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Unread 04-26-2016, 12:25 PM   #1
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This Is Really Confusing

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So, I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and I was about to write an article about why I believe (as a christian) that SOME Catholics are saved. I started thinking about it more, and I think I believe that ALL Catholics are saved.
Now first of all, I'm not saying that I agree with the Catholics. I see no need in going to an intercessor, and I believe in the priesthood of the believer, BUT don't the Catholics still believe in the Apostles Creed? Don't they still believe that they are saved through Jesus, but just using a useless intercessor to confess to Christ?
Also, if you believe in Jesus, what He did, and how we are forgiven by His blood, even if we add to that, do we not still believe in that?
I'm sorry if I'm being confusing. I don't even know if I fully understand yet, and it's hard to explain.
Let me try to explain in math. We'll say that "3" is belief in Jesus (what we believe is needed to be saved). "H" is heaven (simply salvation in the formula). Using this, 3=H. Simple. But if we as Christians believe that sacraments and rituals are all useless attempts to crawl out of purgatory, than they would be represented by "0". Using this, 3+0=H. Still the same formula.
In other words, if you believe in what the Apostle's Creed says about Jesus, no matter what you add to that and no matter what else you think is added to that to earn salvation, you still believe in Jesus.
I don't know if I explained this right. It's so clear in my head, but I can't seem to find words to explain it.

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Unread 04-26-2016, 01:18 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PKguitarist View Post
DISCLAIMER [Please do no read if you consider yourself Catholic. I don't want to offend anyone]

So, I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and I was about to write an article about why I believe (as a christian) that SOME Catholics are saved. I started thinking about it more, and I think I believe that ALL Catholics are saved.
All Catholics are NOT saved fro the same reason not all Baptists are saved and not all Presbyterians are saved. The variety of beliefs in all denominations is incredible.

Beyond that Apostles Creed isn't a method of salvation. It's a statement of orthodox theology. Salvation is by grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone. You can believe the Apostles Creed without placing your faith in Christ.

I would say it's easier to put your faith in Christ in certain denominations rather than others. Being that I'm not Catholic, I would say they add a lot of things which could make things more difficult to place ones faith in Christ.
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Unread 04-26-2016, 01:41 PM   #3
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Salvation is by grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone.
Exactly. Salvation is by grace by faith in Christ, but who ever came up with the alone part? If you have faith in Christ, no matter what you add to that, you still have faith in Christ.
Say this is someone's list of things needed for salvation:
1. Believe in Jesus Christ
2. Be baptized
3. Receive the Eucharist and other sacraments
4. Obey the decrees of the Roman Catholic Church
5. Perform meritorious works
6. Not die with any mortal sins
Since we don't believe that they are saved through 2 - 6, wouldn't they still be saved through the 1st though?
I didn't mean that the Apostle's Creed saves you. I meant that if you believe in what the Creed says about Jesus, you are saved.

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Unread 04-26-2016, 04:46 PM   #4
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Let me put it this way, if I opened an amusement park(representing heaven) and said that all you needed was a ticket to get in ( representing faith in Christ). I would let anyone in who has the ticket! Even if they come with additional money and riches thinking that the ticket is not enough, I will let them in simply because they have a ticket. The additional things will end up in the garbage, but that does not mean I will reject them.
When did we ever get it in our minds, that Jesus turns away people who try to add other things to Salvation? You must have salvation in the first place to add anything to it!
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Unread 04-26-2016, 06:12 PM   #5
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I think it is amazing that you are thinking through these complex issues at your age.

I have many Catholic friends, and although their particular rituals are different from mine (we all adhere to some rituals, whether we realise we do or not!), I recognize their loyalty and faith to Jesus Christ.

Also, fwiw, I think that a LOT of Protestant get Catholics wrong. When you here things about the infallibility of the Pope, praying to saints, the importance of Mary, etc, it is always profitable to recognize that there may be some extreme misunderstanding going on.
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Unread 04-26-2016, 06:40 PM   #6
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I think it is amazing that you are thinking through these complex issues at your age.
I would consider myself as strangely intellectual for my age, but I don't see it as a good thing. . . I feel like many times (especially when reading the Bible) I try to look too deep into things instead of accepting the plain and obvious meaning.

