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How does Orthodoxy view the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement?

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by alexsonofmatthew, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. alexsonofmatthew

    alexsonofmatthew Active Member

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    How does Orthodoxy view the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement? Is there anything similar happening within the Orthodox world? Are there any Charismatic Orthodox Christians? Do you believe that there is a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit now as in the past?

    God bless
     
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  2. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Handmaid of God † CF Senior Ambassador Supporter

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    I'm by no means any expert, but I think that in general we tend not to make judgments on what is outside our "area" ...

    From what I have read, the Holy Spirit has always been active within the Orthodox Church. There is no need for a "new outpouring" as He has never stopped being active. One does tend to see more intense examples in the lives of those who seek God most earnestly though, so that we hear about it more from monasteries and those who have truly devoted their lives to God.
     
  3. Cappadocious

    Cappadocious Well-Known Member

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    To quote the late Fr. Thomas Hopko, "...it needs more St. Paul."

    No

    There are nominal or lapsed Orthodox who are functionally charismatic evangelical protestants, and who attend those churches. On the Non-Chalcedonian side, many Coptic Christians influenced by evangelicalism start evangelical protestant-style missions, ostensibly under the jurisdiction of the Coptic Church.

    There is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit now as in the past, but not following a period of cessation.
     
  4. Sirlanky

    Sirlanky New Member

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    Cessationism is not the position of Orthodoxy. But the Charismatic Movement is rejected by orthodoxy also. The notion that we need to feel and be empowered by the Holy Spirit is the complete opposite of what the apostolic fathers teach us. Orthodoxy also flatly rejects emotionalism worship. Also, regarding the Coptic church comment above. Whilst Protestant thought has infected certain Coptic communities it is in no way supported by the hierarchy by the Coptic church. In fact I've only known Coptic bishops to excommucate rarely, and normally its to deal with these heterodox ideas
     
  5. Cappadocious

    Cappadocious Well-Known Member

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    http://stsachurch.org/
     
  6. GregConstantine

    GregConstantine Newbie

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    The Coptic bishops need to be doing a lot more excommunications because the Protestant/Evangelical influence is very widespread.

    When I was advising an OCF chapter, some of the members of the Coptic Club of that same university were shocked that we had full, liturgical worship on campus. They wanted to use protestant praise and worship songs (some of them were involved in the OCF) at OCF. We told them no.
     
  7. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    Good for you. Everyone should tell them no. That stuff is just ridiculous. And when you ask them why (as I have), the people who support it say "Oh, we need this to attract people/save the youth/other stupid garbage that is idiotic on its face!" When you adopt charismatic nonsense, you only attract people who want charismatic nonsense, and saving the youth...how can you 'save' people of any age with poison?

    I've basically written off a sizable portion of people involved in Coptic 'mission' activity as insane or evil until proven otherwise, and believe me, it hurts to have to say that. But I did not leave the Roman Catholic Church to get that same "Everything is permissable/we're all Christians/you're not being 'charitable' if you actually tell people no or expect them to take anything seriously" faith-murdering attitude from some yahoo with an Egyptian accent. You're not a priest because you dress like one and people call you "abouna" if all you're doing is peddling some sophomoric claptrap straight out of the Rick Warren school of how to be 'relevant' and popular with morons who don't care what's actually going on in a church so long as it says "Coptic" on the sign outside. "And the gates of hell will not prevail against it" is a promise of Christ to those who will remain faithful, not a license to do whatever you want because you're lazy and complacent and waaaaah, the westerners won't come to our church if we don't have stupid, insipid 'praise' music, worthless sermons full of fluff, "cool" priests who fill their sermons with hip references, etc. None of this insulting and disgusting trash is Orthodoxy, but it is all marketing, as though "Orthodox" is a brand and they need to redesign it. It's so gross. It honestly makes me want to never go to church. And I probably would've stopped going were it not for the fact that my particular parish didn't put up with this kind of blasphemy, because our bishop and our priests have their heads on straight. From what I've seen, the DC area and parts of Canada are a cancer, though (most definitely including the 'church' that Cappadocious linked to; I was first made aware of the problems of Fr. Anthony Messeh when HG Bishop Suriel of Australia pointed out that he had taken, word for word, large chunks of his sermons from books by Protestant pastors, and this was something like five years ago now. I know, I know...it's dangerous to judge someone else, but come on...these 'priests' need to be forcibly laicized...and/or shot into the sun. I'm fine with either. Just get them as far away as possible from any leadership role, and then get some classes set up to deprogram their brainwashed followers who have been fed this stuff.)

