claim they gather to themselves authority that was never commanded, or implied in scripture. There is no command in scripture that Gentiles be circumcised, yet Paul knowing this, did circumcise Timothy to minimize any offense in their ministry to the Jews. We could call this a tradition because it was voluntary. Other means were presented in Acts 15 to not offend the Jews. Where are the Eastern Orthodox examples where in their concern for the conversion of Jews, a ‘priest’ would be voluntarily circumcised to minimize offending them?

    Of course, we don’t have time for all their other ‘Orthodox’ deviations from scripture.

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  9. I would just say that the esse of the church must be the life of God, concretized in Christ (there is a Paulinism). So, if this is true, there is no “physical” address (like Vatican City, Rome or something) for the “visible Church,” but instead a “spiritual” address which “receives” its life from Her head — Christ. Also, all the biblical metaphor’s of the churches’ relationship to Christ (temple, bride, body, etc.) all presuppose a “distinction” between Christ and “the Church;” albeit with an inseparable relationship (the incarnation is a helpful analogy here).

    Anyway, just some quick thoughts. Oh, as far as genetic arguments (like Kevin is appealing to), they really are not sustainable given real life historical study. J. N. D. Kelly in his Early Christian Doctrine provides a good overview of the development of “ideas” (which indirectly speaks to the development of ecclesial structures) during the Patristic period . . . what his work helps illustrate (at least), as Christopher has been noting, is that any nice and neat monolithic understanding of the early church is just plain naive and sloppy characterization and special pleading of how that period actually was. Thus arguing that there was a “Roman Catholic Church,” or “EO Church” (as THE Church) is just not tenable, and becomes a non-starter in this discussion.

    peace

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  10. Howard,
    Please provide any positive support for “faith alone” being an apostolic doctrine. Additionally, please show how faith is not an action in and of itself.

    We are given fairly clear means by which we enter into the Church. As per the Great Commission at the close of the Gospel of Matthew, the apostles a) went forth into all the world, b) baptising all nations in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, c) teaching them to obey everything that He commanded the apostles. I don’t see any juxtaposition of faith and works here – there is faith, and there is works, and the latter spring from the former. Obeying everything is nothing without being rooted in God, and a faith that claims to be rooted in God will have appropriate works or it, well, isn’t. Again: both faith and works are necessary, because works alone is useless, and faith alone is dead.

    The writings were, indeed, in circulation well before the ecumenical councils. They were originally referred to as ‘the apostles’ memoirs’ by St Justin Martyr, when he was talking about the Liturgy of the Church to the Roman Emperor of the time. The Canon of Scripture, however, took quite some time to resolve – Marcion being the main, albeit negative, inspiration – on the basis of apostolic writing and correct teaching.

    One of the things that Jesus did during his ministry here was found a Church (that the gates of hell would never prevail against). The Scriptures used were originally the Old Testament, with the Psalms as songbook. After a time, the Church acclaimed writings of the eyewitnesses of the Resurrection.

    Finally, Timothy is a false dilemma. He was a Jew (through his mother), ministering to Jews; hence, he was circumcised. One would expect that anyone would at least follow their own cultural norms when ministering to their own people.

    in Christ,
    Andrew.

    http://livingtheology.wordpress.com

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  11. Andrew,
    From James I provided evidence that he taught justification by faith alone. The context must determine the meaning of the word ‘justification’. In Rom. 1:17 the just shall live by his faith (not works), in 3:28 Paul “maintains that a man is justified apart from works”, in 4:3-5 “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness” and to the one who does not work he justifies. In Rom. 9:30-33 the Gentiles attained righteousness by faith, not by works of law combined with faith. As soon as works are included as a means of conversion, we have something for which to take credit, therefore salvation must be soley based on the Person and work of Christ.

    Paul teaches in Rom. 10:17 that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God”. The context is clear here that a written text does not save. God must give us hearing ears and He does that by His speaking. Ultimately the spoken word of Christ Himself must regenerate His elect. There are no human generated works here. A good illustration of this is how Jesus got Lazarus out of the tomb. He simply spoke the word and Lazarus became alive. Is faith an action? Is it a work? In John 6:29 Christ informs us that to believe Him is the work of God.(not man) John further reveals to us in 64-65 that no one can come to Him unless it has been granted. Some “disciples” followed Him no longer, indicating of course that their ‘belief’ or faith in Him was not really the work of God in the first place. The faith which Christ gives cannot be dead.

    It is impossible for the true believer to have an attitude to belligerently continue in sin and yet be saved. (Rom. 6) The works of faith was evident even from the converted thief on the cross.

    Concerning the matter of baptism, we know that physical baptism is not an essential element of conversion. The thief on the cross is an example of this. Biblically, baptism does not signify that we have joined a local church. In baptism we testify that we have been washed of our sins and that we are now members of the body of Christ. Joining a local assembly by baptism does not save us.

    I don’t agree that Timothy is a “false dilemma”. The Jews at that time had already dispersed into other lands. Certainly, if the traditionalized ‘church’ (EO) was concerned not to offend other Jewish prospects, they would have recommended to already converted Jews who had not been circumcised to be circumcised to minimize offense to any other Jews. Acts 16:3 There is no reason to believe that Timothy would maintain ‘cultural norms’ by allowing himself to undergo painful surgery.

    Rejoicing in Christ
    Howard

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  12. Howard,

    not wanting to go to far off the original topic as the question is not on justification (as per one tradition of bible interpretation) quoting out of context Rom. 1:17, Rom. 9:30-33 etc… Nor is this a discussion disputing the requirement of baptism or what non-Orthodox incorrectly relabel as “water baptism”

    However, a new question must be raised,

    Which works is the apostle Paul addressing? all works? No not all works that has been a poor instruction for the written text when one suggests all works do not fit into the salvation equation of followers of Christ.

    We must seek to understand the bible with the correct backdrop, the correct context. Nowhere does James indicate he speaks on “justifying” works that is reading into the text neither are apostles Paul and James at odds over works. Both agree our salvation is about love and acts of charity are central to it. In no way is this a diminishment of one’s require faith sadly non-Orthodox are always setting up false dichotomies and attacking strawmen.

    Regarding the Thief on the cross do you desire his punishment? do you desire martyrdom? The Thief is not a perfect example for denial of our baptism,

    1. there was a clear desire of baptism in his case and
    2. all things are possible with the mercy of God.

    Try to remember that Saint Paul who you’ve quoted often, after taking instruction from the elder of the Church in Damascus, immediately arose and was baptized during his intial conversion. From this example alone we learn the requirement of baptism, the obedience to authority, and the unity of Church (oneness).

    Kevin

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  13. Chris,

    re: reply #7 would references really make a difference for you?

    re: reply #8 “you have not dealt with any of the issues involved or any of the arguments. You simply keep repeating the same things without argument or evidence.”

    not so Chris I was merely responding to your own comments and asking questions myself for proof of ancient Protestants/non-Orthodox.

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  14. Kevin,
    The verses I referenced in Romans were not taken out of context. If you study James, it is clear that the works by which Abraham was “justified” occurred after his conversion. Even the works of the law which “Gentiles” did without the knowledge of the law did not save them. Rom. 2:14. After considering carefully the words of Paul in 3:10-18, what righteous works do you think you could perform acceptable to God? Paul addresses the absolute ineffectiveness of the works of the law in 3:20. The law is not condemned because by it our sin is documented, but no works of the law justify us.

    In James 2:24, the apostle clearly states, “You see that a man is justified by works,, and not by faith alone.” So contrary to what you stated, he does indeed speak to “justifying” works. But as I stated this is in a different context to what Paul is teaching. Paul teaches that even works of righteousness cannot be a means of conversion; James is teaching that works is a necessary result of conversion.

    Paul’s first obedience on the Damascus road was to Christ Himself. He was not told to start a ‘church’, neither is there a record that Ananias was told to start a ‘church’. Acts 9:6 In verse 10 and 11 Ananias, a disciple, obeyed Christ. He was baptized in obedience to Christ. At the time of Paul’s conversion there is no evidence in scripture indicating that he was an elder. Some believe he became a bishop sometime after this event. You said, “initial conversion”. How many conversions do you think the apostle had?

    I’ll leave it at that for now,
    Rejoicing in Christ,
    Howard

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  15. Hey there Howard,

    You wrote, “In Rom. 9:30-33 the Gentiles attained righteousness by faith, not by works of law combined with faith. As soon as works are included as a means of conversion, we have something for which to take credit, therefore salvation must be solely based on the Person and work of Christ.”

    Am I missing something here? Works cannot be included as a means of conversion, but “salvation must be solely based on … the work of Christ?”

    Whether the work is committed by us or Christ, it still remains a work so, in some sense, everyone relies upon a work for salvation.

    James does say some sticky things that make people given to overanalytic tendencies to freak-out. But this is the point, isn’t it? The Bible can’t be classified and verses cannot be pinned down and studied like butterflies under glass. Fact is, there’s a whole lot that we can’t understand — the apparent tension between Sts. Paul and James is one of them. Remember, “logic” is just “cigol” spelled backwards.

    I’m not trying to be trite or cutesy here, but often what happens in Protestantism (and what I saw specifically at my wife and mine’s previous church) is a blind faith in logic and intellect. The idea of explaining God used to be an obsession of mine. Now I laugh at its absurdity. Truth is ultimately personal because it resides in a Person — a Person who, by the way, defies logic because He is three in one, one in three. That’s part of the brilliance of St. John’s use of the word logos in reference to Christ. Truth has rooted itself in a Person, according to John, contrary to Hellenistic thought which believed truth to be an abstract concept. Truth now lives and breathes, laughs and drinks, bathes and walks. It is not an ethereal Form to be studied but a Person to be known.

    It is this embrace of mystery that attracted me to the Orthodox faith. The dark corners, the candlelight, incense, apophatic theology, and so forth. This is not merely an aesthetic choice alone (though, if it were so I don’t think I’d have a problem with it), but these are things that result from a specific sort of faith in God — one that understands the finitude of the creature. There are things that we don’t know and can’t know and the lack of sensory responses, beauty, mystery, and gothic dusk in Protestant churches shows what they believe about God, that Protestant worship is largely an intellectual exercise shows that God is more of a science experiment than a loving Father. The way to understand what Orthodoxy teaches is not to read books but to attend the service, sing the hymns and psalms, and absorb the prayers. Like Blaise Pascal wrote, “People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive … Bless yourself with holy water, have Masses said, and so on; by a simple and natural process this will make you believe, and will dull you – will quiet your proudly critical intellect … Make religion attractive, make good men wish it were true, and then show that it is. Worthy of reverence because it really understands human nature. Attractive because it promises true good.”

    Arguments about syntax and original languages and the exact time of justification in the ordo salutis can have their purposes (though I’m not really sure what they are at the moment) but they mean nothing if one doesn’t pray. As Saint Evagrius of Pontus has written, “A theologian is one who prays truly, and one who prays truly is a theologian.” In the Protestant church, there was no form of prayer, of taming the passions, of reliance upon Christ — or if there were I certainly never knew or felt them. Within Orthodoxy I have found such things: concrete methods and examples of how to do so. All the books on prayer that I read while Protestant (and by Protestants) were concerned with what prayer is, what prayer does, and if God already knows the future why pray at all? Within Orthodoxy the books on prayer are not expositions but examples. Like all good faith, it shows and doesn’t tell.

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  16. Howard,

    Not sure why you’ve jumped to a conclusion of “starting a Church” this has not been alluded to, and contrary to your portrayal, Paul was in fact obedient to Ananias the Church official guided to him. The Church in Damascus was already in existence once Paul stumbled into town.

    Why do you assume an indication of Ananias not coopearating with Christ? Answer, to deny any hierarchal authority in Christ’s Church, to deny obedience to that authority on matters of faith.

    I was not explaining the Church starts with Ananias nor was I explaining his authority operated outside of the Holy Spirit. Clearly Ananias was a Church authority already in existence. Ananias was guided to Paul (because his reputation was well known as anti-Christian) and Paul obeyed the instructs of Ananias.

    “How many conversions do you think the apostle had?” daily conversion Howard for Paul indicates elsewhere in scripture, (I hesitate to verse-sling) “But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.” 1Cor 9:27

    Bearing our cross daily is conversion.

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  17. Kevin,
    Paul was obedient because Christ specifically told Paul what to do. He did not instruct him to be obedient to just anybody. Paul was primarily obedient to Christ. The divine imperative contains no reference to a “church official”.

    Ananias was a disciple of Christ which means he was a learner or a pupil of Christ. He was obedient not a cooperator. I have no quarrel with various portions of scripture which give us details on the orderly adiministration of the affairs concerning the body of Christ. My dispute in this regard centers on EO’s claim that they themselves are the true church. The convincing guidance Paul received to seek Ananias came directly from the Lord himself. Today there are all kinds of self-professed teachers and prophets and priests and pastors who claim false authority for themselves. Orthodoxy is no exception. Therefore, the credibility of any church leadership cannot violate propositionally revealed truth.

    I Cor. 9:27 has nothing to do with conversion. Paul here is not recommending self-flaggelation. For some the neglect of the body is lust and the foundation of spirtual pride as it was for the fasting Pharisee. Verses 19-27 gives us additional context. Paul expresses his concern that he might win Jew and Gentile. He loved to serve by heralding (preaching) the gospel to other potential participants in the race. In verse 26 he is certain, not uncertain, that as herald (preacher) he is also a successful combatant. Paul has not stated here that he had ever become disqualified in any way at any time.

    You said, “Bearing our cross daily is conversion”. You have not shown this to be true. It certainly can’t be derived from the verse you provided. What if your cross falls off for a few hours? Would you go to hell then?

    Rejoicing in Christ,
    Howard

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  18. Hi Matt,
    Of course, it takes work to save us! But it can’t be our work. Our filthy rag righteousness is not acceptable to God. Isa. 64:6 Therefore it must be the work God in Christ alone. Titus 3:5 We therefore must rely upon the work of Christ not our own work. When James is read in context, the meaning is exceedingly clear. There is absolutely no tension between Paul and James as you suggest.

    The Christ who said, “I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except by Me.” also said to the woman taken in adultery, “Go and sin no more”. Do you get a happy sensation or feeling when you read that? You might be interested in a group of people in John 6 which started with their ‘truth’ but when it conflicted with The Truth, they no longer followed Him.

    You said, “The way to understand what Orthodoxy teaches is not to read books but to attend the service, sing the hymns and psalms, and absorb the prayers.” Joel Osteen would say the same thing. Every cult will say the same thing. The way to understand Orthodoxy or any other church which advertises themselves as the church is to read the Bible. Psa.119:105 In fact the whole chapter relates to the matter of reading and being familiar with the Bible. Singing the Psalms is great as long as it doesn’t become ritualistic. But the Bible will expose the errors of claims to being the church, eucharist, praying to Mary, iconography, confessional, purgatory, man becoming gods, and other patristic falsehoods absorbed by Orthodoxy.

    You said, “It is not an ethereal Form to be studied but a Person to be known.” True believers always consider Christ to be a Person. To know Christ you must study and observe the documents He has given. To be a Christian you must be logical and intellectual. Peter instructs us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2Pe.3:18 The true believer however cannot have a blind faith because Christ has opened his spiritual eyes.

    You said, “Truth has rooted itself in a Person, according to John, contrary to Hellenistic thought which believed truth to be an abstract concept.” Beginning with Adam and Eve, we know that truth was revealed to man from the beginning by God as concrete not abstract. It was always clear, ‘You do the crime; you do the time’! Truth did not root itself in anybody. The Christ was always in possession of that truth! John 14:6

    You decry intellect and knowledge on the one hand, then advise people to attend a service to sing hymns, Psalms and “absorb prayers”. To some extent I saw Pascal describing you and Orthodoxy. Obviously, you find Orthodoxy attractive, so you believe it to be true. Anyway, it is not really so important to know what Pascal said as it is to know what the Bible says. Know this that the Bible is an extreme book. It is extremely positive and it is also extremely positive. Does the Bible paint a positive or negative picture of Orthodoxy?

    It sounds like you are promoting ignorance. The world is full of people who want sensation to be their truth. They want liturgy and the feel of religion through imagination.

    Mankind generally want to make God at least a little bit ignorant. Certainly, our Sovereign God knows what is going to happen! So why pray? Because we are commanded to do so. It is a divinely appointed means by which God’s will is accomplished whether the prayer is answered to our liking or not. Praying for forgiveness for our sins is of no avail, if we first do not know with absolute certainty that when we call upon God with a contrite heart to forgive us that our sins will actually be forgiven. True prayer is according to knowledge and intellect. Finally, the true believer with an increasing knowledge of the the word of God can’t help but pray. And rejoice.

    Regarding your use of the word ‘Protestant’. Most ‘evangelical’ churches today do not really know what protestant means, neither do they understand the old apostolic doctrines that resurfaced during the reformation that gave rise to the Reformation. So whatever books you had been reading on prayer, I would suggest read the Bible first.

    May God bless you with His Word,
    Rejoicing in Christ,
    Howard

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  19. Howard,

    “You have not shown this to be true. It certainly can’t be derived from the verse you provided. What if your cross falls off for a few hours? Would you go to hell then?”

    First Christianity never professed Once Saved Always Saved doctrine which I assume you now hold to. The father of this believe is Calvin not Christ, I point you back to Christ. Can someone who comes to know the Lord fall away? It is a possibility my friend.

    I think you are attempting to question the issue of assurance for those who don’t hold to this very recent creation known as “Once Saved” and that will have to be for another day.

    Returning to the original post, I think it a good idea for you to read from this Protestant publication, The Future Lies in the Past Why evangelicals are connecting with the early church as they move into the 21st century.

    Kevin

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  20. Hi Kevin,
    Christianity Today is protestant in name only. Secondly, it provided no biblical support. How many times do you think you have been re-saved?

    Calvin was instrumental in bringing to light the doctrines as taught by the prophets, Christ and the apostles. Please read the whole context of this verse in John 6:39 “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”

    Show me where God’s predestination has failed. Rom.8:29 is certain that it will not. Please read the whole chapter and also see Eph. 1:4,5.

    Show me a verse which shows that it is possible to pass from eternal life unto death. See John 5:24

    The confidence that Paul expresses in Phil. 1:6 is interesting. Those who mock the doctrines of election and the security of the believer should expect Paul to say, ‘I am not so confident about you because you might destroy the good work God started in you and maybe lose your faith.’ –But he didn’t.

    Are there people that believe for awhile. Certainly! Luke 8:13. The crop failure on the rocky soil is 100%. The crop success on the good soil is also 100%. Read the whole parable. There are a lot of people who make a profession of faith but are not truly saved! “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.” 1Jn.2:19 Those who come to know the Lord will not fall away. These are just a few scripture. May God bless you with His word.

    Rejoicing in Christ,
    Howard

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  21. Howard,

    this is not a matter of “resaved” also have you ever considered we are not at odds with verse but traditions of interpretation? You realize you have a tradition of interpretation.

    “show me a verse” simply doesn’t cut it when the argument is not over text but the orthodox interpretation of the written revelation.

    “Calvin was instrumental in bringing to light the doctrines as taught by the prophets, Christ and the apostles” that pronouncement is simply laughable and even rings of Jehovah Witness-ism.

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  22. Hi Kevin,
    If you are not at odds with the biblical verse, then of course, you should have no problem bringing to light your interpretation since you believe it to be the correct one. My “tradition” of interpretation precludes the “private” one which Orthodoxy uses. 2 Pe.1:20
    Rejoicing in Christ,
    Howard

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  23. I cannot believe I’m actually going to do this, but I had to respond briefly to this one comment by the OP,

    >>>>>>That Bible is the product of the authentic church is something that we agree upon. That yours is the authentic church is something for which you seem to have handy rhetoric but no actual argument other than that you think it to be so.<<<<<<>>>>> How would you know that your denomination, because that’s really all that it is, one more denomination, is the authentic one? Because it is old? Every heretical sect and unorthodox opinion was born in the life of the early church<<<<<

    ***All except modern Protestant theology which simply didn’t exist until 200-300 years ago. Modern Protestantism cannot even date back to Luther….which surprises many Protestants. That’s the biggest problem for me…did all Christians have it wrong for 1700 years? (that’s what Mormon’s teach) Or did the Church die out after the death of the Apostle John? (that’s what JW’s teach) Both arguments do not hold up for me because both disprove Christ’s teachings…..if Christ was wrong, then why should I follow him? and it’s funny, that Protestants regularly accept the Gospel of matthew was written by a guy named Matthew for no reason other than WE, the Orthodox/Roman Catholic Church says that’s who wrote it. I

    Orthodoxy is wrought with problems, but as you pointed out, so was the early Church. There never was a “golden age” of Christianity when everything was perfect….the closest it ever came to that was during the persecutions when only the most devout believers even dared become Christian….(and I mean real persecution, not being called bad names by comedians) Orthodoxy is full of politics, and all the bad things that it always has been….(St. Athanasius was deposed about 5 times), St. John Chrysostom a couple, St. Maximus went into exile and had his tongue cut out so he couldn’t preach) the list goes on….so the Church always was full of sinful men doing sinful things, and yes it is difficult, but we must seperate the sins of men in the Church, from the mystical body of Christ. That doesn’t mean the Church is “invisible” as in, “I’m ok you’re ok”, what it does mean is that being a member of the true Church doesn’t get anyone an automatic ticket to heaven. Jesus can save anyone He wants to…..and Im not going to do “proof texting” but I just had to answer these 2 statements from an historical perspective. ultimately Christianity’s claim is an historical one, and if it cannot hold up to history, then it’s worthless IMO. However in my studies, it does hold up to history better than any other…..if you want to read about it do so…it’s an interesting topic, but do it with an honest open mind and heart, and from the original sources or from respected historians like Duffy who actually do real history….(forget these Jesus seminar guys, as much fun as they are to read, they more for entertainment than anything else)

    Anyways, this will not convince you I know…..but I felt I should post this anyways…..

    Peace, in Christ…

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  24. Very interesting reading. I was raised in the Orthodox Church and left it at 19 years old when I determined I knew everything. I have spent the last twenty years as an Evangelical American. I now know that I know very little, therfore I will not tip my hand, however I do have a question. Did Christians in , let’s say, um, 721 AD, have the ability to reasearch and collect knowledge from the scriptures as we do today?

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  25. Access to the Bible over the centuries has been very limited. However, Bible translation was a concern to a few even in the 700’s. Bede, a historian of the Middle Ages, had a concern for the less educated clergy that they might have access to the study of the scripture. He translated some of the Gospel of John but death prevented him from finishing. Even before Luther nailed the 95 thesis to the church door in Wittenberg in 1517, John Wycliff and Jan Hus had already been awakened to the fallacies of the Church at large. Their limited access to the Bible, no doubt also limited their research, but God did raise up men who opposed the fallacious teachings of the Church. They were able access enough information to know that what they were being taught was heresy and by vocalizing their concerns, the “Church” killed them. Wycliff died because he was translating the Bible.

    While I sincerely believe that Eastern Orthodoxy is a cult, there are many churches which are masquarading under the banner of “evangelical” which are also cults.

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    • hi, i stumbled upon this site when i googled: ‘can an orthodox person attend a protestant service’
      i am not an historian or anything remotely like that. i am a person who has a heart though and a deep love for Christ. i believe that that should be enough. for the past ten years i have been in a relationship with a very strict orthodox man. my spirituality has suffered immensely, my love for Christ has been tested. when you say that orthodoxy is a cult i completely agree.

      there seems to be a certain blindness in the followers of this cult and a total disrespect for the worthiness of others. also, i think that it is more of a cultural belief than an actual religion. i live in greece where almost all the citizens claim to be orthodox. they have elaborate rituals that stem from ancient paganistic times, for instance the eating of boiled wheat and pomegranate seeds at funerals and the red dyed eggs at easter. their religion is taught at school just like any other subject. most people here hardly ever question this faith.

      i have a deep sadness inside of me, because as an outsider i feel that i have been treated unfairly. whenever i have tried to cite anything from my english bible i was told that my bible was incorrect and unworthy. i have watched my husband struggle for many years to find Christ. So many boundaries and rules and rituals has been forced into our lives. he attends church services, reads the bible, prays, fasts for most days of the year, has a beard and even joined the church choir. he knows all the stories of all the saints’ lives, he has icons pasted all over our house and his car and yet…….while there is all the passion and fervour there seems to be a lack of love, kindness, gentleness, faith and wisdom.

      something seems to be missing. the orthodox people are not taught to love their neighbour, within their religion is a deep hatred for the turkish and other muslims interwoven with a nationalistic/racistic streak. the fact that Jesus came for all the citizens of the world seems to completely pass them by.
      i read a lot of their material, little pamphlets and such and i am always amazed by the lack of tolerance this religion shows for any other religion.
      my path as a soul has been extremely difficult, i have had to deal with the intolerance within me when it comes to this religion. i come from a multi-ethnic society and i have always been very open and interested in the many ways that different people from all over the world worship. the reason i am writing this right now is that i took my children to a protestant service last sunday and was told that once you have been baptised in the orthodox religion you can never go to another church. i was searching for the validity of this statement. in fact, this statement smells a bit like a ‘cult’ statement, doesn’t it?

      to sum things up, it seems to me that eastern orthodox christianity has very little to do with Christ. there is a whole hierarchy of saints and prophets to recite prayers to, every day of the year is dedicated to a specific saint, every child here is named after a specific saint. the mother of Jesus is venerated. Priests dressed in golden robes are kneeled down to to receive blessings but the message of Christ and the essence of Christ is almost non-existant.

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      • I am writing to you to let you know that I feel your pain!!! Keep praying for your husband and never deny the beauty of Christ and his sacrifice he made for us. I was baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church as a child and was lost most of my adulthood. I became a born again Christian a year ago and I am a completely different person. An new creation in Christ. My parents are Greek Orthodox, however, they never attend church. Only on Easter or maybe Palm Sunday. My dad sees the changes that have happened in me from quitting alcohol etc. He never says anything negative because all he cares about is me and that I am better. I even have a cousin who is a Greek Orthodox Priest and he is very happy for me. However, when I started sharing my faith with him, he quickly stopped me and told me that I am becoming a heretic. For me this is a huge red flag! Only the Orthodox Church can interpret the Bible and you must worship the Church not Christ only. He tried pointing me back to the Orthodox church but I told him that I was much happier with my new church. I told him how cold and arrogant the people in the Orthodox Church are towards other Non Greeks. He agree that the Orthodox Church as many many problems.
        All I can say is keep on forward and realize that you may lose your so called friends. Jesus warned of this in the bible – (paraphrase)-“If you follow me you must deny yourself and take up your cross.” He said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted in my name.” Keep strong and realize that there will be rough waters ahead. Just keep preaching and sharing your faith in Christ and the Holy Spirit will guide you.

