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Thread: Examining EO

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    tWebber
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    Examining EO

    I was initially taken aback by Eastern Orthodox disinclination to pray with gospel-believing brothers and sisters in Christ, regarding us as heterodox Protestants. My interest in Eastern Orthodoxy was further piqued in light of recent discussions here at Tweb. Thus began my closer examination of EO.

    I came across material written by Christian author, Ivica Stamenkovic. Please join me in working through the material. Corrections and refutations are welcomed from EO believers.

    1) Intro

    2) Eastern Orthodoxy Illuminated by the Gospel.

    PS: This thread is intended for charitable discussion; reproof and correction, for the body of Christ.

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    Professor Cerebrum123's Avatar
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    Started reading the introduction. I'll check out the second part later.

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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrawly View Post
    I was initially taken aback by Eastern Orthodox disinclination to pray with gospel-believing brothers and sisters in Christ, regarding us as heterodox Protestants. My interest in Eastern Orthodoxy was further piqued in light of recent discussions here at Tweb. Thus began my closer examination of EO.

    I came across material written by Christian author, Ivica Stamenkovic. Please join me in working through the material. Corrections and refutations are welcomed from EO believers.

    1) Intro

    2) Eastern Orthodoxy Illuminated by the Gospel.

    PS: This thread is intended for charitable discussion; reproof and correction, for the body of Christ.
    Given the rather polemic tone with which your source starts (which can be explained, at least in part, by a millenium of hostility between Greeks and Serbs)....

    I'll take a look, as I have time.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

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    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Every problem is the result of a previous solution.

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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Okay, I've looked (read through all of #2). The author has no shame. First, he digs up the weakest argument for Orthodoxy he can find, which is essentially an Orthodox (probably schismatic, given the source) priest whose argument boils down to, "Do you do these things Orthodoxy does? You DON'T!?! For shame!!!!!!!!" His reply mostly boils down to, "If it's not explicitly in the New Testament, as I interpret it, it's wrong!" Along the way, he argues from silence, rips quotes out of context so he can misrepresent their authors, relies on outdated and/or otherwise questionable sources (pagan copycats, anywone?), avoids the best Orthodox arguments....

    Surely you can find something better, Scrawly. Not only is this unlikely to move those not already convinced, it may cause those already convinced to rethink their convictions.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio

    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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    tWebber Leonhard's Avatar
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    Which books would you recommend a person read if you could only recommend three books, One Bad Pig?

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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    Which books would you recommend a person read if you could only recommend three books, One Bad Pig?
    Right now? Probably Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective [Daniel B. Clendenin], Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology [Andrew Louth], and Introducing the Orthodox Church: Its Faith and Life Paperback [Anthony Coniaris]. None of these are really apologetics books, though the last was my catechism book, and provides some apologia for Orthodox praxis and beliefs. I have books on my (ever-increasing) to-read list which may bump one or more of those. I think it's better to visit an Orthodox church than to just read about Orthodoxy.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio

    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

  8. #8
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    Okay, I've looked (read through all of #2). The author has no shame. First, he digs up the weakest argument for Orthodoxy he can find, which is essentially an Orthodox (probably schismatic, given the source) priest whose argument boils down to, "Do you do these things Orthodoxy does? You DON'T!?! For shame!!!!!!!!"
    Is Russian Orthodox priest Kyril Zaits a schismatic according to Orthodoxy? The questions he posed to the evangelical in the intro seem to stem from standard Orthodox doctrine from what I understand.

    His reply mostly boils down to, "If it's not explicitly in the New Testament, as I interpret it, it's wrong!"
    I believe Pastor Ivica Stamenkovic displayed sound doctrine in accordance with the word of truth. His interpretation of the scriptures is akin to a worker seeking approval from God by rightly dividing the word of truth. The plurality of interpretations shouldn't prevent one from seeking the correct one. I have no reason to believe that Ivica Stamenkovic failed in this regard, do you?

    Along the way, he argues from silence, rips quotes out of context so he can misrepresent their authors, relies on outdated and/or otherwise questionable sources (pagan copycats, anywone?), avoids the best Orthodox arguments....
    Please provide some specifics here.

    Surely you can find something better, Scrawly.
    I'm sure I could too, but quite frankly I'm not sure I need to.

