Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Orthodoxy in the West: The Eastern-Rite Mainline?

According to Fr Gregory Jensen, an academic and priest of the 'Orthodox Church in America' (the denomination with Russian immigrant origins that former Lutheran scholar Jaroslav Pelikan joined) Eastern Orthodoxy in North America on the ground - as opposed to how it appears from behind the rose-coloured spectacles of prospective Protestant converts - is rapidly becoming as liberal as the Protestant mainline churches many of those converts are fleeing. So much so that he says the Orthodox Church in all its ethnic branches in the US looks increasingly like 'the Eastern-Rite Mainline'.*

How so? Support for abortion and gay marriage runs disturbingly high among the laity, politicians of Orthodox background publicly support positions which stand in stark contradiction to the Church's moral teaching and priests are 'not effectively communicating the [Christian] moral tradition', thus surrendering the laity to the forces of secularisation and cultural barbarism. Not to mention, and Fr Gregory doesn't, but anyone who keeps a 'weather eye' on the Orthodox Church will know, that the various sexual and financial scandals among the Orthodox hierarchy in the US have clearly demoralised many of the devout clergy and laity.**

Part of the solution, Fr Gregory avers, is for the Orthodox in the West to draw upon the riches of the Western Christian tradition, specifically the Catholic tradition's 'partnership of faith and reason, natural law, and the objective and universal character of Christian morality'. I think he's an insightful and brave man for saying this, because most articulate Orthodox - especially Western converts - that I have come across have a strong animus against the Christian West, with Augustine being their favourite whipping boy. In their eyes the great North African Father is to blame not only for Roman Catholicism but also, by way of reaction, for Luther and hence 'Protestantism' (and in speaking about 'Protestantism' the Orthodox tend to make no distinction between a snake-handling Pentecostal and a confessional Lutheran, thereby only displaying their ignorance of the heritage of the Christian West after the Reformation). But, surely, without a sympathetic Orthodox engagement with Augustine - and indeed with Luther - there is unlikely to be any significant rapprochement between Orthodoxy and the Christian West beyond the usual glad-handing at ecumenical gatherings.

I would also respectfully suggest to Fr Gregory that he not overlook what can be learned from the experience of those confessional churches of the Reformation which have taken a different path from their liberal Protestant cousins. A big part of Orthodoxy's problems, in my view, stem from the reality that it is not actually a 'confessional' church, but a 'big tent' church. The question for Orthodoxy now is just how big is its tent, given that they now have their own vocal and prominent proponents for recognition of the right to abortion, women's ordination and even revision of the church's teaching on homosexuality?

Finally, I think we are witnessing yet another confirmation of Dr Sasse's prescient observation of 50 or so years ago that in the modern world all the great Christian communions will face the same theological problems, without exception. The obvious moral for small 'o' orthodox Western Christians in all of this - especially Lutherans - who might think that Constantinople offers a safe haven from the destructive winds of modernism that have wrought such havoc in our own churches, is to look before you leap into the Bosphorus.


Fr Jensen's reflection can be found here

* For Australian readers, the Americans refer to the major historical Protestant denominations collectively as 'the Protestant Mainline' denominations, because they were once the numerically and culturally dominant forms of American Protestantism. Since succumbing to theological liberalism in the 20th C., the membership and influence of these denominations has declined significantly.

** While it's beyond our purview here, it should be noted that there have also been astonishing sexual and financial scandals involving Orthodox clergy and bishops in Greece, where the Church seems to have totally abdicated its moral authority (does this explain the present parlous state of Greek society or is it symptomatic of it?), and financial corruption has also been uncovered in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in matters pertaining to the unauthorised sale of church land to the state of Israel and the disappearance of the funds from these sales.

I tread carefully here, because there will always be 'bad apples' and hypocrites among the clergy, and no church body is immune from them, but when persistent patterns of aberrant behaviour become evident in a particular church culture, one is surely entitled to ask whether it is not just 'occasional sin' on the part of individuals but the 'systemic sin' of the institution that has been uncovered? Is there something about the administrative systems of such a church body itself, systems which inevitably reflect its official theology/ecclesiology, that fosters these particular sins?


