Wondering What 1389 Blog Means When It Refers to the Orthodox Church?

by CzechRebel on February 28, 2013

in Christianity, CzechRebel (blog admin), history, icons, Orthodox Christianity

Orthodox Cross

Some of you may have been wondering where we are “coming from” here at 1389 Blog, when it comes to matters of faith. While we have no “religious test” for blog team membership, at least five of our writers, including both of the admins, are Orthodox Christians. One is Roman Catholic, yet highly pro-Orthodox. Others might be, but have never told us. However, don’t worry. In Orthodoxy, we believe that we “know where the Church is, but don’t know where the Church is not.” In other words, while we zealously hold to and defend our Orthodox teaching, we are sure that God has mercy on many others who are not members of our Church. So, we are not on the street corners preaching, or going door-to-door with Gospel tracts, or engaging in aggressive tele-evangelizing.

For those of you who are interested in knowing more about Orthodoxy, we have found three short videos that explain the faith fairly well, considering the total viewing time is about twenty minutes.

The Eastern ORTHODOX Church is the ONLY TRUE and Apostolic CHURCH. part 1 of 3 – American documentary: “The Ancient Church”

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The Eastern ORTHODOX Church is the ONLY TRUE and Apostolic CHURCH. part 2 of 3 – American documentary: “The Ancient Church” “

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The Eastern ORTHODOX Church is the ONLY TRUE and Apostolic CHURCH. part 3 of 3 – American documentary: “The Ancient Church” “

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Please read our comment policy before posting a comment. If you want to tell us how happy you are about being a Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, etc., that is fine. However, don’t preach. Don’t give us some Bible verse that you think will change our minds. The Orthodox Church has been studying the Scripture for nearly 2,000 years and it is not very likely that you will find some verse that we missed, don’t understand, or for whatever reason will convert the Orthodox Church to whatever you believe. That said, questions are welcomed and will be answered to the best of our ability.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Dave March 2, 2013 at 7:55 am

Editor’s note: This commenter has raised a number of legitimate points. So, we will address them point by point, in italics.
- CzechRebel blog admin

I often read your blog and appreciate your insights.

Thank you very much.

But this series highlights the biggest problem facing the Western and Christian world; namely the thinking that “I’m a real Christian, and you’re not.”

We will make it a point to watch the film series again, but we didn’t pick up that attitude in the films themselves. First of all, we agree with you that it is a problem. However, if you left out the word “and” we could agree with you even more. The problem mostly seems to be in the Western Christian world. Jesus Christ clearly spoke of this problem during his Earthly ministry. See Luke 9:50. If you are not against us, you ARE on our side.

The Orthodox Church does NOT claim the ability to definitively determine whether or not someone who is outside the Orthodox Church is a Christian. Sometimes we speak of the “invisible church” which includes all non-Orthodox Christians.

So, if you play those films again and STILL have the feeling that they portrays a we-are-Christian-and-you-are-not attitude, we should BOTH write the makers of those YouTube videos.

This is a lot of energy convincing the world that Protestant are not really Christians, or that Rome is the one that broke away.

We certainly agree, here too. When I was into Western Christianity, I never did see that much difference between the Roman Catholics and most of the Protestants, at least during the post-Vatican-II era. So, one guy is praying in tongues, the other guy has his rosary, the next guy is ad-libbing his messages to God and someone else is reading his prayers off a script; so what? Don’t even get me going on which-way-do-we-baptize arguments. Ever hear of a church that does both sprinkling and immersion and asks the new converts which they prefer? So, who cares what method the church down the street employs? Oh, yes! Believers ONLY or infants when they are born?! It goes on and on. But, Jesus said that if you are not against us, you are with us.

I didn’t realize this blog was really about trumpeting the supremacy of Orthodoxy and that militant Islam was just one of many heresies to be denounced.