    Not only is this unlikely to move those not already convinced, it may cause those already convinced to rethink their convictions.
    I believe Ivica Stamenkovic is solely concerned with the Orthodox understanding of the gospel. He is perhaps rightly concerned that many Orthodox believers are nominally and culturally religious and lack true faith rooted in the one and only gospel, and that they will never find it if they remain in the Orthodox tradition. He further sees devout Orthodox believers or "converts" as having gone astray from a pure and simple faith in Christ, latching on to unbiblical traditions of men; and I tend to agree for the most part.

  9. #9
    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrawly View Post
    Is Russian Orthodox priest Kyril Zaits a schismatic according to Orthodoxy?
    As it turns out, no.
    The questions he posed to the evangelical in the intro seem to stem from standard Orthodox doctrine from what I understand.
    Yes. That does not make them reasoned expositions.
    I believe Pastor Ivica Stamenkovic displayed sound doctrine in accordance with the word of truth. His interpretation of the scriptures is akin to a worker seeking approval from God by rightly dividing the word of truth. The plurality of interpretations shouldn't prevent one from seeking the correct one. I have no reason to believe that Ivica Stamenkovic failed in this regard, do you?
    This isn't about "plurality of interpretations"; this is about "private interpretation". And, yes, Mr. Stamenkovic failed repeatedly by reading into the scriptures his private interpretation.
    Please provide some specifics here.
    Sure.
    Source: Stamenkovic

    These facts surrounding Holy Scripture explain why the Apostles recorded everything needed for proper spiritual life and growth in the books of the New Testament.

    © Copyright Original Source


    This follows a 3-sentence synopsis of how the NT was written. It is wholly an argument from what he believes to be true and is unsupported by what precedes it. All he did here was baldly assert what he believes.

    Immediately following:
    Source: Stamenkovic

    On the other hand, the allegation that the Apostles would omit (accidentlally or deliberately) the most important spiritual truths on which the eternal destiny of billions of people would hang is utterly inconceivable.

    © Copyright Original Source


    This manages to combine two fallacies, burning a strawman and argument from incredulity.
    Source: Stamenkovic

    Any careful reader of Holy Scripture will notice at least two "sacraments" never mentioned in the New Testament. These include chrismation (performed after baptism) and anointing of the sick (e.g. sanctification through oil on behalf of a sick person). The apostolic practices of the New Testament provide no evidence for either of these practices. The first century Christians neither performed chrismation (rubbed oil) on a believer after baptism nor did they rub patients with oil to sanctify them "in the name of the Lord". Although the New Testament mentions baptism many times and refers to praying for the healing of sick people, the Orthodox sacraments of chrismation and unction are completely absent.

    © Copyright Original Source


    Any careful reader of Scripture will notice that he is wrong in at least one of those cases - to wit, anointing the sick.
    Source: Mark 6:13 NKJV

    And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.

    © Copyright Original Source


    Source: Luke 10:34 NKJV

    So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

    © Copyright Original Source


    Most pertinently:
    Source: James 5:14 NKJV

    Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

    © Copyright Original Source


    Anointing with oil was a standard cure in NT times. It is the height of ignorance to argue that it didn't occur.

    He has something of a point with chrismation, which is merely a different way of doing the same thing - to give the Holy Spirit, which was done via the laying on of hands in NT times. Harping on the outward form is a little petty, especially as it is a practice which most Protestants have dropped entirely. It's okay to quit doing something, but not to do it in a different manner?
    Source: Stamenkovic

    From studying the Bible verses earlier, we learned that the New Testament in fact does not support the Orthodox dogma of Mary's perpatual virginity.

    © Copyright Original Source


    No, that's his interpretation of those verses. Does he imagine that the Orthodox never noticed these texts before?

    Immediately following:
    Source: Stamenkovic

    Obviously then, this dogma derives only from apocryphal books. Furthermore, names such as "Virgin" or "Mother of God" are not found in the Bible. Such names were introduced into the church centuries after Mary's death.

    © Copyright Original Source


    This is an argument from silence. It assumes that it cannot have come from tradition passed down orally, it equivocates somewhat in that Mary is indeed referred to as a virgin in Mat. 1:23 and Luke 1:27, and then makes another statement from silence. Yes, the oldest remaining evidence of "Theotokos" is from Origen in the third century. However, in the written instances before evidence is widely available, it is never defended - just used. The only condemnation of the term prior to modern times is by Nestorius, who was cast out as a heretic for doing so. Note that the term "trinity" is never used in scripture, yet Protestants have no issue with that. Double standard much?
    Source: Stamenkovic

    In accordance with biblical revelation we must show respect to the Apostles and other men and women of God throughout history. Such people are respected for the lessons in piety based on their various experiences in life with the Lord. Yet, we must not engage in what the Scriptures forbid: to pray for the intercession before God and prayerful mediation of saints already deceased.