    God save us from this evil and the people so enamored with it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
  8. GregConstantine

    GregConstantine Newbie

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    What would happen to all of this should there be reunion? I think this trend to protestanize the Coptic Church will be a bigger hindrance than the whole Chacedonian controversy!

    If reunion were to happen, the EO will insist all that stops immediately.

    I checked out the link above and saw the thing about the "Well". I think extending hospitality and talking to people about the Truth of Orthodoxy in a way that is understandable to modern day people outside the liturgy is great. But why the praise and worship songs? Why go from hymns and prayers with such profundity to such shallowness?

    I see the same thing in the RCC too. I went to Easter Vigil in the RCC with my family a few years ago. The Easter vigil part was not bad, Gregorian chants, ancient prayers and hymns. But when they got to the Mass part, it was as if we completely shifted gears. The change was so jarring and the contrast between the two services was so drastic. I was thinking to myself, "why do these people want this? Don't they see the difference between the two services?"
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
  9. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    I don't agree. This trend is just that: a trend. It is a huge problem, of course, but it's not like it's been here for 1600 years like the Chalcedonian problem. It's a sort of spiritual laziness/ignorance combined with a naive embrace of "American" stuff because Coptic parents are scared that their kids are going to be atheists once they go to college or whatever. When I went to New York, to the monastery, I met the youth who had only ever gone to the monastery and churches connected to it, and these kids, despite not really knowing much more than the average Coptic person (and, y'know...being teenagers and all), nonetheless had a very sharp boundary between what is appropriate in worship and what is not. They learned only hymns and sang only hymns, and when I asked them what they thought of the Catholic church that had recently been purchased in the area to be turned into a Coptic one (god-willing), one of them said that it will be great once they get rid of all the Catholic stuff in there like the organs and the statues so that it can be used as an Orthodox church, because the acoustics are amazing. So if they weren't okay with organs, and weren't okay with any non-Church hymns, I kind of doubt that they would be okay with guitars and Protestant worship songs in place of Psalm 150 at communion or what have you. And they're hardly the only young people (15 or so years younger than me, praise God) who I've met who are like that. A young Coptic lady I used to correspond with in the Carolinas (before I could actually get to a church, but I was still curious about it) once told me of a time that she had to stand up to her priest when he asked her to play the Byzantine/EO hymn "Wa Habibi" on the piano in church, because "Abouna, it's in church!" Traditionally, the sense of what is appropriate in worship and what is not has been quite strong, and I think it still is with lots of people. They just don't get talked about as much because they're not "famous" or known as trouble spots. You know how it is...the person who goes to liturgy every week and fasts and prays is nameless, but everybody knows Arius or Nestorius by name.

    There are certainly regional trouble spots, and we really do need to come down much harder so as to eliminate them and prevent them from spreading (some are doing so, but there's still far too much permissiveness), but I am unwilling to call the patient dead at this time. Just to put things in perspective: My former parish (former because I moved away) was, at its height, home to no more than 40 people, and isolated to the point that I had to drive 6 hours out of state to be baptized, because that's where the nearest OO church with a baptismal font was. If any church could use the 'we need more people' excuse to justify being lax/permissive/heretical as these Protestant Coptic churches are, it was us. And yet, when we had a pair of Chalcedonian Jordanians visiting us for an extended period of time, somebody (not either of them; one of the Egyptians) asked if we might commune them, since they clearly favor our worship and theology to choose to attend a Coptic Orthodox Church in a town with so many Catholic alternatives (including Byzantine Catholic alternatives, which was presumably their confession). Father's response was that under no circumstance would he commune any Chalcedonian for any reason ever. There was also a giant sign in English and Arabic over the entrance listing the rules for communion, to make it clear to everyone that this is what we must follow. Father told me later in conversation that one of the reasons why our numbers were so low is that there were more Copts in the surrounding area, but they usually didn't show up because they knew they would not be allowed to commune, since they had married outside the church to Protestants, Catholics, etc. So we could've been softer and weaker, but that would have violated the norms of our communion which, despite how it may look in some quarters, are still norms.

    I still have reason to hope that my experience was not such an anomaly, even though to people in certain parishes it probably sounds like some kind of medieval torture chamber. Meh. Better that those people leave with Satan rather than inviting him in because he's wearing a black turban.
     