And if the astute reader is wondering 'Is there a connection between this post and the last one on Edwin Muir's poem 'The Castle', the answer is yes - the enemy most to be feared is the one within the castle walls!


The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...

Well... since you mentioned snake-handling... :-)

Acroamaticus said...

You mean...Jaroslav Pelikan left the church of Bach for that!?

The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...

Yes. Why? Were the Apostles really good opera singers, or why do you act so surprised? (I mean: we call them "the choir of the Apostles", but you do know that that's just a metaphor... right? :-\ )

Acroamaticus said...

Well, Lucian, Bach isn't opera, but that's beside the point. Speaking of music, is Greek Orthodox chanting always so gratingly out of tune? The Russian choirs I have heard are much sweeter; one might almost consider converting just to listen to them every Sunday ;0)

The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...


Do you consider either this or this to be 'grating' & 'out of tune' ? :-\

I personally like Orthodox and Gregorian singing, as well as much of classical music... but I don't like either Bach or Slavic Church music... :-(

I also like traditional Protestant chant:



I also like Jewish liturgical music: A LOT!

Or modern ambiental-instrumental music that closely approximates classical or Celtic music: such as the melodies composed or sung by Vangelis, Enya, Enigma, Era, Ennio Morricone, The Gregorians, Emma Shapplin, Jean Michel Jarre, the soundtrack of "A Single Man", etc.

I also like Armenian and Georgian duduk songs very much: such as those performed by great artists like Armand Amar, Venon Menassian, Jivan Gasparyan, Martin Ghazarian, etc.

You'll find PLENTY of EACH on YouTube: enjoy! :-)

Acroamaticus said...

Thanks Lucian.

So, do they chant or sing in Romania?

Btw, the Lutheran liturgy, when sung, is essentially plain chant.

Meantime, I'm off to bed; I'll check your links tomorrow evening.

The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...

We mostly use a choir for the Holy Liturgy... but the rest of the services are sung by the cantors. I like the latter much better than the former...

joel in ga said...

Funny you should write something on the subject. I have repeatedly seen Orthodox denials that the Scriptures are infallible. Just in the past week, I came upon an article by Archbishop Stylianopoulis (a compatriot of yours, I believe) who described verbal or 'word for word' inspiration of the Scriptures as a heretical notion. Protestants have seen the effects of denying the plenary inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures. One can easily foresee that more of what you described in your article is rapidly on its way to the Orthodox church. A shame really. And also a mystery. How can a church that proclaims its own councils to be infallible so easily relinquish a doctrine as traditional as the infallibility of the Scriptures?

Acroamaticus said...

That's _very_ interesting, Joel. Thanks for alerting us to it.

Yes, Archbishop Stylianos is the local Greek primate and a widely respected theologian and poet. A pity his theology of scripture is so weak - he'd be as liberal as the Anglicans on that doctrine.

I'll have some more posts coming up on Orthodoxy and Tradition, d.v..

Terry Maher said...

Looking forward to those posts! Are you done with the Newman thing -- that was really good stuff.

I think all our mooners and spooners over Rome and the East are just Pietists who get their high from "smells and bells" rather than the stuff the standard Pietists go for.

We have two of those "Antiochan Rite" parishes here in Omaha. Ugh.

The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...

Now as to the issue of homosexuality:

I want each and every single one of you to imagine that the tables are turned: that men and women are these two wholy different species, and that any interbreeding between the two would be as forbidden as any other things mentioned in Leviticus 19:19 or 20:15, for that matter... And I want you to keep that thought in your minds for as long as possible. Anytime you look at a woman. For as long as you'll live. And to be reminded of this little thought-experiment each and every single time you approach the topic of homosexuality. I want you to suffer. To co-suffer. To feel their pain. Deeply. As deeply as humanly possible. -- Thank you.

Christ became like one of us, sharing in our pain, weakness, and suffering (Hebr. 4:15); He didn't just sit on a fluffy cloud and preach to us what to do and what not to do. Until you don't start doing the same, you are useless, and your preaching is empty, despite its correctness.

That's all I had to say.

Acroamaticus said...

Dearest Lucian,

If you are saying that believing Christians who are attracted to the same sex yet struggle with this attraction because they know it is contrary to God's will should be treated pastorally, with love and care, I have no argument with you.