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Also, fwiw, I think that a LOT of Protestant get Catholics wrong. When you here things about the infallibility of the Pope, praying to saints, the importance of Mary, etc, it is always profitable to recognize that there may be some extreme misunderstanding going on.
I don't doubt it. After looking into and understanding other denominations and forms of christianity, I've realized that they pretty much all have some sort of bad wrap. They all are assumed about and misunderstood. What I have grown up believing about other "Christians" is completely wrong.
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Unread 04-26-2016, 07:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by PKguitarist View Post
Exactly. Salvation is by grace by faith in Christ, but who ever came up with the alone part? If you have faith in Christ, no matter what you add to that, you still have faith in Christ.
Say this is someone's list of things needed for salvation:
1. Believe in Jesus Christ
2. Be baptized
3. Receive the Eucharist and other sacraments
4. Obey the decrees of the Roman Catholic Church
5. Perform meritorious works
6. Not die with any mortal sins
Since we don't believe that they are saved through 2 - 6, wouldn't they still be saved through the 1st though?
I didn't mean that the Apostle's Creed saves you. I meant that if you believe in what the Creed says about Jesus, you are saved.
Don't forget about repentance of sins, buddy. When you accept Jesus' invitation (you don't invite Him in, He invites you into His adopted family) you are then redeemed with the Blood of Christ. You become an heir of God's kingdom and are granted eternal life.

Now, my dad was raised Catholic. At least in the church he was raised in, there wasn't anything at all involving having faith in Jesus to gain eternal life. It was all works- and ritual-based. Praying to Mary and the saints is idolatry, they were regular people like you and me but they were open to being used by God and they did amazing things. Only Jesus has the power to answer prayers.

About Jesus, He is the only Priest Who can intercede for us. Confessing sins to a man behind a screen isn't going to blot your sins away. Only Jesus has the power to purge sin.

It is by faith we are saved, not by works, so that no man may boast.

That's just my dad's observation
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Unread 04-27-2016, 06:13 AM   #8
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Don't forget about repentance of sins, buddy. When you accept Jesus' invitation (you don't invite Him in, He invites you into His adopted family) you are then redeemed with the Blood of Christ. You become an heir of God's kingdom and are granted eternal life.
I may be mistaking, but don't they still believe that? In fact, I don't know any claim-to-be-Christians who doesn't. Why would you even consider yourself a Christ follower if you didn't believe Jesus's blood forgives sins? They are still confessing their sin to Jesus, but they're depending upon a man behind a curtain to deliver the message.
Let me put it this way, say that someone comes to you (hypothetically speaking) and says, "Hey, I don't feel like I'm at the place spiritually to talk to God. Can you tell Him that I know I'm a sinner and that I'm sorry?" Who would they be depending on for forgiveness? You? Or Jesus?
In fact, I respect Catholics for a completely new layer of humility when it comes to talking to God. They believe that only those who completely surrender their lives to His work can talk to Him and all the others have to go through them. We as Protestants many times take for granted the amazing of being able to talk to God!

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Now, my dad was raised Catholic. At least in the church he was raised in, there wasn't anything at all involving having faith in Jesus to gain eternal life. It was all works- and ritual-based. Praying to Mary and the saints is idolatry, they were regular people like you and me but they were open to being used by God and they did amazing things. Only Jesus has the power to answer prayers.
Well maybe this is why God leads some to leave the Catholic faith and others to not. Perhaps some get the faith aspect and others get so caught up in just ritual. I don't really know what some Catholics believe from church to church, but I do know what they all claim to believe as a whole, and from that, they seem to be saved.

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About Jesus, He is the only Priest Who can intercede for us. Confessing sins to a man behind a screen isn't going to blot your sins away. Only Jesus has the power to purge sin.
Confessing to a man behind a screen will blot your sins away if your depending on Jesus not that man

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It is by faith we are saved, not by works, so that no man may boast.
but this verse says nothing about you not being saved if you don't accept this fact. I believe this, but are those who don't going to Hell? It's something to think about.
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Unread 04-27-2016, 07:23 AM   #9
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We always need to keep in mind something that Sean also mentioned above: we can't determine one's salvation.