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  26. Thanx Howard. While I have no reason to argue against your anwser, I believe it is correct, it still does not answer my original question on whether Christians in 721 AD had the access to the scriptures in the same way we do today. A couple of factors I think need to be taken into account. How many christians in western europe had the ability to read in the post classical Roman world? What was the state of academia in the general poulation in the Holy Roman Empire during the riegn of Charlamagne? Could Christians who could not read, let alone have access to the scriptures determine what was heretical and what was correct according to the Holy Writ, when they could niether read it or even possess it. I understand that the argument is given that God enlightened men like Luther, Zwignli, Calvin and Wycliffe in the truth of scripture; however, this occured centuries after 721 AD (just picked a random date) at atime when it seems that the ability to read and possess the truth may have been extremeley limited. Can people unable to search the scriptures for truth have attained Eternal Life beleiving what the trinitarian Church was teaching at the time. I guess what I am saying is prior to the raising of these men, who you state exposed the fallacious teachings of the church, could anyone be saved beleiving the standard Roman/Orthodox (somewhat still a unified group) church doctrine?

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  27. G Man,
    No, people in 721 AD did not have access to scriptures in the same way they do today. Neither did the people in Elijah’s day have access to the scriptures in the same way as we do today. Yet, there were 7000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal that Elijah had no idea existed. Even today in many countries gospel access is not much different than 1300 years ago.

    Despite the heresies and deviations from truth in every age, God is able to impress His people with the truth and He loses none of them. In an age where the truth was intentionally obscured, academics like Luther, Calvin, Hus and others were divinely enabled to see the truth. Today we are loaded with Christian academics, yet the truth is ignored not because we are externally prevented from it but because we don’t want it. It is amazing to me that people in our Western society are saved given that ‘protestant’ christendom has also conformed to the spirit of the age and introduced traditions and philosohies as Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism had done over centuries. For any of us to apprehend the truth of the gospel at any time and in any age, God has to do the work, regardless of our access to truth. Access or not, “they are without excuse”. Rom. 1:20

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  28. Thanx Howard, you are very engaging. You stated tht they are “without excuse” and I agree with what you are saying. However the question I m asking is whether, given the apparent norm of the church in 721, is there anyone that you know of that was not in thew state of ” conformed to the spirit of the age and introduced traditions and philisophies as Eastern Orhtodoxy/Romanism/and Protestantism” in 721 AD.

    I am not speaking of single Individuals, rather at least somewhat developed church systems that effected the masses or at least some measurable group. Do you know of a remnant in 721 IE,. some person or group wich practiced Christianity in the same way you do. ( I am supposing you beleive you follow scripture in it’s correct from and practice the faith in the like manner of the Apostle’s in the 1 st centuruy.)

    I am not trying to be critical of your answer, I have no reason to beleive you are nothing other than a sincere Christian, however I am still trying to find out who, if there even was, the Christians were in the 6th century that did practice correctly in you opinion. And if you have them could you please give reference. In many cases I don’t even think the Modern Anabaptist Fundumentalist American Evangelical ( I am not saying you are) could even come to agreement with Major Reformers and some of their beleifs. Luther infant Baptism, Priesthood, rrealse Presence in the Eucharist, No salvation oustide the Lutheran Church, Ever Virginity of Mary all located in the Bondage of the Will. Calvin the same on several of the above points. I cannot imagine who, and I have done extensive searching, these people in 721 were who practiced what we in 2009 consider to be the truth of practice in 55 AD by the Apostle’s.

    Do you know who these persons/groups/sects/ were? And if the old testament can identify at least 7,000 in the distant past of history can we at least discover some in the 5th,6th,7th,8th,9th centuries. and if we cannot did the gates of hell prevail for at least one day. Did the Church as Mormons,Jehovah’s, Seventh Day Adventist’s and these other modern day restorationist groups claim, fail, become apostate and utterly miss the mark until the reformation. Did the infant Baptizers such as Luther, Calvin,Wycliffe even get it right. Unless you are somewhat Reformed/Calvinist you probaly are not a Peado Baptist. So did they even get it right. Bottom line, did anyone identifiable get it right in 721 AD, or were they the one’s ” without excuse” in Romans. Thank you for your responce in advance, Yor brother in Christ G Man.

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    • G Man, I see you never got an answer to your questions, and that’s a shame because I too would like to hear what the answer is to this question. The truth is, apart from Sacramental type Protestants (Lutherans, Anglicans, etc) I don’t think you’ll ever get an answer. Because there is not historically verifiable answer to who these “real Christians” were in the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th centuries. Sacramental Protestants don’t have that big a problem answering it, but Restorationists, and Protestants who are almost restorationists, Anabaptist traditionalists etc, cannot answer it. Not because they don’t know, but Because there are no historical documents to support such a theory. The closest you’ll come to an answer from that Christian POV, is the “trail of blood” or “church of blood” theory, which suggests that all the “true Christians” were the ones the historical (ie: Catholic/Orthodox) Church persecuted. The problem with that is we know exactly what those people believed too, and it wasn’t modern day Anabaptist or Calvinist theology. The ones that do realize that, will say the “true Christians” were living up in the Alps for 1000 years living out of the wilderness, hunting and fishing and secretly following Christ, yet there is no historical evidence to even remotely suggest that. So in the end, you’re left with no answer to your question or an answer that is uncomfortable, and that is the only Christians that existed on planet earth in the 7th century adhered to orthodoxy/historical Christian dogma, more or less. (some held erroneuous beliefs, but ZERO were say, southern baptists) And no Christian in the 7th century ever believed anything like the modern day Fundamentalists. If they did, SHOW ME their writings…show me their beliefs….they can’t be shown, because they don’t exist. And they didn’t exist, until roughly the period of the enlightenment.

      That’s not to say I think you should or you must return to Orthodoxy, because that’s not me to decide, that’s between you and God, but as Christians we must be honest with history because our faith claims to be an historical faith that took place in real historical time. And not a “mythical past” like the pagan gods of ancient Greece. Christ walked on planet earth, was crucified died and was buried in real history, and so we must use real history (IMO) to understand and strengthen our faith. It does no good when Christians of what ever tradition, start talking crazy and saying “well there were true Christians but there is not a single shred of evidence for them”….we don’t, nor should we say that about the Resurrection, so why should say that in regards to Church history?

      Anyways, I’m not here to bash my Protestant brethren, and in fact I think we Orthodox have MUCH to learn (or rediscover perhaps) from our Protestant brethren. I’ve learned or relearned much from my protestant friends as of late, and my faith is increased for it. And indeed, the Reformation wasn’t ALL bad. There were some good points, especially with the early Reformers, but REFORM is the word, not RESTORE. I could simply never be a Restorationist Christian because it would force me to ignore historical facts, which is something, (as a lover of history) that I simply cannot do.

      In the end though, all that matters is Christ. Follow Him where He leads you, and trust in Him, and not men, whether they be Luther, Calvin, or even Schmemman. (whom I have a great respect for)

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  29. Neiswonger-

    “The Protestant churches are the true church. This does not mean that we believe we are alone in that. The invisible church is the true church. Visible churches, like yours, have a passing value but only as a manifestation of a larger whole passing through history.”

    I have not looked at this entire thread, but I was just wondering whether you believe Eastern Orthodox are also fellow believers. If not, why?

    http://www.bywhoseauthority.blogspot.com

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  30. Here is a point of interest that no Orthodox that I know is taught to think about in their Orthodox indoctrination. Orthodoxy, unfortunately, is a park your brain outside the doors of the church religion and not a Christianity that encourages you to think, look, talk, feel and ask hard questions outside of its Orthodox closed box. It wants you to think about it, look at it, feel about it and reverence it like it tells you too. If it tells you it is the one true church then believe that it is based upon its assumptions of what that means. Don’t think outside of its assumptions and ask hard questions.

    Here are two hard questions posed to the Orthodox:

    Did Jesus Christ come to us as a Sanhedrin Pharisee hierarchical religion of top down power and control?

    Did Jesus Christ come to us as a royal Roman instutionalized hierarchical church/state religion of top down power and control?

    When I read the Gospels I see Christ coming to us out of no where and from the bottom up walking with the laity at the bottom and as their CENTER. With judgement and sarcasm He confronted the hierarchical one true church of His day and called it corrupt and not our salvation. It too saw itself as the ALONE RIGHT ONE TRUE CHURCH.

    The Sanhedrin structure and system of corrupt legalistic religion gone cult is a power structure.

    The Eastern Orthodox structure and system is for all intents and purposes is a dead hierarchical church/state religion power structure gone cult. It is totally corrupt.

    Jesus Christ is a humility structure as found in Phillipians chapter 2. Those are structure and system verses describing the structure and system by which He came to us in humility. He came to us as a bottom up structure that walks with those at the bottom and as our center.

    John 8:31-59 reveals Christ confronting the system of church in His day. Those are system verses. Anyone who knows anything about systems knows that a system flows out of a structure. In other words those are both structure and system verses. The Orthodox have never viewed these verses in a structure and system context and it is EXACTLY what Christ was doing in this confrontation. He was pointing out how HOLLOW their structure and system really is. He replaced every argument they gave Him with Himself. He in particular went after their dead century after century piled on top of piled on legalistic traditions that they held us as SACRED TRUTH and as the only way to do their one true church and right belief and right worship religion. Oh, yes, they too also believed they were right worship and right religion. In fact, they were LEGALISTIC about it.

    The counter arguments made by those Christ confronted in John 8 are the EXACT same arguments the EOC make in defense of their one true church. Look at how and what they used to defend their DEAD religion witrh. Sound at all familiar Orthodox??? I would suggest anyone interested in one true church thinking conduct a Google search on ‘One true churches’. You might also want to do a search on ‘cult organization structure’ or ‘cult hierarchical structures’. All cults have a hierarchical structure of power. Christ is a structure of humility.

    Christ was telling them in John 8 that He is their salvation and not a structure and system. He was telling them you can have the right theology, right fathers, right worship and right belief, the right history, the right traditions, etc. etc. and still be WRONG. He was telling them those things kept them from seeing Him as who He really is. He was telling them those things are idol gods that are lying to you.

    Christ was telling them if you to put those things in front of ME you will end up without ME. If those things are your faith then your faith is corrupted. If those things are your IDENTITY your identity is in the wrong things. Christ is to be our indentity and He only can be if He is our Lord. Christ told them that believing in what they believed in made Satan their lord. He was telling them that their structure and system was of Satan! Orthodox Christians tell me what kind of a structure and system was Christ talking about?

    The bottom line is this:

    Did Jesus come to us as a power structure or did He come to us as humility structure?

    Did Jesus walk among the laity at the bottom as their center or did He come to them as the Sanhedrin Pharisee power structure?

    Which model did He model to us? To the EOC it is obvious which Jesus they believe in. They model the Jesus they believe in by their power structure model of royal Roman instutionalized top down authoritarian hierarchical church/state religion. It is either dying, dead or gone cult in most places you find it today.

    Orthodoxy is a closed top down hiearchical power structure and system. Jesus Christ is a bottom up in our center humility structure. The two could not be more far apart in thinking or structure that forms your thinking by indoctrination into a particular structure of thinking based upon the structure. One structure believes it is the ONLY one true church and the other believes it is a part of Christs true church. One is self centered, self focused and self protective of itself by structure and system and the other is open system, outward focused and self critical of itself. The two structures and systems could not be more different. Ever wonder why Orthodoxy is is so hiding, keeping of secrets, covering up, denying and blaming? Well, it is because of how it is structured and how the structure is really only a structure of self centered self protection. Orthodoxy is based in self centered self protection and not in outward outreach risk taking. It would rather protect itself than reach out of itself. Jesus confronted the same kind of attitude and mind set of structure and leaders when He walked among us at the bottom and as our center.

    What is closed by structure and system cannot open itself. Christ confronting the Pharisee’s is proof of this. Only what is open can open what is closed. The closed cannot open themselves, their closed! A closed structure and sysem is limited to the six sides of its closed box in its ability to outreach. It can only really see itself from its inside the closed box definition of itself. An open system has no such limitations. Jesus a open system. He came to us as an open system. Either Christ is your defining identity or a structure and system of religion is your identity when comparing the two structures and systems. What is open frees what is closed and it does this by coming to what is closed from outside the closed structure and system as the radical dimateric opposite of the closed structure and system. This is totally lost on the Orthodox who turned Christianity into a closed structure and system of church/state institutionalized religion.

    A closed structure and system is closed to change. So were the Pharisee’s in their one true church of closed top down hierarchical power and control corrupt religion. They were dead in their rigidity religion in comparison to Jesus who is life. Jesus is RELEVANCE and He is CHANGE TO RELEVANCE. The religionists of Christs day were really only RELEVANT to themselves. They refused to change. They wanted their TRADITIONS over salavation in Jesus. They made their tradition on par with God. Is Orthodoxy today dying or dead? Is it really only relevant to itself? Does it change to relevance?

    The attitude and behavior of most Orthodox hierarchs reflects the same attitude and behavior reflected by the religion leaders that Jesus confronted. They were spiritually abusive, corrupt and self righteous alone right. They are one true church leaders and boy does it show that they are!

    Jesus is change to relevance. Orthodoxy like the Pharisee’s will not change. It must not change or if it did that would mean a change of structure and system and those in power and control over the structure and system would lose power and control over the structure and system. Jesus is a humility structure and therefore can change. Orthodoxy is a power structure and therefore refuses to change. The structure of Orthodoxy is the Orthodox IDOL.

    The Orthodox when motivated can remove a corrupt bishop. However, they do not remove the structure that sets up the corruption everytime. In WW 2 when America and its allies defeated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan we not only destroyed their dicatatorships we also destroyed their dictatorship structures. We replaced them with BOTTOM UP democracies. Had we not we would hhave only ended up fighting another dictator again. This makes real world rational and logical sense to replace a dictatorship structure when you destroy the dictator. Jesus when He came destroyed the dictatorship structure of His day. He replaced it with a BOTTOM UP Jesus come to us at the bottom, wwalking with us at the bottom and leading us as our CENTER at the bottom. What is Orthodoxy in comparison to this? Is it a change back to what Christ contronted or is it who Christ came to us as?

    A good book written about the Protestants to the Protestants and that in-between the lines reveals Orthodoxy is called PAGAN CHRISTIANITY. Now, remember, this is a book written to Protestants about Protestants. It is not an Orthodox book. The Orthodox can’t write books like this. They are a control milieu structure and system and not free to do so, not really. Closed systems of dead religion are not really that self critical of themselves. Were the ones Christ confronted in the Gospels self critical? Another good book is the Subtle Power of Spiitual Abuse. This is another Protestant book written to Protestants, but boy does it reveal what is really going on in closed Orthodoxy that can’t write books like this.

    Orthodoxy today looks like a church on it death bed and only alive because of the religious codependency life support its followers provide it to keep it alive. It is brain dead in a coma. Pull the codependent life support plug and in 24 hours the whole thing implodes in onto itself. It already is imploding. It is dying a slow, ugly and painful death of its own legalistic religion corruptions making. Orthodoxy is what Steve Auterburns book called TOXIC FAITH is all about. Don’t believe me? Read it and see how off base I am. All Orthodox are play a particular role in the dysfunctional and shaming system.

    Orthodoxy is a dying and/or dead religion based in religious addiction and religious codenpendency. Anyone who understands what I am talking about here also understands then that the basis of Orthodoxy is SHAME. All power structures of religion shame. It is one of the key tools they use to keep power and control. All shame based church structures and systems make you either a religious addict or religious codependent from the structure and system SHAME basis. The Orthodox do not understand what a shame basis is and how a power structure utlizes shame to keep all under corrupt modern day Pharisee like power and control.

    Top down church suppresses the laity and hold it down with the power structure in the center. Bottom up church comes under the laity and raises it up with Christ in the center. One structure makes Christ Lord and the other structure makes itself God. Jesus is bottom up and Orthodoxy is top down. Top down church, like Christ confronted in John 8:31-59, makes itself your salvation by structure and system of royal Roman institutionalized church/state religion. Christ confronted exactly that among the Pharisee’s.

    There is NO real priesthood of the laity believer in Orthodoxy. There is really only a priesthood of the bishops, priests and monastics. The laity has no real authority in the structure. Look at how corruption is handled in this church and tell me different. The laity has to go outside the structure to confront corruption. Most of the time the laity is too apathetic and indifferent to do that or it FEARS doing that. Church fear is created by the shame basis of a church if you understand shame. The priesthood of the bishops, priests and monastics are not in transparent accountability to the laity in the structure. The structure of power and control does not want them to hold that kind of authority or it will lose authority. It’s all about POWER in Orthodoxy. It’s all about CONTROL in Orthodoxy. Jesus is all about himility. He is Christianity come to us. What then is Orthodoxy come to us?

    Presupposition of structure and system is determined by how a church views who Christ is come to us. It is obvious who the Orthodox think Christ come to us is. He came to us a a power structure of top down control. The truth of the one true historical Christian church is that it is not the true church. It is a royal Roman institutionalized top down hierarchical church/state religion that by that basis claims to be the one true church. Anyone not of it and who knows what it is really based upon can see this.

    If Jesus Christ is a abusive, shaming, corrupt and dead top down suppressive religion going cult then Orthodoxy is the one true church. I do not see the Gospels dipicting Him come to us as that. Obviously, the Orthodox do or they would change their church, but they can’t change their church. It’s structure and system will not let them change to relevance, but Jesus did come to us as the change to relevence, but why then if the Orthodox church is the one true church is it basically only relevant to itself?

    The Orthodox church must be the one true church. After all it says so and if the one true says so it is so. All one true churches say this. The very things that the Orthodox base that upon are the very things Jesus Christ confronted in John 8:31-59. Their power structure is the opposite structure that humble Christ came to us as. No where in the Gospels do you see Jesus advocating for this kind of power structure. NO WHERE.

    Go be right Orthodox. Go be the ONE TRUE CHURCH and see where that Orthodox Mind takes you. Look at the state of Orthodoxy and see where your Orthodox Mind is taking you as the one true church.

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    • Did Jesus establish a “Top Down” shame system when he told his disciple’s that if anyone rejected them they rejected him? Why would anyone have to accept his disciple’s? Could not anyone simply say “I love and beleive in Christ, you guys can just keep walking, I don’t need you.” Did he establish a”Top Down” system when he explicitly gave them the power to forgive sins, unless “whoevers sins you retain will be retained, and whoevers sins you forgive will be forgiven “, does not mean that. Did he establish a shame system when he struck down a couple who were basically lying about thier finances to the Apostles? Did he establish a “Top Down” shame system when Paul instructed a church to “Obey those appointed over them”. I don’t know. What I do know is that Orthodoxy teaches that there are very many admirable qualities in the Protestant Churches. Orthodoxy can learn much from the Protestant appraoch to textual critisism, world missionsand other things. I know very litte about you; however you remind me of myself when I was 19 and had figured everything out. Your raving crtisism of Orthodoxy is what I generally encounter when I speak to Christians who are young and immature in the faith.

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  31. @Ashley Nevins,
    Firstly, your post is too long for the few points you’re making.

    Secondly, as an Orthodox Christian, I’ve never experienced any sort of intellectual deadness, and certainly never any kind of intellectual closed-mindedness.

    Thirdly, a knowledge of history would tell you that the hierarchies thrust upon the Church during the Ottoman Empire were thrust upon because it was alien to the Church. It’s a system of hierarchy that is dying precisely because of this alien-ness (for lack of a better word) to the current world. However, dictatorial governance a la Leviathan is not something that you can find in Orthodox theology or ecclesiology. The irony that you do not see this as an ability to change/adapt to conditions is striking.

    Fourth, the whole problem was the legalism. We can’t get anywhere by rules and ethics alone – Christ will tell us that we did not know him. That is just as true for the right amount of fasting/prostrations as it does for thinking that, say, a sinner’s prayer (on it’s own) will get you saved.

    Fifth, you will find no evidence in Church history that Christ established a bottom-up democracy. From the earliest days of the first century, there were bishops and priests and deacons and laity, serving as a hierarchy in love. The two are not mutually exclusive just because we’re used to a democracy.

    Finally, I honestly don’t know what you’re describing. It’s certainly not the Orthodox Church. Come along one Sunday, with an open mind, and see what we’re like in real life.

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  32. Congratulations, folks…you have brilliantly demonstrated the attitudes which have steered many not only away from your particular church, but from God entirely. If your intent was to confuse the faithful, plant the seed of doubt in God, and feed those who depend on such intolerance to mock and ridicule any faith, then you have succeeded.

    Like the British Parliament, where politicians politely address their counterpart before ripping them a “new one”, you have all reduced an opportunity of understanding to a verbal sling fest which further enhanced your ignorance.

    To those reading the mindless bickering showcased on this thread, know this: The one true church lives only in the hearts of His children who accept Him and submit themselves to His mercy.

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  33. To be fair, some of your assumptions are not accurate. To the Orthodox, the Holy Spirit inspired holy scripture and continues to inspire those whose walk in the way of the truth. It is not a question of which church is “the only” church which is in God’s favor. I have heard of protestant churches who believe that if you are not a member of their congregation, then you are doomed. This is not the case with Orthodoxy. Christ works in ways which are mysterious, and it is not “orthodox” to claim total understanding of God’s saving grace. Rather, the Orthodox Church maintains a faith which celebrates a form of worship that is most authentically representative of the worship the early Christians were taught to perform by a succession of Bishops, who were originally instructed by the Apostles.

    As you may be aware, the Liturgy that Orthodox believers celebrate each Sunday is ancient and from the age of the New Testament. The Church’s theology is strictly limited to adhering only to that which is agreed upon by Christendom’s earliest theologians, the Apostles. In Orthodoxy, the term Theologian is not given to just anyone who has studied the Bible in school, but to those who have proven to KNOW the word (the living word, Jesus Christ our God and Savior). “Knowing”, in the sense that the word is used in Orthodoxy, means to have experienced. We pray that this experience is felt deeply in the Liturgical life that is lived everyday in the heart of those Orthodox who openly receive the mysteries of Christ. If your hope is to “know” what it must have been like to worship with the Apostles and authors of the letters which penned the New Testament, than look no further than the Liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox, preserved by the wisdom of the Church and its Saints. Christ is Risen!

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    • My Orthodox church celebrates the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom who wasn’t born until 347. This liturgy was developed in the during the Byzantine Empire and wasn’t finalized for several centuries. It is not “from the age of the New Testament.” There were liturgical practices during the New Testament period but they were Jewish rites, not the liturgy we celebrate today.

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  34. Putting things in context…

    Jesus was born as an Israelite, in what is now Palestine. Jesus was born in Bethlehem (HOUSE OF BREAD) and placed in a feeding troth that would feed beasts. Bread of Life anyone? Isn’t our fallen nature beastly? Mangers and animals were kept in caves. Jesus was later called Rabbi and had finge on his garment, in typical rabonic tradtion. He was named and circucised and brought to the temple, entering in God’s old covenant as an infant. (Hint…Neither male nor female, Jew nor Gentile…) Oh wait, only infant, male jews enter God’s old convanant. Christening and naming an infant a Christian name…hmmm.

    Ok, so anything of Jesus’ Church would reflect in culture that it was an outgrowth of Judism. The oldest ongoing in Church in Christendom is the Church of the Nativity at the place of his birth over 1700 years old, and this was a place of pilgramage prior to the Church built. It is Orthodox.

    In Exodous – God tells His people how to worship Him and build His Temple- He uses artisans to carve wood, people gave fine colorful linens, used precious medals: gold, silver, bronze, holy oil for lamps stands, holy oil for annointing, and insence. God describes in detail the vestments the priests wear. Hebrews and Revelation describe this Holy worship “Holy, Holy, Holy” is cried. We fall down and worship in reverance our King and our God. Holy water is also mentioned in the old testament.

    Compare Orthodox Prayers with Jewish prayers. Both use psalms and prayer books.
    Observe Orthodox worship and Jewish worship. Both are Liturgical. A Jewish friend of my said we EO, stole their traditions when she came to our service. We both turn with the priest/rabbi as the Holy things are brougt out…the Jews the Torah, the Christians the Eucharist. I told her “Jesus fullfilled the Law”.

    Prostelites were converts to Judism and went though a chatechism. Did you know that to early Christians, and anywhere “Scripture” is mentioned in the New Testament…it’s refering to the Old Testament because the New Testament wasn’t written yet. Yes, to Early Christians, the Old testament was their bible, and read in the light of the Resurection. You want a Church service like this, HOLY SATURDAY goes through the messianic prophecies. We also sing psalms every week. We sing “Gladsome Light” the oldest Church hymn at Vespers. It’s over 1900 years old. Our service is almost a singing collection of bible verses. It’s the most biblical worship I’ve ever attended. (But let’s face it, I’m there for communion and the peace that comes from it.)

    So, did early Christians worship this way? YES! In Acts, the apostles worshiped in the TEMPLE, as did the early Christians until the Temple was destroyed in 70AD. At houses, they contined steadfastly in the APOSTLES DOCTRINE, and in fellowship, the breaking of bread and in prayers. (In Greek it’s THE prayers, meaning liturgical prayers done in one accord or recited.) Which day? Well, SATURDAY NIGHT, was considered SUNDAY…because Jews considered sunset to be the next day. The Church pushed it back a few hours to the morning. One will notice the saints stories read at Vespers (Sunset service) are always on this Jewish time, reading for “tomorrow” which is really today.

    What about the Churches mentioned in the bible…The Antiochians (1st called Christians), Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colosians, Thessalonians, The Hebrews at the Church at Jeruselm where James the brother of Christ was the first Bishop, and many of the biblical mentioned Churches ARE A CONTINUING ORTHODOX CHURCH TODAY. Romans was written to the Church at Rome – and is now Roman Catholic, but was Orthodox the first 1000 years. ALSO remember each book was written to Churches with different problem. What seems like opposites is just “The Way” in the middle asking the RIGHT and LEFT to join the path. Grace and works…Think of this like a marriage: If a marriage is of the husband than it is not a of the wife, and if it is of the wife it is not a marriage either. So is Salvation – Love sounds like work in the bible, so does faith, and yet both are gifts of God. Love God and one another – easier said than done.
    Jesus said “I am with you always”, that is why we need the Church, “to work out our salvation in fear and tremling.” (also in the bible)

    The Bible says “the Church is the pillar of Truth.” It also says “Hold fast to the Traditions taught to you whether by word or epistle”. (word – Oral Tradition)
    Jesus said “This is my Body, this is my Blood”
    Jesus also said do “do this in rememberance of Me” (“rememberance” in Greek is “anamnesis” which is also a medical term for bodily medicinal rememberance that builds over time and it is also the word used for a medical ‘chart’, a rememberance of someone undergoing medical treatment.)
    The bible says “the Church is the Body of Christ”.
    It also says…Abide in Christ and Christ will abide in you.
    The Jesus said “If you love me, you will obey my comandments.”