However, if you are saying (and I'm actually not _sure_ what you are saying!) that same sex attraction is not contrary to human nature as God created it, and can be approved of and blessed, and that it does not partake of the disorder and rebellion against God that we call sin, I'm going to have to strongly disagree with you, and say that you know neither the scriptures nor God's will:

'Have you not read, at the beginning the Creator made them male and female...' Gen 1:27; Mark 10:6, Matt 19:4

'God gave them [i.e. idolaters] up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their sin.' Rom 1:26-27.

'You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination' Lev 18:22; cf Lev 20:13

'Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers, none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.' 1 Cor 6:9-11.

Acroamaticus said...

Hi Terry,

Thanks for the positive feedback.

Yes, I want to go back to Newman, but there are so many things to blog about...so little time! Maybe next year. Sometimes I'm too ambitious for the blog; as a pastor of two congregations I have to strictly limit the time I spend on it - thus I usually post on my day off.

As to Orthodoxy & Pietism, you know, sometimes I like to think of Orthodoxy as akin to Methodism but with an exotic liturgy.

The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...

I... don't know what you find so 'cryptic' about my comment... I thought I've made myself pretty clear... painstakingly so...

Acroamaticus said...


You've approached the matter from a purely subjective angle. A confessional Lutheran does not find such subjectivism at all illuminating or helpful (we've seen it in spades in the discussion on women's ordination, so pardon me if I come across non-plussed). To be morally justifiable, compassion for the homosexual needs to stem from objective principles based on God's Word. Otherwise it is mere sentimentality (so typical of our age, which seems incapable of sustained reasoning on any subject) and possibly even a sharing in the homosexual's particular sin(s) - and I have enough sin of my own to repent of, thank you.

The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...

Please tell me you didn't just compare the ontological need for romantic affection with women-wanting-to-be-priests (or aviators for that matter...)

A confessional Lutheran

A confessional Lutheran has to be a human being, since the last time I checked non-humans aren't baptized. And since feelings are just as much a part of being human as reason is, and none of us are dispassionate angelic beings, I don't see the point of eschewing the issue of pain and suffering caused by this tragic predicament.

possibly even a sharing in the homosexual's particular sin(s)

But we do "shar[e] in the homosexual's particular sin(s)", since we're both attracted to women... just like lesbians are. The only difference is that in our case it's not a sin. (Lucky us!) Otherwise we'd both be twirling in soul-wrenching emotional pain right now, with torn hearts and consciences...

I have enough sin of my own to repent of

I know you do... but I want to imagine that you have ONE MORE to repent of. That not only can you never ever feel for men that way, but you're not allowed to let your feelings for women blossom either: ever! (Or just imagine that you're a Catholic priest, not a Lutheran one...) C'mon... humor me. :-) After all, what are you afraid of? Experiencing a world of pain and sorrow? That's just "mere sentimentality", right? And that don't count... right? :D

Acroamaticus said...


My friend, you really need some basic catechisation.

It is not healthy to imagine sinning (I'm sure your spiritual father would tell you the same thing), and neither is it necessary in order minister God's grace to with a fellow sinner. We all experience pain, suffering and estrangement from others and God due to original and actual sin. But there is a limit to co-suffering. How can I put it, to borrow a line from Tolstoy, 'all happy people are alike, but every unhappy person is unhappy in their own way.' Thus I can empathise with the homosexual's alienation, based on my own experience of alienation due to different sins, but it does me no good to imagine his pain and it does him no good for me to bless the cause of his pain. The remedy is the same as for all sins - repent and sin no more.

Anonymous said...

Why would the Orthodox Church not be affected by social changes in the secular society? There have always been gay Orthodox monks, priests and bishops, and of course laity as well. Most people love the Orthodox because modernism has not corrupted their liturgy or the design of their churches. You won't see altar girls or lay ministers or Orthodox nuns in skirts and blouses and lesbian feminist hair-dos. And yes, the Orthodox have the right to look down their noses at all Protestant denominations. Reformation-bred Churches are not part of the serious motherload of Christianity.

Acroamaticus said...

I think you've just proved my point about Orthodoxy, Anonymous.

