Friday, December 11, 2009

More disunity in Eastern Orthodoxy

Given the reassurances from DavidW and other EO commenters about my eternal destination, I thought this article was interesting, as it highlights both that DavidW, a faithful EO layman, is out of step with others in his church on the topic of ecumenism and that the problem is more widespread than just him. They can't decide who's in and who's out. And contrary to the recent goalpost-shifting to "well, we're all about unity in the essentials of the faith" (which sounds exactly like my position, a pretty cheap move), take a look at the following:

3) That whoever says that our Lord Jesus Christ at the Mystic Supper had unleavened bread (made without yeast), like that of the Jews, and not leavened bread, that is to say, bread raised with yeast, let him depart far away from us and let him be anathema as one having Jewish views and those of Apollinarios and bringing dogmas of the Armenians into the Church, on which account let him be doubly anathema.

7) That whoever does not follow the customs of the Church as the Seven Holy Ecumenical Councils decreed, and Holy Pascha, and the Menologion with which they did well in making it a law that we should follow it, and wishes to follow the newly-invented Paschalion and the New Menologion of the atheist astronomers of the Pope, and opposes all those things and wishes to overthrow and destroy the dogmas and customs of the Church which have been handed down by our fathers, let him suffer anathema and be put out of the Church of Christ and out of the Congregation of the Faithful.
Now that's bringing the pain. DOUBLE anathema for using unleavened bread for the Eucharist. Watch out. And a measly single anathema for those who won't hold to the Old Calendar. I guess that's not quite as big a deal...

Remember, this is not an argument FOR my position. I merely bring this up because our EO friends so...very...frequently say stuff like: "Yeah? Well, you Protestants have 45 gazillion denominations!!!!1 You must be wrong!" And yet when we examine Eastern Orthodoxy's unity, we find that -horror of horrors- their church is filled with sinful human beings too! And God hasn't miraculously restrained their sinful predilection for disunity either. Crazy how that works. I consider the argument absolutely stupid and wrongheaded; I bring up refutations of it only because they try to use it against my position. I'll stop when they do.

And before you ask, yes, I don't know about you, but I consider the webmaster of orthodoxinfo.com a more informed and trustworthy source on Eastern Orthodoxy than DavidW, Texan blogger in his 20s.

38 comments:

Lucian said...

Rho,

a few points:

1) You're anathema also, if that makes You feel any better;

2) Protestants are divided in the tenets of faith (not in praxis, or as individuals).

3) You can't compare the numbers of schismatics with the numbers of each Protestant faith-system: it's hundreds of thousands vs. hundreds of milions.

4) I guess You have to choose what it is that You like to be divided about: Christ's divinity, the Real presence, baptismal regeneration, predestination, etc. ... or earth-shattering stuff like, uhm, the calendar. -- The choice is Yours.

Rhology said...

Looks like the guy I quoted thought that the calendar WAS earth-shattering. I thought you were supposed to submit your thoughts to Christ's Church; instead, you're making your own judgments and acting like a Protestant.

Lucian said...

Well, Rho, choose Your sin: wanna burn in hell for the calendar, or for denying Christ's divinity?

Rhology said...

You're not even on the same planet as the post. Get relevant or you can talk to yourself.

Lucian said...

Orthodoxy has a few dozen-thousand people who bicker over the calendar

Protestantism is divided in chunks of dozen-millions of people who have every possible view regarding the Eucharist, predestination, Baptismal regeneration, having bishops, etc.

Relevant enough now for You?

Rhology said...

Nope. I get that you THINK EOC is better. I keep waiting for PROOF of the claims you make, that you have all this unity. This EO man has anathematised ppl within EOC and yet they remain within EOC. Someone's wrong. You have the same problem.

(And ProtestantISM isn't a church. It's a movement of many churches. Don't make that mistake again. Compare apples with apples. You want to compare, compare the Southern Baptist Convention or something. You should know better.)

Lucian said...

Comparing both numbers, as well as the relevance of the issue under discussion, we square by far better (schism is better then heresy).

I mean, it's not like every Protestant is a Lutheran, and they bicker over whether having the liturgy in English or in German...

[And no, the schismatics are no longer part of the Church from which they broke up. (Obviously)].