  10. GregConstantine

    GregConstantine Newbie

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    Perhaps you are right, and that is good what you said about the youth you encountered at the monastery. However, I can see how Coptic parishes that do the protestant stuff could become problematic should reunion occur. I can imagine them resisting being told to no longer engage in that stuff, which will happen. None of the EO bishops will allow it. Perhaps it may be allowed to phase out gradually, but it will not be allowed to continue.

    It would be good to try to stamp it out now should reunion occur at some point in time in the future. At the pace Orthodox people move, that'll be quite some time in the future, lol.
     
  11. Sirlanky

    Sirlanky New Member

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    Has fr Anthony message actually preached heresy though? Whilst I'm not a big fan of him, it's a big stretch to suggest he is protestant.
     
  12. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    If interested, you would probably wish to go to here and see more discussion here when it comes to Orthodoxy and the Spiritual gifts (as seen in Feb 11, 2015, Mar 23, 2015 and
    ST. SYMEON THE NEW THEOLOGIAN ). As it concerns outpouring, there is something to be said about how the Holy Spirit operates in the lives of the Saints and what occurs when His people are living in sync with him since becoming Orthodox does not automatically mean you know how to operate in certain gifts. Be it with OO or EO, I've seen it repeatedly where others may operate in things such as gifts of words of knowledge/prophetic and healing and it's not necessarily broadcast as many parts of the Charismatic movement do in sensationalism - and in other parts, they do not wholesale claim all aspects of the Charismatic world are somehow the same since many of them have direct reflection in what occurs within the Church. The issue is not separating the Gifts from Lifestyle of godliness, holiness, being devout and the many ways the Church connected with God.

    The intensity you'd find in a Charismatic service is present within Orthodox services but the focus is different - and for Orthodox, the focus is more so on the Fruit of the Spirit (i.e. love, joy, peace, etc....Galatians 5:26) more so than going after the gifts of the Spirit. On Renewal, for one place to investigate, may wish to go here:

    You may also be helped by the following resources that Orthodox have done on the issue:

    I've always appreciated others known as Father Barnabas Powell whenever he talked about why he left Pentecostalism, why he was drawn to Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and how he managed to interpret/deal with the extensiveness of the Pentecostal movement. ...if going to Orthodoxy 101


    As another noted best:

    What I am more interested in is how Pentecostals may come to find a home in Orthodoxy. In some ways, Pentecostals and Holiness believers may approach the Orthodox Church quite differently from mainstream Protestants and Evangelicals. Those more in touch with their Holiness roots will not find in Orthodoxy the moralism of their founders, but may nevertheless appreciate our ascetical emphasis on purity. Those who especially focus on healing from God may connect with our theology of salvation as a healing process. The highly interactive character of Pentecostal services may make the back-and-forth rhythms of liturgy more accessible. Some may be attracted by our sense that everyone has a “personal Pentecost” when he is chrismated, that that first Pentecost never truly ended. And Pentecostals who thrill at the stories of famous faith healers and fiery preachers will no doubt have their heads set spinning at the stories of the lives of the saints.

    On a deeper level, I believe that one of the things that Pentecostals share with the Orthodox is a lack of fear of materiality when it comes to the spiritual life—something that distinguishes them from most Evangelicals and other Protestants, who tend to shun this as idolatry. The Orthodox believe that holiness can reside in physical things, including our own bodies, and so do Pentecostals. We may not engage in “grave soaking,” but we certainly do like to visit the graves of saints and ask for their prayers. And we do have the sense that physical touch can be an important part of our connection with the saints. Our dedication to physical beauty and love for the mystical experience of worship with all five senses may be for a Pentecostal seeker a fulfillment of all his long hopes.

    The appeal of Pentecostalism in all its forms is that it speaks directly to the real pain and suffering of people, to their need for healing and contact with God. While I do not believe that its methods and peculiar beliefs are the best way to do this (and in some cases are counterproductive), even the acknowledgement of this need in people is powerful and compelling. Orthodoxy, when truly lived, also sees the pain of mankind and offers true consolation and hope for resurrection.



