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Three Strange Days, A Response to Issues, Etc.

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  • Christopher Orr
    Three Strange Days *by Perry Robinson*
    Message 1 of 72 , Jul 4, 2009
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      Three Strange Days<http://energeticprocession.com/2009/07/03/three-strange-days/>

      *by Perry Robinson*


      For three strange days a few weeks ago (June 1-3) I listened to a Lutheran
      broadcast on *Issues, Etc <http://www.issuesetc.org/ondemand.html>.* about
      Eastern Orthodoxy. The person chosen for the broadcast was David Jay Webber,
      a Lutheran minister who has spent some time in Russian-Slav world, along
      with the host Todd Wilken.

      Conservative Lutherans continue to blast Orthodoxy with caricature, half
      truths and material deployed without sufficient explanation and designed to
      shock the non-Orthodox, specifically into the conclusion that the Orthodox
      are barely Christian, if at all. Unfortunately this program was no
      exception. I have gone through the programs in a separate post above. Here I
      use some space to give some advice to all of the Lutheran critics.

      You have got to stop this kind of argumentation. What I mean is deploying
      arguments from the outside and really bad ones at that. And by that I mean
      argument predicated on showing the falsity of a view grounded in assumptions
      that its advocates would reject. These come in two forms. Either they are
      specifically dependent on non-Orthodox presuppositions or they are just
      caricature and straw men. Outsiders rarely understand and can effectively
      critique a position. As one of my former instructors, Merrill Ring used to
      note concerning the fall of Logical Positivism, that when the attackers
      finally entered the castle of Logical Positivism, they found it uninhabited.
      Its most effective critics were its advocates.

      And the Lutherans need to stop for their own good. When critics of a
      position deploy arguments that are easily answered and/or shown to be based
      on misunderstanding and caricature, they loose credibility in the eyes of
      their audience. And if I have learned one thing about apologetics and
      persuasion it is that without credibility, your arguments aren�t worth very
      much. You can have perfectly valid and sound arguments for a position but if
      you lack credibility in the eyes of your audience they won�t give you the
      time of day. If Lutherans take the arguments like the ones given on the show
      and get hammered, not only will their confidence in the proponants of such
      arguments will be greatly diminished, but also their confidence in the
      correctness of Lutheran theology. This will be the first step to opening
      their minds up to the possibility to a different theological model and a
      different way of understanding the Bible.

      Furthermore, it makes it much, much easier for me to persuade people of
      Orthodoxy when I can easily blow through criticisms and show that the
      critics is really under or misinformed. If you wish to continue the flow of
      Lutheran converts to Orthodoxy, by all means continue what you are presently

      If the Lutherans wish to give criticisms of Orthodoxy that will challenge
      apologists for Orthodoxy and help retain members of their own fold, they are
      going to have to do their homework. And this means that they are going to
      have understand Orthodoxy from the inside out rather than the outside
      looking in. They will have to present it in such a way that its better
      advocates will recognize it while bringing out alleged inconsistencies
      between its fundamental principles or presuppositions. Until they do so,
      they will always be at a serious disadvantage.

      And they need to be aware that they are already at a serious disadvantage
      from the get go. Orthodoxy is not really familiar to them, and neither are
      Orthodox reads of history, the fathers and the Scriptures. Orthodox authors
      are virtually unknown to them beyond the pop stuff like Ware�s book. And let
      me just get this out of the way. One of the top signs that someone doesn�t
      know Orthodoxy is that they cite Ware�s book as some be all and end all
      papal encyclical. This is not to say that the esteemed bishop�s book is bad,
      but when the Orthodox say we have no pope, we mean it.

      Not only is it necessary to present the position one is attacking in a
      recognizable way, one needs to then construct objections to the effect that
      there exist within it inconsistent core assumptions. Either one can believe
      in say the Orthodox view of the Trinity or Chalcedonian Christology, but not
      both. In either case, Orthodoxy as a whole would be false. The only out of
      the dilemma would be either to deny Orthodoxy or show that there is some
      third way, a tertium quid that both can be true. Such would be an effective
      critique because it would strike at the heart of the system. So far, nothing
      from Protestant and specifically Lutheran critics of Orthodoxy even comes

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    • randall hay
      Actually I was thinking of laity here....I can still picture the kids lined up. Not a universal practice, of course....in fact I thought it was because they
      Message 72 of 72 , Jul 24, 2009
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        Actually I was thinking of laity here....I can still picture the kids lined up. Not a universal practice, of course....in fact I thought it was because they needed to get to Sunday school first; but then someone explained it to me.

        From: Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...>
        To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Friday, July 24, 2009 8:41:04 AM
        Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: Christians?

        I think the children first thing may have started more as a health concern -
        let the kids take communion from the spoon before all the dirty adults.