Rhology said...

You're telling me that there is no INTERNAL dissension within EOC about the calendar?

Lucian said...

Internal no. (The Slavs are on the Old calendar, and the Greeks and Romanians on the new; bu no-one agrees with the schismatics that being on the New calendar is a sin)

bossmanham said...

Lucian,

It's not going to hurt anything to admit there are different opinions within the EOC. There are differing opinions within Catholicism and Protestantism as well. There are dogmas that each group lays down, but there are things within those boundaries that are debatable. The vast majority of evangelical protestants agree on the essentials of the faith and on salvation by grace through faith. We don't tend to bicker on things as silly as leavened or unleavened bread (which is pure legalism and that guy really needs to read Galatians) but there are some things that we do differ on. However, I could comfortably attend a Baptist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, or Church of Christ and not be put off at all by most of the teachings.

The really big thing Catholics and EOs don't realize when they scold us on our different denominations is that most of the denominations formed because of geographical differences, not doctrinal differences. Not only that, but they do forget all of the internal debates that arise within the EO church and the RC church. They aren't immune to it, and most people in the pews couldn't tell you what a catechism is, let alone quote from it.

Rhology said...

It'll hurt, alright. It'll hurt their claims, and their favorite pet argument against Sola Scriptura.

But they're too intellectually dishonest to give it up.

Lucian said...

Rho asked me a direct question and I gave him a direct answer. (The old-calendarist schismatics are not part of the EOC. They do hold the same faith as us [they're schismatics, not heretics], but we're not in communion with each-other, which is what Rho asked me)

Jnorm888 said...

Rhology,

ROCOR (Orthodoxinfo) is now in communion with mainstream Orthodoxy. They joined us(SCOBA) in late May of 2007. And so, alot of the stuff that you will find on "Orthodoxifo" will be pre- 2007. A friend of mine often visits one of their(ROCOR) monasteries in West Virginia, and so the Calender issue isn't as earth-shattering as you think.....or else they wouldn't be in communion with us. If it was so earth shattering then they would of stayed away from SCOBA.

Some months ago I visited an Old Calender Parish in communion with SCOBA(Most of EO in America)
And they didn't bar me from taking communion. And so, it's not as earth shattering as you may think.

You really don't know what you're talking about. I know more about ROCOR than you, and half the stuff you say is either false or severly mis-understood. You don't know what's going on, and yet you seem to have a bad habbit in telling us about our own Church.

Rhology, we know more about EO than you, and alot of us probably know more about protestantism than you as well......so kill it.

What David said to you is true. And Yes we(ROCOR and other EO) argue among ourselves about the proper methods of something.....but those are mostly in house debates.





ICXC NIKA

Jnorm888 said...

Bossmanham,


You as an Arminian should know that there are alot of protestant divisions based on doctrine.

1.) Arminian vs Calvinist or in between (Calminian)

2.) Full-preterist vs preterist vs Post-mill vs pre-mill

3.) Pre-mill pre-trib rapture vs pre-mill mid-trib rapture vs pre-mill post trib rapture

4.) Sabbaterianism vs nonsabbaterianism. Saturday Sabbaterianism vs Sunday Sabbaterianism

5.) Those who are for State churches vs those who are against state churches

6.) Those who are for women pastors vs those who are against woman pastors

6.) Those who are for openly gay clergy vs those who are not

7.) Inerrency vs errency

8.) Cessationism vs miracles

9.) liberal churches(those who deny the virgin birth, miracles, ressurection of the dead, the supernatural....etc.) vs fundamentalists vs Evangelicals vs neoEvanfelicals.

10.) Symbolism vs spiritual vs consubstantiation

11.) pouring vs sprinkle vs dunking

12.) infant baptism vs believer baptism only

13.) Easy believism vs Lordship salvation

14.) Falling from grace vs O.S.A.S. vs P.O.T.S.