    The ways that the Charismatic and Litrugical often intersect is a very intriguing dynamic, with differing expressions and trajectories for whether you are coming into one from the other or vice versa (i.e. coming into the Charismatic from the Liturgical or the Liturgical from the Charismatic) - some notable examples are people like John Crowder when it comes to the Mystic camp he comes from in Evangelical culture, even though some do not understand where he comes from when it comes to being very much reflective of what happens in much of Orthodoxy and the Church Fathers/Christian Mystics in the Early Church noting how Christ holds all things together, more shared in Miracle Workers, Reformers and the New Mystics....and Spirit Week: The Complete Series. I first heard of when exploring the International House of Prayer movement - in part influenced by Larry Lea - and he was a very intriguing figure. He essentially was advocating the concept of Theosis froam Eastern Orthodoxy while also noting sanctification from the Wesleyan perspective - and basically walking out what many in the early Church did when essentially "living in the Wild" free....serving Christ in his love..... he really understood other saints in the Body of Christ, St. Patrick especially, who went into very wild/intensive areas where people were not reached - and knowing the resources they had in the church, those saints were able to build from the ground up/do unprecedented things when they had little to work with ....they understood presence of God and the overwhelming Love of God when it comes to Christ's love holding us together).

    But with the mutual influencing of theologies, some of this has been discussed elsewhere, as seen here and here ....


    Ultimately, what it comes down to for myself when seeing how things have played out in Orthodoxy is remembering the practices of the Church - and staying focused on the Gospel. I still have friends/family with others in the Charismatic movement and I still support them wherever/whenever they are preaching the Gospel and helping others realize the love of God for the world. And it is a blessing to see the ways that others have had relationship across the isle between Charismatics and Orthodox and it has been a blessing.

    Some of the reactions that have often happened within Orthodoxy are more so due to the fact that many are more so bothered by anything remotely appreciating Protestant thought than they are about what the Church Fathers said - as the Fathers were never against others being passionate in their walk with the Lord nor were they against spiritual experiences within the gifts. The gifts were used throughout the history of the Church in a myriad of ways and many of the ways they were used are very similar to what one would find in a Charismatic Church - but of course, the Fathers were Sacramental and thus Charismatic Churches are incomplete with what is available to them. It's like having resources in a Jungle with a Medical Mission/camp and knowing there are far more resources in Hospitals in the City/civilization. And if you know the jungle and the many aspects of it, it's easier to navigate the greenery and obstacles. ......but as I discussed with my Coptic friends, it is still a jungle. There are versions of things in the urban/civilized world that come in a more simpler form .....and you can work with it, with much of it being effective for getting things done.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
  13. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    Sirlanky: I don't want to talk about Fr. Anthony. Again, HG Bishop Suriel has called him out in the past for stealing Protestant sermons. If that's not heresy, then there isn't any. What are Protestant preachers if not heretics? The people in the pews may be one thing (who can say that everyone who has heard him is therefore among him?), but when you give a sermon in an Orthodox church, it must be an Orthodox sermon. Period. If you are unable or unwilling to perform the duties of a priest, which most definitely include preaching and reinforcing the Orthodox faith of the Church, then you should not be one.

    Greg: From what I have seen, a lot of Coptic people don't really know how to be Orthodox and American, both due to lack of experience (the oldest Coptic churches in America are barely 50 years old, if that), and due to taking bad lessons from life in America in general, which bleed into church. We're talking things like looking up to Protestant preachers because they couldn't imagine turning on a non-Coptic TV channel and hearing someone say they worship Jesus and seeing people respond "Amen" instead of getting mad, as would apparently happen in Egypt. Or on a more basic level, finding American Christianity preferable to Egyptian (y'know...it's softer and cuddlier), but sticking around because "I'm Coptic" (i.e., the Egyptian version of Christmas and Easter Catholic). This is why I am placing my hope in the younger generation, or at least some of them, who do not have such a big learning curve when it comes to sorting through the various currents of the culture, and are actually raised to love their church and see it as unique, not like others. Clearly a lot of the youth have gotten the wrong message, too (like the youth you met via OCF), but a lot of people in every generation go astray. The Church must still do its work, including calling those people back to the true faith, and so long as there are people to do that, even if it takes 100 years, that's what we will do. Lord knows we have enough work to do for many generations, but again, that's the work of every generation, in every place. There has never been a time when shallow, porous, error-ridden spirituality was tolerable, and there never will be.

