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Why the MP Apologetics?

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  • rdrjohn2000
    Ultimately, I go to church to worship God as the church instructs me. I worry about my salvation because of my sins and my inability to move to a higher
    Message 1 of 73 , Sep 25, 2002
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      Ultimately, I go to church to worship God as the church instructs
      me. I worry about my salvation because of my sins and my inability
      to move to a higher spiritual plain. In the day to day world I do
      not give much thought to higher level church issues. For me it is
      better to focus on my own spiritual life of daily prayers, readings,
      weekly confession and communion and raising my children in an
      Orthodox fashion than worry about which synod is doing what with
      whom. I come on these lists occasionally to find out news about the
      church. Every time I come on I view many posts from Fr. Alexander
      Lebedeff always discussing issues concerning the Moscow
      Patriarchate. Now I honor the priesthood of this venerable father
      and having sparred with him a few times, I am keenly aware of his
      great intellect. No doubt he is a likable person and devoted
      priest. After all, our priests are generally poorly compensated and
      always subject to the whim of parish politics which can be very
      frustrating to an intellectually gifted person. Therefore I am
      convinced of his commitment to the faith. After viewing today's
      posts though, I wonder where does Father Alexander get the time to do
      all this research? And why post such biased, one sided material
      without addressing the other side (traditional ROCOR, for want of a
      better phrase) of the issue? Are such actions intellectually
      dishonest? Although it is really his business, I can't help but
      question why a ROCOR priest spends so much time on this one issue. I
      am left wondering what do Father Alexander's prodigious posts
      justifying, Sergianism, rapprochement with the MP and soft selling MP
      episcopal misconduct really have to do with our church? We are not
      the MP, we are ROCOR.

      I noticed in one of his replies to me Fr. Alexander made reference to
      his obedience to his bishops. This struck me as odd, why not to his
      bishop only? Perhaps Fr. Alexander was referring to both his bishop
      (Kirill) and his metropolitan (Lavr) or maybe even Archbishop Mark of
      Berlin, who, though he has no authority in the diocese of the Western
      United States is generally viewed as taking a soft line on the MP.
      But why would he do this?

      Are Father Alexander's apologetics for the MP in obedience to his
      bishop(s)? If so, this would explain his seeming campaign to justify
      said organization. And if they are not in obedience to his bishop
      (s), why spend so much time writing about another jurisdiction?
      After all, these are issues for the bishops to decide, in conjunction
      with the faithful of course. On the other hand, if Fr. Alexander is
      carrying on this campaign on his own volition, why has his bishop not
      asked him to tone down the rhetoric? Is Father Alexander trying to
      push our bishops to union with the MP, or to pull the faithful?

      In Christ,
      Rdr John
    • Joshua Fraese
      ... theological ... incorrect. ... in the ... without ... (valid in ... the ... provide a ... by ... professes ... Dear Hristofor, Metropolitan Anthony wrote
      Message 73 of 73 , Oct 11, 2002
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        --- In orthodox-synod@y..., Hristofor <hristofor@m...> wrote:
        > I have said it before, but I will say it again: I have no
        theological
        > background, so whatever I say or _beleive_ may be correct or
        incorrect.
        > However, what you have just said sounds patently absurd.
        >
        > First of all, I think what you are saying applies to all baptisms
        in the
        > Orthodox Church and not just those preformed by heretics and those
        without
        > Grace: the Sacrament of Baptism becomes "finalised or complete"
        (valid in
        > your words) by confessing the True Faith (done by the godparent if
        the
        > person is a baby), Chrismation and Communing. Can you please
        provide a
        > quote from the Holy Fathers where they speak of receiving a baptism
        by
        > heretics, which then becomes a valid Sacrament "when the person
        professes
        > the true faith and becomes part of the true Church."?
        >

        Dear Hristofor,

        Metropolitan Anthony wrote an outstanding essay on the subject of the
        reception of converts. I've taken the liberty of quoting from it
        below:

        "Every mystery has two sides - the visible and the invisible. The
        second is administered only within the true Church by faith and
        sincere prayer, according to the words of the Apostle Peter: "The
        like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the
        putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good
        conscience toward God) but the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1
        Pet. 3:21). And the same thought is found also in the teaching of St.
        John Damascene. For those who are baptized without faith "the water
        remains water" only. Heretics and schismatics, having the visible
        side of baptism, chrismation and holy orders, are entirely devoid of
        those gifts of grace which are bound up with these mysteries for
        believers within the true Church. Therefore, certain of them, for the
        alleviation of the rupture in their spiritual life and for "the
        edification of many," are permitted to enter the Church without
        the visible side of the mysteries or holy orders (that is, by the
        second or third rite), but through the operation of another
        sacramental act in which they receive the grace of baptism,
        chrismation and holy orders. (For example, for Roman Catholics,
        Nestorians and Donatists.)"

        You can read this essay in its entirety at:
        http://www.stvladimirs.ca/articles/economia-reception-converts.html

        I hope this selection helps clear things up a bit - if not, read the
        whole essay - Metropolitan Anthony really goes into the patristic
        theology of the issue and explains the Orthodox thinking behind the
        usage of economia.

        - Joshua Fraese
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