Skip to comments.Orthodox Christianity
Posted on 12/20/2012 12:52:36 PM PST by don-o
Hello and welcome to my site. My name is Richard Shaward and this site reflects my Christian journey.
What I share on this site are things regarding Christianity that have had a personal impact on me, articles that I like, articles that have shaped my theological thinking, and what I would like to share with others while on my Christian journey.
A little background about me. I was not raised a Christian. I became a Christian at age 20 in a small Dutch Reformed and Calvinistic denomination and those early years were formative and meaningful. I went to a Reformed College and received a B.R.E degree. Later I became went to a Baptist Seminary and received a MDiv degree. I became a Baptist Pastor and served in three Baptistic type Churches.During all these years my life worldview was mainly within a mindset of the Anti-Rome Protestant Reformation. There are many Protestant Christians who, like me, are/were often very ignorant of a broader deposit of Christianity outside of a post 16th century box. In sincere ignorance I never knew that Christianity was broader than that Western historical context. I stumbled upon Eastern Orthodoxy. My family entered the Orthodox Church and after five years. I desire to have an Evangelical Orthodox Christianity that has existed throughout all of the Churchs History since the book of Acts and yet as powerful of a witness today.
I do not want to be labeled Eastern Orthodox but I desire to be an Orthodox Christian. The word Orthodox simply means right glory or right belief, and Orthodoxy therefore is the fullness of the Catholic (whole) Christian Faith that has once been delivered to Gods people (Jude 1:3). To be Orthodox is not just an exercise of the head but is also right living. It has been said that the only heresy is a heresy of life and it is our life that we will be held accountable for, not for what we may fallibly believe and may even get wrong in our continuing journey.
Thanks for visiting. I dont allow many comments to show publicly with a post as most comments are invites to debate and arguing; and this site does not have debating as its purpose. It simply expresses my Christian journey, and that journey is thankfully always being tweaked.
But I invite all comments and I assure you I DO read them all. Again, thanks for visiting.
I found the site to be well presented and easy to navigate to a number of topics. I am not posting to start another of the the usual and lamentable wars; rather I post for the lurker who may be seeking.
I would be happy to engage discussion with rational and cordial conversation. All other shall be ignored.
In reading that, I see that “Orthodox” (as he spells it) should actually be “orthodox” - thereby not a “proper name” of a group, but more in line with what he’s saying.
And then, “Catholic”, as he spells it, should also be “catholic” - and not used as a “proper name” - being that this would be the actual name of a church group - while “catholic” is not.
I would hope that he would make those corrections ... :-)
For me, the value of the site is the essays that he has compiled, not his introduction.
Later on I discovered Russian Orthodox Christmas cards ~ studied them, and other things (huge tracts of sermons) and discovered I already belonged to a church which had had at its beginning an ambition to recreate the First Century Church in America.
There is an Orthodox attitude ~ a good one ~ so it's not just an invisible sort of difference. It exists among Roman Catholic aide workers, and the priests who participate in Catholic charities.
Some day I'll figure that one out ~
Think I'll take a look at that blog and see what he has for us ~
If they are unintentional misspellings they indicate an amount of carelessness that is surprising for someone with a Master’s of Divinity. If they are misspellings then they indicate some very muddled thinking.
He is a Baptist who has discovered that all Christians are catholic and should be orthodox in both belief and practice. Maybe he is avoiding the shock factor that a Baptist experiences when he is told he is catholic.
Then I suspect I shall be ignored (and perhaps so should you), since your selection of this article is a transparent claim that folks seeking truth end up with the RCC. You did not begin with a "cordial conversation", but an obvious propaganda piece like those the Roman cult peddles incessantly.
Whether this fellow is actually a believer at all is yet to be determined...by Jesus Himself. That he migrated to Rome gives the rest of us definite pause.
If I may intrude, I believe the poster may intend to ignore the Calvinist bullies, who regularly bait Catholic FReepers into title posts for discussion, overwhelm them with overlong material, and then use that as an excuse to practice their snark lines, to insult Mary, the Holy Father, and generally dash any hope for a discussion.