15.) Solo Scriptura vs Sola Scriptura

16.) Entire Sanctification vs those who don't believe in it. vs the 3rd blessing of speaking in tongues

17.) Prosperity Word of Faith Gospel vs the ones who don't believe in it

18.) Alter calls vs those who don't like them

19.) The emergent movement vs those who don't like it

20.) The convergent movement vs those who don't like it

21.) The New Perspective on Paul, Auburn Ave, Federal Vision, and Norman Sheperd vs all those who don't like them

22.) The few Baptists that want a more sacramental view of the sacraments vs those that don't

23.) Those who believe in Baptism regeneration vs those who don't

24.) Faith pre-ceeding faith vs faith preceeding regeneration

25.) line by line exegetical preaching only vs topical preaching

26.) Home church movement vs those who don't like it

27.) doing rock and hiphop in church vs those who don't like it

28.) mega church WOF movement vs those who don't like it

29.) Young Earth creationist vs Old Earth Creationist vs Theistic Evolution

30.) confessionalism vs nonconfessionalism

31.) Closed communion vs Open communion

32.) Oneness Pentecostals vs Triniterian Pentecostals

33.) Justification through Sanctification vs Justification through faith alone

34.) synergy vs monergy



I can name more, but this should be more than enough to show that alot of divisions within protestantism are indeed over doctrine.







ICXC NIKA

bossmanham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bossmanham said...

JNorm,

You as an Arminian should know that there are alot of protestant divisions based on doctrine.

I did say that there aren't doctrinal disagreements among protestants. Not all of those disagreements form a new denomination. There are disagreements among EO's and RC's as well. It seems to me that RC's and EO's try to paint a picture of perfect doctrinal unity within their churches, but it isn't so. In fact, a couple of the very points you have posted are also debated among RC's. There are no official statements in either denomination dogmatising things like: Pre-mill pre-trib rapture vs pre-mill mid-trib rapture vs pre-mill post trib rapture or Young Earth creationist vs Old Earth Creationist vs Theistic Evolution.

I can name more, but this should be more than enough to show that alot of divisions within protestantism are indeed over doctrine.

I didn't say there wasn't, but we all still agree and are unified on salvation by grace through faith and imputed righteousness, among other things.

But all of these points still don't disprove the validity of the reformation principles, which the Catholics seem to be more or less embracing, or negate the disagreements within the RC church and EO church.

I'm just vying for intellectual honesty here.

David said...

Rho:

I'm not sure how you get the feel from this that I'm "out of step" with the rest of the Church. I've been pretty blunt: as you not only hold to false beliefs, but actively defend those beliefs and cling to them in the light of knowledge of the True Church, you are a heretic -- and, according to the decrees of the Ecumenical Councils -- anathema.

Be that as it may, these anathemas were issued in the 16th century. The "New Calendar" (as in New Julian Calendar) is not what is being referred to -- it is the Gregorian Calendar, newly introduced in the West at that point, which is being anathematized here. The New Julian Calendar is not the same as the Gregorian Calendar. Read more carefully next time.

And Lucian and Jnorm are right: the calendar is an Orthodox-internal issue; those who have chosen to schism from the Church over the issue of the calendar are no better than the Protestants. In fact, they are Protestants.

David said...

Let me put it this way, Rho, no one is arguing that there aren't conflicts within the Church and disagreements over some matters -- there always have been. But there's an important difference between our debates like the New vs. Old Calendar and whether to re-Baptize heretics. We're all agreeing on the Apostolic Truths -- in the case of the Calendar (and its relation to ecumenism), that we can't let the Faith be watered down; and in the case of re/Baptism -- Baptismal Regeneration. What our disagreements are over is how these Apostolic Truths are to be applied in new situations, situations which the Apostles clearly never had to face and therefore set no precedent for. I explained this to you already in reference to Ss. Stephen and Cyprian.

Find me Orthodox disagreeing on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist or Baptismal Regeneration and I'll be impressed. Find us disagreeing on whether it's December 11 or December 3 -- I'll yawn and shake my head.

Viisaus said...

Protestants should know that EOs have also their own version of "sedevacantism".

There are apocalyptic-minded EO purists who think that majority of people calling themselves "Eastern Orthodox" today have actually succumbed to ecumenical apostasy _ that the traditional patriarchies have sold out to modernism like RCC at Vatican II.

And I actually think they might be right! Mainstream EO hierarchy seems to have quietly abandoned their old-school bigoted exclusiveness just like most modern RCs have practically abandoned inquisitorial Tridentine attitudes.

