Tips for Orthodox Apologetics

This post is meant in the sincerest attempt at Christian charity (assuming, of course, I am a Christian, since I am outside the “Church”).  If you follow these steps, you will have more success at communicating your faith to Protestants.  Please do not respond with fired-from-the-hip reductios on whether Protestants can give an account of the canon.  That’s irrelevant to the current discussion.

1.  Forbid converts from writing annoyingly triumphalistic convert stories.   It’s annoying when Rome does it; why would it be better when Moscow does it?  As an orthodox convert friend told me, “The only interesting convert stories are written by former prostitutes and hit-men.  Saying, ‘I used to believe that, but now I believe this’ is boring.

2.  Understand where Luther (and by extension, we) are coming from.  Perhaps Luther was wrong to “reject his bishop” (which is an ironic claim, since you by definition also reject Roman Catholic bishops), but Luther was also dealing with the fact that poor Germans were spiritually enslaved and giving all of their money (and thus starving) to buy a horsehoe from some dead saint’s horse in order to get a few million years taken off of some dead aunt in purgatory.  Simply sitting still and being quite is worse than sin.   Councils did try to reform Rome, but they failed.  Should we just sit quietly in spiritual darkness?

3.  I posed that question to some convertskii on Facebook, and they snidely responded, “Well, why didn’t Luther just become Orthodox?”  I imagine one probably won’t become Orthodox if a) you know very little about it; b) you have to travel 700 miles on dirt roads through bandit-infested woods to come to a communion that doesn’t understand you nor your background.  It just ain’t gonna happen.

3a.  And he would have had to go to Russia, not Greece.  Since the Patriarch of Constantinople was completely dominated by the Turk.

4.  Drop the line that we don’t have any authority within our churches, supposing that every man reinvents the tradition as he sees fit.   The Magisterial reformation acknowledges the distinction between ministerial and magisterial authority.  Church courts, etc., are the former.  The Bible is the latter.  Now, you might not like this distinction and you may say it doesn’t work.  Great.  At least deal with it and quit supposing that every Protestant’s view of authority is simply like a Baptist business meeting.

5.  Western Rite is good, but most of it is simply a “de-Filioquized” form of the Book of Common Prayer.   Seriously consider the ancient rites of pre-schism Western Europe.

 

 

3 comments on “Tips for Orthodox Apologetics

  1. jnorm says:

    1.) Subjective for I love convert stories of various types, and I know many who do as well. Everyone isn’t going to like the same-things and so it is what it is!

    2.) Most of us are former protestants and so we already know much about the background and back-drop of where we came from.

    How is it an ironic claim? I was “””never””” Roman Catholic to begin with and so why should I obey a Roman Catholic Bishop? Such a thing doesn’t make sense to me! However, Martin Luther was Roman Catholic so why are you trying to compare the two? I don’t say things just to say them. I said what I said for a reason. Martin Luther should of died a martyr of some sorts. He should of obeyed his local bishop! Maybe you don’t understand why I’m saying this! I thought you were well read in the Fathers and Witnesses, my bad for assuming. I am familiar with Martin Luther, and I highly doubt if he really really cared for the German poor. If Martin Luther didn’t want to obey his local Roman Catholic bishop then he should of been willing to die for what he believed in. It’s as simple as that! Spiritual abuse happens all the time. Christianity never really had a pure golden age, for every age had it’s own issues to deal with. But Martin Luther just like the Roman Catholicism he was fighting against had a mixture of good and bad. I’m not going to totally side with Martin Luther and pretend that Rome was all bad and always in the wrong in regards to the protestant revolt. Nor will I completely side with Rome and pretend that everything about the protestant rebellion was bad.

    3.) Luther should of either obeyed his local Roman Catholic bishop or died as a martyr for what he sparked ended up bringing into the world (some five hundred years later) something far far worse than what he was fighting against at the time.

    4.) When I make use of the Authority argument against protestants it is within the realm of Bishops. Especially in regards to church history and the Canon of Scripture. For most protestant groups lack bishops and so in my mind what authority do they really have to decide what is and isn’t Scripture? For when I look at church history in regards to this issue, what I “””mostly””” see are either individual bishops are bishops in council, both regional and Ecumenical. And so when I attack protestant groups in regards to authority, it is not to say that they don’t know how to govern themselves, nor am I saying that they don’t have authoritative figures within their own group. Instead, what I am saying is, what Apostolic right do they have to even decide what is and isn’t Scripture in the first place if they lack bishops?

    5.) We have two different kinds of western rites. One is Anglican and the other is Gregorian(I think, double check me on this).

  2. jnorm says:

    I have a personal bias for Roman Catholic England of King Henry the 8th(and before and especially the pre-schism era now that I’m Orthodox) over that of protestant England of King Henry the 8th and after. I was raised Baptist, but I became Episcopal(I joined an Anglo-Catholic parish) for 4 years before becoming Orthodox and so my views about Martin Luther and what Roman Catholicism was like before the time of the Reformation are going to be somewhat different. I know you don’t like convert stories but it’s hard for me to separate biography from doctrine, and biases. The 3 always seem to be interwoven.

  3. ***How is it an ironic claim? I was “””never””” Roman Catholic to begin with and so why should I obey a Roman Catholic Bishop?***

    It doesn’t apply to you. It was from a Facebook thread that I don’t think you were on. You like exclamation points, don’t you?

    ***5.) We have two different kinds of western rites. One is Anglican and the other is Gregorian(I think, double check me on this).***

    You are correct. Some of the True Orthodox are urging to just ditch the Anglican form and go to the older ties.

    I don’t have a problem with convert stories, per se, but most of them, in my experience, tend to be smarmy and condescending.

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