Catholics hear the same tired and ignorant complaints over and over. If you’re like me and tend to go ballistic, avoid those threads. These threads are generally an intellectual exercise in futility, between brick walls with no resolution to their differences. %;?D)
It most certainly did.
See. Here they come. LOL!
I have lately been visiting the Orthodox churches around me. Beautiful.
The first Divine Liturgy I experienced was a little group of Greeks, in a borrowed "modern" Catholic church - pews and all. It was long; a great deal in Greek. But, it was glorious. Unhurried - it felt timeless. I was changed on that day.
Ignorant = Do not know. That seems a statement that is either factual or not. It’s not an insult.
All human beings are ignorant. The specifics vary.
You say that only because you're very ignorant.
(Sorry, but that still doesn't seem like a great way to conduct a civil discourse.)
I was once completely ignorant about Orthodox Christianity. Today, I am less ignorant. Have I insulted myself?
They were very, very good at edification--as most Protestant churches are--but oddly enough, it was only after taking seven or so classes on theology, hermeneutics, and Koine Greek that I became curious enough, through our apologetics group, to enquire into Orthodox Christianity.
My intent was to kick the tires, then debunk it gently. Not that I thought they were wrong, but just perhaps, so I'd thought, emphasized certain things over other things.
Boy, was I wrong. ;)
Turned out that it was really the same thing, but with a fuller, more complete, history. I'm better off for it!
Admittedly, I still think "Protestant," and always will. That won't change. But after several years in an Orthodox Christian church (founded by Russian Americans), I not only have a more complete understanding of the Patristic Fathers, but of new (read: "old") ways of thinking, and even deeper wisdom into some things.
It's been beneficial to me. I honestly didn't realize that I'd been missing anything.
Of course, the story was more complex. I'm leaving a lot of information out--like how I fought certain concepts during catechism. For many months, I had the priest pulling his hair out. He was quite patient; he called on the advice of other priests, but the odd thing was this: He was what they call "cradle orthodox."
Orthodox can't speak Protestant. And vice-versa. Oddly enough, we began to understand what we *thought* he was telling us rather differently, over time, and he, us.
We need to open up a dialogue--all Christians. What my wife and I had thought was a wide gulf separating us turned out to be a mere crack.
For a while, I was referring to myself as "Proto-Orthodox," in a humorous way.
One thing I've noticed is that the Orthodox simply don't like change. At all. Never for its own sake; they have to have a very compelling reason, or they won't. They're hyper-conservative. I used to think that was a bad thing.
...but I realize now, that it's a very good thing. ;)
The Devil could not even tempt Christ in the forty days but it seems some statements written on these threads have done just that terrible equation. Ludicrous going ons about another language dictionary. What makes Jesus the Christ? Hmmmmm. Maybe the Ten Commandments. What in the world does Honor your Mother and Father mean? Well he would have to obey every commandment not just 9 then leave that one out. Meaning preferential treatment of your parents over others. Priority . Does not mean to ignore others either. But mother and father come first in the family structure.
So in a teaching lesson of words that everybody can be part of the family of God our Savior is dishonoring his mother? Which can not be. Hello. One of these things does not add up.
Catholics hear the same tired and ignorant complaints over and over. If youre like me and tend to go ballistic, avoid those threads. These threads are generally an intellectual exercise in futility, between brick walls with no resolution to their differences. %;?D)"
With all due respect, I believe you should go back and re-read my post. I am one of those "...Calvinist bullies" who regularly rebuts the utterly demonic misinformation spread by the Romanists. The perspicuity of the Scriptures is unavoidable...Rome has overlain the pure truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with false human tradition, myths, superstitions and darkness from the pit.
Another accusation thrown out there as if truth.
Could you perhaps cite that comment you claim to have read with a link to said comment?
Who ever said the Savior is a sinner?