As for the Lutheran church not being part of the 'serious motherload' of Christianity, only someone who has never read Luther could say such a thing.

Reaer Gregory said...

Dear Pastor Mark (and others),
An Orthodox Christian myself, I wanted to comment on the claim that Orthodox deny the infallibility of the Scriptures.
The problem only appears to be a problem when we deal with the issue categorically: i.e., are the Scriptures our sole and complete source of Revelation? In that sense, the Orthodox response is, most certainly, that they are not. HOWEVER (and I don't know precisely what Abp. Theodore said, as I could not find the article), the Orthodox believe the Scriptures (and more!) to be divinely inspired and as inerrant as anything else in this world. A few thoughts in our defense:
1) We allow for a broader recognition of Scripture than either the Protestants or the Catholic Church - so-called "Apocrypha," both Old and New Testament, is believed to be divinely inspired and included within our canonical texts.
2) In the Orthodox Tradition, Scripture is not so much Revelation itself, as a divinely inspired record of the history of Revelation and man's experience of It. Thus, we do not need to come up with convoluted theological reasons for why certain commandments or exhortations no longer apply, while others do. We do, however, call upon our faithful to read the Scriptures daily - it is a crucial element of living a Christian life, and taught to be the reverse of prayer - it is God talking to us.
3) Until several centuries after Christ, there was no "Bible" in the sense that we understand it. It was the Church (guided by the Holy Spirit), through a series of deeply considered, sometimes controversial, councils and compromises, that determined the ultimate makeup of the Bible. With only a handful of exceptions, all Christians abide by these decisions today and recognize the canonicity of the books of the Bible. Why? Why is it that the Bible is absolutely and inerrantly canonical, but the councils that determined its makeup or the Church that sanctioned them not given the same privilege?
4) We read within the Bible itself that Christians should look to Scripture - but the Bible did not exist completed WHILE its component parts were being written (nor did St. Paul likely know that his epistles would one day be a major part of it), so to what was St. Paul referring? Clearly not the New Testament as we know it. Further, he and Christ also both exhort their disciples to rely not only on Scripture (sometimes not mentioning It at all), but on the things that have been shown, told, or taught, as well. This is what the Orthodox Church refers to as Holy Tradition, and Holy Scripture (that which has been determined by the Church to be valid, and not a forgery - as I mentioned above, Protestants do not seem to have added anything that the Church rejected) is its greatest component.

Reader Gregory said...

5) Outside of Protestant theology, there has never been a "doctrine" of absolute Scriptural inerrancy in the way it is being here described. Therefore, the Orthodox are betraying no ancient teaching, but only reiterating the position of the Church from the beginning. This is also evident when it comes to translations - Orthodox (and Catholics) have no problem, and even appreciate, new and varying translations of the Bible, because all human speech is inadequate to convey God's wisdom - each translation adds another aspect, another look, into the Scriptures. When translations (invariably) contradict one another, it causes us no heartache whatsoever.
6) Lastly, in some of its greatest battles, the Church has found Scripture *inadequate* for the fight against heretics. Heresiarchs like Arius were Scriptural scholars, and used their extensive knowledge of "chapter and verse" (so to speak, as they did not exist yet) to claim Scriptural support for beliefs that no Protestant today would dream of endorsing, including the created nature of Christ and His not having been God, and more. The Church used a pagan Greek philosophical term, "homoousios," found nowhere in Scripture, to describe the nature of the relationship between the Father and the Son. Yet Protestants do not, to my knowledge, reject the shared essence of the Father and the Son, even though this doctrine is inherently un- (but def. not anti-) Scriptural.
That's all I've got (for now). I hope that sheds some light on the Orthodox position.
God bless!

Acroamaticus said...

Thanks for your comments, Reader Gregory. Your points deserve a more thorough response than I can offer within the limitations of a com box. I will endeavour to write something up in the near future. In thge meantime, you might enjoy my blog 'Lutheran Catholicity', a work in progress which attempts to highlight the continuity between the early church and the Lutheran Reformation.

Reader Gregory said...

Thank you, Pastor! I will check it out.

Fr Gregory Jensen said...


A friend just sent me a link to your post. Thank you for the kind words!

