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13 Comments

  1. guy

    Did you use to have more articles on apostolic succession? i thought you used to have a part 1 and part 2 that just gave a general intro/explanation/defense of orthodox apostolic succession–other than the ones you have that are prompted as responses to other works. Maybe i’m thinking of another website?

    –guy

    • robertar

      Guy,

      I don’t know for sure. I did the categorization for the “Archives – Topics” page from what I remembered having written. I’m sure there are other discussions elsewhere on the blog. This makes me think I’ll need to install a search widget for the blog.

      Thanks for asking!

      Robert

  2. Martin K

    I have a question. Baptists and Pentecostals says infant baptism is not biblical. Do we find infant baptisms in the Bible? I heard someone say that this practice started around year 200. Where can I find the earliest teachings about infant baptism? When is the first time the early Fathers mentioned it? What does the Orthodox church teach about this? How can a baby be “born again” with no personal faith before he/she has heard the Gospel being preached? Or what is the point of infant baptism? What difference is there between Catholic, Lutheran and Orthodox infant baptism?

    • robertar

      Dear Martin,

      I like your questions! I’m going to try and respond to them in a future blog posting.

      Robert

  3. Ray

    I have a question that could be fodder for a blog post. What is the relationship of culture to the Orthodox faith? How canonical is language and culture to the faith? I ask because it seems like the Orthodox churches I’ve encountered are ethnic parishes wedded to a culture and language (e.g., Greek, Syrian) that can act like a barrier for outsiders. I find Orthodox doctrine compelling, but I find the cultural barrier (during worship, especially) to be a turn-off. Would it be possible to have the divine liturgy with, say, a British flavor? Could you take the words to the ancient hymns, for instance, and set them to singable, Western tunes? Thanks for your response!

    • robertar

      Ray,

      You ask some very important questions. With respect to your first question: What is the relationship of culture to the Orthodox faith? I refer you to the Great Commission:

      Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20)

      And also Revelation 7:9:

      After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.

      From a careful reading of the Great Commission we learn that the Church is called to disciple all nations (panta ta ethne), not individuals. The Greek panta ta ethne can also be translated all ethnic or people groups. From the passage in Revelation we learn that God’s will is for all nations and cultures and languages to be included in the kingdom of God. There is no hint of God privileging of one ethnic group or language over others.

      I agree with you that parishes being wedded to a particular culture or language can be a barrier to Orthodox evangelism and mission. My advice is rather than try to change these parishes, we should respect them for what they are and look for opportunities start Orthodox mission parishes that will reach out to the local community. You can read more about this in my blog posting: Why We Need An All English Liturgy.

      With respect to your question about the Divine Liturgy with British flavor and singable, Western tunes. Again, I sympathize with you. The culture shock of an “alien” music style can cause one to tune out during parts of the Liturgy or to be enthralled by the music with no clue as to the content of the hymn. Another problem is that an “alien” music style makes church planting even more difficult, especially for those who have little music background. You might be interested in what Fr. John Finley had to say in his article: Authentic Church Music. An audio version can be found on Ancient Faith Radio. You might be interested in contacting the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese to explore missions and evangelism opportunity.

      In the meantime pray for the Holy Spirit working to raise up a new generation of musicians and cantors who love the Liturgy and whose heart desire is to spread the Good News of Christ in accessible languages and music styles. Pray also for the Holy Spirit to give people the courage to step out in faith and support Orthodox missions where there is none. I pray that Orthodoxy will be a bright beacon to the British Isles.

      Robert

  4. Ray

    Robert,

    Thank you for the helpful response! These are probably the same questions that missiologists (and even Bible translators!) ask all the time: How can we translate and interpret the faith to new cultures and languages, remaining faithful to the source but intelligible to the receptor culture? I must say I was encouraged by Fr. Finley’s article about music in worship. I’m not a proponent of “contemporary” worship at all, but I am a proponent of singable, understandable music. The music needs to be both native to the worshipers and faithful to the spirit of Orthodoxy and the text of the hymn. It makes me think we need a thoroughly American Orthodox Church (I don’t like the term *Eastern* Orthodoxy, since Orthodoxy is beyond culture and geography) that makes sense to Americans while still being true to the faith.

    Ray

  5. craig

    I am Catholic but have been attending an Eastern Catholic Church and we follow all of the Orthodox Customs and Traditions. I am deeply saddened by the split between our churches and know that Rome’s arrogance played a big role in the schism. I truly wish our churches could be one again.

    • robertar

      Craig,

      Welcome to the OrthodoxBridge!

      It is sad that there is a split between Roman Catholicism and the Orthodox Church. May I suggest you get to know people in the Orthodox tradition? While the Eastern Catholic Church may follow all the customs and traditions as Orthodoxy, I think you will find a different mindset and spirituality that you might find refreshing.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Robert

  6. Cory

    or intended, I would coisnder him a maverick.Your point about the Protestant canon is well taken. I was in a historical theology class with my professor, and he said A teaching does not have authority unless it is explicitly or implicitly taught in Scripture. So I raised my hand and asked: Professor, is there a list of the New Testament books (the canon) either implicitly or explicitly found in Scripture? He paused for a second, looked at me; looked at his notes. Then he replied: No. So I said: Well wouldn’t that imply that our canon has no authority? The issue of canon and Tradition is one of the things that got me interested in studying Catholicism and Orthodoxy. Protestants do in fact have an authoritative Tradition (whether they realize it or not). The doctrine of Sola Scriptura, if it is understood to mean The Bible only not Tradition, is simply a naive approach to creating what is in fact a new Tradition (the sola Scriptura Tradition). Without Tradition (with a capital T) you have no authoritative canon. Thus when the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is understood in this fashion, it becomes self-referentially absurd, for it cuts the rug of Scripture’s authority out from underneath it.

    • robertar

      Cory,

      I’m not sure what happened but this comment was considered spam. I pulled it out of the spam box but it seems that part of your comment is missing.

      You were lucky in that this comment was listed at the top. Since I usually get large numbers of spam everyday, I just delete the whole listing all at once.

      Robert

  7. Calvin

    Thank you for this web site! It’s helping me greatly!

    I would like to suggest something. I would love to see “Share” links at the bottom of each page / blog / articles so people can easily share of Facebook ! I have many friends on Facebook who are also studying Orthodox with me and many church of Christ members who are lurking in the background and reading what I’m posting about the subject.

    Just a suggestion? Keep up the good work!

    • robertar

      Thanks for the suggestion!

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