Yes, and you have proved my point, and since I go ballistic with the calvinist kamikaze evangelization methods, coupled with their colossal ignorance (fear of all things pre-circa 2012), I know any discussion will prove to be out of the question.
This means I am unable to enjoin the regurgitated food fight. Dang it. Let the jolly blood letting begin at Christmas time, between those with the stomach for it and relish it.
Did a *Calvinist bully* post THIS thread?
Who's baiting whom with comments of *There are many Protestant Christians who, like me, are/were often very ignorant* like the article has?
This thread and the blog cited is about Orthodox Christianity. Do you have anything to add to that discussion?
I couldnt even make sense of his post so I didnt bother to respond.
I have used that site before and find it a very good site expressing what the Eastern Orthodox believe, and of course fully Catholic here.
Thanks for linking it here. It shows that there is an Church that is rooted in the Eastern Roman empire and that holds to the first 7 Councils totally has a faith in terms of Doctrine, Liturgy, justification, sacraments, ecclessiology that is 99% in agreement with Rome and Rome and the East have not been in full communion since the 11th century [date is usually 1054AD].
I had the same problem but did find that tidbit that could be addressed.
glad I’m still on your ping list. Aloha and Merry Christmas
Where does he say he "migrated to Rome" or "ended up with the RCC"? You didn't go to the site?
It looks like you caught sight of the word "C(c)atholic" and went straight for your Glock. Tsk! It's
Ready... Aim... Fire
--- and not t'other way around.
Their Church had no pews and there were ancient icons on the walls - the lighting at night inside was surreal and I had my first spiritual experience. We just prayed - no mass was said. The glow of that Church is still with me. One word that sticks in my mind is humility.
I became really involved with my own Church after that. Our doctrines differ in some areas but the basics are the same... most importantly the mystical spirituality that I practice today is identical. My in laws are Catholic and have taught me much - we never argue about faith. Just different paths and experiences we can share to enlighten each other.
This blogger has a great site - bookmarked!. It's always interesting to me to see the stages of spiritual development - this young man is gathering truths and forming his understanding. He's exercising his spiritual freedom to see what works in his life and makes sense. He's open to serious discussion and comments. Good stuff.
Actually to us Calvinists (especially to us 5 pointers) nothing is an exercise in futility. We are commanded to shared the gospel. It is the Holy Spirit that will enlighten if He so chooses. That is the reason we tend to be so persistent, knowing that it's the Holy Spirit who will penetrate that wall-not us. All we need to do is to be faithful to our calling. ;O)
Well, the reason man fell isn't much of a secret quite honestly. We fell because we don't want anyone-not even God-to tell us what we can and can't do. It's that simple. No matter how good it would be for us to do it or how bad it would be if we did it. And we still grieve and quench God today-even as Christians. It was that way with Adam. It was that way with Cain. And its been that way ever since. God wants (and expects) us to do what is perfect. We don't.
But I digress. The bottom line is it's obvious that Pastor Shaward does not have a clue about Reformed theology. He cannot clearly explain it nor can he say why Orthodoxy is correct. Instead we get the tired old argument about the Church fathers...whose beliefs the Church picks and choose which ones they want to believe and then say the Church choice is right because they picked those beliefs.
If Pastor Shaward wanted to truly believe the early Church fathers, he would have discovered that the Church (Orthodox or Roman) does not believe in what they wrote about the atonement. The Orthodox never believe the western view of the atonement and Rome has moved away from the the early fathers and aligned themselves with the eastern view. So much for believing the fathers. There goes "traditional values".
Hi metmom- What are we a tagteam. If you do not know by now. There can not be lawyering now. You have a great day.
That's actually true for us Arminian Calvinists as well. We think God gives the increase, and that we are just planting seeds. God opened Lydia's heart to hear the gospel.
I have no idea. I was interested in the essays that his site hosts and the ease of finding Orthodox writings related to various topics. Perhaps a fruitful discussion could be had by referring to the thoughts of multiple Orthodox writers that are available from the site.