You're right, I think there is much that Orthodox Christians can learn from the confessional churches of the Reformation who have not followed the Mainline Protestant groups who have taken, as you so charitably put it, "a different path." :)

It is hard, impossible actually, to write about work as a Christian vocation and not touch on themes first articulated by Reformation theologians.

Dr Sasse's observation that you quote at the end of your post is spot on. The Orthodox are simply fooling ourselves--and others--if we imagine that we are exempt from the social pressure that have inflicted such damage on other Christian communities.

I would also agree with your caution to Lutherans looking to the Orthodox Church for a harbor safe from modernism. It isn't and it only appeared to because of historical accidents. We now find ourselves having to confront, for example, not only the Enlightenment but also post-modernism and doing so a rather long time after the former appeared and so unprepared for the latter.

Whether or not this reflects negatively on what the Orthodox Church claims about herself is another question. But even as one who believes the Orthodox Church is who she says she is, I realize that this doesn't immunize us from the world even if I believe it gives us a great advantage in Christ over the world.

Again, thanks for the link!

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

Acroamaticus said...

Thank you for your kind words, Fr Gregory, and your original sage piece which prompted my post. Thank you also for honouring the virtual old manse with your presence. As we Lutherans are apt to say at this time: May Christ our crucified Saviour draw you closer to Himself this Lenten season with the assurance of sins forgiven and the gift of eternal life!

Archpriest John Morris said...

There are no credible Orthodox theologians, bishops or priests who advocate women's ordination to the priesthood, acceptance of abortion or homosexuality. If I publicly supported blessing same sex unions, the bishop would not have time to act, the people of my parish would drive me out of town. The teaching of the Orthodox Church is clear and will not change. We are not a confessional church not because we do not have doctrine or dogma, but because you cannot reduce Christian teaching to a few articles of a statement like the Augsburg Confession. The ELCA still accepts the Augsburg Confession, yet they ordain non-celibate gays and lesbians and allow their clergy to bless same sex unions. The PCUSA officially adheres to the Westminster Confession, yet they do the same thing. Just recently, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in North America which represents the entire episcopacy of Orthodoxy in America reissued the old SCOBA condemnation of same sex marriage and stated clearly that the Bible condemns homosexual relations as sinful.
Orthodox certainly do believe that the Bible is infallible. However, we do not build a whole theology on one or two verses like some Protestants. We also strive to understand the Holy Scriptures the way they have been understood by the Church through the centuries and as interpreted by the Ecumenical Councils and the consensus of the Holy Fathers.

Archpriest John W. Morris

Acroamaticus said...

Welcome to the "old manse", Fr John; we are honoured by your presence!

Firstly, let me say in response, that I have no interest in seeing a liberalization take place in Orthodoxy in the West. The presence of Orthodoxy in the West is very significant and orthodox Lutherans have tried to cultivate fraternal relations with the Orthodox ever since the days of the Reformation, valuing as we do what Orthodoxy has preserved of the ancient church.

Re credible Orthodox theologians proposing women's ordination, I suppose "credible" is a somewhat subjective term, but theologians as prominent as Bp Kallistos (Ware) and Elisabeth Behr-Sigel have certainly publicly discussed the issue as if it were an open question.

Re abortion and homosexuality I have personally met Orthodox priests who adopt a "Protestant mainline" position on these issues. I would venture to think that Orthodoxy in Australia is rather more traditional than Orthodoxy in the US, so I would expect to meet the same sort of priest in the US. Their attitudes may not be that public at present but I suspect it is only a matter of time before they become so.

For the sake of accuracy, Lutherans do not reduce Christian dogma to a few articles in the Augsburg Confession. The first documents in our Book of Concord are the Apostles, Nicene and Athanasian creeds. There follows the AC and several other texts which expand upon that confession of faith and other matters under dispute at the time of the Reformation. Are confessional churches immune to modernism? Obviously not, cf the cases you cite. The rot begins with a questioning of the Word of God - "Did God really say?"

Archpriest John Morris said...

