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164Re: A question, on Orthodox ecclesiology

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  • Fr. Robert K. McMeekin
    May 17 6:07 PM
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      The words of the ordination rite sum up the resolution to your problem:

      "The grace divine that heals that which is infirm and completes that
      which is lacking..."

      Does grace exist outside the Church? If there is existence of any kind
      at all then God is involved and there is grace. Who baptized Moses
      that we count him among the saints or the holy innocents slain by
      Herod? It is the Holy Spirit who is everywhere present and filling all
      things who completes that which is lacking in us through Christ in His
      Church.

      It should be noted in this light that the prophesy announced at
      Pentecost is that God "shall pour out His Spirit upon all flesh."
      There is no distinction, God is busy out there bringing all people to
      Himself, how he chooses to do it is up to Him. Our job is to be
      faithful and ready to receive whoever He brings.

      In Christ,
      Fr. Robert


      --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, "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.
      >
      > 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.
      >
      > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, "Christopher Orr"
      > <xcjorr@> wrote:
      > >
      > > The canons mentioned and the practice of the conciliar Church teach
      > that the
      > > form does in fact constitute true Baptism, so non-canonical Orthodox
      > groups
      > > with no episcopal connection would not be received into the Church by
      > > baptism - as long as they had retained the fullness of the form of
      > Baptism,
      > > which is the property of the Church regardless of whether it is
      > performed by
      > > those outside of Her. For converts from those churches that have not
      > > retained the proper, full, apostolic form of Baptism it is left to the
      > > economia (pastoral wisdom and dispensation) of the bishop to decide
      > how to
      > > proceed. St. Basil's admonition not to set the bar too high
      relative to
      > > Baptism for fear of keeping people outside of the Church is the
      > generally
      > > accepted rule here in the US out of an abundance of caution in not
      > repeating
      > > the unrepeatable 'one baptism' of the Church.
      > >
      > > By way of disclosure, I was received by Baptism; my sister was
      > received by
      > > chrismation. My convert godson was received by chrismation, but he
      > had been
      > > baptized in an Anabaptist community that retained the ancient
      > practice of
      > > triple immersion in the name of the Trinity, so the form was deemed
      > > 'minimally' performed. The late Fr Seraphim Rose - a traditionalist
      > likely
      > > to be canonized - and St. Elizabeth the New Martyr were both
      received by
      > > chrismation.
      > >
      > > The argument as to how the Church could say that there are no
      sacraments
      > > outside of the Church and yet 'accept' baptisms performed outside
      of the
      > > Church is a good one. I will give you an example from inside the
      > Church.
      > > The canons allow for someone that is unable to be immersed to be
      > baptized by
      > > pouring and in exceptional cases by sprinkling. This is assumed to
      > be due
      > > to a person being on their death bed. However, the same canons
      > state that
      > > should this person recover they are to undergo the full rite of
      > Baptism out
      > > of an abundance of caution in denying a soul the full grace of the
      > > Sacrament. Now, if the person had not survived, there would have
      > been no
      > > question as to the 'validity' of his/her baptism since they
      received all
      > > that they could - similar to the martyrs and the Wise Thief that all
      > > received as much of baptism as they could (by blood in their cases).
      > The
      > > governing rule is that none of us is sinless and no priest/bishop etc
      > > sinlessly performs the 'fullness of the rite', and yet the
      Sacrament is
      > > nonetheless fulfilled. A prayer at ordination asks God to 'complete
      > that
      > > which is lacking' in the candidate for ordination, and this is
      > exactly how
      > > chrismation, confession and/or the Eucharist are viewed in those
      > situations
      > > were a convert's Baptism was less than the 'fullness of the rite'.
      > >
      > > As to whether or how those Christians outside of the Church may or
      > may not
      > > be saved, see Patrick Barnes' book *The Non-Orthodox: The Orthodox
      > Teaching
      > > on Christians Outside of the Church* for a traditionalist's strict
      > > discussion of the issue. It is available to read free - it is now
      > out of
      > > print - here:
      > >
      > > http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/status.aspx
      > >
      > > Christopher
      > >
      > >
      > > 5/16/07, Andrew <drew1095950@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Christopher and WRV,
      > > >
      > > > So in other words, the 'form' of baptism may or may not
      (depending on
      > > > who you talk to) exist outside of the Church, whereas the spiritual
      > > > effects of baptism (remission of sin, union with Christ,
      regeneration,
      > > > etc.) does not.
      > > >
      > > > So back to the main point of my post, which you both did not
      address:
      > > > if baptism doesn't exist outside of the Church (the form means
      nothing
      > > > without the effects), then how can you rightly call the non-Orthodox
      > > > Christians? It is clear in the New Testament that to be a
      Christian is
      > > > to be baptized, and therefore to be in the Church. The non-Orthodox
      > > > are neither baptized, nor are they in the Church. Therefore they are
      > > > not Christians.
      > > >
      > > > As I said before, shoot straight with me here, fellas. I like my
      > > > Orthodoxy straight up, thank you very much.
      > > >
      > > > Andrew.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      >
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