I appreciate the decency of your snark free response and very much thank you for that. I appreciate it. Your reply has the dignity of relaying respect that I haven’t seen from calvinist posters. Ever. Stick around and you will see what I mean.
Until the other night, I held no animosity toward a protestant Calvinist. Now, I would avoid them with the same speed and vigor as I would Nancy Pelosi. Why? Because I lack the ability to go into an occassion for temptation for my own personal sin willingly. (It’s not acceptable, or nice for me want to reach through the key board and strangle strangers.) LOL! And then spend a lifetime repenting for going ballistic.
Some I have to pray for, but can not engage. I haven’t that gift. You all have fun.
Peace. & Thx. Rita
It seems quite hypocritical to decry the lack of civil discussion and then launch into a mini-diatribe like you did.
I’m sure you are quite right.
I’m also sure I know kamikaze evangelization methods when I see them, but maybe I’ll work on my inference of what a bully does. For my own sake I hope it works. It seemed a word more acceptable than “Taliban Calvinists”. At the time. :)
I’m sure you are quite right.
I’m also sure I know kamikaze evangelization methods when I see them, but maybe I’ll work on my inference of what a “bully” does. For my own sake I hope it works. It seemed a word more acceptable than liars and “Taliban Calvinists”. At the time. :)
As for “diatribe”— that’s the definition of these unfriendly type threads isn’t it? Both sides are certain of their own eloquence and knowledge, while equally certain they are doing G-d’s work by enduring the other side’s “diatribe”. I just had never stumbled across such a thread before.
Sorry for the double post. I am going blind on this dang cell keyboard. .)
the problem many protestants have in general, and calvinists in particular is they think there was one Christian who lived between 95ad and the 16th century and that is St. Augustine.
these same people will attack the Catholic Church ( Latin and Greek ) as teaching baptismal regeneration, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, apostolic succession, One Church, priests forgiving sins, etc. etc., never realizing that Augustine was a CATHOLIC BISHOP, IN COMMUNION WITH ROME and believed all of those doctrines i named above. BUT, since he also believed in predestination, he is A-OK in their minds.
Many Protestants can’t deal with the fact that they believe many novel doctrines, none of which were held by ANYONE before the 16th century.
let’s name one - baptismal regeneratiion. if there is one doctrine in the Scriptures that is clearer than any, it is baptism is for :
1. the remission of sins
2. receiving the Holy Spirit
3. being placed into the Body of Christ.
All the Church Fathers believed and taught this, the Nicene Creed is very clear the Catholic Church confesses ONE BAPTISM FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS.
Calvin rejected 15 centuries of Christian doctrine and turned baptism into a meaningless ceremony, much like various OT types and figures.
so of course the Calvinist must attack the Church, the fact that the Catholic Church is here for almost 2,000 years is a daily reminder to them that they are separate from the Apostolic Church, Latin or Greek.
so Catholics, whether you are Latin or Greek, rejoice and be glad when you are attacked for the sake of Christ, rejoice and be glad.
the problem the Catholics need to be in tribulation over is not inane comments from some Calvinist, it’s the fact we are experiencing the falling away predicted in the Scriptures which will occur right before the end of the world and the return of Jesus in the clouds.
Satan has indeed been loosed, and the Church is experiencing such a falling away, such apostasy, unknown in it’s 2,000 year history. the two witnesses are dead, and the world rejoices. this is the problem of the Catholic Church.
as an aside, to those offended about being accused of being ignorant.........anyone who reads the various threads where the Church is under assault, there is one constant:
the position of the Church is never accurately stated and most times, outright falsehoods are told, knowingly in the case of those who were once Catholic and know better or unknowingly by those who only hear or read what others say the Church teaches. for example, i wish i had a dollar for everytime i read on these threads that Catholics worship:
i’d be retired! LOL! Catholics try to correct these falsehoods, but it’s pointless, there are those that love lies more than the truth.
for those people, being accused of ignorance is very charitable actually.
as i say Catholics, be glad and rejoice!!