    Have you noticed there is no “invitational” in the Gospels? If one obeyed the Gospels, and saying of Jesus…wouldn’t one grow in Love. What if all you had was the 4 Gospels, would you recognise “your” gospel? Why are they called the Gospels? In Acts (of the Apostles), filled with the Holy Spirit, what did Peter say the Gospel was? The very first sermon of the Church is recorded. Paul tells the Gospel for the first time. No mention of Christ’s death on the cross except to let them know they crusified their very own messiah. God added to the Church those who were BEING saved. (God added to the Church)

    Modern beliefs…in context

    Tyndale – English Bible translater, Radical professor at Oxford, teaching theology and Philosophy in the 1300s – sold people on “all you need is your Bible, Do not trust the Church”. The birth of Sola Scriptura.

    (The Roman Catholic Church (in less than 200 years away from the One Holy and Catholic Church), changed the creed resulting in schism AD1054, then claimed the pope infalible AD1074 and then substituted “Cristus Victorious” with “Substitionary Atonment” Theory 1200s (Ansel), thereby changing the Gospel and the resurection is now an after thought. BUT WE STILL CELEBRATE EASTER SUNDAY as the bigger holiday OVER GOOD FRIDAY. That one puzzled me as a protestant. Then RC started selling indulgences, created purgatory, etc.) But the Pope claims he can change things, Orthodox disagree.

    Ok, Zelwigi, a priest in Switzerland. “Communion is just a symbol, it’s not the real body and blood”. WOW, this is a new thought. So the Christians were wrong for 1500 years. WOW.

    About 500 years ago, Calvin and Luther hated each other. Both killed people who would not follow their new doctrines. From Luther we have “Sola scriptura, Sola fida, Sola…” Bible alone, faith alone, Christ alone. From Calvin, we have “Once saved always saved” and many other nifty modern Christian interpretations.

    Interesting though, Luther and Calvin both repected the Theotokos, Virgin Mary. “All generations shall call me blessed” – Mary in the book of Luke. “Hail, Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are you among women.” Gabriel’s greeting to Mary – also in Luke. Let’s face it, if we can’t get kids to respect parents (honor you mother and father) how can we get them to honor Jesus’ Mom. I don’t know any man who wouldn’t be upset if someone disrespected his mother. She was important enough to Him to lend over her care to John, and also to heed at the wedding of Cana. “Woman, my time has not come.” (“woman” was like in madam or mam’ the south .) Very respectful, but lost in translation.

    Ok, so I am a convert, and the worst of sinners to be writing all this. This is not Orthodox behavior to do this, because we are called to just live the faith, and by our lives…others will see Christ in us. I will need to lay my pride at Christ’s feet in confession. He’s been working on my pride for sometime now. I think I would drop over dead if I saw myself for who I really am, thank God for His Grace to make these changes slowly. Jesus is my Great Physicial, and I am sick/injured and in His care like the fallen man in the Good Sameritan story.

    Oh, one last thing, Read John 17. Notice the unity of the Trinity. God in perfect love which empties Himself out, for which we as Christians strive which is what Christ modeled. Let me explain the damage of The Schism. With the shift of the Holy Trinity from all equal = One God (the what) 3 persons (the who- Father, Son and Holy Spirit), all perfectly united in Divine Love. The Pope to please Emperior Charlemaigne, made the Trinity to Father as hierarchy, then Son and Holy spirit beneath Him. This is Rome’s change, although Jesus said the HS proceeds from the Father. In Orthodoxy, all bishops regardless of role are all equal. We are all equal, no one thinking he is better than his brother. When working in perfect love by God’s Grace striving with Him – emptying ourselves, removing passions & ego, etc, we see the Holy Spirit alive in us, His Royal Priesthood. We are fueled by His Grace, and participate in His Grace/Holy Spirit, in the Sacraments that Jesus gave us, so that we may be in Communion (common-union) with His Body.

    I urge you to research bible terms, words like salvation(salve), annointment(oinment), anamnesis – rememberance, the tie between sin & illness. Jesus Christ is the perfect medicine, and in the Orthodox Church, we hold tight to the formula and guard it with our lives, as our martyrs did over the last 2000 years. Our Liturgy protects it and we plug into it as part of Her history, and no matter where in time OR place, it’s heart does not change whether it’s in Greek or Slavonic, or Arabic, Aramaic or English. Jesus (the body of Christ) is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

    In Luke – Mary says “All generations will call me blessed”.

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  35. Genevieve,

    Many of the points you make I agree with. Some of the history I’m not so sure about, but that is moot. What is true is that the Protestant church, as well as the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, are all filled with sinners. And so I agree that some of the things that Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli did were wrong.

    I agree with you on liturgy and respect for Mary. I don’t agree with praying to her or giving her as much veneration as you and the RCs do. But respect and honor, like that of our own mothers, is good. But again, she is not our focus, but Christ is.

    To turn the tables on myself, yes, there are a number of things that the Protestant church has fouled up. As Luther noted, putting the Bible into the hands of the congregation can be problematic. But there are a number of Protestant denominations and churches (mine included) that have wisely looked to the early church and the church fathers for structure, wisdom, and liturgy. We’re not doing this all willy-nilly like a lot of evangelicals are. We’re not throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

    This is why a lot of folks are returning to EO and RC. There is reverence there. But I also see a lot of unbiblical practices there. And to put the word of God under the authority of man only leads to trouble.

    On another point, you show that the Orthodox hold a lot of the same types of distinctives as the Jewish church does: worship, liturgy, oral tradition, etc. Those same distinctives are the ones that Jesus repeatedly blasted the pharisees for. They held to their traditions and liturgies and rejected the plain teaching of the Word of God. Jesus placed the Word of God as supreme. Are oral traditions good? Yes. Do they supercede the Bible? No. None of the Apostles thought so either.

    And so with the EO church placing the authority of the Church above that of the words of God, they have introduced many practices that are not only nowhere found or even alluded to in the Bible, but have taken the focus from Almighty God and put it on man: the church fathers, the Saints, Mary, the priests, and the laypeople.

    There may be many things that I as a Christian and the Protestant Church as a whole does wrong. But if I am to err, I would rather err on the side of giving God all the glory and all the power rather than err on the side of not giving Him enough, as the Orthodox and Catholic do.

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

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    • I am right there with you…….Growing up in the Greek Orthodox Church, I always felt that there was something missing. As I became an adult, things happened in my life that had me imprisoned spiritually. By the grace of God I found a famous open air preacher. When I heard Ray Comfort speak, I felt as thought God had been using this humble man for great things. I wept like a little child when he was using the Gospel to convict me of my trespasses against God. This was all inside of me and never found a way out until an Evangelical helped me see the light. I think everyone’s experience is different and God only calls out to those who he chooses. For me, If I would have stayed in the Greek Orthodox faith, I would still be lost! My family is a little judgmental about my Evangelical beliefs. I always tell them that I’m happy at my new Christian Church and the people are my new family. I try not to judge Orthodox believers but I always can spot a fellow Christian by hearing them talk for less than 1 minute. This is true because most church goers in the Orthodox church are very very worldly and only talk about their money, possessions, fleshly desires(I’m not joking), their popularity etc. There is something fundamentally wrong with a “church” when the church goers values the flesh more than Jesus. Maybe there were some true Born again believers in the Church but I unfortunately didn’t find them. Oh yeah, the leadership in the Greek Orthodox Church have done things that would make your eyeball pop out. The Greek kids had raised money for a project they were working on. A year later they were close to getting their money goal……when the head priest stepped in and took the money for his own projects for the church. Many many people in the Church were upset to say the least. Well, let me tell you, this head priest was very intimidating and whatever command he gave-that was it.! Nobody protested. They just stayed angry inside. Whenever this Priest would be around, people would run for the hills or pretend they liked him and they were his best friend. This is some of the abuse that I have experienced in a Church. Because the Greek Church has been there for the Greek Immigrants during tough times, they just put up with the bad things because the Greek Community is so close…..what other church would they go to? I can’t imagine something like this happening in a Christian Church. There would be an uproar and mass exodus from that Church if it did! There were many more abuses by priests within the Greek Orthodox Churches. I know that my Dad wouldn’t go to Church for a long time because he didn’t trust the Priest. That’s all I have to say!

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      • I have experienced the same things in the Greek Orthodox parish that I joined several years ago. But to be fair, Orthodox are Christians, too. Not just evangelicals.

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  36. I was once highly interested in the Eastern Orthodox church. I liked the Icons and the candles and incence and ceremony. It all seemed so exotic and clearly devoted to Christ. I thought the mysticsim found in it would bring me closer to God and more than anything else I liked the ritual. I thought that by having something to actually DO, to make happen, to follow through, would make me feel closer to God. Then I examined their beliefs in light of the Scriptures and other churches that make their same claims and they didn’t satisfy. I also learned of their history and wondered why they, like the Roman Catholics, have killed so many over the centuries. Interestingly enough, you won’t find much about the perscution and violence done by Orthodox Christians to non-Orthodox and often times other Orthodox. I also didn’t like the ethnocentricity of the memebrs. I found the autocephlous set-up to be very devisve and I got sick of hearing the Orthodox argue. I also didn’t understand why they had such hatred for Protestants. It was very clear to me that they considered themselves superior. Eventually I prayed and prayed and I received my answer from the Lord that this was not His church and never had been. I am thankful that I don’t need ANY church to govern my life and salvation.

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    • I converted to Orthodoxy several years ago and am in the process of pulling my mind and soul back out of it. There is so much ‘fullness’ there that I lost sight of Christ for all of the things that they surround Him with. I never could figure out who to pray to, Christ, to Mary or my name Saint, and whatever saint we celebrate on any given day, or maybe an angel… Ultimately, I would pray to God through Christ sort of as a default when that’s how it should be anyway.

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  37. Look most of you are playing in satans playground..by point fingers an which faith is true an which is not..for me personally i would follow the roots of history down the present age I would rather align myself with a church that can trace its roots back as far back as possible..the church is like a family its not always perfect..at the end of the day we must agree to disagree and build unity through our love for Christ..WE are all a bunch of ants living in an the aint farm called earth..our thoughts an wisdom are limited an far below that of God..We will never fully understand the church an why so much division..an confusion..protestant are basing thier hope on one man called martin luther how do we know God approved of this one man? how can we be certain if we cannot see the heart of a man an his intentions, we can only assume, like wise how can we know that orthodox or catholics have not strayed for the truth as well there are times in history the church leaders were very corrupt..in the end i believe this is why christ wrote is who ever is for us is not against us…Those that confess that jesus christ is lord..repent an are baptised are all adopted as children of God..protestant or catholic or orthodox does not matter it is the heart that will be judged for God know every mans intention an every persons motive, I believe God is a better of judge of people than man.. but bickering an fighting is what satan wants division for house divded against itself cannot stand…we must remember christ died for the world, every tribe an every nation he is same God an father of all..each individual created by the father himself..when we say we have the way we make ourselves to be like God an claim to know the mind of God..it is important that each man aligns himself of he holds to be his true faith, if you want to be baptist then be baptist, if you want to be catholic than be catholic, if you choose to be non denominational then be that, an be the best you can be to live your life in accordance to the scriptures an to love the lord your god with all your heart and all your mind and soul an love mankind just as much as you love yourself.. be an example of compassion an mercy an forgiveness then you will be acting like christ.. true an pure religion is taking care of the orphan an widowed.. i may not be as educated as you are in this room, but i know this…that God is ultimate judge and only he knows the intention and heart of everyman. at the end of the day our sins will be weighed an it wont matter to what church u belonged its just you and God before his thrown givng an account of your life on earth..the pope or martin luther will not stand beside you on that glorious day.

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    • Christ sacrificed himself for “the church.” We have two options to believe with that.

      1. “The church” refers to the Eastern Orthodox Church. So Christ came to sacrifice himself only for those inside the Orthodox Church.

      2. Christ sacrificed himself for all of humanity, thus those that believe in him make up “the church”.

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  38. First of all, as an Eastern Christian, I have always been taught that while we can say where the Church is, we cannot say where it is not. That is,I know that the Eastern Church IS the Church…but I do not dare judge that others may not be in the Church, though they may not know it. Secondly, I find in the Orthodox Faith the most likeness to the early Church, to the Church spoken of by the Fathers. What I see in Protestantism…though I do admire some Protestants…is the product of the late Western Middle Ages and its controversies. I do NOT see in the Protestant sects anything that looks like the early Church.

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  39. Forgive me …
    Church means BODY – Jesus established faith in Him. He creates His own body (I will build MY church)- ONENESS of belief and experience – not an “earthly organisation”.
    English translations of Scripture loose nuances of what the faith IS.
    It is ONENESS Faith that creates “church” …
    The four pillars can also be seen as the FOUR GOSPELS.
    The Bible, collated together by the Believers(BODY), is so kept as a wintness, and is the yardstick for what experience of Faith and Christ should resemble…
    RE: Candles – shine as a light in the world – insence; the prayers going up – Icons: Colossians 1 v 15, etc…
    The 12 were called by Jesus, NOT one to tell all others what to have faith in (it was the confession given Peter by the Father not what Peter came up with, and God grants the same experience and faith to those He chooses) … then Jesus commissioned 70 and they commissioned etc…etc… on and on… but now let’s not Titus 3 v 9!
    The Way Truth and Life is Jesus, He is God with The Father and The Holy Spirit and God is LOVE…
    This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
    How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!
    In His LOVE and to each and all X X X

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  40. Forgot to say… Orthodoxa = Correct Glory (or belief)
    Catholiki = UNIversal (but lacks something in transaltion,
    because it’s likened to “cosmological”,
    meaning in all times and in all places!)

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  41. Many historians have claimed that the Eastern Orthodox Church (EOC) is the Christian sect that has maintained the best continuity of practice from the early Christians. Does this make it the best religion? No, because how do we know that the early Christians worshipped correctly?

    Yes, the EOC did have problems with corruption and there were cases of people being persecuted but these cases are not as numerous as are the cases in the Catholic and Protestant Churches (the Inquisition, the witch trials of Europe and North America and more). All religions have had cases of persecution (examine the histories of Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and others) but the EOC is among those religions that have had the smallest amount of persecutions. Does this make it the best religion? No, because it is not the religion that causes persecution but those people who interpret religion in such a corrupt way that causes persecution.

    What makes the EOC or any religion a true religion is the way it balances the elements of spirituality, faith, practicality, reasoning, human kindness, devotion, love, democracy, structure, tradition and respect.

    While there is no such thing as the perfect religion, the EOC is the most spiritual and mystical out of all the Christian sects. That is the way it should be because no one can claim that they know what God wants. There is no piece of paper that says that this is what God wants and that this religion is the true religion.

    The Catholic Church believes that the Pope is infallible. That is a major flaw. The Pope is human and therefore cannot be infallible.

    The Protestant churches (or most of them) believe that the Bible is the highest authority and should be followed (in some cases literally). This is a major flaw because you are treating the Bible as a regulation handbook and not as a Holy Book. The Bible was written by many authors over many years and heavily edited and interpreted countless times. Who knows what the true literal meaning of the Bible is?

    The EOC believes that the Bible serves as a spiritual guide that should be respected but you cannot justify an action simply by saying “…because the Bible says so.” The EOC believes that the Bible is a standard but not necessarily an absolute law or regulation that must be strictly interpreted at all times. When you treat a Holy Book as a regulation book, it loses its spirituality and divinity because in order to strictly enforce the Holy Book you must claim to know what God’s intent is and no one can rightfully claim that.

    Too many Protestants like to pick and choose which portions of the Bible should be enforced and which should be ignored. Too many so-called preachers have set up non-denominational churches intent on upholding specific sections of the Bible. They claim to have the true knowledge of God as if they are prophets.

    The EOC believes in the Bible, the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Tradition, history, personal experiences, personal choices and in the belief of the faithful. If change is to occur, it must occur through Ecumenical Councils and through the will and belief of a large number of the faithful.

    This makes sense because if God is to communicate with the people in order to make change, God will communicate with a large number of people, not with just a few. Why would God just communicate with the Pope and/or a few “enlightened preachers” when God wants to communicate God’s will? Why would God only communicate through Biblical interpretations? That is how scandal, corruption and persecution all start – by people believing that they know for sure what God wants.

    The EOC knows that no Church can claim to have the closest relationship with God simply by declaring one person to be infallible or by enforcing specific Biblical passages.

    Because the Eastern Orthodox Church rightfully believes in spirituality and mysticism, the Eastern Orthodox Church has the greatest respect for God.

    The EOC knows that no one preacher, pastor, priest, bishop, patriarch or lay person can cause great change simply by claiming that God told her/him so or that the Bible says so. An evaluation based on historical, contemporary, spiritual, personal, rational, philosophical and theological factors must be conducted among the many of God’s faithful before anything can be changed. A Church cannot change simply because a few people claiming to be God’s true servants say there should be change.

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    • Religion can’t save,,, man can’t be saved through religion. Particularly through ceremony or religious observances. We are to conform to the teachings of God, who chose a very small amount of men to write the scriptures. They were the ones inspired by God. Anyone else through history is commenting or expounding on their teachings, or on each others. Either correctly or incorrectly. God anoints his own. Be wise…

      A MAN MADE RELIGIOUS MACHINE CANNOT CHANGE A HEART!!!!! Or convince anyone of anything in particular, except to conform to the religious image they create. EO and Rome have been perfecting their religious machine longer than anyone else. The way they glorify their religion alone makes them suspect. This goes for anyone glorying in anything outside of Christ. He shines through is children scattered everywhere through time. Not collected up into a religion, but individually and them united together in truth, not religion. If religion can’t save than we shouldn’t be glorifying or promoting it.

      Look at the humble savior and ask what does EO or Rome have that imiatates His humble estate. There is no real family resemblance, only outward adornment of a glorified religion. Trying to imitate our future home while on earth, which he never told us to do. Maybe to make one feel something outwardly that doesn’t exit inwardly. To feel good about one’s self through liturgy, pomp and ceremony. Or nostalgia. Longevity in religion, doesn’t mean or prove anything. The same can be said for pseudo-Christians who glory in their religious enterprises. We’re to glory in nothing except Christ. Beware

      CHRIST DWELLS IN HIS BRIDE—-SHE IS THE ONE TRUE CHURCH THAT TRAVELS THROUGH TIME… SCATTERED, BEATEN, HATED BY THE WORLD. SHE ISN’T PAINTED AND DOLLED UP IN SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS…SHE’S HUMBLE—- MEEK —-LOVING— YET TOUGH ON THINGS SHE IS SUPPOSE TO BE—LIKE SIN, PRIDE AND ARROGANCE, AND THE FLESH. SHE LOVES THE GROOM!!!!!!!! NOT THE BUILDING AND ADORNMENTS. Which is religious idolatry. We can make religion an idol that feeds our flesh toxic food!!!! It tricks our senses…

      Unity and truth have no home outside of Christ. When we put so much stalk into religion, history, people and events, we can get diluted not strengthen. We can get focused on those things—- instead of Christ. That is why our dependency, as the body of Christ, depends on His teachings and we’re to feed on them. If any man from from anywhere adds or takes away from scriptures we’re to reject it. If any religion does this we should reject the religion. Our strength is from Him not religion, our truth comes from Him, through the apostles that were taught directly by him. Paul didn’t commend the EO religion because it made up a bunch of religious ceremony, to be added to and followed through time. He commended the Bereans for checking his (Paul’s) words against the scripture. This is the example we’re to follow. The scripture was written by God through men. This small group of men, with Christ Jesus as it’s head, turned the world upside down. Religion internalizes and self feeds.

      He is a jealous God, if we can’t obey the first commandment, we’ll have a hard time with the rest of them. Man made religion can quickly turn into an idol in the hearts and minds of men, fulfilling earthly human inventions. Replacing the real and living creator of the world with itself.

      No matter what religion you belong to, make sure your heart belongs to the real Christ and he is the head of all you do and love. His blood paid the price for your sins, have a repentant heart that wants to replace sin with obedience to God. Not a set of man made ordinances. The only “father” you need to seek say’s the Bible, is God the Father, and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We need to stop defending religion, it can’t save. If you think it can through a mans hand, think again… you may be still on your way to hell. Christians go to heaven through Christ blood, secured in him for eternity, he doesn’t loose any of us. And that is because we are called for the eternal glory of God, to display the riches of His mercy! To God be the glory! Let’s get it straight as to why we’re here and what we’re here for.

      Check the scriptures, make them your standard of truth first and in everything. Study the Word, it alone holds the truth, not man made traditions or religion.

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      • I am Orthodox officially but not in my heart anymore. I took my kids to Vacation Bible School at a Methodist church and they learned about Christ working with the Apostles, the story of the fishermen, the story of the blind man. The lesson every single day had Christ as the central figure. My Orthodox church’s bible school (which my kids aren’t old enough for yet) is teaching about the different Feast Days of the church. Christ is almost in the background.

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  42. The fact is that Christ did not come to us in the Gospels as a authoritarian top down structure and system of religious totalism power and control. He did not come to us as a Roman church/state dictatorship. He came to the opposite to what He confronted to make the clear comparison that could not be missed.

    The Sanhedrin was based on the following thinking:

    1. Tradition
    2. Top down power and control
    3. We alone are right

    Christ came to us as living paradigm shift over dead traditions of men.

    Christ came to us as bottom up humility and service to God over service to the religious dictatorship structure and system.

    Christ came to us as God alone as right worship, right belief and right salvation and He was clear that a structure and system of religion is not salvation.

    He intentionally sent the clear message that He was not dead by tradition, proud by power and control and salvation was not a religious structure and system.

    He confronted the corruption caused by the three problematic issues the Sanhedrin was based upon. They were corrupt and irrelevant because they could not paradigm shift to the relevancy of Christ their solution to their state of corrupt failure.

    Christ came to us a bottom up structure and system of humility and service that confronted a top down structure and system of pride and self righteousness.

    Only a spiritually blind person cannot see that Christ confronted the self righteous and proud mind set of the Sanhedrin believing it alone was right.

    Here are the three problems undermining and demising the EOC in the modernity paradigm shifted world of today:

    1. Tradition that cannot paradigm shift to relevancy in our generation.
    2. Top down power and control that cannot paradigm shift to relevancy in our generation.
    3. We alone are right mind set that is so right about itself it does not have to paradigm shift to relevancy in our generation.

    Orthodoxy is the end all paradigm shift of God. No more paradigm shifts of God that can change a church to relevancy in the generation it is found in. It does not have to change because its paradigm is the only alone right and one true paradigm of God and salvation. The EOC is dying a slow, ugly and painful death by the three issues that Christ confronted in the Gospels. Christ confronted irrelevancy that could not paradigm shift to the relevancy of Christ alone as salvation outside of tradition, religious dictatorship and a we alone are right mind set. The same failure that is causing the EOC failure in modernity. The very same issues that kept the Sanhedrin from paradigm shifting to the relevancy of Christ in their generation is what is stopping the EOC from paradigm shifting to relevancy in our modernity generation.

    A church that cannot paradigm shift to Christian relevancy in the generation it is found in will not be relevant to the next generation. The EOC can’t paradigm shift because it is a closed, isolated and subjective structure and system of tradition, top down power and control and we alone are right. What is closed closes out change to relevancy. What is closed closes out any thought that it could be wrong. What is closed closes it mind. The mind is how we think. How a church thinks determines its outcome in the real world. The Orthodox Mind is clearly seen in the real world by the real world outcome of the EOC in objective reality that is rational.

    The Orthodox are claiming to be Gods only true and right church on the planet. Prove it. You prove it by living up to the claim. Christ and the Apostles lived up to who and what they said they were and represented. The EOC does not remotely live up to its claim. Not even close and close is really good enough for me. If the EOC is who that it claims to be it would the most dynamic, growing and alive church on the planet. It would be the role model and example of Gods truth in church by its outcome in the real world. It would operate like Christ in the Gospels and not be found operating like the Sanhedrin that stops the Gospel relevancy of Christ in the generation it is found in.

    Orthodox, you need to realize something. The real world is not under the mind control of a theological church/state dictatorship. The real world sees you as you are in comparison to your claim and it measures that to make a determination as to the truth in your claim. It is objective and not we alone are right and you are wrong in comparison to us subjective. The real world sees the disconnect between the claim and the outcome. It sees the rational reality of the claim that cannot remotely live up to its claim by its outcome. Rational thinking thinks for itself without a corrupt and failed church subjectivity thinking for it. In other words, your claim is exposed for what it really is by its outcome rationally seen and compared in the reality of the real world. In the Orthodox world of subjective and closed system isolation it is the truth and when even its outcome seen by the Orthodox tells them the lies believed are destroying their church. That is Sanhedrin like thinking and it will only result in your church death. As long as your minds continue to live in this subjective and closed isolation you will never see yourselves as you truly are and if you can’t see yourselves objectively you will fail.

    Corruption is subjective. Holiness is objective. Get it, Orthodox? You cannot be objective about yourselves or your church if both are corrupt by the same things that were the corruption of those Christ confronted. Yes, I know, this is really difficult to listen too. The truth often is and the truth is in the Orthodox face and they are in denial of what that truth is really telling them is the cause of their corrupt failure that is not going to find solution. Did you hear me, Orthodox? Your solution is not going to find solution. Every EO jurisdiction in America is corrupt and failed by the same theological and structure and system cause. The cause of the corrupt failure has the same systemic cause and since this is the truth of it you all fail together from the same cause. Now deny it and continue to remain corrupt and failed.

    Orthodox you cannot control your image or your outcome by religious dictatorship power and control that is nothing more than mind control that controls the image and outcome thinking of the Orthodox. In other words, it places you into denial of why you are corrupt and why you are failed without solution. In your Orthodox Minds you can’t be in denial for how right and true all of you are and yet your outcome tells a radically different story of how your denial is becoming your end. The same kind or type of denial that Christ in the Gospels confronted. Don’t believe me? Look at John 8:31-59 and see the orthodox mind set in self protection defenses. Look at what they held up as their apologetic defense. Every defense they raise up is the apologetic defense of the EOC in its corrupt failure. Tradition, Fathers, structure and system, we alone are right, etc. Christ told them what and who the source of their denial and corruption was. The rational open system objectivity of Christ confronted their subjective closed system bias that was pure failure in its thinking about itself for the lies it believed about itself.

    Those Christ confronted believed the following:

    1. Tradition is the path to salvation and relationship with God,
    2. Hierarchy totalism power and control is Gods authority over you.
    3. We alone are right and true and all not of us are wrong.

