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Miles From The Truth: An Orthodox Critique Of Protestant Theology
http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/thema_response.aspx ^

Posted on 10/31/2011 5:10:42 AM PDT by rzman21

Introduction In the past decade there has been an ever increasing level of interest in Orthodoxy in this country. Along with this interest has come a tremendous increase in the number of converts from Protestantism to Orthodoxy. Thus, it was inevitable that Protestant apologists would begin to train their intellectual artillery on Orthodoxy. In the Protestant Reformed journal Credenda/Agenda, we find one of the first attempts to repudiate the claims and teachings of the Orthodox Church in a way that does not merely rehash anti-Roman polemics (though the author does not fully escape this temptation, as we shall see).

In the lead article of the issue under consideration, Douglas Jones attempts to lay out the battle plans for subsequent articles. He briefly levels six specific charges against the Orthodox Faith in order to support his basic thesis that it is apostate. We have chosen to list these in the order in which we will address them, not as he presented them: 1) our theology is Platonistic, and thus pagan; 2) the doctrine of Theosis relegates the Cross of Christ to a "quaint sideshow"; 3) Orthodoxy teaches salvation by works, substituting human effort for Christ's effort; 4) we have subjugated God's revelation (Holy Scripture) to human tradition; 5) we place an undue emphasis on ecclesiastical power and tradition which has turned the Church into a magisterial authority dominated by "ecclesiastics"; 6) our worship is arrogant and pagan.

One may wonder why it has taken so long for an Orthodox response to this Credenda issue to appear. Even though some Protestants have found the articles persuasive, many Orthodox have argued that these articles should not even be dignified with a response. Jones' remarks in particular lack balance and objectivity. The Church that has produced tens of millions of martyrs for Christ in this century alone is to him merely a "synagogue of Satan." Common sense, decency, and even a cursory reading of Orthodox materials—let alone interaction with Orthodox Christians—would easily lead an objective person to the conclusion that the Credenda staff's depiction of the Orthodox Church is way off. Nevertheless, we have decided to respond to these articles because many sincere Protestants who are unfamiliar with Orthodoxy have unwittingly accepted them at face value. We felt that a thorough reply was necessary for the sake of those Evangelicals who want to learn the truth about the Orthodox Church.

What will become more clear as one reads the rest of the issue in question is that the authors' fundamental misunderstanding of Orthodoxy stems from a penchant for analyzing everything through the prism of a Reformed Protestant worldview. This worldview is decidedly different from that of the Orthodox, and likewise that of Christian antiquity. Their mistakes are also the result of an over-dependence upon modern Orthodox writers (who frequently do not properly articulate the Patristic consensus), as well as a complete neglect of the liturgical texts of the Orthodox Church. The latter is an especially serious error; for our theology is often set forth in these texts in ways that other written forms of Holy Tradition do not. To overlook them is to invite error and misrepresentation, both of which are rife in these essays. In the end, Jones and company portray an Orthodoxy which no one (Orthodox or otherwise) with even a moderate grasp of Orthodox belief could recognize.


TOPICS: Evangelical Christian; Orthodox Christian; Religion & Culture; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; evangelical; orthodox

1 posted on 10/31/2011 5:10:44 AM PDT by rzman21
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To: rzman21

Anybody got popcorn?


2 posted on 10/31/2011 5:15:16 AM PDT by vladimir998 (There are way too many letter drop_ers here ar FR)
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To: rzman21

I’ll bite. Why do some modern Orthodox writers not properly articulate Patristic consensus? This seems a serious problem.


3 posted on 10/31/2011 5:28:19 AM PDT by Tao Yin
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To: rzman21

4 posted on 10/31/2011 5:37:01 AM PDT by Texas Fossil (Government, even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one)
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To: rzman21

The article suggests “neglect of the liturgical texts of the Orthodox Church. The latter is an especially serious error; for our theology is often set forth in these texts in ways that other written forms of Holy Tradition do not.”

Frankly, that is the problem.

Men can argue till the second coming about what “liturgical texts” do or do not say and mean, but they neglect the only Text that matters.

This article is just more buzzword-filled blabber in the cacophony of manmade theology.


5 posted on 10/31/2011 5:39:03 AM PDT by Jedidah
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To: rzman21
From the Original Post:
In the end, Jones and company portray an Orthodoxy which no one (Orthodox or otherwise) with even a moderate grasp of Orthodox belief could recognize.

This seems to be the normal procedure. They start out by misrepresenting their target and then attack that misrepresentation.

6 posted on 10/31/2011 5:47:51 AM PDT by Mad Dawg (Jesus, I trust in you.)
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To: rzman21

I’m a Protestant currently attending an Orthodox Church because my wife was raised in it. They get the basics right - one path to salvation is Christ.

I see the Christian church moving to one denomination. What we agree on is much more important than where we disagree. People focus too much on the small stuff. Meanwhile, the world around us, literally, goes to Hell.