Anyways, just check out whom all these pure EOs write off as "Pseudo-Orthodox" - it's amusing reading:

http://www.trueorthodoxy.org/heretics_world_orthodoxy.shtml

"The term "World Orthodoxy" refers to those Patriarchates and autocephalous Churches which call themselves Orthodox but have fallen into the heresy of Ecumenism. Ecumenism is the mother of all heresies, which seeks to unite within itself all heresies, all religions, under the auspices of so-called "love", overlooking their doctrinal errors. It rejects the Orthodox Creed, which professes One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, by confessing a new creed, which accepts all religions, all creeds, all ideas, all gods, as leading to salvation.

Although World Orthodoxy considers itself "canonical", belonging to the Orthodox family of independent churches, yet, because they have succumbed to heresy, and even fallen under the anathema against this heresy, they have lost their canonicity; for canonicity only remains intact if one maintains the Orthodox Faith and Apostolic Succession.

We find ourselves today in the same situation in which St. Maximos the Confessor found himself, when at that time the Monothelite heresy had swept the Eastern Patriarchates. All the Patriarchates considered themselves "Orthodox", but as the history of the Church affirms, they were not, because they espoused heresy, doing this en masse, as today we see all the Patriarchates and autocephalous churches have done with the heresy of Ecumenism. They have all remained in communion with each other and have all espoused the heresy of Ecumenism, and on top of this, have added Freemasonry, Modernism, Phyletism, and other heresies and false teachings."


Even ROCOR is not pure enough for these people - they are written off as "schismatics":

http://www.trueorthodoxy.org/schismatics_rocor_v.shtml

John said...

There is a major difference between INTERNAL discussions within the life of the church, and actual schisms. Orthodoxy remains one church after 2000 years, which is a major achievement, not only in religions, but in all of human affairs. In fact, the Orthodox patriarchates are the longest continuous succession of any human institutions.

"most of the denominations formed because of geographical differences, not doctrinal differences. "

Originally, yes that was part of it. But because they lacked a concept of communion, even at the very beginning of protestantism, protestants were anathematising each other. In fact, Calvin famously said that if the reformation can't agree on some basic stuff (which it wasn't agreeing on, and never did), they would be shown to be fools, and not from God. And of course, now days, nobody can claim that the proliferation of denominations has much to do with geography. It has to do with the notion that any man and his dog has the right to start a denomination.

Calvin on Luther: "For what absurdities he pawned upon us . . . when he said the bread is the very body! . . . a very foul error. What can I say of the partisans of that cause? Do they not romance more wildly than Marcion respecting the body of Christ?"

Luther on Calvin: ""Oecolampadius, Calvin . . . and the other heretics have in-deviled, through-deviled, over-deviled, corrupt hearts and lying mouths."

Luther on Bucer: ""A gossip . . . a miscreant through and through . . . I trust him not at all, for Paul says (18) `A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid.'"

Luther on Zwingly: ""Zwingli was an offspring of hell, an associate of Arius, a man who did not deserve to be prayed for "

Zwingly on Luther: ""We do you no injustice when we reproach and condemn you as a worse betrayer and denier of Christ than the ancient heretic Marcion"

Calvin on Melanchthon: ""He openly opposes sound doctrine"

Melanchthon on Zwingly: ""Zwingli says almost nothing about Christian sanctity. He simply follows the Pelagians, the Papists and the philosophers.""

Bucer on Calvin: ""Calvin is a true mad dog. The man is wicked, and he judges of people according as he loves or hates them.""

And ROCOR was never out of communion. They weren't concelebrating for a while with certain Orthodox churches because of differing opinions about whether they ought to be in submission to the Moscow patriarchate, but they were in communion.

Are we going to compare ROCOR with the situation between the protestants? Please!

Rhology said...

But there's an important difference between our debates like the New vs. Old Calendar and whether to re-Baptize heretics. We're all agreeing on the Apostolic Truths...Find us disagreeing on whether it's December 11 or December 3 -- I'll yawn and shake my head.

That's precisely the point. The guy I cited above does NOT yawn or shake his head. He anathematises.
Like I said, out of step. You're so blindly in love with EOC that you don't even see it. Sad.

David said...

The guy I cited above does NOT yawn or shake his head. He anathematises.