Along with that, related in an important way, is realizing that many in churches have imperfect theologies (perhaps we all do!).

Why do they?

Often because they are young Christians. But, also, in many churches the teaching is very poor.

I know many Catholics that know very little about their own theology, including the overall place of Jesus in the forgiveness of sins.

They show up to Mass, but may not know what the symbols and rituals they enact even represent. Same with many Protestants.

Heck, I doubt most Catholics even follow their own rules on contraceptives. In fact, even among those that do, I doubt many know WHY contraceptives are forbidden!
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Unread 04-27-2016, 10:10 AM   #10
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Hi friend,

I'm an Orthodox Christian, and I used to be a Roman Catholic. Essentially, our understanding is that the Church of Rome (the 'Catholic Church') split off from us in 1054 AD because they believed that the Pope had the authority to dictate matters of faith to the entire Church. We were happy to give the Bishop of Rome a 'primacy of honour', and possibly even resort to him as a sort of church court of appeal, but we don't believe the Bishop of Rome (Pope's) authority was ever meant to be able to supercede the authority of the local (or possibly national/regional) bishop.

A lot of our understandings of certain things are pretty similar to the RCs, but most theologically educated/informed Orthodox Christians would say that Rome has gone seriously astray in a number of important ways, and has been continuing to go that way since before the Great Schism of 1054 (indulgences, the idea of purgatory, and so forth, come to mind). And unfortunately, just as Rome has gone astray, so have her theological children, the Protestants: John Calvin reproduced a lot of the the theological errors of Augustine of Hippo and Anselm of Canterbury, for example, in his teaching of penal substitution and the particular kind of predestination he taught.

But I want to question this idea that anyone, right now, can speak of being 'saved' in an infinite, completed sense. Certainly the Scriptures speak of us having been saved, but that's not the end of the story. We see, for example, Jesus saying that 'the one who perseveres to the end will be saved' (Matt 24:13) - in other words, they're not 'saved', in a final sense, unless and until they persevere until the end.

I also want to correct, a bit, your understanding of sacramental Confession. First, confession needn't take place behind a screen. When I was Catholic I think I only ever confessed in this manner once - most of the time, I saw my pastor, who knew me very well, for the sacrament. In the Orthodox church, confession never takes place behind a screen - in my parish it usually takes place in a darkened church lit only by candlelight, in front of the icon of Christ. Sometimes the priest will cover the person confessing with their stole.

Second - and I think this is one of the major differences between the Roman church and Orthodoxy - whereas Rome tends to view part of Confession as 'making satisfaction' for sin via penances and the like, and part of the priest's role as acting in the person of Christ - as though the priest is 'inhabited by Christ' during the sacrament.

Orthodoxy tends to understand it a bit differently. We would say, firstly, that sacramental confession does not replace repentance to God and confession to Him. Indeed, such repentance should be the first step in realizing you need to go to confession! Second, we would say that a person confesses their sins to Christ in the presence of the priest, who witnesses their act, gives advice and counsel and possibly some helpful spiritual reading or suggestion on how to repair the damage done by your sin, and then pronounces Christ's absolution and reconciliation in the name of the Church. The emphasis, in Orthodoxy, is on confession as a means of healing the soul sickened by sin.

Also, your understanding of the role of the Mother of God and of the communion of saints in historic Christianity is, as well as what a sacrament is, is...lacking, but I'll leave that off for another time if you would like to discuss it.
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Unread 04-27-2016, 01:58 PM   #11
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I may be mistaking, but don't they still believe that? In fact, I don't know any claim-to-be-Christians who doesn't. Why would you even consider yourself a Christ follower if you didn't believe Jesus's blood forgives sins? They are still confessing their sin to Jesus, but they're depending upon a man behind a curtain to deliver the message.
Let me put it this way, say that someone comes to you (hypothetically speaking) and says, "Hey, I don't feel like I'm at the place spiritually to talk to God. Can you tell Him that I know I'm a sinner and that I'm sorry?" Who would they be depending on for forgiveness? You? Or Jesus?
In fact, I respect Catholics for a completely new layer of humility when it comes to talking to God. They believe that only those who completely surrender their lives to His work can talk to Him and all the others have to go through them. We as Protestants many times take for granted the amazing of being able to talk to God!
Quick side note I forgot last night: they also believe in transubstantiation, which is the belief that when they have Communion the bread and juice/wine actually become Jesus' flesh and blood. That's an erroneous belief, and the Bible does make that clear. Jesus and Paul said that the Lord's Supper was to be done in remembrance.

