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Questions From a Protestant

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by Kajiki, Nov 14, 2017.

  1. Kajiki

    Kajiki Member

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    I have always gone to church. In fact, if my baby book is to be believed when I left the hospital a week after I was born my first destination was not home but instead was a Salvation Army Corps (Church) in West Virginia. So it’s safe for me to say I was born into the Protestant Church. I was raised mostly in TSA but also, on my Step-Mother’s side, I went to a Southern Baptist church every other Sunday while in Elementary School and every Sunday in Middle School. My parents would often times however go Church Hopping but only to Protestant Churches. Many Baptist churches as that’s what my step mother was raised as. I also went to a Wesleyan church and a non denominational church. Right now I’m a Soldier (member) in the Salvation Army. I have felt a call towards ministry and for a while I was being supported…the past year however its been slowing down until Labor Day where it halted entirely. I’ve chosen to rekindle my Faith by actively researching the Early Church and read the Acts of the Apostles. All of this including my prayers have led me to look into Eastern Orthodoxy. I do however, question some things.

    1. How important is joy in an Orthodox service?(I believe Joy only comes from God and happiness is simply an emotion that can come from many sources)

    2. Is there biblical evidence in support of Icons?

    3. Do musical instruments have any place in Orthodox Christianity? (TSA places our brass bands on an esteemed level and I even play the snare drum. I love marching hymns.)

    Thank you for reading and God Bless!
     
  2. All4Christ

    All4Christ +The Handmaid of God Laura+ Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Heading back into work, but I’ll respond soon. Lots of good resources here though that I am sure will respond soon!
     
  3. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member

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    1. joy is extremely important for us. when we commune, we commune with Christ Who is our joy.

    2. yep, the Tabernacle and both Temples (including the one Christ worshipped in) had images of angels, plants, and animals. plus icons have been found in 1st century synagogues.

    3. in a sense we use the one instrument God made, the human voice. but we use bells and such. we also have more modern instruments, but they are not for Church.
     
  4. Yeshua HaDerekh

    Yeshua HaDerekh Men can dream of truth, but then cant live with it

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    1. Come to a Pascha midnight service and you WILL see joy!
    2. Ever see the image on the shroud? :) Icons are not "painted", they are "written".
    3. The voice is the main instrument used in Orthodoxy.
     
  5. ~Anastasia~

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

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    I have a moment here so wanted to say something in part for one question at least. :)

    Regarding your number 1 - I'm not quite sure what you're looking for, but the Church is careful not to purposely perform emotional manipulation.

    However, with that said, it is a profoundly joyous celebration (the Divine Liturgy). Additionally, each Sunday is in a way a small celebration of the Resurrection, so it is also joyous in that sense.

    I see other answers while I am typing so I hope I don't repeat. :)
     
  6. Kajiki

    Kajiki Member

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    To better clarify my idea of joy I guess I mean that sense of awe that moment you feel God’s complete presense and your happiness goes beyond simply feeling emotion. It’s more than a feeling. I keep hearing of Pascha being a very joyous celebration. What exactly is Pascha?
     
  7. All4Christ

    All4Christ +The Handmaid of God Laura+ Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Quick explanation...Pascha is the Christian celebration of the Passover - Easter in the Western world.

    The way I can describe it a time where you feel the joy of God's presence - and where the joy of what Christ did for us is just bursting out of yourself and the community around you. It cannot be contained, and is a tangible presence. When you hear everyone shout "Christ is Risen!", you know that Christ truly is risen - and that He trampled down death by death, and that He has given Eternal Life and the Joy of His Presence to us. In a way, we are experiencing the death and resurrection of Christ along with Him. The sorrow we feel on Holy Friday with the crucifixion (real sorrow - but still expectation and knowledge of the resurrection), the burial afterwards, the quiet joyous expectation as we get closer to the Resurrection, and the true Joy of the Resurrection....it is something I highly recommend experiencing :)
     
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  8. All4Christ

    All4Christ +The Handmaid of God Laura+ Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Talking about this makes me want to be at Pascha now! :)
     
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  9. Kajiki

    Kajiki Member

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    Sounds amazing! So is it just a once a year thing?
     