    I suppose your willingness to believe that things will be fixed is directly proportional to your willingness to believe in the basic Orthodoxy of the communion in question, so I don't suspect or care that many EO would see things as I do regarding the Coptic Orthodox Church. But it bears repeating, not as any kind of brushing off of your concerns, that this is exactly what we're dealing with: a situation where we need to fix our own problems for the sake of our own faith and Church, and ultimately out of our fidelity to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and not so much out of concern that this might harm our chances for reunion with your church. That is in the far off. We need to deal with this other stuff first, as you've essentially already said.

    Lord have mercy.
     
  14. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    One person I've been very thankful for is Sr. Vassa. As she noted when it came to seeing others who are Protestant in any kind of way, "The Orthodox Church never denied "an 'ecclesial' reality among the heterodox." There are, as St. John Chrysostom writes, bits and pieces of "ecclesial reality" outside the Church. This is why the baptism of heretics is recognized time and again. But the "plenitude" of Truth is to be found only in the One Church." From someone who entered the Orthodox Church 6 yrs ago, the tone, attitude and balance of what she said is very encouraging as I know and have seen the Holy Spirit working in the lives of faithful Christians outside the Orthodox Church for decades and I've been blessed to do excellent work with others within/outside of Orthodoxy in various ways.

    That said, one excellent review on the issue can be found here IN Modern Charismatic Movement Similar to Charismaticism in the Early Church...
    .

    As they noted:

    At Pentecost, Peter described the sudden ability of the many Apostles gathered to speak in foreign tongues as an outpouring of God’s Spirit widely across genders, ages, and social castes (Acts 2:16-19):

    [T]his is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy”….
    Charismatics point to Paul’s advice to the Corinthians to desire these gifts: “Pursue love, and zealously16 desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.… I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied.” (1 Co 14:1, 5). Jerry Munk, former editor of the Orthodox newsletter Theosis and a rare Orthodox sympathizer of the Charismatic movement, wrote that the gifts spread beyond holy ascetics:

    In the Old Testament we see many examples of the Holy Spirit coming upon people with little evidence of ascetic perfection: Samson, David, and Balaam’s ass come to mind. In the New Testament, the pattern continues: in Acts 11, the Spirit falls upon un-baptized Gentiles, while the book of I Corinthians is addressed to people who exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit apart from the fruit of that same Spirit. After the New Testament period, we read in the Didache instructions for dealing with people exercising charismatic gifts while at the same time indulging the flesh. In none of these situations is it automatically assumed that the “spirit” behind the gift is from the devil. Just as one can receive Holy Communion unworthily, so one who is unworthy can exercise the gifts of the Spirit – but there is danger in doing so

    St. Irenaeus, a 2nd century bishop, wrote as if the gifts were still frequent in his time:

    “In like manner do we also hear many brethren in the church who possess prophetic gifts, and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages, and bring to light, for the general benefit, the hidden things of men and declare the mysteries of God.
    He also wrote:

    “Those who are in truth His disciples, receiving grace from Him, do in His name perform [miracles], so as to promote the welfare of other men, according to the gift which each one has received from Him. For some do certainly and truly drive out devils.”


    As it concerns the Charismatic movement, I always try to keep in mind that you have to know what specific expression of Charismatic you're even dealing with before speaking about it. For asking "What is a Charismatic?" can be like asking "What does an ocean wave look like?".......not all look the same or come in the same shape and not all are uniform in agreement. Some forms of Charismatic expression (for me growing up) were truly outright silly - and even other Charismatics dismissed it. Of course, many others were very much in line with the way that the Church Fathers and Saints lived their lives when it came to their simplicity of lifestyle and focus on the Gospel. Thus, I tend to go with a case by case basis. The Desert Fathers were well known miracle workers and their stories have always inspired me. From the Desert Fathers, many learned to operate the gifts of the Spirit, especially the gift of discernment in the area of spiritual direction. In the lives of the Eastern saints (and even some monastics living today) it is the case that you will see strong expressions of the gifts of the Holy Spirit - and we can never avoid the fact that the Saints, because of their relationship with God, are often given the gift of clairvoyance, or prophecy, or tongues, or discernment of spirits while others are given the ability to teach with great clarity and precision. So not all things Pentecostal or Charismatic today are automatically opposite of Orthodoxy.


