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A question, on Orthodox ecclesiology

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  • Andrew
    First of all, thanks to all for your thoughtful and gracious comments. I have been thinking recently about Orthodox ecclesiology, especially in relation to the
    Message 1 of 17 , May 14 12:54 AM
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      First of all, thanks to all for your thoughtful and gracious comments.

      I have been thinking recently about Orthodox ecclesiology, especially
      in relation to the status of the non-Orthodox. I met for an hour or so
      with Fr. Josiah Trenham, an extremely knowledgeable priest in Southern
      California (he received his PhD under the inestimable Fr. Andrew
      Louth), and he helped to clarify some issues. But I thought I'd throw
      this one out here as well to see what you all have to say.

      If we confess in the creed 'one baptism for the remission of sins' as
      well as 'one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church', then it's absurd
      to say that baptism exists outside of the Church, no? To have baptism
      outside of the Church seems like a contradiction in terms; to be
      baptized is to be in the Church. If this is true, then I don't
      understand why all converts aren't received by baptism. And further, I
      don't see how the Orthodox can rightly call the non-Orthodox
      'Christians', because to be a Christian is to be baptized and to be in
      the Church.

      Thoughts?

      Andrew.
    • WRVinovskis@cs.com
      Andrew asked: I don t understand why all converts aren t received by baptism. And further, I don t see how the Orthodox can rightly call the non-Orthodox
      Message 2 of 17 , May 15 8:10 AM
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        Andrew asked: I don't understand why all converts aren't received by baptism.
        And further, I don't see how the Orthodox can rightly call the non-Orthodox
        'Christians', because to be a Christian is to be baptized and to be in the
        Church.
        Thoughts?

        *****
        An Orthodox friend of mine (former Lutheran) had this to say...


        This debate rages across Orthodoxy. Hardliners say that, in order to be quite
        certain, everyone who enters Orthodoxy should be re-baptized. This position
        is called akribea, which means an approach to the canons which is uniform
        across the boards, in this case a judgment that since some previous baptisms are
        invalid, you are better off considering all of them invalid and requiring
        re-baptism.

        (The whole anabaptist movement of the western church is not in the background
        here at all. In fact, Orthodox would most likely say that that second baptism
        was not a real one at all since it was done with the complete belief that the
        first one was not real since it was sacramental, and thus suspect by the
        Zwinglian theology of the anabaptists. But I digress!)

        There are side curios here, too; e.g., the monks of Mt Athos prefer visitors
        to have been baptized in Orthodoxy. What that means for those of us who wish
        to visit who were chrismated only is up for interpretation.

        But most Orthodox churches receive people by chrismation, unless they request
        baptism. My friend Fr Paissy McGrath, who came from a Mennonite background,
        asked to be re-baptized even though the priest who took him in was willing to
        accept his adult baptism because it was in water in the name of the Trinity.

        To the point: If the first baptism was, or could be, deemed not a baptism by
        virtue of the lack of the Trinitarian name or the use of water, Orthodoxy
        considers it invalid. That much would be true, I suspect, for both of us.

        As I said, most Orthodox today receive converts by Chrismation. One could
        argue, I suppose, that this is a slur against those churches that practice
        confirmation - but this is usually considered non-sacramental and the practice
        reflects that. In fact, it gets a bit dicey for me because Lutherans, e.g., have
        re-instituted the use of chrism in the baptismal service itself. So do Lutherans
        practice chrismation as sacrament? Who knows?

        I was received into Holy Orthodoxy by chrismation, as were both Susan and
        Caleb. In our case it was clear that the initiatory sacrament was incomplete when
        we were baptized.