See my comment above. The anathema is against the Gregorian Calendar, not the New Julian.

The Gregorian calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. It's the civil calendar of most of the world, and the religious calendar of all of Western Christendom. (Which brings up a question: if you don't believe in the Pope's infallibility and authority, why do you continue to celebrate Pascha according to his decrees which contradict the practice of the early Church? Hm...). The Gregorian calendar is not used by any Orthodox Church, except that of Finland, which has a special blessing by the other Churches to do so due to the political situation in Finland.

The New Julian calendar, more properly called the Revised Julian, was introduced in 1923, so about 300 years after these anathemas against the Gregorian calendar were issued. It is this calendar that is in use by some Orthodox Churches.

Some Churches use the Old Julian, some use the Revised Julian -- and yet we remain in full Communion with each other -- so it must not be that big of a deal, huh? Those who have chosen to separate themselves from (not within) the Church over a calendar have God to answer to for their attempts to divide his Church, not me. They have become Protestants; using the name "Orthodox" does not mean you are. They've allowed their own suspicion and hysteria (their obsession with Masonry, 666, and conspiracies is telling) to separate them from God. They'd make great friends with Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye.

David said...

Also, I ask again: can you find the Orthodox anywhere disagreeing essential matters of Faith as Protestants do? Any out there questioning the Trinity? Real Presence? Baptismal Regeneration?

bossmanham said...

can you find the Orthodox anywhere disagreeing essential matters of Faith as Protestants do?

That's the thing, David. We don't think the majority of the things we disagree on are essentials. Some dogmatically assert that they are, but I would say almost everything that JNorm listed, excluding the orthodox doctrines of the virgin birth, the divinity of Christ, and the triune nature of God, are non-essentials.

John said...

"That's the thing, David. We don't think the majority of the things we disagree on are essentials"

Then why do you guys choose what church you will go to based on these things? And why won't a baptist pastor baptise a baby if the parents want, since it is a non-essential?

Rhology said...

And why won't a baptist pastor baptise a baby if the parents want, since it is a non-essential?

Not a very good question. For the same reason the Baptist pastor doesn't speak in tongues. He thinks it's incorrect practice.

Rhology said...

an you find the Orthodox anywhere disagreeing essential matters of Faith as Protestants do?

I have to reiterate that this is shifting the goalposts. They've been pantsed, so they move back to more defensible ground.

David said...

Rho:

Nobody's "shifting" the "goalposts" on you. We've been saying the whole thing all along -- I've specifically disclaimed that we have "unity" in non-essential, peripheral matters.

This shouldn't be that hard for you. You've claimed in the past that we have the same amount of unity that Protestants do. Show us that this is true. I can show you Protestants who disagree with you on any given one of your beliefs -- name one and I'll show you Protestants who disagree. If we have the same disunity problem you do, you should be able to do the same for us. And yet you can't show Orthodox disagreeing on essential matters of Faith.

You've claimed that the Fathers didn't agree on much more than monotheism. Well, put up or shut up. If they didn't agree on anything but monotheism, surely you can show us at least one who didn't believe in the Real Presence, at least one who didn't believe in Baptismal Regeneration, at least one who didn't believe in the visible unity of the Church, at least one! But, no, you haven't shown us one yet.

So -- either present evidence for your claims or issue a retraction. Then, admit that they disagreed with you on pretty much everything but agreed with each other and with Orthodox belief completely. Then, disclaim them -- admit that you, like your Jehovah's Witness and Mormon brethren, believe in the Great Apostasy. Also, probably a good idea to turn to the real "Fathers" of your "church" -- Marcion, Basilides, Valentinus, Cerenthus, etc. -- you'll find lots to agree with in their writings. They were the original Protestants, after all.

John said...

"Not a very good question. For the same reason the Baptist pastor doesn't speak in tongues. He thinks it's incorrect practice."

Well the question was somewhat rhetorical. We know the answer, the point is you are divided along theological lines. The paedo-baptist parents can't go to the local baptist church because that just doesn't work. The baptist pastor can't pastor them. He can't do what they need, and they can't be submitted to his authority.

Rhology said...

You've claimed in the past that we have the same amount of unity that Protestants do.

TOTALLY wrong. Go back and read what I've said, I can't believe you would say this.