I have personally spoken with Bishop Kallistos on the issue of women's ordination. His point is that we have not adequately articulated w why we do not ordain women, not that he favors women's ordination.
There may be a few Orthodox clergy who have been influenced by political correctness. However, they lack the ability to change the teachings of the Orthodox Church. To me the problem with American mainline Protestantism is that one can organize a political campaign at the national convention of the denomination and change the teaching of the church. Look what the ELCA did. It rejected the clear teachings of the Holy Scriptures and their own Lutheran tradition on the issue of sexual morality. I was a delegate to the convention of the Diocese of Texas of the Episcopal Church where a group of laymen with no proper theological education voted to disregard almost 2,000 years of Christian practice and ordain women. That cannot happen in the Orthodox Church. Do all our people follow every aspect of their Faith as they should? Of course not all of us are sinners.
Orthodox believe in the infallibility of the Holy Scriptures. However, we do not believe in "sola scriptura" Without reference to the other expressions of the Holy Tradition of the Church, each individual can interpret the Bible for themselves resulting in hundreds of Protestant denominations all claiming to teach the true meaning of the Bible.

Fr. John W. Morris

Acroamaticus said...

Well, I don't think the Orthodox Church is above politics influencing dogma either, Fr John. And what I've read from Bishop Kallistos certainly suggests he regards the ordination of women as an open question for Orthodoxy to resolve; that's how it starts, you know, a prominent theologian suggests we "take another look" at it. But anyway, are there women preachers in the Orthodox Church? I mean preaching in the liturgy, not in all-female settings. In your Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, for example.

Archpriest John Morris said...

There is no requirement that one be ordained to preach in the Orthodox Church. However, to be allowed to preach a person must have sufficient theological education. It all depends on what you mean by peach. Nuns, or other theologically educated women for example, sometimes conduct retreats in parishes. In Greece, for example, theologically educated laymen are sometimes blessed by the bishop to give a homily during the Liturgy. I can see a case when a theologically educated woman is asked to speak after the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy.

Fr. John W. Morris

Acroamaticus said...

Thanks for continuing the conversation, Fr John. When i asked teh question about women preachers in Orthodoxy, I was thinking of the article on your denomination's website where Frederica Matthewes-Green says she has preached in Orthodox worship services. Presumably, then, this practice has the approval of your hierarch?

Archpriest John Morris said...

When I heard Frederica Matthewes-Green speak, she spoke after the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, not after the Gospel, the place for the homily. I am quite certain that is what she meant.
There may be some clergy who have accepted modernism, but I can honestly tell you that I do not know any of them. Every priest that I know teaches that homosexual actions are always sinful. Our Antiochian Orthodox Bishops are very clear on this issue. If any local Orthodox Church were to ordain openly gay clergy or allow its clergy to bless same-sex unions, the rest of Orthodoxy would demand that it repent or break communion with then, thereby casting them out of the Orthodox Church. In every case of which I know a priest who is guilty of sexual immortality has been suspended. Recently our Antiochian Archbishop is Los Angeles visited a parish and learned that the priest had sexually abused some of the youth of the parish. He called the police and then deposed him from the priesthood.
I can write with complete assurance that there is no credible movement to ordain women, only practicing gay clergy, or bless same sex marriages in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Sometimes, a secretly gay man may get ordained, but if his immoral activities are discovered, he is suspended.

Fr. John W. Morris

Anonymous said...

I had come to the same conclusion about 'liberalism' and the OCA Orthodox. The Orthodox claim a solidarity in faith and practice, but when you dig beyond the externals and rituals, they are a very diverse and heterodox people.
I had initially believed that fidelity to the archaic rituals indicated a traditional worldview and common cause with the Ancient Faith, but just having Baroque Choral music and the Vestments of the 4th Century is no guarantee that the teachings and dogmas have remain unaltered.
I met some very surprisingly liberal and modernist thinkers in the OCA. Even apologists for Karl Marx.
The aesthetic taste for traditional forms is certainly manifest, but is this truly representative of the Early Church?

Acroamaticus said...

Thank you, Anonymous - a very interesting comment from one with first-hand experience of the OCA. Of course, every church has its share of eccentrics but Evangelicals and others should not go into the Orthodox Church imagining it is any different, outside appearances to the contrary.

John the Sarcastic 1 said...

Joal in GA. Your last sentence: That is the most important questian in this thread.it also applies to so called Protestant congregations like the ELCA. So to add a question, at what point do those congregations become no longer Christian?