        In fact, when you visit a monastery communion is usually done in order of
        'rank' and 'seniority'. So, monastic priests would commune first (in order
        of their ordination date), then married priests, then monastic deacons, then
        married deacons, then the lower orders of clergy (subdeacons, readers,
        chanters) then laity from eldest to youngest (sometimes men first, then
        women, though I have never actually seen this). It would not be uncommon,
        however, even in an ordered situation such as this for clergy and people to
        defer to others as the first shall be last and the last first.


        On Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 11:31 PM, randall hay <stortford@sbcglobal .net>wrote:

        > I think others have at least alluded to the fact that Orthodox catechesis
        > is more than just learning; it's participation in the body of Christ. Yes,
        > learning in some degree is necessary, insofar as we may be capable (and it
        > is for the rest of our lives, by the way); but participation in the life of
        > the Church is necessary too.
        > Some people's interest is lukewarm, or perhaps I should say not quite ripe.
        > They don't come regularly to worship God in the company of their brothers
        > and sisters....and so their catechumenate is likely to be lengthy.
        > Those who come regularly, showing that they are earnest in their love for
        > God and are genuinely concerned about their brethren, are likely to be
        > received sooner. Sincere worship of the Trinity and love of the brethren is
        > the heart of the faith, after all, and our eternal vocation in the world to
        > come; not something peripheral.
        > I may be mistaken, but the tide seems to me to be turning more toward
        > reception of converts by baptism. Being Catholic or Methodist isn't what it
        > used to be, after all.
        > A member of our parish, for example, got a degree from a local RC
        > university; in one class a professor suggested that the students pray to God
        > the Mother.
        > I was in a coffee shop recently and I heard what seemed to be two
        > non-denominational Protestants discussing the Trinity. Neither had a clue on
        > the subject. One, who probably did believe in the Holy Trinity, was saying
        > he didn't; the other simply had no idea what the term signified.
        > Fifty years ago we could be sure a RC baptism was in the name of of the
        > Father, Son and Holy Spirit....and your average Protestant likewise.
        > Nowadays it's so uncertain, bishops seem to be increasingly inclined toward
        > re-baptism.
        > (Policy, by the way, is set by the bishop; the priest may make the
        > decision, but it's based on what his bishop decides.)
        > I might mention that you may notice children lining up to commune before
        > adults...this is a practice in some parishes, expressing Christ's teaching
        > that we need to become like little children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
        > ---For your first visits, remember that it is best to just watch and try to
        > soak in what's happening, without worrying about what to do or where to look
        > in the service book....as a priest commented to me as I began serving behind
        > the altar as a subdeacon, become "all eye."
        > R.
        > ____________ _________ _________ __
        > From: Kimberly Sparling <belleartmom@ gmail.com <belleartmom% 40gmail.com> >
        > To: LutheransLookingEas t@yahoogroups. com<LutheransLookingEa st%40yahoogroups .com>
        > Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 10:00:46 AM
        > Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEa st] Re: Christians?
        > On Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 8:10 AM, Rosemarie Lieffring <
        > rose.lieffring@ gmail.com> wrote:
        > > When I had come to the point that I was examining Lutheranism and
        > > considering going elsewhere I told myself there was absolutely NO reason
        > to
        > > leave Lutheranism unless there was something theologically wrong with it.
        > > After all...my husband is Lutheran, my children were raised in Lutheran
        > > schools, all of my good friends were Lutheran, I had completed about 24
        > > hours of college coursework in Lutheran ministry...I wasn't going to
        > reject
        > > all of that for superficial reasons, no matter how nice the incense
        > > smelled.
        > >
        > > But infant communion was where the rubber met the road for me. It was the
        > > chink in the armor. I saw the LCMS position as theological error. Later
        > > there were other things but infant communion and in particular the CTCR's
        > > response to the South Wisconsin District's proposal on infant communion
        > was
        > > sufficient for me to see a foundational problem.
        > >
        > > (By that time both of my boys had been confirmed and I still don't have
        > > grand kids so it wasn't a personal issue in our home.)
        > >
        > > In the end though every convert's story and jumping off points are
        > > different
        > > so as they say...YMMV.- ----R
        > >
        > > On Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 8:48 AM, nrinne <Nrinne@excite. com> wrote:
        > >
        > > >
        > >
        > This is something I have been wondering about. I am reading all the books I
        > can on Orthodoxy Christianity, and this weekend our family is going to
        > visit
        > an Antiochan Orthodox church on Saturday.
        > One thing that occurred to me was, If my dh and I join (eventually) , do my
        > kids go through something similar to confirmation? We have an almost 21yo
        > who has developmental disabilities and will live with us indefinitely; a
        > 9yo
        > son and twin girls age 7 1/2. Currently at the LCMS my 21 takes communion,
        > and I have been trying to explain to the younger ones why they can't take
        > communion yet. Would that all change if we converted?
        > God Bless and thank you all for this list!
        > Kim S.
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