        The Orthodox understanding has to do with the existence, or lack, of a
        fullness of ecclesial reality in other bodies. The more I sink into the depth of
        Orthodoxy, the more do I begin to feel that other churches are not really
        "church" in the sense we Orthodox mean, because they are quite simply inadequate in
        the totality of their being qua church. No one would deny that Christians exist
        in other churches, not the most hardcore of Orthodox, but that the churches
        are themselves fully Christian we would deny because they lack the totality of
        the sacramental and ascetic life. In some case, there is active hostility
        toward the sacramental life. I myself see it as a sliding scale, and you have to
        determine pastoral practice on the basis of oikonomia, what's right for the
        whole household of faith.

        By the way, there's more to it than the rite of chrismation itself; in the
        case of people coming from different traditions, you may be asked a series of
        questions with regard to the particular understandings you are leaving behind in
        order to embrace Orthodoxy. Thus Lutherans may be asked to affirm their
        acceptance of seven sacraments, the honor paid to icons, the canons of the first
        seven ecumenical councils, and the tradition of patristic interpretation of
        scripture.

        Did I miss something here, or does this help?

        ***

        God's Peace,

        WRV


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Christopher Orr
        *St. Basil the Great s Canon I is instructive in the Orthodox Church s view of accepting and not accepting the baptism of those outside Herself:* …I am
        Message 3 of 17 , May 15 9:45 AM
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          *St. Basil the Great's Canon I is instructive in the Orthodox Church's view
          of accepting and not accepting the baptism of those outside Herself:*

          �I am inclined to suspect that we may by the severity of the prescription [
          > i.e., if we demand that all who have had heterodox baptism must needs be
          > received into the Church solely by means of our baptism] actually prevent
          > men from being saved because of their reluctance in regard to baptism. But
          > if they maintain [the form of] our baptism, let this not deter us.� But let
          > it be formally stated with every reason that those who join [the Orthodox
          > Church] on top of their baptism must in all cases be chrismated by the
          > faithful,� and thus be admitted to the Mysteries.
          >

          *The Quinisext Council in Trullo (451 AD), Canon XCV also mentions this
          early distinction between baptisms that are accepted as the true Sacrament
          of Baptism, and 'baptisms' so-called that are denied any validity at all and
          must be replaced by Orthodox Baptism:
          *

          > As for heretics, who are joining Orthodoxy and the portion of the saved,
          > we accept them in accordance with the subjoined sequence and custom�As for
          > Manicheans and Valentinians and Marcionists and those from similar heresies,
          > we accept them as Greeks (idolaters) and 'rebaptize' them. But the
          > Nestorians and the Eutychians and the Severans and those from similar
          > heresies it is necessary for them to write libelli and to anathematize their
          > heresy as well as Nestorios and Eutyches and Dioscoros and Severus and other
          > exarchs of such heresies and those who entertain their beliefs, and all the
          > aforementioned heresies; and thus they are allowed to partake of Holy
          > Communion.
          >

          The distinction often came down to whether these groups maintained the
          Orthodox form of Baptism, or whether they had innovated, e.g., single
          immersion, sprinkling, pouring, "in the name of Jesus" rather than the
          Trinity, etc. Current differences in practice differ on what the 'minimum'
          form of Baptism must be: some see this as a trinitarian immersion, pouring
          or sprinkling with water others see triple immersion in the name the Trinity
          and/or a full ancient apostolic Rite of Baptism. Similarly, the Orthodox
          Eucharist requires bread, wine, water, laity and the entire Divine Liturgy
          served by a canonical priest properly vested with an antimension (relics and
          a sign of the authority of the bishop) - not just the words of institution,
          and not just the words of institution and the epiklesis.
          *
          It should be noted that chrismation in ancient writings is often simply
          assumed as a part of Christian initiation, Baptism. This is still the
          practice in the Orthodox Church whereby Baptism and Chrismation are given
          together. Similarly, the Sacrament of Marriage in the OC is actually the
          two services of Betrothal and Marriage (Crowning) served together; the
          single service of the All-Night Vigil is similarly the services of Vespers
          and Matins (sometimes also with the 1st Hour and Compline) served together.

