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160Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: A question, on Orthodox ecclesiology

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  • Christopher Orr
    May 17 7:29 AM
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      On 5/17/07, Andrew <drew1095950@...> wrote:
      > Christopher,
      > There seems to be equivocation going on here. Perhaps I'm just beating
      > a dead horse, but how in the world does baptism (not just the form,
      > but the spiritual effects: remission of sin, etc.) exist outside of
      > the Church? To affirm that it does is ridiculous. If you affirm that
      > baptism exists outside of the Church, then you are affirming that the
      > Church exists beyond its canonical boundaries; therefore you do in
      > fact believe in an 'invisible' Church, as much as you'd vociferously
      > deny it.
      > For those received by Chrismation, would not the Orthodox say that the
      > rite brings power to the _empty_ form of baptism that they received
      > outside of the Church? To use an analogy, let's say there is a lamp
      > that is plugged into an electrical outlet that doesn't work. The lamp
      > won't turn on because the outlet doesn't provide the necessary
      > electricity. But if plugged into an outlet that does work, the lamp
      > will turn on. So too with baptism. Baptisms outside of the Church are
      > like a lamp that's plugged into a powerless outlet. Chrismation is the
      > outlet that does in fact work, and therefore energizes the baptism
      > that didn't 'work' before.

      Remember, Orthodoxy, as was early Christianity, the experience of the Risen
      Christ and His Church first, and then argument to attempt an explanation.
      This is very different than the mindset of the West, and especially
      Protestantism, that begins with data and then builds the appropriately
      expected experience to have, look for, create, etc.

      You are making a distinction between form and content that Orthodoxy does
      not. Fr Gregory may be able to provide more of an explanation as to the
      underlying intellectual/philosophical paradigms they represent, though Dr.
      David Bradshaw of the University of Kentucky gets at similar differences in
      his article, "Christianity East & West: Some Philosophical
      which can be found here:


      I would point you to the theology of the icon as developed by saints such as
      John Damascene and Theodore Studite during the iconoclast controversy, and
      ratified by the Seventh EC. Christ, the Theotokos and the saints and angels
      are the 'content', the real thing, the nature, but the icon really
      represents and shares in the personhood, the hypostasis, of the saints
      without mixture with their natures. So, too, the form or 'hypostasis' of
      the Sacrament offers the grace in a distorted way, and it does so because it
      is the Church's, it is of the Body of Christ though it is being used by
      those that have set themselves outside of the Church. So, the Sacrament is
      real and true insofar as it is the Sacrament of the Church, and lacking
      insofar as it has been 'stolen' by those outside of the Church. There are
      early martyr stories of actors mocking Christians by performing a Baptism on
      stage - likely not exactly to form and definitely not done by the Church or
      in the appropriate setting. When the actor comes out of the font, however,
      he has become converted and truly believes - he is then promptly killed.
      Now, those that have been engrafted in a less than full way with less than
      the full, maximalist (so, Orthodox) rite performed outside of the Church
      normally and usually continue to separate themselves from the Church - they
      remain aloof from the Church whose Baptism they had coopted and thus
      excommunicate themselves and fall away.

      > Anastasia,
      > As to the ambiguity to the state of the children of the Reformation,
      > if they are outside of the Church (which they are), then they are not
      > to be called Christians. They may not be heretics or apostates proper,
      > but that doesn't nullify the fact that they are outside of the Church.
      > If you are saying that they may be in the Church, then you are saying
      > that the Church may be invisible.
      > Andrew.

      Orthodox dogmatic books would make the distinction between Christians truly
      so called - Orthodox Christians - and those others that honor or follow
      Christ in someway less than fully Orthodox, and therefore less than fully
      Christian. It is the same reason why we refer to other 'churches', rather
      than sects, or other 'church buildings' rather than something less seemly.
      Same goes for the term 'temple' relating to other religions.

      Personally, I tend to side with those Orthodox that are more in keeping with
      the 'consistency' that you are looking for, but so far Anastasia is right
      and this is only opinion, theologoumena - which is not the same as saying
      that everyone is right and that no one is wrong in how they handle these
      issues. This, too, is similar to the iconoclast controversy, which took
      centuries for the Church to work out the theological underpinning of why
      icons were necessary in the Church - against the equally concerned position
      of the iconoclasts against them. The latter were wrong, but the Church had
      not been able to come down definitely as to why, and allowed a certain
      degree of nonconformity and difference until she was able to confirm it one
      way or the other theologically (rather, christologically).


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