Nobody can confess sins to God for someone else, it doesn't matter if you're Protestant or not. It's God's rules. And even if you don't feel like you're in a spiritual place to talk to God, He's always ready to listen, especially if you have a broken spirit (Psalm 51).

Most converted Catholics I have interacted with didn't believe repentance was important, they're more concerned about doing good things and earning their way up.

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Well maybe this is why God leads some to leave the Catholic faith and others to not. Perhaps some get the faith aspect and others get so caught up in just ritual. I don't really know what some Catholics believe from church to church, but I do know what they all claim to believe as a whole, and from that, they seem to be saved.
You have a point, every church (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, etc.) is different from church to church and town to town. Even Baptist churches get so caught up in traditions and rituals that they eventually die.

Just compare everything back to the Bible. Some things (like Isaac just mentioned about confessing in front of a priest) aren't listed in the Bible but they help us fulfill what a church is to do: grow each other up so we can reach the world effectively. Like in Isaac's example, the priest isn't going to share your deepest darkest sins and secrets to the world, he's going to gently give counsel and steer you back to how you can honor God.

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Confessing to a man behind a screen will blot your sins away if your depending on Jesus not that man
See above.

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but this verse says nothing about you not being saved if you don't accept this fact. I believe this, but are those who don't going to Hell? It's something to think about.
Yes, those who don't believe that are indeed not saved. Again, it's God's rules. He set up the game.
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Unread 04-27-2016, 04:28 PM   #12
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Quick side note I forgot last night: they also believe in transubstantiation, which is the belief that when they have Communion the bread and juice/wine actually become Jesus' flesh and blood. That's an erroneous belief, and the Bible does make that clear. Jesus and Paul said that the Lord's Supper was to be done in remembrance.
Uh. Actually, it's not erroneous at all. In fact, no one denied that Christ was present in the Holy Mysteries until the Reformation. Also see John 6 and 1 Cor 11:29, and google "church fathers on the real presence" to see what I mean about 'no one denied this until the Reformation'.

I don't agree with transubstantiation as such, but only because of the philosophical baggage behind it - the chalice from which we receive Holy Communion during Divine Liturgy really does contain the body and blood of Christ, but we are at a loss to explain how (and we don't do it using weird neo-Aristotelian metaphysics, like Rome does) - hence why we sometimes call what we receive in the sacrament the Holy Mysteries.

Regarding Confession, the priest's absolution actually does have a role to play. Christ, as soon as he had been raised from the dead, gave authority to His disciples to absolve and retain sins (John 20:23). So, while the priest's role is to provide counsel and such, as I have said, it is also to pronounce absolution in the name of Christ who forgives, and to reconcile a person with the Church.

Quote:
Just compare everything back to the Bible. Some things (like Isaac just mentioned about confessing in front of a priest) aren't listed in the Bible but they help us fulfill what a church is to do: grow each other up so we can reach the world effectively. Like in Isaac's example, the priest isn't going to share your deepest darkest sins and secrets to the world, he's going to gently give counsel and steer you back to how you can honor God.
That's a bit of a non-starter when you're talking to Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians. Not because they don't care or are spiritually lazy/dead, as a lot of Protestants assume, but because they don't share or actively disagree with the assumption behind 'just compare everything back to the bible' - namely, Sola Scriptura. Why is this? Again, because 1) it isn't taught in the Bible and 2) it was never taught by anyone in the history of the Church until the Reformation. Rather, we understand the Holy Scriptures to be the 'heartwood' of the entire Tradition of the Church - that Tradition comprising not only Scripture, but also the Church Fathers, decrees of the various councils, and so forth. Of course, nothing these sources say can flagrantly contradict Scripture, rightly understood - but that phrase, 'rightly understood' - is key, because the Scriptures must be understood in the light of the entire Tradition of the Church.