I am not trying to get into a tit for tat but the Christus Victor theory of the atonement is the most classical one among the Patristics, of which St. Ireneaus’s Recapitulation theory is a part of. Another early theory among the Fathers was the ransom theory but that does not get much support in Catholic Theology these days, and is not as old in Patristic though as Christus Victor. St. Anselm, representing the medeival Benedectine Tradition of the Catholic Church developed the “satisfaction theory”. Calvin and the other reformers took St. Anselms satisfaction theory and posited “penal substitution”.
While St. Anselm is a Doctor of the Catholic Church and one of the great theologians of the Benedectine Tradition, sort of like St. Thomas Aquinas represents the Dominican Tradition, St. Bonaventure the Franscisan, etc, his satisfaction theory is not posited by the Catholic Church these days. I would say the Christus Victor theory-Recapitulation, as articulated by St. Irenaeus is more the accepted theory. For the record, the Catholic Church has never dogmatically defined what is the “theory of atonement”, thus this is an area where there is room for theological discussion among the various theological traditions of the Catholic Church.
Nevertheless, as a general rule, in the Catholic Church theories that stress the “Love and obedience of Christ” in suffering for our sake are preferable to those theories that stress appeasement of God’s wrath [penal or substitutional] or ransom paid to Satan.
Now with respect to substitution, I think the Catholic Church embraces that as part of the theory of atonement to the degree that we are saying Christ suffered and died for us, sort of like the Nicene Creed’s statement,
“For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.”
So that type of substitution can be reconciled with the Christus Victor/Recapitulation theory, but when the subsitution suggests “in place of us”, that is more penal-substitution and that notion does not seem present in the Fathers. The Recapitulation theory, as you noted is dominant in the Eastern Orthodox and I think it is the one that the Catholic Church sees as foundational since it is rooted in Incarnational Theology and does not try to separate the Incarnation from the Paschal Mystery.
So you are correct, the Catholic Church and Orthodox, while neither havin formally defined a Doctrine of the atonement stress the Christus-Victor/Recapitulation theory as foundational.
so he prefers one of the many Orthodox churches to evil Rome?
don't get me wrong: Many people are attracted to the strict theology and beauty of the Orthodox church, especially if they live in "trendier than thou" Catholic dioceses in the USA
But I always wonder if some of these converts aren't just being snobbish: are they attracted to an Orthodox church full of blue collar Eastern European coal miners (like the Russian Orthodox church where I once was a member of a prayer group)? Or is their church full of yuppies?
There was a movement some years back - the son of Francis Schaeffer was involved with it - to bring Christians back to the liturgical and majestic observances of the church life and the Eastern Orthodox Church was part of that. I don't agree with all that this church does and believes, but I do think they are much closer to what and how the early church was.
One man’s bully is another man’s brilliant apologist. ;o)
LOL!!! There's just no such thing as an "Arminian Calvinist" (although I was reading an article by a Methodist Calvinist the other day). But I KNOW that you (and many others) believe my statement as well simply because I know the great faith in you. In heaven we'll all be Calvinists.
To quote the wise and powerful Jedi Master Obi-Wan-"You can't escape your destiny Luke". Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker believed in predestination. Sadly the Emperor did not. :O)
beautiful piece. I love the part where he talks of discovering the fullness and the richness of all of Christianity. That’s a good thing for all of us to remember.
"were often" -- indicating that this is not all so this is not a label
And also do note that this is specifically about a broader deposit -- so in no way indicating ignorance of everything.
I don't see it as a blanket label of ignorance for everything. Do you agree, Mr Lucky?
Echoing don-o, I am very ignorant of modern Baptist teachings and debates for today. I freely admit to that. And that's what the author means when he says like me, are/were often very ignorant of a broader deposit of Christianity outside of a post 16th century box. -- I'm sure all of us are ignorant of say, Oneness Pentecostal beliefs. The article does not say that all are ignorant about everything.
what’s the difference in mentality that you found?
I think their reasoning is "if it was good enough for Christ to teach His apostles, it's good enough for me..."