    How did they in John 8:31-59 react to Him calling it exactly for what it was? Who did He tell them was in rule over their thinking and what is the outcome of that thinking in the real world? Could Satan in rule cause a church to become a corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying? Well??? Christ was comparing His thinking to the evil one’s thinking in those verses. Those are SYSTEM verses that compare the SYSTEM of Christ to the SYSTEM He was confronting. He was confronting the evil one’s system and that system had what kind of an outcome??? It had what kind of authority structure. It had what kind of thinking about itself?

    It’s outcome was complete systemic corruption from the same SOURCE CAUSE. Can the Orthodox make the comparison here as to why and how their church structure and system is corrupt and failed from the same systemic source cause??? Thinking rationally is fun, right, Orthodox? Christ’s rational mind confronted the irrational mind that was corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying. Life is rational. Death is irrational. Get it?

    Welcome EO to the real world that rationally compares your claim to its outcome. Can the Orthodox connect dots? Obviously not. The totalism religious dictatorship connects the dots for them and they then believe what it tells them the dot picture says about them. They alone are Gods only right and true church and all other churches compared to them are wrong and heretic. Of course, in the EO mind a corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying church without solution and that claims to be Gods only true church is not wrong or a heretic by its outcome. Only in the Orthodox world. That does not fly in the real world and the Orthodox are not going to learn that lesson for believing their is no lesson to learn for their being so right in comparison to all others. In the Orthodox Mind there is not other world outside of their world. God is Orthodoxy and Orthodoxy is God. That is Gods only paradigm on the planet.

    The Sanhedrin believed the same about themselves and Christ told them what about their mind set and the end result of their thinking??? Can the Orthodox compare? Can the Orthodox come to comparative conclusions? Oh, I see, its the Orthodox themselves that are corrupt and not the theology. A transparent attempt to avoid reality. Your theology is the basis of your Roman church/state hierarchy totalism power and control religious dictatorship. Your theology determines how you design structure and system, how you think and what your outcome seen in the real world really is.

    Christianity based upon the living Jesus Christ can paradigm shift to relevancy in the generation it is found in. Christianity based upon Sanhedrin like thinking cannot make this paradigm shift. It gets left behind in a dying paradigm and God moves His church forward without that dead paradigm holding Him down or back. He is not going to wait for you, Orthodox. He has left you behind in your dying paradigm that has no solution for it believing it is the only right and true paradigm of God. Christ was the paradigm shift of relevancy in the generation He came to us in. The Orthodox are without excuse and it is glaringly obvious why that they are a corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying church that is without solution. It is without solution because the only solution it has to this state of church is the very issues causing this state of church. If you use the problems of tradition, top down power and control and we alone are right as solution you will remain circular without solution and you will continue as a corrupt failure.

    Oh, but, the Orthodox by claiming to be Gods only right and true church are setting themselves up as Gods only role model and example of what Christ’s church is. All other churches are to be measured against the Orthodox church that is corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying. The Orthodox correct church is God objective standard of other church measure. The fact is that any church that follows your example will end up in your state of church. You will turn who ever becomes of you into your corrupt failure that has no solution. They would become a Sanhedrin like corrupt failure that cannot recognize that Christ is the confrontation of who and what that you are.

    The truth of this is that the Orthodox are being confronted for their state of church and for what causes this state of church. The corrupt church failure is confronting the Orthodox and the only solution to the corrupt failure that they have is what causes the corrupt failure. What you base yourself upon is your solution. In effect, if you base your solution on what causes your failure then you will continue to fail. That is exactly what is going in the EOC and its outcome in the real world, only denied by the EO, is the proof. Your denial of the cause of your corrupt failure is based upon the same thinking that the Sanhedrin had in their denial of Christ. The more you deny Christ in your thinking the more you will die by Sanhedrin like thinking. How a church thinks determines its outcome in the real world. The real world is not the in systemic closed, isolated and subjective denial that corrupt and failed Orthodox lives in.. It sees right through the EOC and sees into the cause of this corrupt failure that the corrupt failure cannot see for it being such a corrupt failure.

    How does a church paradigm shift to relevancy in the generation it is found in? It paradigm shifts by Christ’s salvation that is relevant in all generations. A church thinks through its salvation. How a church thinks determines its outcome in the real world. Gods true salvation does not result in a circular without solution church that is corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying. Christ came to us the opposite of those things in the Gospel to make the clear comparison that His salvation has nothing to do with those things. Yet, those are the very things the EOC is standing upon in its corrupt failure that has no solution.

    Salvation can paradigm shift to relevancy because it is based in repentance to transformation to innovation to change to relevancy. That is Christ come to us in the Gospels. It is not the Sanhedrin like church come to us as Christ in the Gospels. Orthodox do you know what the bottom line message of Christ to those He confronted was? It was GO BE RIGHT and completely miss who that I am come to you. Completely miss who God come to you is for believing God is who that you are in your traditions, totalism power and control and we alone are right mind set. The Orthodox seem to forget that God confronted the orthodox in the Gospels.

    Tradition, top down power and control and we alone are right cannot paradigm shift to Christ’s relevancy. It couldn’t with the Sanhedrin and it is not going to with the EOC and for the same reasons.

    Ashley Nevins

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    • It’s not really anonymous when you sign your name at the end. I am Orthodox and having issues with it myself, but the Orthodox Church is not dying by any means. It’s actually growing in the USA.

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    • Canonized does not mean written. The Apostles and their direct associates wrote the books of the New Testament, not the institutional church.

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    • That was part of it, but they also had the many writings of the apostles and other early Christians. The books of the New Testament were all written by the end of the first century and in circulation and use by the those people and churches to which they were written and sent. The New Testament as a whole was not canonized and compiled into one book until a few centuries later but the individual letters and epistles were in use from the first century on.

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  43. My answer to the question “Where is authenticity to be found?” is to remember that this is HIS church–the global assembly of ALL who truly believe in and follow Jesus Christ. We do this by practicing a Christianity that is a Person, the living Word (an idea emphasized by EO) and taking the written Word as final for our faith and practice (an idea emphasized by Protestants). Authenticity is not determined by age of a hierarchal structure, or by continuity of a line of “bishops,” or by subjective mystical experience of adherents, but by content–faithfulness to the inspired Writings which an open-minded survey of the New Testament will show was the criterion used by the Apostles, and elders of the earliest church. There are important historic biblical truths about salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, and in Christ alone which have been a testimony in every century. Truly belonging to Christ, as well as unity of the church as a whole, is not institutional, but relational. Read the high-priestly prayer of our Lord in John 17 and you see this. My invitation, then, is for all who would claim to be His church to join us blood-bought followers of Jesus at the foot of His cross, changing our sectarian exclusivities (yes, both sides have them) for Identify as the redeemed ones of the Lamb that was slain, and replacing the capital “O” in orthodoxy with a lower-case one, then being willing to receive each other as fellow-disciples, and recognizing that each of us can learn from the others. This will seem too simple to some, but made so by the need for brevity. At least, read John 17 and see if there might be something to this. (Incidentally, when Jesus prayed “that they all might be one”–verse 21–He wasn’t expressing a wished-for future condition, but announcing a vital reality, soon to be effectuated by His work on the Cross, Resurrection, Ascension, and coming of the Spirit).

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  44. Authority does NOT rest with a Visible Church, an invisible church, scripture, creed, council, tradition, man, Pope, bishop, or apostle…

    Authority rests in the one true triune God. Only. Entirely.

    That authority lives in each Christian by means of the Father, through the sacrifice of the Son in the form of the Holy Spirit.

    This GOD who lives in His creation can be known, and desires fellowship with his creatures. No amount of doctrine, history, knowledge, or tradition can replace this. Not even close. Though they do imitate it.

    There is no one true church but the one true church of Christ which is the wheat among the tares. Only the harvester will know the one from the other.

    The games we children are playing in His name are not unlike those played by h\His disciples when they argued over who was His favorite. They are the games of little children who have not yet KNOWN the Spirit who lives in them because they are too busy playing their games.

    But the one true God is patient and merciful. And if we turn from our wickedness, and return to our Saviour he will heal our hearts and our land, and grant us true communion with HIMSELF and the remnant saints who are scattered through this world.

    Do not go on playing your sandbox games of power and hierarchy, return to your Father.

    In Christ alone.

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  45. Thank you so much for the very helpful info that is so very needed especially when dealing with my brother and his wife who have recently (4 years ago) became part of the Eastern Orthodox Church and leaving their home base which was Calvary Chapel.

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  46. -Is There a Higher Theology For Man, Than Knowing God personally -person to PERSON-?

    True Theologians
    “He is not here; for he is risen” (Matthew 28, 6)
    From the island of Cyprus (Acts 13:4,5).

    There are those today who live in not so distant places that have a real life person to Person relationship with Lord Jesus!
    These humble words that are shared with brotherly love and respect, point out to the kind of relationship man was made to have with our Lord Jesus Christ. The following paragraphs, where taken from the book of Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos Entreaty” (Paraklitika), and it is knowledge that must be shared with all those who have Lord Jesus Christ as their Heavenly Father.

    “Those who have made their selves worthy to see God are the True Theologians. Saint Gregorios the Theologian taught that those who saw God like Apostle Paul can safely theologize, because the sight of God cleans them from all fantasy, and renders them true preachers of the truth making them explicitly different from philosophers and philosophies”.

    Metropolitan Hierotheos who is member of the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church continues in his book:

    “It is with a lot of awe and fear of God that we dare write here that even today there are Saints (that are alive today) who saw and see Christ in the Light, they converse with him, and stay in His Sight for days and even weeks. We have been blessed by God to personally meet such people who saw Christ in His Divine Light, who attest to the fact that Lord Jesus is a True God, the only Savior of man, our only hope for Eternal Life, our only way out of the dead end that we have reached”. (John 17:3) “And eternal life means knowing you (personally), the only true God, and knowing Jesus Christ, whom you send”

    Saint Gregorios (3rd century) description of his personal experience who saw Christ in His Divine Light is used as an example to describe how the Saints are able (became worthy), to see and know God in His Divine Glory.

    “UNDER CONDITIONS OF CONTINUED PRAYER AND UPWARD EXTENSION THAT HAVE AS CLIMAX THE UNION WITH GOD, MAN IS POSSESSED ENTIRELY FROM LIGHT OF DIVINE GLORY THAT IS SEND FOURTH ETERNALLY FROM THE TRIAD. AFTER THE MIND IS SEIZED FROM THE DIVINE LIGHT AND ENTERS THE LIGHT IT BECOMES ITS SELF-LIGHT. THUS LIKE LIGHT, IT SEES LIGHT”

    A notion, which Saint Symeon goes to great lengths to clarify in his writings, is the fact that the Divine Light is a Person. It is not simply a sensible radiance—an inanimate luminosity such as one might receive from a lamp, or from the sun. Rather the Divine Light is the very ‘Person’ of the Divinity Himself: it is not simply a product of God, it is God. “Your light, O my God, is You”, he writes, and to this point of emphasis he often returns. Saint Symeon is also known to emphasise in his teachings… “If we don’t see Lord Jesus in this life…we will never see Him ever”! There is no other theology higher than being in the presence (union) with God. There is an actual physical ontological transformation that takes place that can be verified after death and after exhuming the body that testifies to an awesome EXPERIENCE in the presence of God.
    The object and the purpose of our Christian Life is enabling our selves in His Divine presence by becoming in His Likeness (“Be Holy because I am Holy” (Peter 1, 16) through a THERAPY that was delivered to the Apostles the day of Pentecost ONCE AND FOR ALL 2000 years ago!

    Orthodoxy teaches that it has an unbroken Holy Tradition of spiritual knowledge a way of life (Divine Life) that leads to the mystical union with God. This mystical union is also known as Sainthood, Salvation, Supernatural condition, the Overcoming of mans mortality state, or being a god by the Grace of God. They also teach that it is not possible for this union to become an object of any kind of an academic study that can “discover” or “deepen” in the knowledge, because Christianity is all about Divine Grace.

    The people of the Nations belonging to Orthodox Christianity will never claim that they have discovered the road (THERAPY) for Salvation. However they will tell you that their prime directive and responsibility has always been to keep everything that was passed down from Jesus (the Holy Spirit) and the Apostles u n c h a n g e d for these methods and teachings that were put forward for the Salvation of all man constitute or sum up the Divine Will of God.

    To know Lord Jesus philosophically is to have a love relationship with an idea “philosophy” and not Lord Himself who appears to his Saints in His Divine Light as a PERSONALLY! This why the Greek Orthodox Church teaches that, -Man has a Divine Inheritance (the Church) and a Divine Destination (Eternal Life, Holiness)

    Interesting relating Internet addresses:
    ORTHODOX-PSYCHOTHERAPY

    http://www.greekorthodoxchurch.org/orthodox_psychotherapy.html

    Lord Jesus did not come to teach philosophically but THERAPEUTICALLY.
    The personal experience of the Saints begotten during conduct with Divine Light is the very base of Orthodox theology.
    The term “Orthodox Psychotherapy” does not refer to specific cases of people suffering from psychological problems of neurosis. Rather it refers to all people, for it is the darkening of the “nous” (mind) a condition disabling man to ever have communion (PERSON to person) with God.

    HOLY LIGHT

    http://www.oodegr.com/english/ekklisia/holylight.htm

    (Miracle of Holy Light in Jerusalem: Testimonies and Evidence)
    An awesome miracle on video that takes place Orthodox Saturday Easter (ONLY) during Divine Liturgy each year for about 1670 years at the spot our Lord Jesus was born, in the Temple of Nativity in Jerusalem. Notice in the video that the candles of the faithful in the left light up –before- the Patriarch comes out!

    Those who see this video, can reflect back to the Old Testament and clearly understand how the fire did not burn, (look at pictures at the very bottom) and how the fire was in essence Gods Holy Light, Gods Holy Fire.

    I belong to no organization (that does this) and no one pays me. I do not hold any kind of position anywhere. I feel sadden and hurt to see all those who have been better than my self in prayer and Christian deeds to not get what they truly deserve because of reasons …of not knowing

    God bless,
    your friend and servant

    Constantinos (J.W)

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  47. Dear brothers in Christ,

    Have you ever asked yourself what happened in reality in 1054, when the Roman Catholic Church was created by the Bishop of Rome ?! This newly created Church split from the Orthodoxy ! The Head of the Orthodox Church is Our Lord Jesus Christ but the head of the Roman Catholic Church is the pope ! So, inother words, for the Roman Catholic Church, pope replaced Our Lord…Do you think this is not from the devil ?!

    Why the Orthodox priests can exorcize demonized people but the Catholics priests not (I heard cases when the demons entered the priest) ?!
    Why the Orthodoxy still gives Saints even in these days ?!
    Why the Holy Light comes only for the Orthodox Easter ?! DO YOU THINK THAT GOD IS WRONG ?!

    The Orthodox is the Christian who loves all the souls ! No matter the race, religion, genre…

    MAY GOD SAVE ALL THE SOULS ! AMEN !

    Mircea

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    • Really? You think the Roman church came into being in a single instant? It was the end result of distance, time, culture and politics over centuries that led to the split in the 11th century. Read some history.

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  48. dear sir the eastern orthodox church proves her authenicity by
    the oral traditions passed on to the church fathers from the original 12 apostles and her church history and the bible which confirms its claim of being the original church only rome which has apostolic roots but fell away by adding many extra biblical doctrines can make any other such claims the only thing protestants have is they relay on the bible alone which they interpete as they see fit and omit sentences and paragraghs that do not fit in thier doctrinal beliefs and since the institution of the protestant reformation in the 16th century thier are over 26,000 sects in protestantism all claiming a pope like superiority over each other this is why most people doubts the claims of protestantism and why most in the evangelical church long to seek to connect with the ancient church over a rational inteleul church with white wash walls and devote a small period of time of singing a few hymms and basicaly the whole service is more about the preaching by one man on his interpetation of what scrptures say this is not real worship serive held by the early church this is what luther and zwegli and calvin and wesley a false model of what they saw as being what the early church looked like and it was not what the early church fathers descripted it as being it was liturgical and the church having adornation on its walls of iconography and believing in the real presence of christ in the body and the blood in the elements of the bread and wine and honoring and prays of the saints and the virgin mary and the climax of the divine liturgy is the eucharist and this is the center of the worship service as has been from the very begining only after the reformation did they do away with the altar and replaced it with a skinny pulpit stand and made the worship with the people in the pews and now you have protestants churches coming up with ways to draw the people in it is more of how to entertain the people
    with their rock and roll music and never was the church used as a evangelizing tool or altar calls in the ancient church their was a time for those preparing to enter the church would come on sunday participate in the service and hear the word of god and then the priest who was serving the liturgy would pray for those preparing and after that he would then say let all catacumens depart let no catacumens remain let us the faithfullagain and again pray and those who were not of the faith were ldismissed by the priest and they went off to study and contuine to prepare for that day they would enter as full members of the church

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  49. Church and aeroplanes

    The very intricate and complicated doctrine or theology beliefs of today’s Christian religions can be compared with the very intricate and complicated parts of an aeroplane. A person is not required to know the different working parts of an aeroplane individually or know aeronautical law in order to take one to a certain destination. A matter of fact a person needs to know NOTHING of aeroplanes to board one! This is because of the person’s awareness (knowledge) that aeroplanes really do fly. Like wise the decision about “which is the One Church talked about in (Ephesians 4:5) can be confronted the same exact way!

    The 85 Holy Cannons of the Church the Apostles wrote from the beginning of her creation (http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/cannons_apostles_rudder.htm ),
    the real history and miraculous life stories of the Apostles who created the Church along with the Bishops that Orthodoxy celebrates as Saints today who participated in the 7 Ecumenical Synods that took place, resemble the intricate parts of the aeroplane, that we do not really need to understand because the Church has been delivering Saints from the beginning of her creation non stop.

    The gold coloured aromatic Holy Remains of the Saints recovered for the past 2000 years including Holy Remains Apostles should be anyone’s guarantee that the airship called (Orthodoxy) really flies. With in the big airport that is called “the world” there are all kinds of intricate airplanes (religions, beliefs) to choose from, however it is verified by port authority Apostle Paul in Ephesians: 4, 5 that there can only be only “One Church, One Faith and One Baptism” only one airplane (Church) that can possibly be air worthy, one airplane (Church) that can safely take Christians to their desired destination the Heavenly Kingdom.
    To “mix” airplane parts and components of other models on an airplane (Orthodox Church) that is already is air worthy, can lead to a catastrophe for all involved!

    To our brothers who are Catholic and to the rest of Christians in the world who we dearly love, we can only say that there is a sigh on the stairs that lead on the main fuselage of the Orthodox airplane.
    -WE TRULY LOVE YOU-
    TRUST IN US TO TAKE YOU SAFELY TO YOUR DESTINATION

    Constantinos J.W

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  50. When GOD started HIS CHURCH FAMILY with ADAM & EVE,the evil one manipulated the human into division to weaken our unity as one HOLY FAMILY in GOD’s PURE LOVE…THIS HAS CONTINUED THROUGH OUT the years, for it’s the evil one’s plan… Thttp://orthodox.christianityinview.com/timeline.html…..As a christian of the oldest christian establishment ( the Christian Orthodox Church which started with CHRIST at PENTACOST ). I am A FOLLOWER of CHRIST, as my LORD & SAVIOR and in my sinful nature I asked the LORD everyday to show his grate MERCY on me,enlighten me through this HOLY SPIRIT and show me HIS WAYS and WILL and HIS plans for me while in my physical state on this EARTH..SALVATION IS IN both FAITH and WORKS that glorify the LORD.God is not pleased if we have the one and not the other…..GOD will be the JUDGE…AND GOD’s CHURCH is UNIVERSIAL…..NOT TO BE COFUSED with the ROMAN CATHOLIC ORDER.I humbly asked the Lord, doing my cross in prayer, for these word to express HIS WILL, NOT MINE.May HE SHOW HIS LOVING MERCY and grant FORGIVNESS on ALL who TRULY LOVE HIM…..AMIN !!!!!

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  51. Why the confusions? we are one in Christ….let us be together in prayers and love…Christ established no church any where…..we had been called as Christians, because we had accepted the Gospel of Christ and as our savior. What difference it makes, if the name of the Church you are associated is different from the name of the Church I am associated, as long as we are one in Christ? Love one another..that is important and essential.

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  52. Wow! Quite an interesting convo. Let me say this….EO seems rather cultish to me, it’s more of a social ethnic club. This is NOT to say they aren’t Christians. Those who call upon Christ can be saved in spite of doctrine, clearly. But, yes these man made traditions, which no one can trace back to the apostles (I’m sorry but you can’t, no one can seem to prove it, so if this were a case being presented before a judge that EO is the only true church, it would fail miserably).
    The Bible should be the only final authority as it is proveable to be written by the Apostles.

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  53. I’ve read this whole blog and am feeling nauseated with all the theology. I pray this blog does not turn anyone away from Christ.

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  54. If your want proofs about religion stop watching exorcist or The Rite and pay a visit to Agio Oros in Greece or St. Catherine’s Monastery at Mount Sinai. There you will get an idea of what trully is Orthodoxia. These two are some the hundreds of Holy places were you may taste the love of God.

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    • dear sir if you were never a member you can not assume thier are problems with the church humans make mistakes and people are causes of error but the holy spirit protects the church from error

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  55. Hi,

    I have read these comments and have a few myself. 1st. It is not so much a matter of what church you blong to but whether you belong to Christ in your heart. Are there Orthodox Christians who don’t have Him in thier heart who are in essence hypocritcal? Yes as well as every other church on earth. If you are looking for the perfect Church and find it don’t join it because it will no longer be perfect when you do.

    What Orthdoxy teaches is as close to the original teachings as possible and they seek to hold fast to that and thier ancient traditions since they were directed to by the New testament. People use the word “intolerance” to project a spirit of meanness in the church. I have never found that. In fact what I have found and experienced is that they are very tolerant and patient with people. They will correct you and do it in and with Love. Just as Jesus sat down with Sinners and dined with them while the jewish authorities complained. It isn’t intolerant to show others the truth just as it is not being intolerant as a math tutor to correct a students math. Is the tutoring done with love in an environment of support or is it done attacking the other person? Is the search for Christ done in Love? In the EO church I have very nice and loving people who when you see them they are walking the path. (not that you do not find that in a protestant church and not that there are great folks there as well).

    The Orthodox Christian does spread the word of God but in a different way. They walk the walk rather than talking the talk. He told us to love one another as I have loved each of you. An EO christian does believe in reading the bible and like Paul directed being prepared always to argue your faith. They go out and feed an help the poor and finding those who need help and helping them and sharing Christ with them not only by sharing the bible but by thier actions that speak so much louder than words.

    There is a difference bettween reading and intellectualizing the bible and living the word. The bible is more than a book, to truly appreciate it and find God you have to study, practice humility, and pray for Gods guidance.

    It was said by some one above, that if the church agreed God was dead then they would buy into that. NOT SO. It misses the point of what the Church is doing. They vet things fully so that they are holding fast to what they have been taught. They would never go along with the straw man arguement because first is is not in the scripture and that is VERY important to them. It is why they are accused of being “stuck in the past” but they are really holding fast to what they have been taught and passing it down correctly. Protestants have pretty much trown out the eurcharist while the Orthodox maintain it as central to worship. They have been accused of throwing out the sabbath when in fact both Saturday and Sunday are holy to them. They can and do provide scriptual support for everything they do. Pick the orthodox study bible for instance and you can see in the foot notes where they point to support for a particular tradition.

    EO has also been accused of Mary worship and that is not true. she is venerated and honored NEVER EVER worshiped. Praying to and for the Saints is supported by Paul (full armor of God).

    My parents were Protestant and at one time my mom wanted to do JW and she knew and had lots of debates with them. I never really “followed a faith” I mostly studied on my own and I thought of the Orthodox as the guys with the huge beards in fact and didn’t give them much thought. Until I read the web site of an author Jim Forest who is a friend of mine now. When I got the Orthodox Study Bible and read it, I found thier beliefs more in line with my thinking and learning over the years. I have gone to many a christian church of many denominations and I always found things I could point to as provably false. We did go to a pentacostal church in Amsterdam for a while, but when the guest preacher started to preach things I knew were wrong we started looking elsewhere and researched more and found the russin Orthodox church. We visited the one in Amsterdam and talked with the priest and with in a few months were baptized into it. From the moment I walked in it flet right. The feeling during the services was indescribable. It was something new to us and they made every effort to welcome us help us and support us in more ways that I can count. from translating the service and getting us english language versions of things to the wonderful lunches we had after wards and a very real sense of community.

    These were people walking the walk and it was entirely natural for them. Following Jesus Christ wasn’t simply a way of life or a set of rules to follow it was life to them. An enormus difference from anything I saw in Every other Church including the roman catholic churches I have seen. Are they perfect No and they will be the first to tell you that. They so not expect or demand perfection from you either. What they will do is lovingly support you on your journey to know him. they will be there when you fall and when you are crying and desparate. They will be with you in the best of times and they will not abandon you during the hard times.

    The otherdox study bible as well is the most accurate translation to english I have found as well. They try very hard to be accurate and they were one of the few to bring the bible to everyone native language so every one could read and understand it. It was not only the protestants that spearheaded that effort. It was the Orthodox church. I also have bibles in all the ancient languages in parallel editions as well. I do alot of study.

    I am Orthodox by choice. It was a search and done with much research. It is not a cult as some have said on this blog. Far from it. They will hold fast to what was originally taught and they make every effort to pass it on faithfully. If you call that intolerance then so be it. They certainly welcome debate and discussion ussually not on saturday and Sunday. Then they are worshiping and reflecting etc. They ussually have session during the week for study and people always discuss among them selves after services and the priests are always accessible.

    Now in Luxembourg we attend 2 churches one romainian and also a russin orthodox church. getting english speaking folks can be a challenge, but again they make every effort to accomodate. The romainian chuch the second time there I was asked to read from the bible during services in english. It is very important to participate and understand and internalize the scripture.

    I can sum up the differences like this. In the other churches I felt they were more or less talking at you. In the orthodox Church they are standing beside you talking with you. its a deep relationship. I feel like these folks are all my brothers and sisters and they feel the same with us. From day one we were treated like one of the family. The love, His love could be felt. IS that no what we are seeking after all? With them Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit are upclose and personal. They are walking with you on the journey. The prayer life is a conversation with Him with the Creator of the universe and if you listen you can hear him and feel him. He dwells with in you and you allow him to shape your life and your actions and to wash you clean and help others become clean too and share in the Joy.

    There is alot of Joy in the Orthodox Church. They also refer to them selves alot as the Orthodox Faith and rarely use the word religon to describe them selves. Religon is about following a bunch of man made rules to try and earn your way into his heart. That is not what I find in the Orthodox faith. Yes they have thier ceremony but it is with specific purpose. Like the eucharest. Jesus said do this in rememberance of me and he said it was his body and his blood. they don’t attempt to explain it because it is a mystery to us. We are not supposed to understand it and don’t try. We trust Him at his word.