    One thing to consider, if you love Fr. Powell, is that he insists that it was his Pentecostal background that prepared him for the Orthodox Church and I can definitely see the same happening in my life. I will never forget one of my dear friends from back in the day who was Eastern Orthodox and showed honor toward those in the Pentecostal world when I was investigating and she said many are able to come into Orthodoxy because of knowing the mystical side of who the Holy Spirit was. For Orthodox, believing in the active experience of the Holy Spirit occurs in a different manner than what you'd see in the Charismatic world. I've discussed this before on the issue if icons/others experiencing healing through them (As is the case with the Wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of Our Lady of the Sign or the The Myrrh-Streaming Icons of Hawaii) whenever I've had Protestant friends wonder, as I told them (as I was told by other Orthodox) how believing in Healing and Miracles is not what the Orthodox are ever against. With the Icons, it is truly a supernatural reality..

    Personally, I am a very visually oriented person and for me icons help me focus on who the Lord is and be reminded that the saints are not simply being examined by me whenever I see them....but I am actively being examined by the Saints who are in the heavens cheering us on/praying for us to continue the journey. Also, in many ways, as another said best, icons are family photos - they show a larger reality of what it means to be connected with the Body of Christ throughout the entire chain of history.


    Something else that icons do - besides helping others to stay focused and adding onto the power of worship (since worship involves all of our senses, including the visual) - is that they give a breath of fresh air and an atmosphere that allows us to breathe. We're constantly surrounded by icons every day of our lives, with images in the media (be it T.V or Internet or eve music since you can have images communicated visually) constantly taking us into the heart of the world/Hell and a life without God. Icons help us to come into the world where God rules .....they are windows that are made available to escape the windows to things not of God.
    [​IMG]

    • The Spirituality of Icons - Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Midlands

    So when I came from a Charismatic background into Orthodoxy, to see the reality of icons/their supernatural reality was astounding. I realized that healing and miracles were not separate from the Orthodox experience.

    The means, however, differ since we believe in the mystical reality of Sacred Space and Relics taking us into the heavenly realm....and for practical purposes, we can consider Paul's handkerchief, and Christ's robe, and the waters at the pool of Bethesda when stirred by an angel. Whereas Charismatics tend to understanding healing happening solely through prayer/laying on of hands with people who are sick, the Orthodox tend to see healing happening within Church practices/sacramental lifestyle and holistically experienced. You're present in a monastery, for example, and the power of prayer/God's presence provides an atmosphere in which others experience healing - and others have not just healing for their physical bodies but for their souls as well since the Church is seen as a Hospital. Therapeutic.......and to a good degree, many Charismatics believe in the same experience with creating atmospheres soaked in prayer and avoiding things image wise which reflect a reality similar to the world since they know that the world is not simply physical.

    Some of what you were noting was discussed elsewhere in other threads dedicated to discussing the Biblical merit behind icons, as seen here:
    Also, as it concerns healing, people forget how aspects of the services have a lot to do in regards to healing when it comes to things like anointing oil used by the priest to consecrate items.....and other aspects of administration within Divine Liturgy where oils and incense are used.

    I always keep in mind that one of the best figures to keep in mind who walked in healing/miracles was actually a priest. Specifically, Barnabas was a Levite who was aware of the Sacramental reality of the Temple and who trained St. Paul - both before and during their time on the mission field spreading the Gospel and walking in gifts of the Spirit. So I do not separate the reality of what Orthodox priests understand in their practice from the Charismatic reality.....(more shared in Apr 2, 2013 ).

    And the Supernatural and the Sacramental were never meant to be separate. Within Judaism, there is no escaping the reality of how there has ALWAYS been symbolic worship that has gone down. There was already Biblical precedent where objects and items were consecrated for Holiness and with the Lord's power (more shared in here and #35/#36 ) - for within OT Israel, the objects used in tabernacle (and later Temple ) worship were prayed over/sanctified before the Lord and all of it spoke to the Work of the Lord. It is very powerful studying how the objects within the tabernacle looked (which one can go here or here for more on that) and how there was a reverence to things rather than acting as if it was common - things like the Showbread or the Golden Candlestick, within the Holy Place which provided light, and many other instruments had a Divine Purpose ( Exodus 27, Exodus 30:27-29, Exodus 31:8-10 , Exodus 35:15-17 , Numbers 4, Numbers 7:1-3 , Leviticus 8:10-12, 2 Chronicles 29:17-19, etc. ).