Indeed, rather the opposite of Sola Scriptura being taught in the Bible, we have St. Paul telling his young disciple, and later bishop, Timothy and the Church at Thessaloniki that the Church, (i.e. its teaching authority) is 'the pillar and ground of the truth', and, to the Thessalonians, affirming that he passed things down to them - traditions which were to be obeyed by them - by word of mouth, and not only in writing (1 Tim 3:15 and 2 Thessalonians 2:15).

I realize you've probably been raised to believe in Sola Scriptura, but really - look into this. There is simply no precedent for it in church history prior to Luther. And even Luther considered the Fathers important, which is why he never denied that Christ was present in the Eucharist (and indeed, he shared quite a few sharp words with a man who did - Huldritch Zwingli)
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Unread 04-27-2016, 04:58 PM   #13
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Oh! One more thing - about the Priesthood of the Believer!

Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians believe in it too . I can't really speak for Rome, because I'm not a Roman Catholic precisely because I think a lot of their theology regarding this and other things is really murky and unclear.

First, even ancient Israel were to be a 'nation of priests' (Exodus 19:6 and 23:22). Even there, the calling they enjoyed was to be a nation who offered sacrifices to God. But, they still had an ordained priesthood!

But Orthodox authors (like the late Fr. Alexander Schmemann (of blessed memory!)'s For the Life of the World) make it pretty darn clear, or at least hint at (maybe I'm interpreting Schmemann's words through something my priest once told me) the idea that what we Orthodox do every Sunday - namely, step into a kind of liturgical time warp in which the worship of Heaven, the sacrifice of Calvary, and the present are all linked into one, where that one sacrifice of Christ is offered to the Father along with all of those gathered who partake of it) - none of that actually works at all unless those gathered actually are a Royal Priesthood.

What the "laity" (i.e. the non-ordained) do during the Liturgy is actively participate in what is going on in the altar - by praying, and by offering themselves to God in the sacrifice of the altar, which is the one sacrifice of Christ made present. The non-ordained have the awesome privilege of journeying towards the Kingdom in the Divine Liturgy, and once there, offering themselves, their souls and bodies, and their whole lives - including their trials and tribulations - to God, in unity with His Son. The ordained priest's work in the altar doesn't actually mean anything at all unless he has a congregation of priests standing behind him offering themselves to God in the mystery the priest is making present.

This is actually one major difference between Orthodox and the RCC. In the RCC, a priest can celebrate the Mass alone (i.e. by himself), and stems from what is, I'm convinced, a deeply faulty sacramentology on Rome's part. This can never be done in the Orthodox church, because we believe that for the Body of Christ to be made present in the bread and wine, the Body of Christ must be gathered to receive it. The two realities are inexorably and mystically connected.
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Unread 04-27-2016, 10:21 PM   #14
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Oh! One more thing - about the Priesthood of the Believer!

Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians believe in it too . I can't really speak for Rome, because I'm not a Roman Catholic precisely because I think a lot of their theology regarding this and other things is really murky and unclear.

First, even ancient Israel were to be a 'nation of priests' (Exodus 19:6 and 23:22). Even there, the calling they enjoyed was to be a nation who offered sacrifices to God. But, they still had an ordained priesthood!

But Orthodox authors (like the late Fr. Alexander Schmemann (of blessed memory!)'s For the Life of the World) make it pretty darn clear, or at least hint at (maybe I'm interpreting Schmemann's words through something my priest once told me) the idea that what we Orthodox do every Sunday - namely, step into a kind of liturgical time warp in which the worship of Heaven, the sacrifice of Calvary, and the present are all linked into one, where that one sacrifice of Christ is offered to the Father along with all of those gathered who partake of it) - none of that actually works at all unless those gathered actually are a Royal Priesthood.

