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Re: [LutheransLookingEast] A question, on Orthodox ecclesiology

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  • 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 1 of 17 , May 15, 2007
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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 2 of 17 , May 15, 2007
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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 3 of 17 , May 16, 2007
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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 4 of 17 , May 16, 2007
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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 5 of 17 , May 17, 2007
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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 6 of 17 , May 17, 2007
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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 7 of 17 , May 17, 2007
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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 8 of 17 , May 17, 2007
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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 9 of 17 , May 18, 2007
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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 10 of 17 , May 30, 2007
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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 11 of 17 , May 30, 2007
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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 12 of 17 , May 30, 2007
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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 13 of 17 , May 30, 2007
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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 14 of 17 , May 31, 2007
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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 15 of 17 , May 31, 2007
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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.