    Many may feel like healing is something is ONLY to get when they go to the Elders - as noted in James 5:13:
    James 5:13

    The Prayer of Faith

    13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
    On James 5 itself, Why doesn't the person himself/herself simply come to the Elders? Apparently, it was y because this person is bed-ridden. This is the only place in the NT where this preposition ("over") is used with the verb "to pray"....essentially meaning "to pray over" someone. Essentially, James envisioned a person in bed or on a mat with the Elders surrounding him/her, praying "over" him/her. The second half with "The Lord will "raise him up" was centered on implying that the person was laid low by the disease/affliction...with James obviously addressing a situation of extreme, debilitating, perhaps even life-threatening illness.

    But where things get interesting is the aspect of the note on oil. Aside from Mark 6:13 (where the Apostles went around using oil in association with them praying for others to be healed), this is the only passage in the NT that recommends the use of oil for the sick. Oil was frequently used in the ancient world for medicinal purposes. And this may account for James' use of the verb aleipho ("to anoint") which emphasizes the actual physical action of pouring. Another word that means "to anoint" (chrio) is usually employed when the purpose of the anointing is religious or symbolic.

    But the oil also had religious/spiritual significance in this passage - for it would represent the Holy Spirit's Power, similar to the Spirit's ministry of consecration whereby an individual or some object is set aside to God's service/purified (cf. 1 Sam. 16:13; Isa. 61:1; Acts 4:27). Essentially, the anointing here is a physical action with symbolic significance..and that goes with the context of anointing someone who was bound in sin and consecrating or setting aside of this person for God's special attention.

    The concept of oil itself is highly fascinating - seeing that (again) it was something that was considered a type of medicine in Biblical times (and thus meaning that the call of going to the Elders who'd anoint with oil/pray for healing was NOT a matter of interpreting going to the Lord for healing alone as being SEPERATE from medical use). We have to be honest with the times scripture occurred in.

    What does it mean to anoint with oil? I have often heard this from many - paticularly in circles where doctors and medicine are condemned in the name of trusting in the Lord being shown solely through asking for Divine Healing (as occurs often in places like the Faith Movement) - and it has always been perplexing due to the fact that the Early Body of Believers didn't have a mindset that was against medicine of any kind.

    Oil had an important purpose in the first century that many in the 21 st century do not recognize. A.T. Robertson in his book Word Pictures states that oil was “one of the best remedial agencies known to the ancients.” Moreover, the Expositors Bible Commentary agrees, stating “oil was the most common medicine in biblical times.” As said there:
    "There are a number of reasons for understanding this application of oil as medicinal rather than sacramental. The word aleipsantes (“anoint”) is not the usual word for sacramental or ritualistic anointing. James could have used the verb chrio if that had been what he had in mind. The distinction is still observed in modern Greek, with aleipho meaning “to daub,” “to smear,” and chrio meaning “to anoint.”
    More shared in Appendix F Principal Oils of Ancient Scripture or Oils - Jewish Virtual Library or here and here in the following:



    Additionally, Josephus records “during Herod’s last illness, he was given a bath in oil in hopes of effecting a cure.” Also, the Mishna, which is the oral reciting of Jewish customs, declares the medicinal use of oil also. We can even see this usage of oil in the New Testament. In the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus tells how the Samaritan had compassion on him “went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10:34). In here we see no miraculous connotation in using oil...and there are many other places besides that.

    I've been amazed at the power of oils to help in healing the human body - and have seen good uses within my own life, including the aspect of scents and aromatherapeutic treatments. For considering what the scriptures note on incense, it is interesting to consider how it was actually a means of helping others remain in health - for incense acts as a form of healing....and in example, a component of the resin made from Boswellia trees, more commonly called Frankincense, biochemically relieves anxiety.

    And with regards to incense in Orthodoxy, I have been amazed at how much of a difference incense can make on the issue of healing - and many Charismatics have been intrigued at the means of healing via incense in services.

    If interested, one of my dear brothers in Christ/one of the leaders at one of the fellowships I attended gave an excellent presentation on the subject of Essential Oils and the various ones available that can make a difference in the health of our bodies - just as they did in the lives of the Saints/Early Church. To listen to the audio, one can go here and here :)



    That said, if I may share, from what I've seen in the EO world, I've yet to see any of the Patriarchs universally condemn all aspects of the Charismatic world nor have I ever seen the OO Popes condemn all aspects of the Charismatic world. They are careful to note what is or isn't balance ....but if coming from a perspective that anything Protestant is evil (as happens often within the camps wanting nothing to do with working with others outside of Orthodoxy), then of course there tends to be more of a tendency of fearfulness and stereotypes on all things Charismatic and Protestant. I think we have to be very careful on that and some of this was shared before:




    Moreover, as there are many Orthodox parishes/Bishops who work with others in the Protestant world anyhow, it is not a new reality to see others not bothered by anything concerning any kind of renewal - OR really, identification. You would probably be blessed by individuals such as Sr. Vassa & Archbishop Iakovos .....
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
  15. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    So true....that is how I was trained to see it as well.
     