    I hope this helps. It can be hard to describe in words what is felt and what you experience. To me it has been a change from the inside out. Further, when you accept Jesus and you get baptized, (yes it is required unless God does it for you like abraham for instance. John 3:5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.) your eternal life with Him doesn’t start later, it begins then. A very different perspective. They live as though they are working with him in heaven because for us we are and He is right there with you and He has provided to you the church to assist you on walking that path and remaining true and transforming yourself and your life.

    The link to my Church in Amsterdam is here: http://www.orthodox.nl/index.php?lang=en . Feel free to email them. Ask questions not only of them but Ask God Ask Jesus. Seek and you will find Ask and it will be given to you. He will help you He promised he would and he does.

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  56. Oh and in they had no trouble that we were Americans in fact there were Americans in that Church and they were excited to have more. One said it is an ethnic cult or club. I saw people from all and I mean all walks of life and races. look at the pictures on thewebsite you can see for yourself. But one needs to find one and go experience and talk to them.

    Every Orthodox church has been the same. The romainian one was real excited to have Americans there even though most could not speak English and more took it up so they could practice on us ;-). Also too when they do the blood and Body you get just that not just a wafer. It is a real pascha bread and very real and strong wine which is given to Every one including the children. The Russian outing ussually will include some nice ice cold vodka shots shots as well. People have a great time and it is some of the most fun I have had. just an FYI. And no one got 3 sheets to the wind. They have fun and Joy in what they do. Many churches have this but there are those (like in america that are quite, shall I say stuffy) Ie they won’t even go to a dance and all sorts of other rules. The russians will enjoy themselves and are not afraid of thier own shadow. Another difference I found quite nice and no they do not support or promote a life of sin all you want then confess it all away as they have been accused of. I heard that from the pentacostals. They had some impression that the EO go and act like harlots and then just confess it and all is well then. That is not a theology they support especially if they are walking the walk.

    Christ was described as a man of Joy. That pretty much fits thier attitude towards life. You might like it too.

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  57. Excuse me, but have I insulted your church so that you feel that you need to insult mine? I find your post insulting…and so I wish to set the record…..remember Constantine? He was the first Christian King (around 313 AD)….he established Constantinople as the new capitol….the churches he built are as the Greek Orthodox ones are today….therefore it can be established that the Orthodox Churches of today are descended from the first ones….go look at St. Sophia if you don’t believe me.

    As for the rest of what you write….I humbly suggest that you are arguing not only from an inaccurate translation of the Gospels, moreover you tend to ignore some of what was written therein (St. Paul stated, “Brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions (tas paradoseis) which you have been taught, whether by word or our epistle” (2 Thessal. 2:15). Traditions = that which is taught and not written down….that which the Orthodox Church follows and is ridiculed for.

    Furthermore, it is important to note that some the changes followed by Protestants are as follows (to give one example): Father Georges Florovsky, a patristics scholar and well-known Orthodox theologian of the last century who taught at
    Harvard and Princeton and was the dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary in the
    1950’s, wrote the following about this Reformation controversy: “Luther
    even added the word “alone”—allein—in Romans 3:28 before “through
    faith” precisely to counter the words in James 2:24: “You see that a man is
    justified by works and not by faith alone.” What is more is that Luther
    became very aggressive and arrogant in his response to the criticism that
    he had added “alone” to the Biblical text. “If your papist makes much useless
    fuss about the word sola, allein, tell him at once: Doctor Martin Luther will
    have it so and says: Papist and donkey are one thing; sic volo, sic jubeo, sit pro
    ratione voluntas. For we do not want to be pupils and followers of the
    Papists, but their masters and judges.” Luther continues in a bantering
    manner in an attempt to imitate St. Paul in the latter’s response to his
    opponents in the Corinthian correspondence (2 Corinthians 11:22-23):
    “Are they doctors? So am I. Are they learned? So am I. Are they preachers?
    So am I. Are they theologians? So am I. Are they philosophers? So am I. Are
    they writers of books? So am I. And I shall further boast: I can expound
    Psalms and Prophets; which they cannot. I can translate; which they cannot
    . . . Therefore the word allein shall remain in my New Testament, and though
    all pope-donkeys should get furious and foolish, they shall not get the word
    out.” In some German editions the word “allein” was printed in larger type!”

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  58. i must resind my defense of the orthodox church that i posted in june of this year on this blog since then i have seen the many wrongs and ways members of this church have treated me the fact they act like a social club and have thier clicks among them and have rules which make some of us who wish to participate in its sacraments can not when you are bullied by ushers at some parishes when they take it upon themselves to become god and question you when you last took confession or if you have fasted on the subscribed fast days of the church your response determines whether you qualify if you can take commuion and then you have some priests and bishops in the eo church who question if the church is wrong about thier policy of banning gay marriages or gay or women clergy serving in parishes or if abortion is wrong and i have to be judged by a bunch of liberal minded lay people at these bible studies who use the verse in the bible repeated to me judge not least be ye judged and reprimanded for speaking that the bible is against these sort behaviors sorry to point it out to them i am just agreeing with the bible if they have a problem with a ban of gay marriages gay clergy or women clergy or god hating abortion i suggest they tak that up with god the author of the bible this is what makes one think if he or she should stay in the eastern orthodox church and the eastern orthodox church membership in the wcc and the ncc both organization are a false union of liberal churches trying to force thier unbiblical behavior on the rest of christianity

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  59. I grew up a doubting Catholic. Doubting in the Catholic church, but not in my faith in God. At 25 I became a Jehovah’s Witness. At 43 years old I walked away from that “religion”. Through all of this, never has my faith in God wavered.
    My study of scripture is deep and wide. My study of Christendom is as well deep and wide, and very involved.
    ALL of these churches of Christendom have their false paradigms.
    Nonetheless, I now frequent the Orthodox Church, and I read volumes written by many of the Saints, of course including St Chrysostom, those of the Judean Desert and others.
    I am convinced that the Lord will sort it all out. He, and HE alone is separating the goats from the sheep, and not you and not me.

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  60. I dated an Orthodox lady for 8 years and went to her service numerous times. I felt as tho I was being exposed to so many pagan practices. The priest wanted total control over the people, denying them the right to communion if they dared go against him….Needless to say, I found the church and priest to be so like the Pharisees whom Christ condemned so heavily in the NT. Sorry, I have nothing good to say about the church after being exposed to it in an open-minded way. Seems to be RC without the Pope.

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  61. 75. The Orthodox are very connected to Paganism. If anyone is interested, Hyslop’s book ‘The Two Babylons’, is a good place to start, and ‘Mystery Babylon’ another good book. Both books really expose the influences of paganism in the RC/EO. They are a serious mix of Paganism, Christianity, Judaism, and Philosophy.

    The Orthodox use their history, their antiquity, etc., to qualify themselves, and their religion. They are mystic’s, and they develop their traditions in the cloak of mysticism, and man made oral tradition. They use men from the first few centuries, and some pretty strange men later on, to qualify themselves. They treat the Word of God, and the Apostles teachings’, as a bit of a guide line, but not fully reliable. They start early, in the process of trying to convert someone, by breaking down the Bible to a helpful book that they can “honor”, but, EO has the real authority.

    They treat the Word of God, and the Apostles teachings’, as a bit of a guide line, but not fully reliable. They start early, in the process of trying to convert someone, by breaking down the Bible to a helpful book that they can “honor”, but, EO has the real authority. The Bible is also an Icon to them. But, then, pretty much everything is an Icon in their religion. They will deny everything you say, and they’ll spin and turn it all, till you tire of their history or their antiquity, and are done with the conversation.

    Oral tradition and written tradition/teachings are the same. They were delivered to the Apostles, via the Holy Spirit. He gave them all of the scripture, which was not of their own ” private interpretation”, meaning they didn’t make it up, or construct doctrine or tradition themselves out of their own thoughts. These teachings are God’s Words, written through men. No one has private interpretation when it comes to the Holy Word of God. Men spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, to teach and write what they were told. The oral and written agreed, other wise we would have contradiction from God. When the Apostles died, cannon of scripture was closed. With a serious warning to anyone who adds or takes away from His Word. EO is in serious danger. Read Rev. 22:19.

    EO use’s 2 Thes. 2:15 to prove their oral traditions. But it hangs their interpretation. Paul said, “Therefore brethren, stand fast, and hold to the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle”. He already delivered it, and they were to hold on to his teachings. Oral and written traditions are the same. It was the same message! Paul already had delivered it. They never said there would be later additions and developments of authority over men, by some religious group who claims “Apostolic Succession”.

    They claim they are God’s true church, the Bible will nix that in a second. God’s church is built on the ROCK, as the Psalms say, not Peter, a mere man. God sent his son to die for us, and teach us his truth, and the way in which we should go. So why would we now build on Peter, instead of God’s only begotten Son. He is a jealous God, highly unlikely he’ll share the throne with Peter on earth, or anyone else. Peter himself said, “he was fellow elder with the other Apostles”. If he were higher than than them, he would of said so, God would have inspired him to say so. Peter simply stated what they already new, Christ was the Son of God etc. and Christ qualified his statement. His church is made up of living stones, temples made without hands, they are sheep, chosen, elect, redeemed, justified by Christ’s work, and many more expressions of love from our redeemer. No one was ever called to be the head of a controlling religion, that alters Gods Word. Or to use Peter, Mary etc. as their Christ substitutes, during man’s stay on earth.

    Speaking of substitutes, there’s Mary. Mother of God? Queen of Heaven, she is given many attributes of her son, and can perform them. Why give Mary these titles, she is not the Mother of God, she’s the mother of Jesus’ earthly flesh. God is spirit and has no mother. Queen of Heaven is a pagan title given to many goddesses. God condemned this goddess, and Pagans adore her. And the EO/RC gave THIS NAME to Christ’s mom? What an insult to her. Not an honor. I would be very scared to bow down and worship the queen of Heaven, as millions do all over the earth. Paganism…

    The Eastern Orthodox claim they don’t worship her, they only venerate her, but in their own prayer book, is this prayer “We worship thee O HOLY IMMACULATE ICON”, not only do they bow down and beseech her for salvation ( though they love to say they don’t), their prayer book has prayers for just that. Along with many other things that only Christ can do.

    We have one mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus, so says God. Prayers to anyone, Icon, pictures, statues, is idolatry, pure and simple. God said “don’t bow down, that’s impossible for them, they do what they want.

    Their rituals, ceremonies and teachings are not found in the New Testament, and any ceremony in the Old testament would have been clearly given to the Jews, by God. God is King, and all Kings are approached by the manner in which they want. You would not go up to the President of the US and say, ” I’m going to approach you the way I have invented”. It’s the same with God. He gives absolutes, and if we follow them, he’s Glorified, if we don’t, shame on us. Shame on EO for making up ways to approach God that he did not prescribe. The old testament Jewish ceremonies and worship pointed forward to Christ. Christ came to save us from our sins, he’s accomplished what he set out to do, and he left instructions behind…the New Testament.. He also gave us the Holy Spirit, for our comfort and guide. He helps us to understand what God wrote. EO will only confuse and distort God’s teachings. They would rather you trust them, empty your brain, chant to dead people, and have a massive to do list… and it will all aid in your salvation.

    The Word of God will stay strong, because God said it was preserved forever. He did not say EO is preserved forever. They really can’t make the Bible their authority, it would expose them. There is undeniable proof in history, of the excessive power and control that they had, and still have, over the minds of men. They are legalistic, and idolators. No one should trust them with their life.

    I pray I haven’t offended with my rebuke of Eastern Orthodox, I hope this piece of writing will challenge the Orthodox who really has an open mind, and desires the Lord, and wants truth to be his guide. Study the Word, and as 2 Tim. 2:15 tells us, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”.

    In His Name,
    Wallace

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  62. O.K. It is simple, at what point in your life have you been closest to GOD, just think?

    Well as a converted protestant who roamed the churches offered here in America I can personally say that my spiritual life is and has been overflowing since being baptized into the Orthodox church over a year ago. The Chant, the services, the sacraments have brought me into a deeper relationship with God and the people around me.

    “YOU HAVE CHANGED” that is what people who really know me say, and I never utter the name JESUS CHRIST, I just try to live in peace and humility, battling PRIDE every day, guided by the Holy Fathers and Elders along with the Holy Scripture.

    Stop being petty all of you, pride is the evidence of the evil one, battle it, fight it as the martyrs of old and new. Fight the evil one, if you wanna judge ORTHODOXY go ahead, but go to some services first, go to a vespers service, light a candle, gaze upon the icon Christ Pantocrator, say the Jesus Prayer “Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner”!!! say it, you will then only begin to taste the sweetness of Orthodoxy.

    Has not your mother and father taught you to judge only what you truly know, you cannot know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ or Orthodoxy from books and writings alone, you must experience it. It is church, do not be afraid, just go, in humility and seeking and you will be shown.

    I was once lost and thanks be to God I was found, the lost sheep.

    Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ have Mercy US!!!

    -Drostan

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    • Very well said. I cannot think of any one church in Christendom that does not have some sort of man made practice that is for lack of a better term, pagan or of some sort of man made practice or has its origin in an ancient non Christian religious practice from wedding rings to neck ties.
      “The Great Apostasy” in my opinion is all of Christendom today. We are all in it, and Christ can be found in the hearts and minds of many in all of it.

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  63. 78. Hi Drostan, you state that people who really know you say you’ve changed, and yet you never utter Jesus name. So you never give Jesus the praise for your apparent change? Christians give God the glory for their change. They know who changed them and they cannot stay quiet about who is responsible for their change. They know they didn’t change themselves, “can a leopard change his spots”?

    I have been to an Orthodox service, where people swipe the ground, bow to each other, worship images, sing to dead people, breathe an alarming amount of incense, and in general are taught absolutely nothing from the Word, They were taught why they did certain rituals. If you work hard enough doing what they instruct you to do, God may let you into heaven.

    Yes it’s true, Satan is active everywhere. Many modern so- called Christian churches are also corrupt. Satan is transformed into an angel of light…everyone needs to test the spirits, test what they believe in by the teachings in Gods’ scriptures. Our faith lies in Christ. The devil seeks to destroy our trust and dependency on Christ by any method he can.

    Gods Words are to be the only standard. He wrote those words and he has supreme authority over all His works. We should not give credit and authority to any man. Churches have no authority over God. EO claims that kind of authority over God’s word, and that is an immensely prideful thing. That is what we judge to be very dangerous.

    Unless God dwells in you and you are in Him, read John 17… unless you are saved– unless He dwells– in– you and not on the– outside of you– unless you have faith and believe and put your complete uncompromising, undiluted trust in Him—-you are not found. Unless he regenerated you, you are not His. Only Gods knows your heart, he does the changing of it from a dead heart to a living one. EO will never help you to understand this scripture— Ph. 1:6 “Being CONFIDENT of this very thing that he who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Our works are “filthy rags”. Are you performing this good work in yourself or is God? Are you justified, so you can even walk in sanctification, and in newness of life? Are you are redeemed? Cause if you are not redeemed, there is nothing you can do to please God.

    You accuse people of judging you, aren’t you judging others? Your very words tell us that you are making judgments. You assume Christians who believe the Gospel (good news) of Christ, only know him through writings? And that we do not experience Him? Have you walked in our shoes? Wandering around most “Protestant churches today is not evidence of anything. Christ gives us life, not churches—-of any kind. We, the body of Christ, are united by truth found in Him, there is no real unity in denominations or religions.

    You accuse us of being petty because we test EO by Gods Word? We are told by God to test the spirits. Is EO congruent with Gods word and His authority? How long have you been with EO? After studying this religion for almost 4 years, my conclusion is that it is not following God’s commands, it follows men, or as Peter puts it “cunningly devised fables”. Just curious, have you ever read the history behind the second council of Nicea?

    Vassia,
    “The Great Apostasy is all of Christendom today” so you say, I say, who are you to judge all of Christendom. Have you been in every Christian church? Genuine believers/disciples/faithful/born again/redeemed followers of Christ teachings, will never be part of any apostasy, for they are Gods adopted children, brothers and sisters in Christ. Only those who do not have genuine faith and are not His children, but follow a false system or church will be part of the Great apostasy. God’s children will not,

    Paganism creeps in unawares, everywhere it can. Solid Christ honoring churches will keep it out as they become aware of it’s varying influences. EO/RC have fully integrated it into their system of worship and structure over the last 1700 years, and it’s more than wedding rings that’s the problem. If you would take a close look at those books I mentioned earlier, you would have a lot to gulp and gloss over. Paganism is disguised in your form of Christianity, it’s fully integrated into your worship, it’s in just about every aspect of EO. If you don’t believe this, do some research away from EO writings.

    Christian churches that really focus on using Gods Word carefully, don’t tend to fall for the lies of Satan. They don’t want to dishonor God by man-handling His word to their own glory. 2Tim.2:15 It’s important to us that God’s word is faithfully preached and taught. EO is faithful to their own Orthodoxy, to their own inventions, but not to Gods very own Words. By their very own words they say that they have the right to alter and change Gods’ words, they have authority over the Bible because they put it together. They did not write it, big difference. Those early saints wouldn’t even recognize today’s EO.

    Eastern Orthodox are not the One true church they are a religion, an institute. They do not believe that the living body of Christ is the one true church, and God builds it of His own will, for His own purposes, according to His good pleasure. Ephesians 1

    The living church are they “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God”.John 1:13 also John 11 25. And we aren’t born again in heaven, it happens on earth, at Gods appointed time.

    “These things have I written unto you that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God”. We can rest in Him and have peace.

    “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my life”.

    We need to study who God is by what He says about Himself, in His scriptures.

    So at what point in my life have I been closest to God? When I am giving him all the glory for everything and taking no credit for that which I do. Knowing He’s my everything, and all the good I do is His work. I repent and seek His ever faithful forgiveness, and He gives it to me. I’m close when I am obeying His written will. When I see his Sovereignty at work, and for no explainable reason I know that he means it all for my good, and His eternal purpose.

    He’s close to me all the time, in everything, and he’s my all in all. I have loved Him for 50 years and He has never failed me. I depend on God for everything. His Holy Spirit guides me and His word is open for me to love and learn from. I don’t need incense and candles and men parading in robes, ready for me to kiss their fingers and rings. I don’t need icons and idols, and dead people for Christ is my mediator, and He’s Gods son. I don’t need elaborate buildings with gaudy gold dripping from ceilings, and chants, and rituals to make me feel on the outside some kind of righteousness or closeness by forms and imagery. I love Him because he first loved me, and I know this and have experienced Him my whole life. I fail, but He never fails me, and I know this from a long life with Him. My heart is in His hands, and I trust Him. I’m nothing, he’s everything.

    Wallace

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    • Wallace,

      Sorry you are so angry, sorry you believe you don’t need the church. Sorry you are a rouge Christian.

      You really believe that Saint Paul would have spent so much time on defining the church if there was not supposed to be one?

      May GOD have mercy on your soul, the blasphemy and heresy you preach islike blood on your hands, you will be held accountable.

      I hope you feel better Wallace…

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    • Wallace wrote – “The Great Apostasy is all of Christendom today” so you say, I say, who are you to judge all of Christendom.” Wallace, you really need to re-read and comprehend what I wrote. Mine was not any sort of offense against any one person but all of structure of Christendom. Quite a difference between the two.

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  64. 79. Dustin, I’m not angry at you, and I love the living body of Christ, the church. I belong to His body and I belong to a local body of believers. I love my church, and my church is very loving. We all love our churches, and want to think the best of them, you and I aren’t different from each other in this. I do however believe God wants us to search the scriptures and make sure we are lining up with his instructions and not man-made commandments.

    My point is Eastern Orthodox has made herself equal to God. Whether you believe this or not. I know you’ll resent me saying anything against EO, but you do give the church authority over scriptures. You are not taught to give full authority to the Scriptures. Scripture is Gods own Words to his people, God has preeminence, religions do not, no matter what religion it is,

    Paul never defined the Church the way EO does, it’s simply not in the Word. If you desired to make the Word preeminent in all that you believe and do, then you and I could talk. We could use the scripture as our guide to work off of. You wouldn’t feel the need to attack me personally, you would use the Word to show me where I was misrepresenting Gods Words and I would look carefully and think carefully about what you were pointing out to me. God gives us instruction to learn from Him. He uses each of us to sharpen each other.

    God already had mercy on my soul, He forgave me of my sins, I serve Him because I love Him, I have confidence in Christ and his atonement for me. I do not have confidence in the flesh, or my works, only His. I guess this is part of the blasphemy you accuse me of.

    Because I love the truth of the Word, I defend it. If you are offended by the Word of God, and feel that I am not speaking from God’s Words, then please point out where I offend the Word of God, because it seems all you have done is attacked me personally.

    This so called blaspheme and heresy I preach would upset those serving a false religion, but all Christians will identify with the Gospel of Christ, even if we don’t all agree in non-essential points. EO agrees with itself, but not with the Gospel of Christ.

    And I feel fine, I am content with the good news of Christ. He sustains me in all things. I speak out of love for his Word, not anger towards you.

    Your slander towards me is nothing new from an Eastern Orthodox who is offended because of the truth. I tell you these things because I am compelled to defend the Word and expose that which contradicts it. I wish we had some common ground. I already know we don’t and that I offend you, for that I’m sorry.

    I also know unless I make EO the one true church, and submit to their ordinances, or at least say you are great doing all the stuff you do, in the name of Orthodox, I will always be an offense to you. But I will submit to God and do my best to follow what he has instructed me to do, and you will do your best to follow what EO tells you to do. I will always be an offense to you. Your religion will always be an offense to me. But I don’t hate you at all, I do understand your feelings.

    Wallace

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    • Wallace I know your not mad at me! I have not done anything to you, but you believe you are doing people a service by slandering the Church. I do not want to argue, I was once a prideful ardent fighter of the protestant faith like you, Knox, Luther and Calvin must have been proud. Only when I had a truly meek heart inquiring of God where I could find the real body did he lead me to the EO Church. Remember that millions where converted with out reading the Bible, most people couldn’t read, they were taught the faith by God fearing Men and women, If you could not pawn through the scriptures because you lost your sight would your relationship stop with GOD? If you could never have read the bible do you think that God would have not sought you out? Many powerful people of God are not students of the Bible but rather students of Christ and his teachings, that is practicing Christianity not attending Bible Study and Reading all the time. BE NICE TO PEOPLE, SPEAK IN LOVE, YOU DO NOT EMULATE THAT IN THIS FORUM.

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  65. Dustin, you continue to think I slander my brothers in Christ,—- who are the living church, the body of Christ. I’m not sure what you are seeing when you read my writings, but you are interjecting a concept that is not there. All Christians know who saved them, and how we are saved. We are saved by Grace, through faith. That is everywhere in my writings, and Gods Word. I never said we are saved by reading the Bible, “for by Grace are ye saved, through faith”. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”.

    You said, “God led you to the real body—- the Eastern Orthodox church”. So by your definition Eastern Orthodox are the real church…The question of this forum is “can EO prove they are the one true church”. So a discussion on the varied aspects that revolve around that very question, is appropriate.

    You said, ” Millions were converted without reading the Bible”. All believers are converted through Christ. What is conversion to you? Christ has a body that he calls his church, they are people, whom he saved ( he doesn’t save a religion), through His sacrifice for our sins, He is the head. Are you trying to accuse me of salvation through owning or reading the Bible? The Bible is the inspired Word of God, to be guarded and defended, it is ” more powerful than any two-edged sword”. It is our absolute authority, it is the WORD OF GOD.

    You made a statement about sight, to prove a point. I say a Christian who looses eyesight, would never lose spiritual sight of their Lord and Savior, because He would never let go of them!!!!!!!! If anything, they would continue to grow in dependency on Him, by hearing the Word, and continuing to do the Word, out of love and relationship to their savior. Christians who have saving faith, do the works of God, they seek to obey Him, they have real fruit. They have real relationship in Him. Christians have the same spiritual blood flowing through them. Is this heresy, and hateful talk to you?

    You sound reformed when you say ” God sought you out”… God seeks His own for sure. Ephesians 1:4-5 According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestined us unto the adoption of children (not by the adoption of a religion) by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will (not our will).

    You said, “many people who are POWERFUL are NOT students of the Bible? Do you think God wrote his Word in vain, to be skimmed like an unloved homework assignment? The most effective men of God on this planet, have their eyes and hearts glued to His Word, so they can do what He says, and show forth fruits by putting into practice what He teaches. Is Bible study a waste of time to you?

    We have unity through Christ and His truth. The Bible is about Christ and His teachings! We need to study His Word, because He said to.

    You assume I’m not nice to people? Do you know me? Have you met me and walked in my shoes? You judge me because I don’t agree with EO. Is it unloving to speak Gods Word. I defend the Word when needed. Was Jesus unloving when he said” Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye like whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness”. He was warning them, He was not being mean. I don’t like contention, and I spend a great deal of time simply caring for others, not debating people on forums, this is the only forum I have written on, because I believe so strongly that EO is dangerous and brainwashes people.

    Do you believe that the church is a centralized religion named Eastern Orthodox? I do contend against— not slander—- Eastern Orthodox. EO believes it is the one true church. The church is not a religion, institute, or denomination.

    The thief on the cross trusted Christ, and Christ said “today you will be with me in paradise”. This man did not have a Bible or EO. He simply believed in Christ his savior,—- he was a believer, having no time to show forth works that proceed from grace, or fruits, and he never had identity in any religion. He put his trust in the merits of Christ. Jesus told him “today you shall be with me in paradise”. Christians put their trust in Christ, they are His disciples.

    The reason I emphasize the Bible so much, is because it is the written Word of God. Oral tradition and written tradition are the same. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”. Faith comes by Jesus, he is our all in all. One man may only have the chance to hear the Word and another can read the entire Bible every 6 months, but the Holy Spirit opens his ears and his eyes, so he believes and understands the truth. He gives life to the spiritually dead man.
    ON TRADITIONS
    2Thess. 2:13-15

    Therefore, brethren, STAND FAST, and hold to the TRADITIONS which you have been taught, whether by WORD— OR— OUR EPISTLE.
    Oral and written are the same teachings. Paul was adamant about listening to Him, and what he taught, it was from God, and we are told not to add or take away from the Word. Paul told us to hold fast to what he taught? We have false religions everywhere that add to the Bible and take from it, creating new religions based on men who were never the Apostles, who never walked with Jesus. Yet they claim headship over men who put their trust in their cleverly devised fables.Therefore, false religions abound, that do not hold fast to the Word.