    © Copyright Original Source


    There's a whole host of things wrong with this. First, I have yet to see Protestants show respect to anyone between the apostles and Martin Luther, a span of 1400 years! Second, in his arguments he deliberately conflates worship/adoration of God and the veneration of saints, which is an argument Orthodoxy has vehemently disclaimed for something like 1300 years. This is dishonest, and shows Stamenkovic to be more interested in advancing his beliefs than being truthful. Thirdly, he passes over key passages in defense of prayers to the saints like Heb. 12:1 (which shows the saints are aware of what passes here), Rev. 6:9-11 (which shows the martyred saints crying out to God, and God responding), and Rev. 5:8/8:4 (showing the prayers of the saints rising like the smoke of incense before God).

    Stamenkovic relies on Ralph Woodrow's Babylonian Mystery Religion: Ancient and Modern. Let's see what Woodrow himself later had to say about this work:
    Source: Woodrow

    In my earlier Christian experience, certain literature fell into my hands which claimed paganism had been mixed into Christianity. While the Roman Catholic Church was usually the target, it seemed other churches had also been contaminated by customs and beliefs for which pagan parallels could be found.

    "The Two Babylons" by Alexander Hislop (1807-1862), with its alarming subtitle, "the papal worship proved to be the worship of Nimrod and his wife," was THE textbook on which much of this teaching was based. Over the years, this book has impacted the thinking of many people-ranging all the way from those in radical cults to very dedicated Christians who hunger for a move of God and are concerned about anything that might hinder that flow. Its basic premise is that the pagan religion of ancient Babylon has continued to our day, in disguise, as the Roman Catholic Church and is described in the book of Revelation as "Mystery Babylon the Great"-thus, the idea of TWO Babylons, one ancient, and on modern. Because Hislop's book is very detailed, having a multitude of notes and references, I assumed, as did many others, it was factual. We quoted "Hislop" as an authority on paganism, jut like "Webster" might be quoted on word definitions.

    As a young evangelist I began to share a sermon on the mixture of paganism into Christianity, and eventually wrote a book based on Hislop-"Babylon Mystery Religion." In time, my book became quite popular, went through many printings, and was translated into Korean, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and several other languages. I came to be regarded by some as an authority on the subject of pagan mixture. Even a noted Roman Catholic writer, Karl Keating, said: "Its best-known proponent is Ralph Woodrow, author of 'Babylon Mystery Religion'."

    Many preferred my book over "The Two Babylons" because it was easier to read and follow. Sometimes the two books were confused with each other. Letters in a steady flow were received praising my book. Only occasionally would there be a dissenting voice. ONE WHO DISAGREED was Scott Klemm, a high school history teacher in southern California. Being a Christian, and appreciating other things I had written, he began to show me EVIDENCE THAT HISLOP WAS NOT A RELIABLE HISTORIAN. As a result, I realized that I needed to go back through Hislop's work, my basic source, and prayerfully check it out!

    As I did this, it became clear-Hislop's "history" was often only mythology.

    © Copyright Original Source


    I'm sure I could too, but quite frankly I'm not sure I need to.
    Are you more interested in reading something which supports your POV, however sloppily, or finding out the truth?
    I believe Ivica Stamenkovic is solely concerned with the Orthodox understanding of the gospel. He is perhaps rightly concerned that many Orthodox believers are nominally and culturally religious and lack true faith rooted in the one and only gospel, and that they will never find it if they remain in the Orthodox tradition. He further sees devout Orthodox believers or "converts" as having gone astray from a pure and simple faith in Christ, latching on to unbiblical traditions of men; and I tend to agree for the most part.
    This is hardly a problem isolated to Orthodoxy; many Protestant believers are equally "nominally and culturally religious and lack true faith rooted in the one and only gospel." If he's worried about people finding the truth, he needs to stop using deceitful arguments to "help" them.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio

    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

  10. Amen Terraceth amen'd this post.
  11. #10
    Professor KingsGambit's Avatar
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    I have a question about EO.

    Is it considered a sin to eat food that tastes good?

    I came across this this when going through a Wiki-rabbit hole and saw that "eating tasty rather than plain food" was a cause for condemnation. I'm aware that Clement of Alexandria's "The Christian Use of Food" says similar things so I'm curious if this is a universal.
    "Technology has, in an enhanced way, given mockers a platform to set society on fire with polarizing speech. Internet culture privileges those whose insults are click bait." - Timothy Keller

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