  16. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Handmaid of God † CF Senior Ambassador Supporter

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    I see the conversation is branching into more than one direction here, and I'm interested in the others, but have no knowledge about it. So I'm reading, but not trying to derail or change.

    However, the OP and GxG's comment got me to thinking about "spiritual gifts".

    I listened to Fr. Seraphim Aldea's podcast "Through a Monk's Eyes" on Confession, which I found wonderful. He suggested, among many other things, how to approach your priest during Confession with the intent of using him as a tool to hear what God would say, and his advice was very similar to what I've heard in reading one of the Saints (I forget who but wish I knew) who said basically that if one approaches one's priest/Confessor for guidance, and that person lacks the experience/knowledge within himself to advise on an issue, that if one approaches humbly and with the expectation of help from God, the priest will be given the words from God to help the person, beyond his own ability.

    I have tried both pieces of advice and found them to be true. Without going into detail - believe me, it was in both cases EXACTLY what I needed to hear, though not necessarily (or at all really) what I WANTED to hear (which is a further tiny little confirmation for me that it can be from God). And in one case my priest said outright that he did not have the experience to advise me, and in the other I realized that he had misunderstood what I was saying, so his advice still did not come from his natural response (to something deeper I had not managed to articulate anyway).

    I hope that is enough to explain. In Pentecostal circles this kind of thing could easily be called something like a "word of wisdom" or a "word of knowledge" or "personal prophecy". But being Orthodox, it was simply part of a conversation between myself and my priest, both in and out of Confession. The kind of thing that can happen thousands of times every day throughout the world.

    I believe the Holy Spirit DOES work within Orthodoxy, in both great and small ways. We just don't shine a spotlight on it and blow trumpets and give it various charismatic titles. All that does is potentially puff people up with pride and put people's focus on seeking "gifts" and that can be very unhealthy. But yet "gifts" and the working of the Holy Spirit are ESSENTIAL for the health of the Body, and so yes, it happens. (Though of course as Scripture warns, we are capable of "quenching" these quiet gifts if we are not careful.) It's all still true, all still Scriptural, just a different way of looking at things.

    BTW, I'm not wishing to speak badly of the Pentecostals and Charismatics who on the whole are simply seeking God as openly and with their hearts as much as they know how. They are just trying to build the pure faith from the ground up, like many others have felt forced to try to do. They simply don't have the benefit of the very vast storehouse of treasure the Orthodox Church holds. Indeed, sometimes I think it is the very vastness that keeps others at arm's length. I'm realizing that they often see just one facet, and reject the whole utterly because they think that one face is the totality of Orthodoxy, and especially if they don't understand it, it seems to them incompatible with what they themselves know of spiritual things. Given the current discussion, the Liturgy is a good example for Pentecostals, who see only that and think it represents the whole of our experience, and so reject the entire faith out of hand as seeming "dead" to them, without realizing that yes, there are demons being cast out, miraculous healing going on, miracles, words of knowledge delivered on a regular basis, and so on. Just within the right context.

    Peace to all.
     
  17. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    not our concern, since it is outside of Orthodoxy

    not really.

    yes, but they are few and far between. they are certainly not mainstream in the Church.

    no, the one and same Spirit has been at work since Pentecost. we have always had grace filled men and women that have special charismatic gifts.

    God bless you too!
     
  18. Light of the East

    Light of the East Orthodox Inquirer Supporter

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    This is a very interesting subject. I wonder why it is that in the "modern Church" we do not have more miracle workers? And I wonder if the working of miracles is reserved only to the ordained, or should we expect that those in the laity who are holy can be blessed with God's grace in this area?
     
  19. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    We have miracle workers, even to this day. Recently glorified St Paisios of Mt Athos was a lay monk and he was known for his many gifts.
     
  20. Light of the East

    Light of the East Orthodox Inquirer Supporter

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    Dear Brother Matt -

    I should have qualified my question. I know that there have been many holy monks on Mt. Athos who have been miracle workers. What I am questioning is that there are not more of what we might term "laity" who have these gifts also.
     
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