What the "laity" (i.e. the non-ordained) do during the Liturgy is actively participate in what is going on in the altar - by praying, and by offering themselves to God in the sacrifice of the altar, which is the one sacrifice of Christ made present. The non-ordained have the awesome privilege of journeying towards the Kingdom in the Divine Liturgy, and once there, offering themselves, their souls and bodies, and their whole lives - including their trials and tribulations - to God, in unity with His Son. The ordained priest's work in the altar doesn't actually mean anything at all unless he has a congregation of priests standing behind him offering themselves to God in the mystery the priest is making present.

This is actually one major difference between Orthodox and the RCC. In the RCC, a priest can celebrate the Mass alone (i.e. by himself), and stems from what is, I'm convinced, a deeply faulty sacramentology on Rome's part. This can never be done in the Orthodox church, because we believe that for the Body of Christ to be made present in the bread and wine, the Body of Christ must be gathered to receive it. The two realities are inexorably and mystically connected.
Curious (as I don't know much about Orthodox), does Orthodox hold to the doctrine of transubstantiation? As one raised protestant, I have never held to such an idea and after learning in a Restoration Movement college, I don't know if I ever will. But it is one that I still want to consider, because it is not a matter to be taken lightly.
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Unread 04-27-2016, 10:47 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Ben Toast View Post
Curious (as I don't know much about Orthodox), does Orthodox hold to the doctrine of transubstantiation? As one raised protestant, I have never held to such an idea and after learning in a Restoration Movement college, I don't know if I ever will. But it is one that I still want to consider, because it is not a matter to be taken lightly.
As I mentioned above, we wouldn't call it trans-substantiation, nor would we use some of the weird metaphysical machinery that the West uses to speak about it. All we're willing to say is that Christ is present in the Gifts, bodily, and that we should treat them accordingly.

We would, however, insist that Christ is truly present in the chalice through a holy mystery (indeed, we refer to the Gifts as "the Holy Mysteries"), and treat the holy things contained therein with the utmost reverence. Our Liturgy makes this clear when the priest prays "And we pray You, send down Your Holy Spirit upon these gifts here offered, and make this bread the precious Body of Your Christ...and make this cup the precious Blood of Your Christ...making the change by Your Holy Spirit."

We bless the foreheads of those who are not receiving communion (people who choose not to for whatever reason, or who may have been placed under some kind of discipline for a time, as well as catechumens like myself who are preparing to be received into the Church) with the Chalice because we understand that chalice to contain the holy body and blood of the Lord. The faithful make a reverence when the gifts are brought out from the altar.

In general, we do not place the Holy Mysteries in some means of display and lift them up for hours at a time to be gazed at and adored, as the Roman Church does. I mean, it technically makes sense, I guess, but I once heard somebody describe this as seeming like 'playing with your food', and I agree - Christ gave Himself to us as the Bread of Life, the bread which we shall eat and not die (John 6:41-51), the 'medicine of immortality', as St. Ignatius of Antioch, who lived in the late 1st and early 2nd century and was a disciple of the Apostle John, referred to it. He is given to us as food and meant to be eaten, not gazed at for hours at a time - and we worship Him in the eating.

If you're interested in reading more about this, I'd recommend Eucharist by the aforementioned late Fr. Alexander Schmemann (may his memory be eternal!), followed by For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy. Both are considered modern-day Orthodox classics.

Another thing regarding the priesthood of every believer - it goes far, far beyond the altar. Every Christian, when he or she goes out into the world, offers God sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving every day. We are called to participate in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly ministry of Christ in our daily lives - offering God our work and our worship, proclaiming the Good News to a world that has loved the darkness rather than the light, and exercising wise, kind, and just dominion as rulers of the Earth (our species has been really really bad at this, on the whole).
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I believe, O Lord, and I confess, that You are truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief...
~ Ryan Isaac

The Father is my hope,
The Son is my refuge,
My protection is the Holy Spirit
O Holy Trinity, Glory to You!




Last edited by IsaactheSyrian; 04-27-2016 at 11:54 PM. Reason: 'thy' and 'your' in the same sentence
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