    2 Thess. 3:6 Now we COMMAND you brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye WITHDRAW yourselves from every brother that walks disorderly, and not after the TRADITION which he received from us, (not EO) God used the Apostles to deliver His commandments, His truth, His Gospel. Whether it was taught orally, or they wrote it and sent it to the churches, they taught the same thing and men believed or rejected the truth of Christ, So does Paul have a hatred for his brothers? Of course not, but this is pretty strong stuff to speak to those departing from his words/traditions….EO does not walk after the tradition of the apostles. Yet they claim Apostolic succession.

    EO has for centuries added and taken away from Gods Word in the name of Eastern Orthodox oral traditions, where they have developed a false system of worship. Eastern Orthodox have not obeyed the words of the Apostles.

    His one true church are are these: “Because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth: Where unto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of Lord Jesus Christ”. His children—- they that are in Him—- they only can be the ONE TRUE CHURCH.

    Wallace

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  66. When questioning whether or not the Orthodox Church is the true church….remember…the Apostle Peter was the first EO Patriarch….that is a bit before we ever heard of Billy Graham, Rex Hubbard, Ernest Angley or Joel Osteen.

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  67. Hi Dante,
    I’m no theologian, so I’ll try to give you material proof of Orthodoxy being the right faith. If Orthodoxy is not the true faith, how do miracles still happen to this day concerning the religion? For example, the icons which stream Myrrh, eg. The Myrrh streaming Icon of The Iveron Mother of God which “Wherever the Icon goes, there are always many questions. Some people initially have doubts. A scientist in Miami was astounded to see that the back of the Icon remained perfectly dry. He later surreptitiously chipped off a small piece of the board on which the Icon is painted for scientific analysis: it was found to be ordinary pine wood, nothing more. At some times the myrrh flows in greater abundance than at others. During the consecration of a bishop in Montreal there was such an outpouring of the myrrh that it streamed down from the analogion (lectern on which icons are kept in Orthodox churches) onto the floor. On another occasion, in Florida, the myrrh was seen to rise forth from the hands of the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child as though it were being pressed from within. Nobody has any power to regulate the flow of the myrrh, for apparently it moves to the will of God and His Most Pure Mother.”(see the 2nd link below for more details). And also, on the 15th of August, when the Holy Virgin Mary is venerated, in Kephallonia, Markopoulo, in Greece, snakes which are usually poisonous all travel to the same church EVERY YEAR and surround the icon of the Holy Virgin Mary, also becoming harmless. And in May every year, on the same island at a different church, the women pick lilys and place them on an icon of the Virgin Mary. And on the 15th of August again, every year, on the day of the Dormition of the Holy Virgin Mary, the lilys are fully blossomed again, and they don’t begin to blossom on the previous day, but they begin and reach full bloom on the 15th.

    For more info:

    http://www.towards-success.com/dejnarde_files/snake.htm

    http://www.visionsofjesuschrist.com/weeping45.htm

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  68. Your line of thinking betrays a lack of understanding of the Church, of the Scriptures, of Church history and ultimately of Who Christ is and of Who God is. You can play word games all your life and never find it because you are asking the wrong people the wrong questions. Jesus said He would build His church, His “ecclesia” (Matthew 16). He then went on to say a few other things about His church. Did He build a church, an ecclesia? If not, then there’s nothing to discuss. But if He did and if it still exists and meets the other criteria He mentioned (not someone’s interpretation of that criteria), then you have it. But always remember, everything, and I do mean everything depends on your answer.

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  69. Dante, I am very sorry to hear that your research has brought you to these conclusions. I would suggest to you that you be more open minded and pray for help when you conduct additional detailed research on this subject before coming to such conclusions. I do have many questions for you, but for now I will ask you this one: Where do you think the Holy Bible came from and when was it created? Do you think it just appeared one day out of nowhere, or that it just fell from the Heavens? Please understand that the Church came 1st and that Church is known today as the Orthodox Church, then many years after the Church was created did the Holy Bible come. Now please think about who has writings in the Holy Bible… Now think about who also started the (Orthodox) Church. How do you think all of these writings were selected to come together into one Holy Book that is known today as the Holy Bible? Who and how was this all pulled together? So your comments and conclusions about the Orthodox Church and the Holy Bible are misleading and false. Also please remember that the Holy Bible is not the only important religious book. There are many, many, many other important religious books. Please do not misunderstand me, the Holy Bible is important, but it’s not the only important religious book… Again think about who has writings in the Holy Bible, and then think about what other sacred books, letters, etc. did these very same people (Saints) write before you say anything more.

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  70. Orthodox does mean original in latin and I am orthodox myself. We were the first to follow Jesus teachings as a first Christian society\church this is proven in the bible And the people that made the first bible had a pure blood line that is orthodox

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    • I am a Catholic who is looking at the Orthodox Church. I have pretty much dissmissed protestant churches because they all believe very different things but claim to be the Body Of Christ and interpet Scripture very differently. I have no problems with The Catholic Church at all, no one is more pro-life or gives more to the poor than them but I was in adoration the other night asking God to send me the truth no matter where it leads me and all of a sudden I became friends with an Orthodox Priest. I am still praying to know what God wants from me and also to give me the Grace to expect the Truth no matter where it leads me. Another problem is if God does lead me to the Orthodox Church I come from a very devout Catholic family and have a wife who is also very devout in her Catholic faith and I don’t know how she would take this. I am asking you for your prayers and helpful resources. To be honest I do get turned off when someone tries to explain to me why the Orthodox Church is the true Chruch by cutting down The Catholic Church. This makes me angry and is not helpful at all but maybe it is somthing I need to hear. God Bless!

      -Mike

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        • Mike,

          Jesus Christ founded one church and one church only; the Catholic Church.His church is built upon the rock of Peter.St Peter alone holds the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. There is a direct parallel from Matt 16 and Isaiah 22, about the master and chief steward.

          There is no salvation outside the Catholic Church.The Popes throughout the centuries have infallibly defined this 7 times.Those who knowingly and willingly reject the Catholic faith cannot be saved.Those who deliberately impose heresy and schism, ipso facto fall into a state of grave mortal sin.

          The so called Eastern “Orthodox” Church, are not only heretics but they are also schismatics.If a Catholic rejects a single infallible article of faith or morals, this person would be in mortal sin. The schismatic “Orthodox” churches reject a litany of Catholic church dogmas.

          Consider what was said at these ecumenical councils:

          Council of Ephesus

          “THERE IS NO DOUBT , AND IN INFACT IT HAS BEEN KNOWN IN ALL AGES, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the Apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to to-day and forever both lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed pope Clestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place, and us he sent to supply his place in this holy synod”

          Council of Ephesus

          “Philip, presbyter and legate of [Pope Celestine I] said:

          ‘We offer our thanks to the holy and venerable synod, that when the writings of our holy and blessed pope had been read to you, the holy members, by our holy voices, you joined yourselves to the holy head also by your holy acclamations. For your blessedness is not ignorant that THE HEAD OF THE WHOLE FAITH, the head of the apostles, is blessed Peter the apostle. And since now [we], after having been tempest-tossed and much vexed, [have] arrived, we ask that you order that there be laid before us what things were done in this holy synod before our arrival; in order that according to the opinion of our blessed pope and of this present holy assembly, we likewise may ratify their determination’” (Acts of the Council, session 2 [A.D. 431]). 

          Council of Chalcedon

          “Bishop Paschasinus, guardian of the Apostolic See, stood in the midst [of the Council Fathers] and said, ‘We received directions at the hands of the most blessed and apostolic bishop of the Roman city [Pope Leo I], WHO IS HEAD OF ALL THE CHURCHES which directions say that Dioscorus is not to be allowed to sit in the [present] assembly, but that if he should attempt to take his seat, he is to be cast out. This instruction we must carry out” (Acts of the Council, session 1 [A.D. 451]). 

          “After the reading of the foregoing epistle [The Tome of Leo], the most reverend bishops cried out:

          ‘This is the faith of the fathers! This is the faith of the apostles! So we all believe! Thus the orthodox believe! Anathema to him who does not thus believe! Peter has spoken thus through Leo!’” (ibid., session 2).

           Council of Chalcedon

          “Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod, together with the thrice blessed and all-glorious PETER THE APOSTLE, WHO IS THE ROCK AND FOUNDATION OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH , and the foundation of the orthodox faith, has stripped him [Dioscorus] of the episcopate” (Acts of the Council, session 3 [A.D. 451]).

          Or how about these church father quotes:

          Ignatius of Antioch

          “Ignatius . . . to the church also which holds the presidency, in the location of the country of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and, because you hold the presidency in love, named after Christ and named after the Father” (Letter to the Romans 1:1 [A.D. 110]). 

          “You [the church at Rome] have envied no one, but others you have taught. I desire only that what you have enjoined in your instructions may remain in force” (ibid., 3:1). 

          Irenaeus

          “But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church, because of its PRE-EMINENT AUTHORITY , all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition” (Against Heresies 3:3:2 [A.D. 189]). 

          Cyprian of Carthage

          “The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]). … On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were also what Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?” (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]). 

          Optatus of Milevus

          “In the city of Rome the episcopal chair was given first to Peter; the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head—that is why he is also called Cephas [‘Rock’]—of all the apostles, the one chair in which unity is maintained by all. Neither do the apostles proceed individually on their own, and anyone who would [presume to] set up another chair in opposition to that single chair would, by that very fact, be a schismatic and a sinner. . . . Recall, then, the origins of your chair, those of you who wish to claim for yourselves the title of holy Church” (The Schism of the Donatists2:2 [A.D. 367]). 

          Jerome

          “I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails” (Letters 15:2 [A.D. 396]). 

          “The church here is split into three parts, each eager to seize me for its own. . . . Meanwhile I keep crying, ‘He that is joined to the chair of Peter is accepted by me!’ . . . Therefore, I implore your blessedness [Pope Damasus I] . . . tell me by letter with whom it is that I should communicate in Syria” (ibid., 16:2).  

          PETER.

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  71. reading through these comments was fascinating. I came here because I grew up evangelical. In my late teens I had an experience which made me shun any organized christian religion. I love Jesus and what he taught and feel that most organized christian religions have truths but find a way to distract from what Jesus taught. I recently married a wonderful Greek Orthodox woman. Before marriage I committed to her that I would attend an orthodox church with her because this is important to her and frankly I had no other church i valued. The church is GREEK orthodox, meaning its a heavily greek immigrant population. I agree with prior statements that this can feel like an ethnic social club. And frankly for most of the congregation that is what they utilize the church as. of course all denominations are prone to this. But I think few cultures have religion and cultural identity so intertwined as the greeks. This is my experience at one church. I have attended a Americanized and found this much more to my liking. I have noticed that members know much more about saints, feast days and traditions then they do of basic biblical knowledge. The fascination with the virgin Mary is alarming but then again im of protestant roots. I just see 10X as many candles and prayers offered to her then to God! I was at a church luncheon and a elderly woman who had been Orthodox all her life asked if she was allowed to pray personal ad lib prayers other then the traditional prescribed ones. This shocked me. it seems that Orthodox Christians are far to dependent on the church tradition. Many Orthodox christians claim their faith is no judging and tolerant of other christian faiths. They say they would never ask someone if they were saved or born again. yet there sacraments are very exclusive. My marriage to my wife is a “mixed marriage”. i’m not allowed to take part in communion because have not been baptized in the orthodox manner. there is much lip service to how progressive and loving orthodoxy is but in practice is very narrowminded. The place so much value on the traditions they dont worry about the follow through of a christian life. As long as you are baptized married and buried according to their rites how you life your life is immaterial. (of course all denominations have this issue in some ways) I just think that it’s easier to unwittingly follow traditions and lose what Christianity is all about (faith in Jesus, loving your neighbor, helping the poor) in EO or RC, of course some people argue that the tradition actually strengthens their christian walk. Currently i am researching the veneration of saints the perpetual virginity of the mother Mary. Two things that really puzzle me about the OC. Thank you to all that commented. I hope i offend no one. We are all searching. and my view is a narrow glimpse of a vast religion.

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    • I agree with your sentiments gregory; As a Greek Orthodox by heritage but not a fully practicing one, I find this thread exhilarating. I have “tested” a variety of churches; SDAs, JWs, COGs, Baptists, etc. In each case I use scripture to “test” them to see how truthful they are. My search for the True Church has failed. My conclusion is there is no True Church here on earth. The only True Church is Jesus Christ himself. When one is in Him then and only then does one belong to the True Church. This applies to anyone regardless of which denomination they belong to, if any. Those who refuse to accept this are not only against the Word of God according to the scripture, they risk not being saved as they are effectively following a different path. Satan would love to have us quibble over this and start fighting. Listen peoples. Follow in your own heart the True Word by Faith. One is saved by Faith and Grace, not by Works, and certainly not by just one church here on earth. Having said that we do good works as a consequence of being Truly Saved, and most churches do good works. Meanwhile, I have gone back to my roots and attend a Greek Orthodox Church, not because I believe they are the only True Church, but because I like to meet fellow believers. The same can be achieved if I attend say my local Anglican, RC, and Baptist church. However, I do have to bite my tongue when I hear some (not many) of my fellow Greek Orthodox believers say stupid and untruthful things about RCs, Protestants, Jews, etc.. No church here on earth is 100% correct and truthful. It there was one then Christ would be here in person leading it. That will happen later when He returns. Protestants say they have the advantage of being Sola Scriptura. That’s a laugh since they quibble and fight amongst themselves on many doctrinal issues. It simply comes down to interpretation of scripture. I resolve this by sticking to the basic and simple doctrines that clearly hold True according to scripture, such as there is only one God, that Jesus Christ came to earth as God to perform the Perfect Sacrifice for all our sins (except the one and only unpardonable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit), to offer us a free gift of Salvation, and to give us the choice to either accept that gift through Grace on Faith or to reject it as part of the process of our free will to choose. God does not want robots, He wants free thinking people to choose and love Him for all His Glory. There will those who will reject Him. They will not have eternal life with Him. That’s their choice. That’s His Plan. All other doctrinal beliefs and traditions that are not in the scriptures are questionable. Whether one practices them or not is irrelevant, provided they do not conflict with the scriptures. For example, if one wants to perform the cross the Western way (up, down, left then right) instead of the Eastern Orthodox way (up, down, right to left) then that’s fine. God is not interested in such petty issues. We are not here to worship traditions of men, but God Himself through His Word as spoken in scripture. God Bless.

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  72. How can one believe that the protestant churches are the true Body of Christ when they all believe VERY different things and Interpret Scripture very differently? Is there more than one Holy Spirit?

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  73. In Acts we read that when Judas apostasized, the apostles replaced him in the ministry. If another came along and said that he was a minister of Christ who had not been ordained by the apostolic brotherhood, would the apostles have accepted that such a one was merely another Christian ‘denomination?’ We see the necessity of apostolic succession. Moreover, someone above attempted to say that we can never lose our salvation. Why then does St. Peter commend to us the practice of the virtues, saying “give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Pet 1:11)? And why does St. Paul say that “God our Savior…will have all men to be saved” (1 Tim 2:3-4)? If God by predestination has made our election sure, why then does St. Peter warn us that we can lose it? And does God predestinate men to be lost against his will that all men be saved? Calvin and Luther erred greatly in teaching that God wills some to be lost. Rather, God allows those to be lost who will not to be saved, and makes use of them for the benefit of those who might be saved by making an example of them by hardening them in their unbelief, that is, by pricking their pride, so as to make an open display of their unbelief to others.

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  74. I am sorry that this writer feels the need to use very small samples to straw-man the Orthodox Church. I was raised Orthodox, but in college have experienced other traditions. After much apologetical studying ( if that makes sense, I’m still learning terminologies) I have come tot he conclusion that while RCC does have historical apostolic roots, only the Eastern Orthodox patriarchates have continued the historical line of consistent dogma and truth. St. Paul calls the Church “the pillar of Truth” which is guided by the Holy Spirit using the Apostles, as the gospels dictate.
    First of all, we have to establish there being a difference between the Universal Body of Christ, and the True Apostolic Church/Faith. It is important because it is a straw man against Orthodoxy and more importantly, the eternally boundless of God, to say that the True Church holds a monopoly on Grace. Yes, there is an institutional grace in Orthodoxy, but that doesnt mean our souls are in any better state than a Southern Baptist, because the number one Christian life rule is repentance. If you have repentance, you will enter the kingdom of Heaven. Repentance is only possible by grace, which comes from the Holy Spirit. So while all believers, Orthodox and heterodox, are in Him who is our Salvation, the gift of Truth, which is available to ALL, has been preserved FULLY by one group. But that in no way means condemnation for other Christians. We believe that God acts salvifically towards all, wishing all to be saved. But the issue we are now discussing is simple. History, Theology, and Logic.

    1)Jesus Christ is God.
    2)God does not lie. Nor does God fail.

    3)Since God does not lie, He did send the Holy Spirit to guide His followers in Truth.
    4) God does not fail,

    so the Spirit DID guide and establish truth in the Ecclesia, the Church.

    That much is simple. If you do not agree then I will gladly discuss it more with you, and would openly point out that you are in danger of heresy and accidental blasphemy. Not for not being Orthodox, but for rejecting the simple premise that God established truth, as He promised He would. It is a simple premise, take it or leave it.

    That being said, we will now go on to why Orthodoxy is that part of the universal Church that has preserved Divine Truth inspired and revealed by God. Go back tot he details in premises 3 and 4.

    3)Christ promised the Spirit of Truth to HIs Apostles, and moreover, to His Bride, the Church to guide them in ALL TRUTH.
    Early Christianity, as one governing body of the 5 Patriarchates, participated with the Spirit who guided them in separating Truth from heresy for over 1000 years. All Christians today, at least those who are aware, reject the heresies that the Church rejected as well in the early centuries. In those days, that Church was the standard for what was Christian Truth and what was not. Those CHurch leaders were given grace and ability to discern, with their participation of course ( which is not possible without God’s divine providence in the first place), what came from God and what came from falsehood. All Christians accept (or at least should if they want to even still have some resemblance of authentic Christianity)the doctrine of the Trinity, the two natures of Christ, the Virgin Mary rightfully being called “Mother of God” or “the One who gave birth to God” simply because it affirms Christ’s divinity, and nameless other truths, including the NT Canon.
    4) SINCE The Schism of 1054, no dogma has been accepted by any council of the Orthodox patriarchates, because of the simple fact that unity is broken between Rome/ EOC and affirming anything new would set up even more of a divide to knock down during re-unification. THIS PREMISE IS HISTORICAL FACT. IM NOT MAKING IT UP. THE CHURCH CAN PROVE THIS PREMISE FOR ME. Nothing the Church holds as dogma today came from being dogmatized or canonized after Rome/ East split ways. Nor has it ever.

    RCC HAS added doctrines such as purgatory. Protestants fell off of them, for good reason, but into even deeper heresies such as sola scriptura, (which is not even partially scriptural without the Church anyway) battling heresy with other heresies. God forgives, and Orthodoxy seeks those who wish to repent of the these indoctrinated heresies. But you cannot say with any credibility that there is not a true Church

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    • This reply is to all Eastern Orthodox or those seeking. It would be better to stay away from an investigation of Eastern Orthodoxy, instead, make a significant study of the Word of God.. Orthodoxy will get a few things right and within a short time mess with your mind, inflate your ego, and pervert the Gospel. They have no Gospel plan of redemption, no real understanding of truth, and they rely heavily on men and not Christ. They point your faith to themselves, and what they say and do. They do not do what Christ or Peter told them to do, which is to believe in the Gospel of Christ, his righteousness and not our own righteous works. Although works are mark of a true believer, they include growth in the Word and fruit, obedience to His words, etc. Works will pour out of genuine faith.

      Eastern Orthodox is only orthodox to what ever they say about themselves in any particular century, and they’ve added a lot over the centuries, and they do not stay true to the Word. It’s best to seriously question their history! It’s just to easy to get hooked into the pomp and glory of what EO says and does, it’s hard to see truth after they’ve got a hold of your mind. You will be conformed to their image!!!!!! but not Christ’s.

      Eastern Orthodox isn’t even true to the original stuff they claim. Even American History has a hard time keeping recent facts straight, and yet you’d commit your life to EO or Rome, believing their history is perfect and accurate and somehow justifies them before man and God? Would you rather depend on what they say about themselves, or what Christ and Peter say about Christ?

      History adds nothing of real value to your life, and God won’t judge you some day by your religion. Only your absolute and utter dependence on Christ, that’s what matters, we love and serve the risen savior according to what He said, not a religion and what it says. The church upholds the truth, and Christ said he is the truth. Eastern Orthodox makes themselves the truth, and wants men to uphold them. This is deception.

      Read Peter, he does everything to point the way to Christ, Eastern Orthodox and Rome point the way to themselves.

      Mary did not give birth to God, he is the great I AM and existed long before Mary, She gave birth to Jesus earthly body, where the son of God dwelt. Mary was mentioned a handful of times in the Gospels, then she disappears from scripture. Mary was not before God, she was a chosen vessel to carry Gods son. But a slippery change of words (queen of heaven–mother of god) and a whole religion devotes itself to her more than HIM. Mothers of children live first and then bear children. God lived first and chose her to fulfill his will. She can’t be the mother of god no one came before Him. She is an earthly vessel that bore Him who already was. She was the mother of Jesus.

      God does not want us to glorify people, it does not serve the cause of Christ. We are to love each other not conform to each other by way of a religion. Eastern Orthodox is not orthodox to Gods very own words. Orthodox means nothing if Gods preserved Words are not kept as truth. EO, cuts, adds and takes away from what God spoke on every page they write, and in every ritual of legalisms they perform. They use and abuse the testimony of the saints. They glorify themselves and trick the minds of men with pride and arrogance about themselves and their history. The history that matters is Gods written word that is preserved forever.

      They say join us and you can be part of the one true church, the problem is, they don’t call on the name of Christ and His righteousness to save them, they depend on themselves. Christ helps them out some, but that is not Christ’s way, it’s not His gospel. We either believe in Him and his righteousness or we believe other stuff from any where or thing that feels good to us. If you believe and trust in Jesus, you won’t believe them.

      Rome added Purgatory, are they any more in err than EO who added,or has tried to add, the toll houses? Both are wrong. No Genuine Christian who is led by God would enter into either of these religions.

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      • Wow. To say that that the Eastern Orthodox Church points to themselves instead of Christ or God is absolutely the most inexperienced, misunderstood, and most absurd statement I have ever heard about the church on any forum. Molding your mind, pointing to man’s traditions, disqualifying Mary as just a vessel for Jesus in the flesh. You are unbalievable with these statements. How about this.. It doesn’t matter what church you belong to or follow. Follow Christ in your heart and prayers. I highly doubt Jesus or God get angry if someone asks Mary to pray for them as you would ask a friend to pray for you. Typical prodestant reform babble. I love the EO because of its beautiful apostolic traditions and Christ centered liturgy. Am I to believe that converting to EO will condemn me? Because your traditions are PowerPoint presentations and bible interpretations from man. The EO traditions are icons, purple robes, and incense. The traditions of man and the traditions of God are very different things. In my years of doubt and my spiritual journey and in my many prayers God has lead me DIRECTLY into the hands of the EO church.. on my knees, full of tears, full of sin and regret. Was this God or the Devil playing a cruel joke? I highly doubt it. I have never been happier in my commitment to Christ. There is no mind control. No one chases you for apostasy if you leave the church. Nobody knocks on your door telling you the EO is the only way to Christ. Stop trying to define Christ and God and scripture. We are incapable as humans to completely understand the power and nature of God. We fear him, we love him, we ask him for forgiveness and guidance. I would tell you sir to be careful. Be careful in your judgement. Be careful in your criticisms and interpretations. If anything you cunningly pointed to yourself here by defying the EO church.. rather then sending a loving message of Christ. May God bless and forgive us all.. and let us do our very best to remain brothers in Christ.

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  75. First of all, I am not an Orthodox believer. But, the one point you left out is that the Orthodox Church relies heavily on patristics(early church fathers). They claim that everything they teach was taught by the early church fathers. I haven’t researched that far yet as I have only started to investigate Orthodoxy.

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    • Investigate the Word of God heavily, before investigating this religion. Memorize the truth of God, written by God and preserved in the Bible. Use a word for word translation…King James, NKJ, NASB, or ESV, before you make a study of any religion. Your eternal life is at stake. Read my comment above your post. You will not be deceived by Jesus words of life. I pray you’ll understand the truth first. Don’t read the bible from anyone’s religious lens, ask Christ to open your mind to understanding, and your heart to his grace. Trust in Christ and no other, or you could become content with error.

      Don’t get hung up on the “early church fathers”. They are the entry tricks to puff you up to this religion. Next they’ll have you looking down your nose at all protestants, then they’ll work you away from God’s Word, finally you’ll be absorbed into the rituals, to what ever degree you can do them.This isn’t going to save you and give you life more abundantly. Read the Gospel of John over and over, then Galatians, and 1John, then compare EO. Peter nails EO to the core, if you look seriously at what Peter says, the Pope and Patriarchs are no successors of this man. They don’t follow what he says, or do what he does. Nor do they follow Paul or any of the Apostles examples. Even the gaudy apparel of these men should scare us away, self glorification is at work in these religions. If you spend a lot of time with them your mind will die off and you will not be able to have the mind of Christ.

      I’m sorry for putting so many warnings to those seeking, but unless we are all seeking truth from Christ Jesus, we are wasting our time.

      Look up the definition of religion and then of bride, they are not the same thing. Christ came to save a people from their sins, not a make a religion a bride. They will never be the same entity. The bride that dwells in Christ and Christ in her is the one true church. They are the body, with Christ as their head. That is the church.

      Take care

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    • I would encourage you to read the book, The Crazy Side of Orthodoxy. It is one of the very few modern day critical thinking books on Orthodoxy written by an Orthodox.

      My practical real world concern is how the top down authoritarian and closed system Orthodox church is not really open system critical thinking exposing of itself to itself. I believe this is the result of the exclusive claim of being Gods only true church that closes the system of the church and what is closed is not open system transparent and what is not transparent is not accountable and what is not accountable is the set up for systemic corruption and systemic corruption can turn a church over time into a Christian cult if that corruption is not addressed.

      When you have a church that is top down authoritarian, that is a closed system and that has an exclusive we are Gods only true church viewpoint of itself that is the set up for the loss of transparency and the church going systemically corrupt. The more centralized top down authoritarian power and control is a church the more the system of that church is closed and if that church has an exclusively we alone are God right in viewpoint of itself it will not be open to hearing or seeing what is wrong with it. At best it will rationalize, excuse and justify itself to you somehow and it is important to see right through that when it shows itself. It is important to be careful when a church says it is Gods only true church to then compare that claim to its real world outcome and how it really operates. What it says it is and how it really operates can often be two completely different things. You want a high level of consistency that backs the claim up or the claim is lying to you whether it intentionally means to do that or not. We must think realism over idealism or we can find ourselves in a corrupt church that will not repent. Your spiritual sincerity can find itself ripped off by a lie of corruption you did not see before you joined up.