And John, duh there are divisions. Just like EOC has divisions. thanks.

PChem said...

To the orthodox folks here. I've been following these threads for a few days now. The thing that strikes me the most is your insistence on comparing EO beliefs to Protestantism as a whole. This isn't a fair comparison. If you want to compare your "unity" then you need to compare against the unity of one group, say Southern Baptists since that is what Rho is. Until you start doing this, I really think you are just spinning your wheels.

Jnorm888 said...

Bossmanham,

As a former protestant, I already know that protestants don't all agree on what the essentials are.

7 or 8 years ago, when I tried to marry a Prespyterian from the conservative PCA, I was told by one of her elders that the 5 points of Calvinism were essentials of the faith and non negotiables. She ended up dumping me in favor of marrying another 5 point calvinist because of that.

I think what she did was the right thing, but her "essentials" were obviously different from mine at the time.

Protestants don't know what the essentials are.......nor can they know. For your list, won't be the same as the next man's list.

Full-preterists have a different list than you......they don't believe in a future reserrection of the dead....nor do they believe in a future second coming.

Oneness Pentecostals don't believe in the doctrine of the Trinity.

SDA believe that Jesus was the Arch-Angel Michael

Church of Christ believe in a form of Baptismal regeneration.

Dan Corner(Evangelical outreach) believes that those who teach OSAS and POTS teach a different gospel.

Some Calvinists believe that Arminians are heretics and Apostates.....etc.

The Ahmish........I can go on and on and on.

It's not the samething.....it is far from it.

Yes, we have some groups that are small and not in communion with us, but we have been around for 2,000 years, and we don't have thousands of different splinter groups.

Protestantism has been around for 500 years and it has the thousands of different splinter groups. And the splintering is only going to get worse......not better.






ICXC NIKA

Jnorm888 said...

PChem,

He is the one that jumped on Pan-Orthodoxy, and since he is focused on Pan-Orthodoxy(all Patriarchates), it is only right that we focus on Pan-protestantism.






ICXC NIKA

Darlene said...

Just look at the "essentials" thread I started at Crosswalk.com some time ago. (Don't know if it's still there)

Basically, I asked what the essentials are that all Christians can agree upon. Well, you had Wesleyans disagreeing with Arminian Baptists, who disagreed with Reformed Calvinists, who disagreed with Pentecostals, who disagreed with......on and on.

There was one person who said that all Christians could agree upon the creeds of the early Church and what they proclaim. Ya woulda thought there woulda been a hearty "Amen." But alas, more voices chimed in that they couldn't agree upon the creeds as the essentials of the faith, and furthermore, that the creeds weren't on par with Scripture.

Round and round it went and no concensus was arrived at.

Jnorm888 said...

Bossmanham,

Not all protestants believe in "imputed" righteous. Alot of Holiness Pentecostals believe and stress "imparted righteous". Some Methodists also teach and advocate "imparted righteousness".

Also, we don't see ourselves as a denomination. We see ourselves as pre-denominational. As yes, we have made some dogmatic statements in regards to the eschatology you were talking about.

Also the issue of full-preterism could never happen in EO.

Some Pentecostal and Convergent types don't believe in salvation through faith alone.

I also forgot to mention the issue of the Atonement, and the difference there as well. Some Methodhists advocate the moral government view, alot of calvinists advocate the penal substitution view...the liberals advocate another view that deals with ...I forgot....but it has something do to with helping people and society in general.

But I can go on and on and on.






ICXC NIKA

John said...

"The thing that strikes me the most is your insistence on comparing EO beliefs to Protestantism as a whole. This isn't a fair comparison".

Fine. If you want to declare Southern Baptists as the only true church, then we could do that. Of course, you would then be disagreeing with Southern Baptists and would have defeated yourself. Pity, since we are then denied the chance to look at all the debates in the SBC about Calvinism.

Rhology said...

So what you're saying, John, is that you're incorrigible. Noted.


As a former protestant, I already know that protestants don't all agree on what the essentials are.

As someone who posted actual evidence in the original post, I already know that EOdox don't all agree on what the essentials are.

Looks like we're in the same boat, which has been my point all along.

John said...

" you're incorrigible."

What? Where did that come from?