          Christopher

          *
          On 5/14/07, Andrew <drew1095950@...> wrote:
          >
          > First of all, thanks to all for your thoughtful and gracious comments.
          >
          > I have been thinking recently about Orthodox ecclesiology, especially
          > in relation to the status of the non-Orthodox. I met for an hour or so
          > with Fr. Josiah Trenham, an extremely knowledgeable priest in Southern
          > California (he received his PhD under the inestimable Fr. Andrew
          > Louth), and he helped to clarify some issues. But I thought I'd throw
          > this one out here as well to see what you all have to say.
          >
          > If we confess in the creed 'one baptism for the remission of sins' as
          > well as 'one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church', then it's absurd
          > to say that baptism exists outside of the Church, no? To have baptism
          > outside of the Church seems like a contradiction in terms; to be
          > baptized is to be in the Church. If this is true, then I don't
          > understand why all converts aren't received by baptism. And further, I
          > don't see how the Orthodox can rightly call the non-Orthodox
          > 'Christians', because to be a Christian is to be baptized and to be in
          > the Church.
          >
          > Thoughts?
          >
          > Andrew.
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Andrew
          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
          Message 4 of 17 , May 15 11:52 PM
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            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.
          • Anastasia Theodoridis
            Dear Andrew, The fact is that the status of the children of the Reformation has not yet been revealed to the Orthodox Church. They aren t apostates, because
            Message 5 of 17 , May 16 6:05 AM
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              Dear Andrew,

              The fact is that the status of the children of the Reformation has not yet been revealed to the Orthodox Church. They aren't apostates, because an apostate is someone who had been Orthodox but who has departed from the Church. They aren't heretics, because a heretic is a member of the Orthodox Church who publicly teaches error, and persists in publicly teaching it after being admonished, and is formally declared a heretic by the Church.

              So what are they? The Holy Spirit hasn't so far revealed that to the Church. Therefore, everybody has his own opinion.
              We all fight hard for our own opinion, but in the end, we all have to acknowledge it's only opinion, and that the actual position of the Church is, "We don't know." We have no way of knowing for sure that the Holy Spirit is present or absent from their forms of baptism. We can neither recognize these people as Christians, nor clearly discern that they are not.

              Each bishop, in such a circumstance, has to decide how these converts are to be received within his own jurisdiction, and/or whether to do it by strict application of the norm (Holy Baptism) or by "economia" (Holy Chrismation) or what. And that's why the inconsistency.

              That's the straight up deal.

              Anastasia


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Christopher Orr
              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
              Message 6 of 17 , May 16 7:11 AM
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                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]
              • Andrew
                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
                Message 7 of 17 , May 17 1:56 AM
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                  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]
                  >
                • Christopher Orr
                  ... Remember, Orthodoxy, as was early Christianity, the experience of the Risen Christ and His Church first, and then argument to attempt an explanation. This
                  Message 8 of 17 , 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
                    Differences"<http://www.uky.edu/%7Edbradsh/papers/Christianity%20East%20&%20West.doc>,
                    which can be found here:

                    http://orrologion.blogspot.com/2007/05/papers-on-philosophical-theological.html

                    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).

                    Christopher


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • tantuslabor
                    ... What about the story of St. Porphyrios? Here s an excerpt: Porphyrios . . . was not a Christian nor did he have any personal respect for the Christian
                    Message 9 of 17 , May 17 1:04 PM
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                      --- 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.