      Personally, I would not become a member of a systemically corrupt church and I would leave a church that is systemically corrupt if it will not repent of those systemic corruptions. All churches have stuff, they all have issues, but not all churches are systemically corrupt and refusing to admit the cause of their corruption and then also refuse to deal with that corruption. Any research into a church really needs to discover just how safe and healthy that church is. You want to find that out before you join it. You objectively define what is a safe and healthy church first and use that as the basis of your comparison. A systemically corrupt church that will not admit and then not repent of its corruptions is not a safe and healthy church. Rational sense says, look before you leap and don’t join corruption.

      May God bless your journey of discovery with intellectual and spiritual honesty that can see into with transparency that is objectivity. Would you clearly hear God in that process of discovery.

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  76. i am seeking the truth and I see it as a combination of all except the roman catholic church. soz guys but too many added doctrines.i am church of Ireland mostly and leaning 2wards the high church side of it. I also attend Methodist and a shalom messianic congregation of yeshua believing jews. ive attended greek orthodox church in Belfast. although I don’t agree with some things mainly transubstansiation I wud attend as im not permitted 2 take communion there anyway and can do it regularly in church of Ireland anyway. but I love the orthodox chanting in the divine liturgy.and as 4 the messianic they worship on Friday night in donaghadee which is part of the true Sabbath. sunday is the lords return

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  77. I am a Roman Catholic who is becoming more interested in the Orthodox Church. I feel that each one is the original, true faith of Christians. History is history, folks. They both were here first. In 1054, they went their separate ways, and the true, original unified faith was no more. As a Catholic, I feel I have the right to say that the Catholic Church has a bad habit of running people off. It always has, and they are still doing it. And this thing about “Thou art Peter” is pretty pompous and devisive. I don’t think Christ was intending for Peter to be a pope, nor the Catholics to have the corner on the market. The Orthodox Church didn’t leave, so much as they we’re run off for disagreeing with some non-negotiable (per what was to become the “Catholic” church’s) teachings. I am very much looking forward to be given a fresh perspective by my Orthodox brothers and sisters.

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  78. dear sir i was trapped and lured for over 20 years by the mysticism and beauty of the rituals and practices in the eastern orthodox church and was told if you leave the church you were a apostate and leaving the true church you were dammed and jepodazing your salvation if you died outside of the church the eastern orthodox are just like their sister church the harlot of babaylon church of rome who has the pope who is the anti christ and seated on a throne and acts like he sits in place of christ as head of the church this is the same in the eastern orthodox church just they are bit less direct in the way they say it they call archbishop and patrairches holliness or blessed this is just another attemp pump the egos of grown men to wear silly costumes and act like they are taking the place of christ as the head of the church when we all know christ is the head of the church and the holy spirit is what guides the church not men i thank god i found the lutheran church we do not use unbiblical terms like patrairch or archbishops or priests the biblical terms presbyter, deacon or bishop we follow the bible not men and pray directly to god and not saints or mary nor do we follow any over pompous rituals to worship the lord we believe in faith alone in grace alone and christ alone
    by faith we are saved not works lest any man should boast
    the eastern orthodox and church or rome are a cult i will not acknowledge them as being legimate churches or thier clegy i do believe that god has true believers even in their churches but that the religious systems are in error and heritical

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  79. It’s sad to see that so many people’s personal experience of Christianity is impoverished, one laden with confusion, and so much hurt and unnecessary pain. I used to be Protestant, then I converted to Roman Catholicism, and now I am an Orthodox Christian. To many, this may seem like I’m unstable, back-sliding, and fallen away from Christ, but such attitudes are superficial as this is my personal journey toward Christ. In simplest terms, let me share something of my experience with anyone interested in reading:

    In Protestantism, there is a deep lack of feeling for the historical. For most Protestant traditions, the Church of Christ began in 33 a.d., fell away from the truth of Christ after the Emperor Constantine’s Edict of Milan, then was suddenly rescued from error when Martin Luther nailed his theses to the doors of the Cathedral Church in Worms, Germany. Protestantism generally holds nostalgic, yet unsubstantial, ideals about the early Church and how the early Christians prayed, as well as what they actually believed about the Lord’s Supper, ecclesiastical authority, and other things. Protestantism, whether denominational or non-denominational, at its core essence is more or less an antithetical response to the abuses of the Vatican-based Papacy, its claims, and teachings. Because of the severe abuses experienced in Roman Catholicism, Protestantism rejects the belief in a historical Church that is built, primarily, on Christ the only Head and Cornerstone of this Church, as well as the Prophets and Apostles as the foundation of this Church. For the average Protestant, the Church is invisible, non-hierarchical, ahistorical, and whatever one believes it to be according to one’s personal interpretation of the bible; hence one of main reasons why there are too many denominational “churches” to work. Because there was an unhealthy emphasis on legalism, good works, and rituals in the Vatican-based Church, Protestantism rejects a sense of faith working in love, and of liturgy in general. Lastly, because the greatest emphasis was placed on the papal claims (see the next paragraph), Protestantism rejects any form of tradition, authority, or even certain forms of ritual and prayer, especially when any of the aforementioned cannot be absolutely proven and/or demonstrated from the Scriptures; sic, Sola Scriptura.

    In Roman Catholicism, there is a sense of history, but it is looked upon through rose-colored glasses. For the Vatican-run Church of Rome, the Papacy; i.e., the Pope of Rome, is the Vicar of Christ on earth, the supreme Head of the Church, and the only Bishop who can rightly claim absolute supremacy in rulership over the entire Church, as well as infallibility (an inability to err) whenever teaching and/or proclaiming Christian doctrine. The problem with this is that such beliefs, as far as what is believed about the Bishop of Rome, are 9th century in origin, over exaggerated, egotistical, and in many ways, diminish the place of all Bishops in the Church. In other words, there is only one Successor to the Apostles and one Bishop; that is, the Pope, and all others are his delegates to the Church throughout the world. Another problem with the modern day understanding of the Vatican-based Papacy is it undermines and absorbs into itself the Royal Priesthood of the Faithful, which all members of Christ’s Church receive through their Baptism and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit through Chrismation. In a nutshell, within Roman Catholicism, the Pope is the Church and the Church is the Pope; outside of the Papacy, there is no salvation. After Martin Luther began the Protestant Movement to reform the Church of Rome, Roman Catholicism became reactionary, and unhealthily ossified in certain modes of thinking, feeling, and believing that, in my opinion, are the basis for the spiritual decay now witnessed within Roman Catholic culture and spirituality. As Protestants believe in Sola Scriptura, so the Vatican-run Church of Rome believes in Sola Papa.

    In Orthodox Christianity, there is a deep sense of history, tradition, asceticism, miraculous icons, wonder-working saints, and much more. The core essence of Orthodox Christianity is the Church’s experience of the Holy Spirit throughout her history; the experience of the Holy Spirit in the Church’s life at prayer; i.e., the sacred and divine liturgy, and the experience of the Church’s Bishops as well as the Church’s Faithful – through the workings of the Holy Spirit – in the Seven Ecumenical Councils. Scripture and Tradition go hand-in-hand; one cannot have one without the other since the Scriptures were written by God-inspired Prophets, Apostles, and Saints for the sake of the Church. The Scriptures exist for the purpose of instructing, preaching, and teaching the Church on her journey towards the heavenly kingdom. The Church of Christ neither exists for the Scriptures, nor because of them. It is Christ that founded the Church, not the holy bible; similar in thought to what Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). One could reword it to say, “The Bible was (written/made) for the Church, and not the Church for the Bible” (Mark 2:27). Moreover, all members of the Church, be they Patriarchs, Bishops of all ranks, Priests, Deacons, Monks, Nuns, and Faithful alike have equal access to the Church’s Faith, Tradition, and experience of the Holy Spirit, even though the Holy Spirit has called certain members to fulfill certain functions and purposes for the sake and general good of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ. Also, the Church is built upon the Apostles, not on Saint Peter, who is but one of the Twelve; moreover, they were equal, not subject to Peter as some kind of all-encompassing authority. The ultimate purpose and raison d’être for mankind is theosis (sanctification) to made partakers of, and coheirs with Christ, in the very triadic life of God Himself; for such is the essence of the Kingdom of Heaven. In Orthodox Christianity, the Church is looked upon as a divinely instituted Hospital for us poor, sickly, and weak men and women, not a mere man-made institution built upon and around one single human man on earth, as such is the case within Roman Catholicism. Lastly, the Church is the centerpiece of Orthodoxy and the love and care of every Orthodox Christian, clergy and laity alike. See 1st Timothy 3:15; there one will note that the Apostles were about their Lord’s business building up and nourishing the Mystical Body of Church wherever they went.

    I can go on and on, but this has been my experience. Faith in Christ is a journey toward a destination, not an end unto itself. Christ clearly stated, as witnessed in Holy Writ, that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man can come to the Father but by Him. As far as I have seen, heard, and witnessed, Orthodox Christianity, for me, has been the closest living witness to the apostolic teaching of the Apostles, as lived out in the Church’s mission and prayer life. I invite you all to come and see for yourselves. God be with you all as you continue to search for Him; as for me, I have found Him; I have found His Church, and I have never been happier and more at peace in all my life. God bless you all!

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  80. There is another way of approaching this issue. Jesus Christ cannot be corrupted. He is the only Gods only true and right comparison. A church can be corrupted and so if a church is systemically corporately corrupt and in bondage and if will not repent that church is no Gods only true church comparison to other churches to determine their spiritual state or spiritual correctness compared to the corrupt Gods only true church . Christ compared. People could see the difference between Christ and those He confronted in the comparison He made. They then could make a decision between two choices by the comparison made. That is the freedom of religion choice found in the freedom of Christ as the alternative choice to the corruption and bondage He compared Himself too. He was the way of escape from what they were involved in and it was corrupt what they were involved in. It did not matter who they exclusively claimed to be. They were corrupt.

    Those He confronted, like the EO of today, what exclusively claimed to be Gods only true worship, belief, theology, structure and system of rule, fathers, history, traditions, rituals and salvation. Their exclusive claim in viewpoint of themselves did not matter when Christ held them in comparison to Him. What mattered was their corrupt state that is was seen in their thinking, attitude and behavior. They had an exclusive we are Gods only true and right proud, arrogant and self righteous mindset, attitude and resulting behavior about themselves.

    In their Jewish orthodox minds they could not be wrong and they had no comparison to them for how God right and true they believed that they were. They believed that they were the comparison to all outside of them and you can see every orthodox apologetic defense they make in John 8:31-59 that defend their exclusive viewpoint of themselves. Do any of those defenses sound familiar to the EO of today? From what I can see their central defense was tradition. Christ was not against tradition. He was against turning it into an idol and because idolatry leads to closure, to corruption and to powerlessness (Hand your God given power over to corruption and you find yourself powerless to stop that corruption.)

    Their spiritually dying last words were, we have always done it this way and this is the only God true and right way to do it and you, Jesus, cannot tell us that we are wrong in our exclusive viewpoint that we have of ourselves and in our traditions and our history that prove we are who we claim to be. God in Christ disagreed with their God as their orthodoxy. Their exclusivity then picked up stones to kill Jesus and a dead church has to first kill Jesus in its midst before it turns itself into dead church. Exclusivity will kill Jesus in a church. It will replace Christ in authority with its exclusive self in authority as God and then it all goes systemically corrupt and unrepentant of its corruption.

    By their exclusive we are Gods only true and right viewpoint of themselves they had over time turned that exclusivity into self glorifying self idolatry of their religion and themselves in it and that believed it was God and salvation. They had turned themselves into what we today in western rational modernity would call a cult. A cult has an exclusive viewpoint of itself that cannot be wrong about itself and no matter how obviously corrupt that it is. A cult in reality sees itself as God and salvation. Cult authoritarian power and control rule push down molds you into what it is whereas Christ by humility bottom up raises you up to His identity by transformation. A church culture of systemic corruption and bondage that is unrepentant will indoctrinate mold you into its identity. A cult rules by authoritarianism and by shame and fear and by misplaced loyalty, submission and obedience and by coercion, intimidation and threat and that is just not the role model of Christ in Gods Word. Eastern Orthodox Christians does Christ really rule over your church considering the real world state it is in here in America? Your church here reflects the relevancy of Jesus Christ come to us by its state?

    Those verses in John 8:31-59 are system verses that compare the system of Christ to the corrupt system they were involved in and that was spiritually dead. It was a comparison of the Freedom in Christ system to the Bondage by Satan system. It was a comparison of spiritual life to spiritual death. It was a comparison of holiness to corruption. It was a comparison of their exclusive claim in viewpoint of themselves to the only one true exclusive God. It was a comparison Satan’s rule to Christ’s rule. They denied their bondage and in effect told Christ that He was heretic and practicing apostasy in comparison to them. Christ told them that no matter who you exclusively claim to be you are not of Me in your unrepentant systemic corruption and bondage. They then took up stones to kill Jesus and because they hated what the comparison exposed about them. He popped their exclusive hypocritical bubble and when He did it exposed how hollow, void and empty of God that they really were in their exclusive viewpoint of themselves in their corruption by exclusive claim.

    Jesus came to us in the Gospels as the humble, bottom up, open system, pro-test-ing and evangelizing God who met us at our authoritarian rule pushed down spiritually abused bottom to raise us up out of that bottom by transformation in Jesus Christ salvation. He the bottom up and open system transparent God who holds the top down authoritarian closed system hiding and covering up bondage accountable. What is open opens what is closed and it does work the other way around. Top down authoritarian power and control with an exclusive viewpoint of itself is a closed system that is not bottom up and open system transparent and accountable. Is the EP of Astoria, NY fame bottom up and open system transparent and accountable or is he top down authoritarian closed system ruler who has gone systemically corrupt? Is He Gods only true Christian ruler in Gods only true church? Is He, the other Patriarch’s, their structure and system of rule power and control and their jurisdictions above the open system transparency and accountability of comparison to Jesus Christ or are they an authoritarian closed system Gods only alone right and true standard of measure that determines the state of other Christians and churches outside of Orthodoxy compared to the state of the EOC in the world today?

    Jesus compared His state to the state of those He confronted. Do the EO disagree? What did Christ comparison in confrontation of their state in the Gospels to His state expose about them in their exclusive viewpoint they had about themselves? Are there any common denominators or parallels to the state of Orthodoxy in America today to what Christ exposed about those who believed they alone were Gods only exclusively right and true in the Gospels? Well, are there?

    Christ made the spiritual comparison that was the rationally spiritual comparison in the Gospels. He was the comparison of rational objective spiritual Christianity to a subjective dead religion with an exclusive viewpoint of itself and that was experiencing an irrational outcome for how their exclusivity corrupted them irrationally. He told them, You Are Not Who You Claim to Be In Comparison to ME. Christ was the comparison of spiritually rational Christianity to exclusive irrational dead religion that had gone systemically corrupt by its exclusivity that was a lie.

    Christ was telling us in John 8:42-44 who the idol god is of the systemically corrupt and in bondage top down authoritarian dead religion closed system is. What he rules over will not repent. Satan is a top down authoritarian power and control ruler who has an exclusive viewpoint of himself by his wanting to exclusively be God. He found his perfect match to rule over and they were the ones the one true exclusive God confronted. They were orthodox and therefore could not be wrong about themselves. Satan has an orthodoxy about him too. Only he can exclusively be God. Satan rules by the lie and Christ rules by Gods truth. The lie leads to a dead church in a state of systemic corruption bondage and the truth leads to an church that is freedom in Christ alive. I can see the obvious differences between the two kinds of churches, can the Orthodox in America tell the difference between them by the real world state of their church in America? The EO in America have come to set the Christianity here free of systemically corrupt and in bondage top down authoritarian power and control dead religion that is not transparent and accountable and is unrepentant?

    Orthodox, what is the real world state of your two largest jurisdictions in America? You want to convert the Christianity in America into your state of church here? The Christianity here is heretic and apostate corrupt in comparison to the state of the Orthodox jurisdictions in America? If Jesus was today walking among us in America He would point to the EOC as His role model and example of who He is and what His church is?

    This is what I know about we alone are God right and true church exclusivity. Over time it turns you into what Christ confronted in the Gospels and just like with those Christ confronted you don’t see the subtle self glorifying self idolatry change over time until it is too late and if you ever see it at all.

    Christ came to us as Philippians 2:1-11 and that is the diametric opposite to the structure and system of top down centralized authoritarian power and control rule that was exclusive, closed, isolated, insulated and segregating that He confronted. Christ is the bottom up and open system pluralistic inclusive God who protests and evangelizes. He confronted what was a top down exclusive authoritarian structure and system of rule power and control and that would not expose itself to itself with Christ bottom up and open system transparency. Pride is a closed system and humility is an open system. The structure and system He confronted was based in pride and Christ in based in humility by structure and system.

    A structure and system of Christs church rule will reflect the humility of Christ and not pride in authoritarian we alone are God right power and control. It will reveal this by its DESIGN. Christ came as a humble design of structure and system of Christian authority and rule that serves and I do not see it being the design of the Eastern Orthodox church structure and system of rule that demands that you serve it. Authoritarian pride demands and the humble Jesus leads by the example of love that serves. Humble Christ is other centered not self protective and authoritarian pride is self centered that is self protective. It is easy to the tell the difference between the two types of churches. EO, can you tell the difference between them?

    Christ came as the comparison of the orthodox of His day to Himself. His comparison is a direct warning to Christianity to not turn itself into what He confronted or there will be serious consequences that will unfold over time and then there will come a time that what has turned itself into the likeness of what He confronted finds itself in a corrupt, failed and dying state that will not repent, but as it is in this state it will tell you if you are not of it how wrong you are in your Christianity in comparison to its exclusivity. The new Pope just claimed that the RCC is Gods only true church. I would like to hear him say that in front of the cameras when he and the EP meet. It would be very interesting if one of the reporters following such an event were to ask the both of them, which one of your churches is Gods only true church?

    This what I know about the Pro-test-ant Evangelicals. With all of their faults, wrinkles and warts there is no church on the planet that bottom up and open system exposes itself to itself or that protests itself like it does. It has no comparison in that regard. What it exposes about itself is not beautiful Eastern Orthodoxy that has no Gods only right and true comparison, but it is real world. This is not Gods only true church that cannot be wrong itself. No, it is Gods true church and therefore it can be wrong about itself. It is not the exclusive Gods only true and right comparison. Christ is at its center and therefore in its Christian mind only Christ can be the comparison. (Ever notice how by majority they are always talking about Jesus first and not their denomination first?) The open system Christ as the only comparison is objectivity that the subjectively closed Orthodox do not have about themselves in the open real world where the open Jesus really lives.

    I would encourage the Orthodox to by Google search show the extensive bottom up and open system transparent exposing resources their church provides them with to better expose themselves to themselves and share them with all of us. They then COMPARE them to what they call the heretic church that practices apostasy provides. Yes, Orthodox, give us those objective comparative Gods only true and right resources that compare your state of church to Jesus Christ. The Orthodox can start that COMPARISON by Google of the following topics, shame based churches, signs of a dying church, the dysfunctional church, spiritual abuse of power, toxic faith and church life cycle diagram images. The church life cycle diagram images are something you most likely as the ‘ORTHODOX! ORTHODOX! ORTHODOX!’ have never seen before in your entire Orthodox lives. Do the objective research and compare the state of your church to what you research and come back and explain to us how the EOC is Gods only true Christians, Gods only true structure and system of rule and Gods only true church. There is far more to those diagrams than meets the eyes.

    I can explain the life cycle diagrams and the other resources and compare them to the state of your church here in America if you like, but I warn you it will not end up being beautiful Gods only right and true Orthodoxy that has no comparison. I live in the real world and I do not live in the exclusive world of the Orthodox that is delusional in exclusive claim in viewpoint of itself. Yes, I read where the monks says that the Christianity that I have is delusional. My answer to that is that those Christ confronted also had a delusional exclusive we are Gods only true and right viewpoint of themselves in their systemically corrupt and in bondage top down authoritarian dead religion that was closed, isolated, insulated and segregated and just like Orthodox monasticism does inside of the church that is this also.

    (Jesus was the first monastic elder and the Apostles were the first novice monks, right? Monasticism is a Gospels and NT ministry calling, right? Jesus came to us living inside of a cave, isolated in a compound, living high up in a tree, living out in the desert and on a rock, correct? He was exclusive, closed and segregated isolation you come to me and because I am not coming to you off of my rock, out of my tree or from inside my cave, right? That is the structure and system of rule that He came to establish, correct? The Eastern Orthodox cannot be wrong about anything about themselves, right?)

    Of course, the state of the Orthodox with their exclusive claim would never turn themselves into irrational delusion, right Orthodox? An authoritarian closed, insulated and segregated church that is isolated and that has an exclusive isolating we are Gods only right and true church claim would never ever turn that into self glorifying self idolatry of itself. Just ask the Orthodox and whose church here is corrupt, failed and dying by some other reason than the reason I state here.

    The exclusive Gods only right and true Orthodox in America have a serious problem they cannot by their exclusivity solve. They represent less than 1% of Christianity in America and they are dying a slow, ugly and painful death by exclusivity that cannot be wrong about itself. The Orthodox did not come to America as Christ’s Great Commission. No, instead they came here as the omission of the Great Commission for how GREAT they see themselves in their exclusivity that has no comparison to them. In effect, they came here as the omission of Jesus Christ and their outcome here exposes that fact.

    Jesus in the Gospels in effect told those who had an exclusive we are Gods only true and right viewpoint of themselves to go be right and see how wrong in comparison to Me that you end up. He told them to go be well in how well you see yourselves and see how sick you end up in comparison to how well I AM as the great I AM. The Eastern Orthodox Church is not Gods exclusive Gods only true and right comparison. It is not the great I AM comparison that its exclusivity believes that it is. It is in a corrupt, failed and dying state and Jesus is not in a corrupt, failed and dying state. Jesus in the only comparison. He cannot be corrupted or placed into bondage. In comparison to Jesus I can see right through the systemically corrupt and in bondage Eastern Orthodox Church that is failed in America and that refuses to repent.

    No amount of Lord Have Mercy about the EOC real world state is going to save it in America. Only corporate system wide repentance and bondage breaking can. I for one do not believe that the Gods only true hierarchical rulers that led it into this state can lead it out of that state unless they themselves first repent and bondage break themselves. Corruption and hypocrisy cannot lead itself out of corruption and hypocrisy unless it repents and bondage breaks. The Orthodox are not going to come to the end of themselves in broken humble transparent exposing repentance of their corruption and hypocrisy and repent return to God. The exclusive claim will always be God right and true about itself and so there will always be a self righteousness they can hold onto that will not fully find the deep humility needed to fully and deeply repent of what has caused their corruption, failure and dying state of church. Exclusivity is the cause and so they will not repent of the exclusive cause and because it is what they base themselves upon. Sounds very much like those Christ confronted in the Gospels to me, how about you Eastern Orthodox in America?

    Now I am really going to step in it with the EO. I believe they have turned their church into a Christian cult. I would encourage them to make the comparison by rational objective criterion that they can compare themselves too by conducting a Google search on ‘Signs of a Christian cult’ or ‘What is a Christian cult church?’. Yes, I know, Orthodox, by your exclusive we are Gods only true and right church claim could never ever turn their church into a cult. Your exclusivity would stop that process of it turning itself into a cult, right? You are immune by your exclusive claim that cannot be wrong about itself, correct.

    Oops! Now I’m in trouble. I dared to compare the Orthodox to Scripture. That must make me an sola scriptura idolator! I dared to open system speak into the closed system with the words of God in Gods Word. Such heresy Christianity that is practicing apostasy cannot speak into Gods only true church that has no comparison with any other Christian authority! Gods only true rule structure and system is Gods only true church authority! This is the Orthodox church/state century for American freedom of religion!

    In the Orthodox Mind of exclusivity there can be no other option to us that competes with us in freedom of religion options that are the competition of freedom of religion and when we are the Gods only true and right option in comparison to all of your other apostate options! You heretic’s practicing apostasy will never be right before God unless you convert over to what we are and allow us to turn you into what we have turned ourselves into in America! Pay no attention to our state of church in America! Don’t compare us who have no comparison! Just believe us without comparing or thinking for yourself. Think like we tell you to authoritarian closed system think about us and that is Gods only true and right Orthodox Way of thinking about us. Don’t believe those who tell you that how a church thinks determines its real world outcome! You don’t know what you, the inferior to us in Christian thinking, are exclusively missing by not being of our superior exclusive Orthodox Mind thinking! I got the message you sent loud and clear Orthodox in America.

    Jesus is the only comparison and the best place to find Him as the comparison is in Scripture. If you believe that your church is equal too or superior to the authority of Scripture and that really means your church is your God and Gods only authority and then good luck with your future church outcome in the reality of the real world over time and time has run out for the Eastern Orthodox in America.

    Greek Orthodox does all of this qualify me to receive an Archon of the EP designation? Does it qualify me to receive that award of being the most God right of the most exclusively true Christians of the God? Will it make me the FIRST among EQUALS among the other church members who are not equal by the award? Wasn’t there at one time another jurisdiction that was the first First among Equals and who OVER TIME no longer saw any of the other jurisdictions as equals? Of course, the ethnocentric Greeks in their exclusive first among equals church would never see other jurisdictions as less than their equal. They are not based in authoritarian power and control that sees itself as the exclusive authority in power and control over all others. If the EOC and RCC reunite the Greeks will hand that first among equals status right back over to the Roman church and who at one time held that position and +Krill is going to go along with that right after he get over the heart attack caused by the reunion.

    I will not be becoming a member of any Gods only exclusively true and right church. I know what it really is under the veneer of the exclusive claim enmeshed as one with the top down authoritarian power and control of Gods only true and right rule that has no comparison to it and that cannot be wrong about itself. Like the EO in America have never been compared and exposed in America is all of this and this is just the tip of the iceberg of what I can address by comparison to Jesus. No, the church I belong too is not the comparison. It has faults and problems that I can freedom in Christ expose about it. I have the rational objective Christian comparative resources that can help me do that. What you got, Orthodox? You got your subjective and irrational corrupt and in bondage church outcome state as the resource and comparison. Its really all you got. Jesus compared His state to the state of those He confronted. I find it interesting when the EO try to do similar in their state. It exposes the emperor who wears no cloths and the mansion he lives in with the elephant in its living room and its reeking backed up sewer of corruption that it will not repent over (flush). The closed system has closed the sewer system of repentance down and now the whole church reeks of unrepentant corruption.