7 posted on 10/31/2011 6:00:52 AM PDT by TigerClaws
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To: Jedidah

“Men can argue till the second coming about what “liturgical texts” do or do not say and mean, but they neglect the only Text that matters.

This article is just more buzzword-filled blabber in the cacophony of manmade theology.”

The Article was in response to another article written about the Orthodox faith, which was filled with technical errors misrepresenting Orthodox theology. That was the point of the article.

I’m not going to argue with you about who decided which texts were *the* text and why, but suffice it to say that most Christians today, of whatever type, read Holy Scripture with certain axioms which were not always taken as fact.

Take the time to read Pelikan’s series “The History of Christian Doctrine” and then come back for a chat about “buzzword-filled blabber” (a charge which most Orthodox Christians would lay against others for concepts such as Sola Scriptura or the meaning of the Second Coming, which you referenced). Your axioms are not so easily assumed without a great deal of mental exercises, which have filled volumes of very technical theological treatises. The fact that *you* take these conclusions as axiomatic without understand *why* does not make them any less technical or less argued or less nuanced.


8 posted on 10/31/2011 6:04:07 AM PDT by cizinec ("Brother, your best friend ain't your Momma, it's the Field Artillery.")
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To: rzman21

“the authors’ fundamental misunderstanding of Orthodoxy stems from a penchant for analyzing everything through the prism of a Reformed Protestant worldview.”

The only valid prism is The Word Of God, not the words of man.


9 posted on 10/31/2011 6:32:41 AM PDT by RoadTest (For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.)
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To: rzman21

I have had two Methodist friends tell me they “hate” the Catholic church. But when I inquire, they don’t know why. On the internet, there are many “hate” the Catholic church sites, telling about dungeons in convents, nuns held captive and starved and other assorted garbage.

Meanwhile the other “Christian” denominations ignore the pro abortion, pro adultery, pro other sin stances of their “churches”.


10 posted on 10/31/2011 6:51:01 AM PDT by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: Texas Fossil

What is this supposed to convey?


11 posted on 10/31/2011 6:54:39 AM PDT by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: rzman21
In the Protestant Reformed journal Credenda/Agenda, we find one of the first attempts to repudiate the claims and teachings of the Orthodox Church in a way that does not merely rehash anti-Roman polemics (though the author does not fully escape this temptation, as we shall see).

In the lead article of the issue under consideration, Douglas Jones attempts to lay out the battle plans for subsequent articles. He briefly levels six specific charges against the Orthodox Faith in order to support his basic thesis that it is apostate. We have chosen to list these in the order in which we will address them, not as he presented them: 1) our theology is Platonistic, and thus pagan; 2) the doctrine of Theosis relegates the Cross of Christ to a "quaint sideshow"; 3) Orthodoxy teaches salvation by works, substituting human effort for Christ's effort; 4) we have subjugated God's revelation (Holy Scripture) to human tradition; 5) we place an undue emphasis on ecclesiastical power and tradition which has turned the Church into a magisterial authority dominated by "ecclesiastics"; 6) our worship is arrogant and pagan.

One may wonder why it has taken so long for an Orthodox response to this Credenda issue to appear. Even though some Protestants have found the articles persuasive, many Orthodox have argued that these articles should not even be dignified with a response.

Ping for later

12 posted on 10/31/2011 7:01:00 AM PDT by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2703506/posts?page=518#518)
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To: TigerClaws

You means little things like gay marriage and praying to anyone other than God/Christ? Those aren’t so little.
I’ll be staying at my values based protestant church. Some things I can work with Catholics on, but not enough.


13 posted on 10/31/2011 7:31:59 AM PDT by LevinFan
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To: yldstrk; Texas Fossil

It looks like someone’s imaginative scene of a dungeon in the Spanish Inquisition. Not sure what that has to do with Eastern Orthodoxy.


14 posted on 10/31/2011 7:44:37 AM PDT by Campion ("Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies when they become fashions." -- GKC)
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To: rzman21

Um, so the Orthodox church doesn’t consider itself Protestant - which makes it Catholic? Or was it the Catholics who “protested” against the Orthodox by starting a new denomination? Very confusing.


15 posted on 10/31/2011 7:59:18 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: yldstrk
Meanwhile the other “Christian” denominations ignore the pro abortion, pro adultery, pro other sin stances of their “churches”.

Perhaps you have missed the mirade of articles about the fights within these churches against these very things. There have been many of them posted on FR, and I'm sure there will be more. Keep your eyes open. :)

16 posted on 10/31/2011 8:02:58 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: yldstrk
tell me they “hate” the Catholic church. But when I inquire, they don’t know why. On the internet, there are many “hate” the Catholic church sites, telling about dungeons in convents, nuns held captive and starved and other assorted garbage.

you see it on freerepublic all the time too!

17 posted on 10/31/2011 10:05:07 AM PDT by Cronos (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2787101/posts?page=58#58)
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To: MEGoody

the Orthodox are part of the One Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church.