                      What about the story of St. Porphyrios? Here's an excerpt:

                      "Porphyrios . . . was not a Christian nor did he have any personal
                      respect for the Christian faith. It was his intention to participate
                      in a "mock" ceremony of the Christian Baptism. He engaged the services
                      of several other pagan actors to assist him. The Emperor's court was
                      filled with pagan officials who gathered to honor the Emperor's
                      birthday. At the given time, Porphyrios entered with his
                      collaborators. Each person was dressed in the robes of Christian
                      clergy. One was attired as a Bishop, and the others as priests. These
                      fellow actors were not actually ordained clergymen and they had only
                      one purpose in mind, to mimic the Christian faith. Porphyrios made his
                      entrance dressed in the attire of a prospective catechumen (one who is
                      about to receive the Sacrament of Baptism). The false clergy began the
                      Christian Sacrament of Baptism, interjecting humorous and degrading
                      phrases, which brought resounding laughter from the Emperor and the
                      officials present. As Porphyrios was "baptized" in the water he
                      shouted sarcastically, "The Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ,
                      Porphyrios is baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the
                      Holy Spirit."

                      Everyone was happy over the performance; and as Porphyrios was being
                      dressed in the white garments of "salvation" in accordance with the
                      Christian Tradition, Porphyrios was suddenly overcome with a strange
                      sensation. An Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and he stood
                      transfixed and in shock! The Angel spoke to him and told him that he
                      was now truly "A servant of the Lord Jesus Christ." The Angel scolded
                      him for his mockery of the Christian Faith, but informed him that the
                      Lord had forgiven him. Porphyrios fell to his knees and accepted
                      Christ in his heart. He rose and addressed his audience concerning his
                      conversation. The Emperor Julian was furious with Porphyrios over this
                      strange turn of events. Julian ordered his soldiers to behead
                      Porphyrios, thus Porphyrios the Mimic gave his life for Christ that
                      famous evening on November 4th, in the year of our Lord 361 A.D."


                      > 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.

                      We do not affirm that baptism exists outside of the Church. If the
                      form of baptism was observed in the act in question, then the act may
                      be called "baptism" as it is completed by the holy chrism. It is and
                      is called "baptism" because it is joined to the application of chrism,
                      and reception at the eucharist. We are not affirming anything about
                      similar acts in connection with those who never have them completed by
                      holy chrism and eucharist.

                      St. Elisabeth the New Martyr was received by chrismation from a
                      Lutheran body, sealed her faith in her blood and is affirmed as saint
                      by the Orthodox. 'Nuff said.


                      > 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.

                      This sounds about right.

                      >
                      > 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.

                      The children of the Reformation are outside of the Church, true
                      enough, by their own choice. But what they are, and what they are to
                      be called, is up to God and not up to us. We Orthodox make judgments
                      about *bodies*--e.g. when we say that Lutheranism is not the Church.
                      But we don't make judgments about *individuals*.

                      Tell me, Andrew, what is it you are seeking?

                      The unworthy priest,

                      Fr. Gregory




                      >
                      >
                      > Andrew.
                    • Fr. Robert K. McMeekin
                      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
                      Message 10 of 17 , 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]
                        > >
                        >
                      • Christopher Orr
                        The other thing I would note regarding how we understand the Church, sacraments, and those outside of the Church is that we are simply following and attempting
                        Message 11 of 17 , May 18 6:44 AM
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                          The other thing I would note regarding how we understand the Church,
                          sacraments, and those outside of the Church is that we are simply following
                          and attempting to understand precedent. We are not attempting to build a
                          sacramental or ecclesiastical system from scratch, from the data of the New
                          Testament. It was the Council of Nicea that decided this:

                          The problem, whether a baptism <http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Baptism>,
                          > performed by heretics in the name of Christ<http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Christ>or the Trinity, should rank as a
                          > baptism <http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Baptism> or. not, had given rise
                          > to an animated controversy between the Roman bishop Stephen<http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Stephen>,
                          > who answered in the affirmative, and Cyprian of Carthage<http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Carthage>,
                          > who gave an equally decided negative. The council followed the Roman
                          > practice, merely declaring the nullity of baptisms imparted by the adherents
                          > of Paul of Samosata <http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Paul_Of_Samosata>(canon xix.). ["Council
                          > of Nicaea" <http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Council_of_Nicaea>,
                          > Encyclopaedia Britannica (1911)]
                          >

                          The same fault line exists in Orthodoxy today, with a similarly, seemingly
                          inconsistent resolution.