    There also seems to be a fire that has broken out and that is encompassing their church in flames in America. It looks like to me that it is burning itself down to the ground. Personally, I run out of a burning building and I do not run into one. The closed system church has all of its doors closed system locked and so no one can run out of the burning church building? There is no Christ way of escape? Looks like it to me, but then again, I am not a Gods only true and right Christian with that Gods only true and right perspective that can’t get it wrong. I could be wrong, but by the smoke and fire I see I will not deny what I see and so I am not wrong. Do the Eastern Orthodox in America deny the what the fire and smoke is telling them? Looks like it to me, but what do I know? I am not an exclusive, prideful, arrogant and self righteous Orthodox know it all who has triumphantly arrived and who grandiose beats his chest boasting of that arrival. I don’t dress the hierarchical golden robes part either and Jesus made that comparison to Himself too in the Gospels, in Gods Word.

    The RCC and just like the EOC is not the comparison by their real world outcome states compared to the state of Jesus. No church is and no matter who or what it exclusively claims to be. No church is God.

    Eastern Orthodox in America go be right, go be well, and see where it takes over time. I can see where it has taken you and I can also see where it is going to take you in the future.

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  81. Well, I got side tracked and didn’t proof read it before I posted the previous post. I was in a hurry for a dinner date with my precious one and only. My mistake with some of the grammatical errors in a few of the sentences that make you go “What?”. I suppose that just proves that I am not God get it right every time exclusive Christian. You can figure it out and not miss the point.

    Gods only true church is so God only true right about itself in exclusive Orthodox Mind set viewpoint of itself that it no longer has to compare itself to Jesus Christ in the Gospels by holding itself transparent and accountable to the authority, truth and role model of God walking among us in the Gospels or the NT. That would be idolatry of Scripture and undermining of their Hellenic only right interpretation of Scripture and their seeing their church as equal in authority to the Bible.

    I did the comparison of them to HIM and it transparently exposed to me why they are in a corrupt and failed state in America where they have more religious freedom than anywhere else on the planet to be the Gods only true church true truth relevancy come to us the heretic-odox Christians in our heresy Christianity apostasy practicing state. The Orthodox seem to be having a problem with their exclusive only Hellenic interpretation of Scripture by their real world outcome in America. Of course, such exclusive God only true and right Christians could never incorrectly interpret Scripture by something as serious of omitting the Great Commission that is paramount to omitting Jesus Christ alive among them. That would be like the second class Protestant Christians in their fallen truth state of omitting Orthodox Tradition, Orthodox authoritarian structure of rule power and control and Orthodox self glorifying exclusive claim leading to their self idolatry of themselves. If the church outcome exposes a wrong Hellenic exclusive interpretation the exclusive claim might come into question and when its exclusivity in the truth that it claims that it has is above question and just like the church making that claim sees itself as above the transparency and accountability of Christ in the Gospels by its systemically corrupt unrepentant state.

    I love the Orthodox. Like Jesus I hate the persons sin but love the person. I can separate the two. I am not afraid of the Orthodox who live under authoritarian power that makes them fear it and not call it for what it is for how its culture of corruption has lied to them in indoctrinating them into believing it is something other than its real world in truth outcome state exposes what it is. I hate the sin that places otherwise good Christian people in a state of unrepentant and powerless to repent systemic corruption and bondage by their top down authoritarian structure and system of rule that has a prideful, arrogant and self righteous we alone are Gods only right and true thinking, attitude and behavior about itself. I really wonder if does love like Christ loves by its real world outcome in America. I believe it loves itself, idolizes itself, in its exclusive viewpoint of itself that is self centered and not really that other centered outside of itself. I see it really just relevant to its exclusive we alone are God right closed, isolated, insulated, and segregated self that is above being questioned about its exclusive claim by its real world outcome state compared to the state of Christ who Himself compared His state in the Gospels to those who believed they were Gods only true comparison and that had no comparison to it.

    If you question the exclusive claim you must have a bad critical spirit that does not get it. You are being mean spirited and not Orthodox polite and of proper Orthodox etiquette love and grace if you question it. Jesus did not mince words with those who He compared His state to their state in the Gospels. The concept of Christ’s tough love is lost on those whose exclusivity is above transparency and accountability.

    Orthodox, Gods word has authority, power and it is RELEVANCY. It is not God. It is Gods Words. It is not an idol to be worshiped. It is the truth of God that leads us to worship God and not ourselves in an exclusive Gods only true and right church. It points us right at God and our relationship with God that it points us to have with Him. That’s what I get out of it. How about you? I know why I am not Eastern Orthodox and I know what I am not missing by not being an Eastern Orthodox. I see exactly what I am missing by not being Eastern Orthodox.

    Orthodox, can you spiritually feel, spiritually get in touch with the grief, the pain and the sorrow of God over the state of your church? I can. It’s a terrible, if not a horrific feeling. I fully understand why it would be avoided and not faced in the objective mirror of God who does not at all see you as exclusively God right and true as you believe you are and see you yourselves as. Look into that mirror without your exclusive bias and see yourselves objectively like God in His comparing His state to your state does and you will get in touch with the grief, the pain and the sorrow of God over your state of dead religion church that is systemically corrupt and in bondage. You will then desire the corporate repentance of systemic corruption and bondage break repent return back to God. You will hold your rulers transparent and accountable with consequences and refuse to be held powerless to take action against their corruptions. You will act in and with the authority of Jesus Christ and operate in the power of the Holy Spirit and pay the price, take the risk and make the sacrifice for your church and you will become more than willing to suffer with Jesus in the consequences of that action. You will refuse to be in unity with corruption or allow your unity to be corruption.

    Orthodox, you get the church you pay the Christ price for, take the Christ risk for and make the Christ sacrifice for. I read that in my Bible without any exclusive Hellenic interpretation of it. Yes, now tell me how I got that and all the rest of this Orthodox wrong in comparison to your exclusive Gods only right viewpoint you have of yourselves. Call my kettle BLACK in comparison to your spotless always polished pretty and shiny pot that has no comparison.

    Orthodox, do I need to remind you that the living Christ in the Gospels paradigm shifted and left behind the dead religious unrepentant to die in their left behind paradigm? He didn’t destroy them. He paradigm shifted right past them and left them to die like they left Him to die when they murdered Him. Murder Christ in your midst, kill Christ in your midst and you will murder, you will kill your church dead. Christ will leave you behind to die by your own hands. If you replace Gods authority with your church as God in authority you force God to leave you to yourselves in your own corrupt power and control and your church real world outcome will directly and undeniably reflect that. Your powerless without Gods power rulers will then steal your power to prop themselves up with and then they will top down power and control push you down and back and indoctrinate you into their state that is outside of and over the top of Gods authority in rule. You will then find your church in a state of systemic corruption and bondage all of you will be powerless to stop or change.

    Yes, Orthodox in America try to correct your state by your exclusivity and see what you get in return as a corrected state of church. If your exclusive claim is your basis, your identity, then it has to be your best and only solution. You say that is who God defines you as and so use that exclusive definition to correct yourselves with. I would ask you to let me know how that works out, but I can already see how it is working out. Your closed system can’t close out the obvious from my open eyes.

    Oh, yes, you will still exist in America and just like those Christ left behind still existed, but the real question is, what will you exist as??? I see what you are existing as in America, do you? Is your existence alive or is it dying? If it is dying then why is it dying? Can you do the objective Christ comparison to discover why it is dying and then face that rational objective truth in the objective mirror of God without subjective exclusive claim in bias distorting that truth of God reflection and see yourselves as you objectively really are? Your exclusive church and all of you in it are not Gods objectivity. Only God alone can be.

    A really good place to find His objectivity is in the Gospels and NT, but I warn you that you might become a Bible addicted idolator of the Bible if you look at too much. You might turn yourself into a religious addict that self glorifies and becomes idolatrous of himself in how Bible correct you are. You might turn yourself into a western rational Christian who practices heresy Christianity in the modernity of the real world of American western rational freedom of religion. You might think for yourself and begin to wonder why Orthodoxy in America is anti western, rational and modernity and at the same time believes it is Gods only true truth and salvation relevancy in America and the savior of its wrong in comparison to Orthodoxy Christianity here. You might begin to question if Orthodoxy is itself anti freedom of religion by its exclusive viewpoint of itself that cannot be wrong about itself and that has no comparison that can match its exclusivity. It always finds what is not under its authoritarian power and control rule and not believing in its exclusive claim to be heresy and the practice of apostasy. There was no freedom of religion where Orthodoxy came from and it did come here as freedom of religion tolerance. Exclusivity that is Gods only right and true truth in exclusive viewpoint of itself is not tolerant.

    I like to call that exclusive intolerance, The Frank Schaeffer Complex. You ran to embrace him without vetting him and you held him up as your triumphant victory TROPHY over those heresy Christianity apostasy practicing Protestant Evangelicals. You gave him the platform and you all laughed along with him and then he backed fired right in your Orthodox faces. Are you all laughing now? FRANKLY, and no pun intended, I don’t see the state of your church in America as a laughing matter. I will not be laughing along with all of you and Frank in your state of church real world outcome in America that is a giant backfire in your Orthodox faces. It isn’t funny. It is church survival serious. The Orthodox do take their church survival serious, right? Then prove it by relevancy change in Jesus Christ who came to us in the Gospels as relevancy change or keep laughing along with Frank. If Frank proves your relevancy by his conversion then I wish you the best. It seems to me that Frank found what he hated as much as he does. The perfect match of HATE that comes directly out of your exclusive we are Gods only true and right church viewpoint you have of yourselves that cannot be wrong about yourselves and is the Gods only right comparison to all Christianity outside of you and that makes makes you laugh at what is outside of your exclusive viewpoint of yourselves. You got Frank wrong and your state of church is wrong and so let’s all laugh along. I’m not laughing. Orthodox, you might want to read what Os Guinness his deceased fathers best friend now says about Frank. Thank you, Orthodox for taking Frank off of our heretic Christianity and apostasy practicing hands. You deserve each other. Enough said about the Orthodox comedian Frank. Next….

    Is Orthodoxy really conciliar? Really is it??? Corrupt authoritarian power and control is conciliar? Since when?

    That is what the exclusive Gods only true and right Christians have told me. Who can argue with such God right and true exclusivity that cannot be wrong about such things and that has no comparison in the Gods only true truth it tells you? No one can and including God who is knocking at their closed system authoritarian and exclusivity locked church door to come in and bring corporate repentance and bondage breaking to them. The Orthodox cannot be wrong about how right they are about themselves and so why unlock the door when there is nothing gone heresy Christianity practicing apostasy systemically wrong and that could turn them into a dying church and whose powerlessness cannot find a in the power of God solution to its dying state?

    If this is difficult for the Orthodox to hear I am only reflecting back to you what I hear and how I am hearing it. If you stepped out of your exclusive we alone are Gods right and true bias and looked and listened back into yourselves objectively you could hear and see yourselves like I do too.

    Unfortunately and with western rational Christian concern I believe the Orthodox in America are dying by exclusivity. I believe that exclusivity is far more than the not being pluralistic inclusive problem their ethnic exclusivity creates for them. This is a theological spiritual problem of exclusively believing that they alone are Gods only true Christians, Gods only true rule structure and system of rule and Gods only true church. If you enmesh their theological/spiritual exclusiveness with their ethnocentric exclusiveness into one in the same that is the sure death of them over time in America. In the end, and they are coming to a dying end in America, it will be the theological/spiritual exclusiveness that does them in, that implodes them into themselves over all other issues. It will not matter if the jurisdiction is under foreign rule or not (Like OCA or GOA). It is the same authoritarian rule structure and system of top down power and control wrapped around their exclusive claim and as one in the same in thinking, attitude and resulting behavior.

    Any save our jurisdiction strategy of the Orthodox in America will ultimately fail and because it will be based in theological/spiritual exclusiveness that cannot be wrong about itself and that has no comparison to Orthodoxy. The Orthodox can completely eliminate the issue of ethnic exclusiveness and the theological/spiritual exclusiveness will still be their end in America. Any strategy will be subjective exclusive and so it will not see the objective real world threats to it. It will be a delusional strategy due to the delusion the exclusivity creates.

    Like I have said the Orthodox will still exist here and it will be as obvious as it is today what they will exist as tomorrow and and unfortunately it will be worse in their future here. I don’t make the practical reality of the real Christian world rules, but I can explain what their consequences are to the Orthodox in America if they step outside of the boundaries of God by exclusive viewpoint of themselves that cannot be wrong and has no comparison to themselves. Its not an easy reality of the real Christian world message to deliver. It doesn’t mince words. Yes, it chides you. It is painful to experience your skin, the veneer of your church, being 50 grit sandpaper sanded off to see what is really below the exclusive Orthodox beautiful beyond comparison veneer. You feel naked exposed, you feel shame in your naked exposed state and it hurts, the truth hurts, you bleed, you scream stop, you say it is not of your passive, reverencing, nice and polite Gods love and grace, but without this God straight up tough love truth about you put in your denying Orthodox face there is no truth about you that will set you free or you would have come to America in a Christ set free state.

    I speak severe mercy to you and not spiritually immature spineless compliance and conformity to corruption to you and that delusionally tells you how wonderful, beautiful and right you are compared to the Christianity that is not of you. The more God only right you believe you are in comparison to other Christians and churches the more you feel good self righteously right about yourselves in the comfort of that exclusive closed, isolated, insulated and segregated delusional bubble. Pop goes that delusional bubble by comparison in the reality of the real Christian world that your authoritarian power and control has no authority or control over. You can’t hide behind that closed and exclusive Orthodox Wall any more. You are in the midst of freedom of religion that is competition and where there is competition there is COMPARISON. Have you ever bought a car? Did you compare before you bought? Welcome to freedom of religion America competition and comparison Orthodox. Will you survive it to prove how exclusively God only right and true that you claim God defines you as? You cannot escape the comparison and no matter how by your exclusiveness you believe that your church has no comparison to it. Personally, I would rather own a car that runs than a broken down car that does not run. I believe most people feel the same way. Don’t you Orthodox Gods only true and right church do too? You get my drift.

    Freedom of religion America is unlike anything the Orthodox have ever experienced before in their history. They just can’t church/state walk in and take over. Understand what freedom of religion is really all about and you will understand why. The Orthodox have to compete with the relevancy of God in our society and generation or they die. I believe that the Orthodox are finding out the hard way in America that Orthodoxy does not equal relevancy like it did where they came from. By their theological/ethnic exclusivity they had no real competition where they came from. Jesus in the Gospels was competed against and competed. In the end, He resurrected from the dead won the competition. You can’t hold the Good God Down, but a bad church can hold itself down. Will the Orthodox in America be able to resurrect themselves from the dead state of church they are in by their own authoritarian power and exclusive viewpoint of themselves? Its get up on your own two church feet and stand up and walk forward or don’t and lay down and die in America. You created your state of church in America, either correct it or die here. Its do or die time. Get it? Church growth and relevancy development strategy is not immigration, marriage and birth inside of a omission of the Great Commission exclusive we are God alone right closed system foreign ruled ethnic foreign culture centered church that is systemically corrupt and will not repent of its corruptions. Did I leave anything out? Just checking. (Church growth and relevancy development just happens to be my Christian passion for 35 years and so I don’t want to leave anything out of the statement of the Orthodox state in America.)

    Only Christ who is the truth outside of you is who will set you free. He is open system free inclusive and you are closed system in bondage exclusive that closes the authority and rule of the Lord out. You close the truth, love and grace of Jesus out who came to us full of truth, love and grace. He is your bottom up and open system inside out solution if you will only allow Him in to resurrect transform your church from church death to church life from the inside out. Christ is Gods Way Out and the Orthodox Way has no way out. That is obvious.

    What is open opens what is closed to set it free in Christ and it does not work the other way around.

    Yes, I repeat myself to the Orthodox. They have a difficult closed system ear problem that plugs their ears to hear and just like the problem of their closed system blinders closes their eyes to see themselves as they really are. Jesus in the Gospels had the same problem. Jesus in the Gospels repeated the theme. I understand why that He did. The Orthodox do not listen. They hear no exhortation warning. They cannot be wrong about themselves no matter how corrupt, failed and dying they become. The problem is other than what the problem in truth is in their exclusive can’t be wrong about themselves Orthodox Minds. The problem can’t be the authoritarian structure and system and the exclusive claim. What would they do if they faced the fact that those are it central core problems driving most all of their problems? They are not about to reform their structure and system of rule or drop the exclusive claim that are their foundation and that defines them. I have never seen a church in such a paint itself into the corner state that it cannot escape. It is painful to observe Christians spiritually dying and understand why they are spiritually dying. It difficult to watch them shame and spiritually abuse themselves to their church death. I take no pleasure in telling the Orthodox this and I know they take no pleasure in hearing it.

    Knock, knock, knock. Is anyone home who can unlock the door and let God back in? What, your exclusive Gods only true authoritarian closed system rulers will not unlock the closed system door and let the system opening and transparent making God back in? I would say that is a serious problem that needs to be addressed and as quickly as you can.

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  82. The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic (right-believing) Orthodox Church of Christ is “…built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone; in Whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom [we] also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22). The cardinal, yet primordial, Confession of Faith of this Church is “Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God, Who art come into this world” (John 11:27). The Church’s Faith is called Orthodox, which simply means, “right-believing” and/or “right-glory.”

    It is precisely because there is no salvation outside of Christ Jesus (see Acts of the Apostles 4:11-12) that there is no salvation outside of His Orthodox (right-believing) Church, which is “…the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Titus 3:15-16); against which “…the Gates of Hell shall not prevail…” (Matthew 16:18), and most especially because this same Jesus Christ “…is the Head of the Body, the Church, which is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He may hold the primacy” (Colossians 1:17). Therefore, because Primacy dwells in Christ, this very same God-bearing quality equally dwells in His Body the Church, and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    The Orthodox Church is simply the Mystical Incarnation of Christ Jesus in this world through the indwelling Holy Spirit, that all men may come to a knowledge of the Truth and find salvation (see John 16:13 and 1 Timothy 2:3-6). The only people who have separated themselves from this Church are the heterodox and this by their own choice. Truth is indeed exclusive, and only those who willfully hold fast to heresy and errors are excluded from His communion (see 2 Corinthians 6:14-18). God bless you, and all those who read this!

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    • When Jesus was in dialogue with those who opposed Him in John 8:31-59 those he engaged also believed they were right worship, right belief, right traditions, right history, right theology, right fathers and right salvation.

      What I have notice about the orthodox in different places in the Gospels that Christ confronted was how being Gods only true and right they believed they were, how self righteous we do not have to change anything that they were. I also noticed how the religious and the state conspired against Him as one and that He did not come to us a any merger or unity with the state and the religious and Himself as one. He did not come to us as a top down authoritarian structure of power and control that was corrupt, authoritarian and legalistic by its system of traditions. He did not come to us as an exclusive, closed, isolated and therefore subjective structure and system of religion rule. Christ came under us to raise us up and out of the spiritual abuse oppression of a corrupt structure and system of religion rule. His arguments with the religious were usually His confronting them over religious legalism, performance and works in tradition. I noticed how He, in affect, told them to go be right.

      Another way of looking at what has happened to Eastern Orthodoxy is by Google search of the life cycle of a church diagram or life and death cycle of a church. Several diagrams will be shown but the ones that show an arching line are the ones to focus on. I like the one labeled, life cycle of too many churches.

      Other Google searches I suggest are, signs of a dysfunctional church, the spiritually abusive church, toxic faith and the shame based church. These resources are from the bottom up, open system and self exposing church that confronts itself. They are resources from the western, rational and modernity church. What will be shown is not beautiful we alone Gods only right and true church that has no comparison. You will see objectivity in these resources that expose issues that are not pretty, but they are real world. You will see how the transparent truth of freedom in Christ Christians hold the church transparent exposes the church issues and can be used to hold the church accountable for its state. These are Christians who the Eastern Orthodox claim are heresy practicing apostasy in comparison to their Gods only true and right church that they believe is Gods objective standard of measure of how God right and true, spiritually correct and structurally correct Christians and churches are outside Eastern Orthodoxy in comparison to Eastern Orthodoxy.

      If you can think for yourself without a top down authoritarian church of we alone are God right and true in indoctrination thinking for you then with objectivity you can use the resources by bringing them together to form a picture of what is really going on Eastern Orthodoxy. The resources will help you both paint and frame the picture of your church in the practical reality of the real world. Facing that practical reality that exposes spiritual realities taking place and not denying it is important to the future of Eastern Orthodoxy and especially in western, rational and modernity America. You might also consider thinking about how Orthodoxy being anti western, rational and modernity in western, rational and modernity America fits into the picture that you frame, what are the ramifications of that in combination with what the resources are exposing to you?

      I would encourage you as you look at the different resources to think in terms of what kind of a church culture are they exposing and what are the consequences in ramifications of that church culture on the future of your church. It is difficult for those who believe we are Gods only true and right Christians to with objectivity be intellectually and spiritually transparently honest about the true state of their church, but these resources can help them do that if they are willing to see themselves as they really are in the reality of the real world where it matters. Dealing with the exclusiveness in the subjective claim of being Gods only true church will be the issue that you must face and deal with to see your church objectively as it really is. To believe otherwise is not wise and will not lead you to any solution for the state of your church in America or anywhere else.

      If I was an Eastern Orthodox in America I would be concerned about what the resources expose objectively. The Orthodox only represent about 1% of Christianity in America and so it looks like to me they have the most to lose if they do not face the issues such resources expose about them. The demographic’s decline of Orthodoxy in America and the systemic corruption of the two largest jurisdictions in America would also greatly concern me if I was Eastern Orthodox in America. The resources can help you better understand why they are in this state of decline if you do not deny what they expose to you by exclusive we alone are Gods right and true thinking that cannot be wrong.

      I hope you do not pick stones to throw at the resources to kill them and stop them from exposing the truth to you. Those resources are like a mirror of truth on the wall that will not tell you what you believe or think you are. They are not going to tell you that Eastern Orthodoxy is the most beautiful church of them all. The objectivity of those resources will tell you that if you believe your church is Gods objective standard of comparison then you have a serious subjective problem that is really exclusive self righteousness. Jesus confronted those with an exclusive self righteous viewpoint of themselves that could not be wrong about themselves. Yes, I repeat that theme on purpose and I notice in the Gospels how Christ keeps repeating the theme on purpose.

      I honestly wish you Gods very best in your research, comparing and framing and I hope in Christ that the resources are not denied by you in what they tell you. These resources are for you and not against you. They point out what is against you. In other words, what I speak into you about today is for you and not against you. We can disagree and I as a Christian can still reach out to you by speaking into you with the resources that are for you. You can see what I am doing as against you and defensively react, but that would miss the point I am really making with you. That point being that unless the EO face their issues corrupting them and imploding them they will continue to see church failure causing them serious demographic decline in America, that the EO will continue to exist in a corrupt, failed, abusive, irrelevant and dying state in America, that your church will continue to go circular without solution in America.

      The exclusive that are not inclusive will exclude the resources for them not being of their exclusivity. I hope that is not the case with you. What is exclusive is closed and what is closed closes out. I hope you are open to the resources that will openly expose the issues your church faces. I am an open system Christian and so it makes rational sense that I bring you open system resources that are designed to open a closed system. What is open opens what is closed and it does not work the other way around. Jesus the open system opened the closed system He confronted by exposing it to itself. He opened the closed box and it was not pretty what was inside of it. They then picked up stones to kill the Jesus the resource who exposed them to themselves. They, in affect, placed an authoritarian closed system over the person and that was spiritual abuse of power that pushes down and closes out God and it does not raise you up to God. What is closed does not open you to God. They placed institution over the person and spiritually pushed down by spiritual abuse of power that by its exclusive viewpoint of itself could not be wrong about itself. Institution over person is the institution as GOD.

      Satan comes over and Christ comes under, John 8:42-44. Christ was comparing systems. The system of evil in comparison to the system of Holiness, the system of authoritarianism in comparison to the system of freedom in Christ, the system of arrogance in exclusiveness in comparison to the the system humility of the inclusive Christ, the system of dead religion tradition in comparison to the system of living personal relationship with Christ. He told them that their dead religion was not the living God and that it had turned itself into a idol. He told them that they were wrong in comparison to HIM alone as He stood their alone in front of them. They believed He was heresy practicing apostasy. They defensively reacted and did not listen due to their exclusiveness that really only listened to its exclusive self. A practical reality is that the more exclusively right you believe you are the more you will really only listen to your exclusively right self.

      Christ was often sarcastic of them in His confrontation and speaking about them. They didn’t like it.

      Read what He told the exclusive in . He told them to GO BE WELL in their exclusive viewpoint of themselves. They were not safe or healthy, they were not well. He was comparing their system of sickness to Him as the system of wellness. Christ continually compared their system of thinking to His system of thinking. Christ did not come to us as class or caste structure and system, but He confronted one by coming to us as its opposite so that the comparison would be clear. He came as their opposite to expose them to themselves. Jesus in the resource that is a comparative resource. I would encourage you to use the resources I suggest to you to compare. If you believe by exclusivity that your church has no comparison you will not make the objective comparison and just like those Christ confronted couldn’t be objective about themselves due to their exclusive viewpoint of themselves that could not be wrong.

      The line between exclusively claiming to be Gods only true church and turning that into our church is GOD is thin and easily crossed. It is easy for a top down authoritarian power and control church that is a closed system of exclusivity to over time cross that line and turn itself into idolatry of it. The more authoritarian and the more exclusive the more chance of that happening. I speak about practical realities that can take place and the resources will help you better understand how and why such practical realities can take place in a church.

      Holy Christ is the only real comparison and not a systemically corrupt authoritarian church that will not face its undermining issues and repent of its corruptions destroying it. You can believe otherwise and go be right if that be the case. You can defensively react and close yourself to the resources and what they will tell you. That is your choice. Yes, I know, I am not easy to hear. I don’t mince words.

      You do want a different outcome for your church, right? That is what I am speaking into you about. IF I am the problem for pointing out the problem it is not me who has the problem. I read that last sentence in a book called The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse that exposes the church to itself. The open system church has resources that the closed system church does not have. As an authoritarian, closed system and exclusive Christian you now have those open system resources to use to compare. I pray that God’s grace blesses you with undeniable truth that transparently exposes and that you will not deny what the comparison reveals to you. The issue really is not my church that exposes itself to itself. The issue is about your church that will not really expose itself to itself. I find it interesting that the church that claims to be Gods only true church and by that truth it claims to be is not the most transparent of all churches on the planet. The truth is an open system of transparency and the lie is a closed system that is not transparent. The truth opens and the lie closes. The lie closes out the truth. What is closed is not free. The truth sets us free of what closes. That is Jesus in the Gospels. He is the comparison and not your church.

      Blessings on your day and life.

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  83. In my previous post in the paragraph beginning with ‘Read what He told them in’. I did not complete that sentence. The completion is Matthew 9:10-13.

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