You are mistaken on this one. Neither this blog, nor does the Orthodoxy Church, teach “the supremacy of Orthodoxy.” In fact, this is the first time that we have every heard that term. What Orthodoxy does teach is that the Orthodox Church is the original Church establish through the work of the Apostles of Jesus Christ and that the faith is unchanged from time of the Apostles.

One thing that the Orthodox Church does not concern itself with is heresies OUTSIDE the Orthodox Church. (OK, if the heretics in question have an invading army, or are rioting in the streets, or forming criminal organizations or in other ways threatening our lives, individual Orthodox Christians do tend to fight back, like most other people on this Earth.)

The ONLY heretics that we are concerned about our those WITHIN our Church. In fact, an individual who holds a “heretical belief” most likely can remain in the Orthodox Church. It is only when said individual–who IS also an Orthodox Christian–propagates said heretical belief that he is a heretic and then–and only then–does the Church take a stand. So, if you visit my church, come to our post-liturgy “coffee hour” (which is usually a full meal) and tell us how you just don’t believe in “the virgin birth,” or you are against baptism by immersion, or even feel that the Trinity should not be part of our Christian beliefs, we will listen to you. Of course, we will disagree. But, you are a visitor, you are outside the Orthodox Church and it is not our problem. At some point in your life, you might even decide that your would like to be Orthodox, but you just don’t see how Mary and her husband could have never had sex and the priest may decide to receive you into the Church anyway. However, if after having been received into the Orthodox Church you decide that you do not believe in the Trinity and you state that belief, the Church would have a problem with that. Then, you would be a bona fide heretic INSIDE the Church and it would become our business. It is necessary to be able to discuss heretical versus orthodox beliefs simply to allow us to distinguish what our Orthodox Church teaches from what it does not.

It’s no wonder Constantinople fell and that most the Orthodox population in the Middle East is now Muslim — you alienate all natural allies.

Constantinople–the official Roman Empire–did not fall until 1453 A.D. We defy you to find any other civilization in history that has lasted for over 1500 years. Constantinople fell to the Islamic forces, as did Spain, all of Northern Africa and much of the Balkans, all before 1453 A.D. By that time, the Orthodox Church of the Byzantines was not very strong. The Orthodox center of the world had already moved to Russia. To this day, Russia is the largest and most important Orthodox country in the world. Funny how Orthodox flourished as an underground religion in Russia and was able to outlast about seventy years of communist totalitarian rule.

Yet, Constantinople has been under Islamic rule (calling Turkey “a republic” doesn’t change that fact) for over 500 years. By now, there is a very low percentage of Christians of any kind in Turkey, an area that was a hotbed of Christianity during New Testament times and for centuries beyond. True, much of the remaining Christian population of Asia Minor left because of a population exchange in 1923 following a war between Greece and Turkey. Some have expressed the opinion that the Orthodox faith prevailed in Russia rather than in Constantinople because the Russians were people of faith, while the Byzantines had compromised their faith to some extent in order to gain western support that never materialized. Sometimes, we wonder.

I am a Christian, but no longer feel welcome to your blog because apparently I’m the wrong kind of Christian — now I know where the Sunni v. Shiite animosity comes from — it’s just an extension of your mindset.

There is no such thing as a “wrong kind of Christian.” At least, there is not in the Orthodox mindset. We have some differences of opinion with Western Christianity. These differences of opinion have existed for well-over 1,000 years. Roman and the rest of the Orthodox Church stayed in full communion for centuries despite these many differences of opinion. Only in 1054 was the communion finally broken. We never had a “Reformation” in Orthodoxy. We cannot think of a single Protestant denomination that has Orthodox roots. (If there is, please let us know.) At times, we have had certain Churches break communion with the rest of Orthodoxy, and go into schism. However, most of those schisms have been patched up. Most recently, the Russian Church Outside of Russian (ROCOR), which left communion with Moscow due to Communism in Russia, reunited with Moscow, now that it is no longer a Communist country.

Are we welcome at your church? If so, you should feel welcome on our blog. However, even if your church would bar us at the door, you are welcome both on our blog and at our church.

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