                          Christopher


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Andrew
                          ... Fr. Gregory, My questions were not meant to be gotcha! questions. Forgive me if they came across as such. I am seeking that ecclesial communion which
                          Message 12 of 17 , May 30 12:46 AM
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                            > Tell me, Andrew, what is it you are seeking?

                            Fr. Gregory,

                            My questions were not meant to be 'gotcha!' questions. Forgive me if
                            they came across as such.

                            I am seeking that ecclesial communion which best enables me to live
                            the life in Christ, that's all. Plain and simple. I keep on thinking
                            that there's got to be more to the Christian life than just 'you're a
                            dreadful sinner, but nonetheless you are justified by faith for
                            Christ's sake'. I realize that that's probably an unfair
                            oversimplification of what it's like to be a Lutheran, but seriously,
                            that's about 95% of the spiritual guidance that I get in life from
                            Lutherans. I know I'm a dreadful sinner, and I'm thankful for what God
                            has done for me in Christ, but I also want desperately to actually
                            love God enough to be obedient to Him, as well as love those around me
                            so much that they stop and think to themselves, 'Wow, there's
                            something different about him, I wonder what it is'.


                            Andrew.
                          • tantuslabor
                            You might want to consider picking up the book The Life in Christ by Nicholas Cabasilas. I think it might speak to what you re seeking, from an Orthodox
                            Message 13 of 17 , May 30 2:47 AM
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                              You might want to consider picking up the book "The Life in Christ" by
                              Nicholas Cabasilas. I think it might speak to what you're seeking,
                              from an Orthodox perspective.

                              Fr. Gregory

                              --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, "Andrew"
                              <drew1095950@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > > Tell me, Andrew, what is it you are seeking?
                              >
                              > Fr. Gregory,
                              >
                              > My questions were not meant to be 'gotcha!' questions. Forgive me if
                              > they came across as such.
                              >
                              > I am seeking that ecclesial communion which best enables me to live
                              > the life in Christ, that's all. Plain and simple. I keep on thinking
                              > that there's got to be more to the Christian life than just 'you're a
                              > dreadful sinner, but nonetheless you are justified by faith for
                              > Christ's sake'. I realize that that's probably an unfair
                              > oversimplification of what it's like to be a Lutheran, but seriously,
                              > that's about 95% of the spiritual guidance that I get in life from
                              > Lutherans. I know I'm a dreadful sinner, and I'm thankful for what God
                              > has done for me in Christ, but I also want desperately to actually
                              > love God enough to be obedient to Him, as well as love those around me
                              > so much that they stop and think to themselves, 'Wow, there's
                              > something different about him, I wonder what it is'.
                              >
                              >
                              > Andrew.
                              >
                            • Laura Frizelle
                              Dear Andrew, In my experience I have met Christians from many denominational backgrounds who fit your description of being different. That something different
                              Message 14 of 17 , May 30 3:54 AM
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                                Dear Andrew,

                                In my experience I have met Christians from many denominational backgrounds
                                who fit your description of being different. That something different is
                                the light of Christ shining in and through people that He loves and who love
                                him. He is the Lover of mankind and is at work in all of our lives (even
                                pagans). The people who are different reflect his love most brightly. I
                                think that this bright reflection has alot to do with repentance.

                                I agree with what you wrote about Lutheranism, in that, to me at times I
                                have felt a discouraging almost Calvinist totally depravity undertone in
                                Lutheranism when it comes to humanity and our inability to love or choose
                                God at all, even as baptized children of God, let alone simply men and women
                                created in His image and likeness. Lutheranism, especially the confessional
                                kind, is so suspicious of the heart that it practically cripples us .