18 posted on 10/31/2011 10:06:32 AM PDT by Cronos (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2787101/posts?page=58#58)
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To: MEGoody

The Orthodox believe that they are true Catholic Church. But they share about 95 percent of the same beliefs as the Roman Catholic Church minus St. Augustine’s teachings on grace and papal supremacy.

They accord him a primacy of honor and certain prerogatives as the Successor of St. Peter as the head of the Church of Rome.


19 posted on 10/31/2011 10:23:49 AM PDT by rzman21
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To: Jedidah

“This article is just more buzzword-filled blabber in the cacophony of manmade theology.”

Do you mean like Baptist theology and the traditions of men that go into your Biblical hermaneutics?

I guess Martin Luther didn’t read his Bible considering he taught the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, sacramental absolution, the necessity of water baptism for salvation, etc.


20 posted on 10/31/2011 10:29:23 AM PDT by rzman21
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To: Cronos
the Orthodox are part of the One Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church.

Really? Then why don't they simply call themselves Catholic instead of having a different name?

21 posted on 10/31/2011 11:58:36 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: MEGoody
For the same reason that your group calls itself what it wants. It is a simplistic (*note the word, I'll get back to it later) method of differentiating itself

I call it simplistic because if one takes for instance the Anglicans, they are not all Anglo-Saxons, right?

22 posted on 10/31/2011 12:29:35 PM PDT by Cronos (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2787101/posts?page=58#58)
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To: rzman21

I thought the Orhodox church and the Roman church were merging.


23 posted on 10/31/2011 1:03:44 PM PDT by CynicalBear
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To: yldstrk

***I have had two Methodist friends tell me they “hate” the Catholic church.***

Years ago I read a two volume history of the Christian Church, written in the 1800s, by a methodist preacher.

I noticed that every three or four pages he would suddenly find a reason to take a swing at the Catholic Church.


24 posted on 10/31/2011 1:08:18 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Click my name. See my home page, if you dare!)
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To: MEGoody

***Or was it the Catholics who “protested” against the Orthodox by starting a new denomination? Very confusing.***

Many years ago I read a newspaper article, written by an Eastern Orthodox priest as to how the Catholic church split and left the “True Faith” of the Orthodox.

Interesting take on it.


25 posted on 10/31/2011 1:11:37 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Click my name. See my home page, if you dare!)
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To: yldstrk
Fortunately, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod has no shortcomings.

: )

26 posted on 10/31/2011 1:17:18 PM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: rzman21

Yes.


27 posted on 10/31/2011 1:39:34 PM PDT by Jedidah
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To: All
[Sarcasm]All readers should be aware that the authors of this article, John Whiteford and Patrick Barnes, are "not really Orthodox." They are converts to Orthodoxy from Protestantism and like many modern Protestant converts have dragged some of their Protestant baggage into the Orthodox Church with them.

As I understand it, both Whiteford and Barnes are opposed to evolutionism. Now as we all know, "all True Orthodox" are evolutionists, and only inbred trailer park trash believe that garbage about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, or the Ark, or the Tower of Babel. Furthermore the host site also contains an article by the late Fr. Seraphim Rose who not only opposed evolutionism but actually wrote a book against it. Obviously Fr. Seraphim "wasn't really Orthodox" either, else he would have spent his days defending Darwin, Wellhausen, and other fonts of the absolutely unchanging Eastern Tradition.

Don't be fooled by Bible-thumping rednecks in Orthodox clothing![/Sarcasm]

28 posted on 10/31/2011 1:49:11 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Ki-hagoy vehamamlakhah 'asher lo'-ya`avdukh yove'du; vehagoyim charov yecheravu.)
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To: CynicalBear

My Melkite Church professes to be Orthodox in communion with Rome, but a wholesale reunion is far off because of politics.

I might add that Rome doesn’t require us to use Thomistic scholastic theological concepts.

I’ve never once, for example, heard my pastor preach about purgatory, indulgences, etc.


29 posted on 10/31/2011 4:53:28 PM PDT by rzman21
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To: Mr. Lucky

The LCMS is missing the sacraments save baptism and marriage.


30 posted on 10/31/2011 4:54:51 PM PDT by rzman21
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

Byzantine Catholics say our Latin brethren went off the deep end with trying to apply Aristotle’s categories of philosophy to matters of faith.

We share a great deal with the Orthodox despite the fact we are in full communion with the Pope of Rome.


31 posted on 10/31/2011 4:58:50 PM PDT by rzman21
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To: rzman21
Years ago, someone on FR posted a thread about how Martin Luther was in communication with the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Anyone remember it and can you provide a link?

32 posted on 11/01/2011 8:01:29 AM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Click my name. See my home page, if you dare!)
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To: rzman21

The Lutheran Confessions don’t define the number of Sacraments.


33 posted on 11/01/2011 8:10:38 AM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: Mr. Lucky

The Lutheran confessions are frequently far from consistent, especially when it comes to the sacraments.


34 posted on 11/01/2011 4:18:55 PM PDT by rzman21
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