                                I have found Orthodox anthropology so refreshing and encouraging. Fr. Marc,
                                my local archpriest, acknowledged in an inquirers class that he led last
                                year that even pagans love and are capable of good works because of how God
                                made mankind. Good works do not merit salvation of course, but they do
                                reflect our Creator. We are sinful, we miss the mark, but the image and
                                likeness of God in us is not completely lost.

                                Fr. Thomas Hopko put it well on his Meaning of the Cross tapes. I am
                                probably going to butcher this, but I hope you get the gist. He said that
                                he once met a young woman in a church who felt like she needed to pray but
                                couldn't and didn't know if she really wanted to believe in God at all. Fr.
                                Hopko asked her to say to God, "I want to love you." Then that was still to
                                difficult. Then he said, "How about say to God, 'I want to want to love
                                you.'"

                                We are weak and we do not love and obey God perfectly on this side of
                                heaven, but we can seek him and change and grow through Him. God reveals
                                himself to us in so many ways that we might find him. Jesus took on flesh!
                                God became man that man might be fully restored in his image and
                                likeness...fully able to love and to be in perfect communion with Him and
                                all of creation.

                                People are sinful and every church and parish that you find is going to have
                                its faults to be sure. Try not to let that discourage and frustrate you to
                                despair.

                                For me now that I have found Orthodoxy, the True Light, because God has
                                provided it where it could be found, I know that is where I have to be. I
                                can no longer settle for a reductionist, less than complete expression of
                                Christianity. I am utterly convinced on the head level and the heart level
                                that Orthodox Christianity is it. There is no other option.

                                My local Antiochian parish is full of people who are struggling together to
                                live faithfully in Christ and it is a beautiful thing. I look forward to
                                struggling with them and learning and changing and growing. I pray that you
                                will find a parish and people that you can struggle with and be challenged,
                                inspired and encouraged so that you can learn, change and grow to become the
                                unique, holy man God created you to be. You need Christ, His Sacraments,
                                His Word, His Saints, His Church...you need the whole package.

                                I am sure that there are people who have noticed the Light of Christ in you
                                already and it will continue to get brighter and brighter if you remain in
                                Him.
                                Jesus promised in John 14 or 15 that he would remain in us if we remain in
                                Him and that the way to remain in Him is to follow his commandment to love
                                one another. He is in us and we are in Him. You do love God and your
                                neighbor. Love more, ask Him to help you to love more and more and more!

                                Our last Sunday in the Lutheran church will be the 17th of June. Please
                                pray for us and for all of the people in the congregation that we are
                                leaving. That God will protect them and guide them. That God will send
                                them a new pastor who will not mislead them.

                                Christ is in our midst!

                                Peace be with you Andrew!

                                Love,
                                Laura
                              • BPeter Brandt-Sorheim
                                Thanks for saying that about total depravity. The Biblical perspective that I feel in Orthodoxy is so refreshing: I am God s creation. The devil makes
                                Message 15 of 17 , May 30 6:44 PM
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                                  Thanks for saying that about total depravity. The Biblical perspective that I feel in Orthodoxy is so refreshing: I am God's creation. The devil makes nothing but only abuses God's creation. No matter how badly abused, at base I always remains God's and in His mercy may be restored. This perspective fosters hope, encourages faith and engenders love towards God.

                                  Laura Frizelle <lfrizelle@...> wrote: Dear Andrew,

                                  In my experience I have met Christians from many denominational backgrounds
                                  who fit your description of being different. That something different is
                                  the light of Christ shining in and through people that He loves and who love
                                  him. He is the Lover of mankind and is at work in all of our lives (even
                                  pagans). The people who are different reflect his love most brightly. I
                                  think that this bright reflection has alot to do with repentance.

                                  I agree with what you wrote about Lutheranism, in that, to me at times I
                                  have felt a discouraging almost Calvinist totally depravity undertone in
                                  Lutheranism when it comes to humanity and our inability to love or choose
                                  God at all, even as baptized children of God, let alone simply men and women
                                  created in His image and likeness. Lutheranism, especially the confessional
                                  kind, is so suspicious of the heart that it practically cripples us .

                                  I have found Orthodox anthropology so refreshing and encouraging. Fr. Marc,
                                  my local archpriest, acknowledged in an inquirers class that he led last
                                  year that even pagans love and are capable of good works because of how God
                                  made mankind. Good works do not merit salvation of course, but they do
                                  reflect our Creator. We are sinful, we miss the mark, but the image and
                                  likeness of God in us is not completely lost.

                                  Fr. Thomas Hopko put it well on his Meaning of the Cross tapes. I am
                                  probably going to butcher this, but I hope you get the gist. He said that
                                  he once met a young woman in a church who felt like she needed to pray but
                                  couldn't and didn't know if she really wanted to believe in God at all. Fr.
                                  Hopko asked her to say to God, "I want to love you." Then that was still to
                                  difficult. Then he said, "How about say to God, 'I want to want to love
                                  you.'"

                                  We are weak and we do not love and obey God perfectly on this side of
                                  heaven, but we can seek him and change and grow through Him. God reveals
                                  himself to us in so many ways that we might find him. Jesus took on flesh!
                                  God became man that man might be fully restored in his image and
                                  likeness...fully able to love and to be in perfect communion with Him and
                                  all of creation.

                                  People are sinful and every church and parish that you find is going to have
                                  its faults to be sure. Try not to let that discourage and frustrate you to
                                  despair.

                                  For me now that I have found Orthodoxy, the True Light, because God has
                                  provided it where it could be found, I know that is where I have to be. I
                                  can no longer settle for a reductionist, less than complete expression of
                                  Christianity. I am utterly convinced on the head level and the heart level
                                  that Orthodox Christianity is it. There is no other option.

                                  My local Antiochian parish is full of people who are struggling together to
                                  live faithfully in Christ and it is a beautiful thing. I look forward to
                                  struggling with them and learning and changing and growing. I pray that you
                                  will find a parish and people that you can struggle with and be challenged,
                                  inspired and encouraged so that you can learn, change and grow to become the
                                  unique, holy man God created you to be. You need Christ, His Sacraments,
                                  His Word, His Saints, His Church...you need the whole package.

                                  I am sure that there are people who have noticed the Light of Christ in you
                                  already and it will continue to get brighter and brighter if you remain in
                                  Him.
                                  Jesus promised in John 14 or 15 that he would remain in us if we remain in
                                  Him and that the way to remain in Him is to follow his commandment to love
                                  one another. He is in us and we are in Him. You do love God and your
                                  neighbor. Love more, ask Him to help you to love more and more and more!

                                  Our last Sunday in the Lutheran church will be the 17th of June. Please
                                  pray for us and for all of the people in the congregation that we are
                                  leaving. That God will protect them and guide them. That God will send
                                  them a new pastor who will not mislead them.

                                  Christ is in our midst!

                                  Peace be with you Andrew!

                                  Love,
                                  Laura






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                                • herrdave2_prime
                                  (( You need Christ, His Sacraments, His Word, His Saints, His Church...you need the whole package.)) Also His saints and Church throughout all time. This comes
                                  Message 16 of 17 , May 31 10:02 AM
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                                    (( You need Christ, His Sacraments,
                                    His Word, His Saints, His Church...you need the whole package.))

                                    Also His saints and Church throughout all time. This comes to mind when the icons are incensed.
                                  • herrdave2_prime
                                    (( You need Christ, His Sacraments, His Word, His Saints, His Church...you need the whole package.)) Also His saints and Church throughout all time. This comes
                                    Message 17 of 17 , May 31 1:35 PM
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                                      (( You need Christ, His Sacraments,
                                      His Word, His Saints, His Church...you need the whole package.))

                                      Also His saints and Church throughout all time. This comes to mind when the icons are incensed.
                                    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.