  10. FenderTL5

    FenderTL5 Well-Known Member

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    Joy?.. it's hard to express the joy that I sense when the deacon (or presbyter) declares, "Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!" right after the Doxology.
    Then later in the Anaphora, "Let us lift up our hearts.. let us give thanks unto the Lord.."
    There are some somber moments as well but the joy can hardly be contained in some spots.
    Others can speak to the scriptural aspect of icons more than I. There is no doubt that icons have been a part of the historical record from the get go.
    My answer will likely come from a different place as some of the others. In my previous tradition (SBC on my own, Independent Baptist in my youth), I played in the band at church and I've played in bands (rock, blues, country) since I was a teenanger (it's a rule, I live in Nashville). I also worked in radio (on-air and in production/mgmt) for twelve years.
    From that perspective to answer your question; yes music is important in our parish. We do not have instruments in Liturgy (there is a choir and chanters). However, as our church celebrated our Centennial earlier this month - there was a songwriter's night on Friday and a band/dancing at the celebration. We have bands at out Festival every year, Jonathan Jackson (TV Show Nashville) played at one of our IOCC fundraisers. He's a member of an Antiochian parish nearby. Many (lots) of the people in our parish are involved in the music industry in some way.
    We have music, lots of it. Just not during the Liturgy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
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  11. All4Christ

    All4Christ +The Handmaid of God Laura+ Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Pascha itself is just once a year, though the joy of it continues throughout the entire year. Every Sunday is a Resurrection celebration. The Nativity (Christmas) is kind of like a "winter Pascha" in that it celebrates the incarnation of Christ. We look forward to it all year long though :) Everything we do is related to the Incarnation and Resurrection of Christ, so the joy continues throughout the entire year.
     
  12. Kajiki

    Kajiki Member

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    I do have a few more questions if you all don’t mind. Again my questions are just so I can understand and possibly grow in my faith.

    1. I know there are certain requirements in order to take communion. What are they and, other than baptism, why are they required? (I know in the Acts of Apostles all believers get baptized)

    2. Where in scripture does it give exact dates on when to fast or is that apart of Apostolic Tradition not found in scripture? (Honestly any information on fasting would be great because I’ve never learned about it it was just something in the Bible that none of my churches ever preached or participated in)
     
  13. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member

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    1. chrismation which is the laying on of hands, and then prayer, fasting, confession which prepare you to receive.

    2. the tradition says Wednesday and Friday to remember Christ's betrayal and death. we know from the Pharisee and the publican that the Jews fasted twice a week. the longer fasts are because Christ Himself fasted 40 days in the wilderness
     
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  14. GoingByzantine

    GoingByzantine Seeking the Narrow Road Supporter

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    You have received so many great answers, but I do want to add on a little to what has been said.

    2.) Is there biblical evidence in support of Icons?

    I would tell you to start with John 1:14,

    And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

    As this verse says, the word became flesh and dwelt among man. For the first time, people were able to see the glory of God in Jesus Christ. If we deny iconographic representations of Jesus, then we deny that he ever walked among us, and that he was a living icon.

    Let me also draw you to 1 Timothy 5:17-24, these verses tell us to honor our elders, and through iconography the Orthodox Church pays honor to all the holy servants of Jesus Christ.

    I find that many non-Orthodox Christian groups read holy scripture at face level, and forget that each verse has layers of complex meaning.

    3.) Do musical instruments have any place in Orthodox Christianity?

    For the most part, no, besides our voice there are not musical instruments in Orthodox Churches. There are a few exceptions to this, most notably some "Western Rite" parishes (These are a small group of Orthodox Churches, that follow a pre-Schism Western Liturgy) do use instrumentation, but this is a fairly rare practice.

    You would be surprised how beautiful chanting and singing can be, there are many videos of Orthodox Hymns on Youtube. I encourage you to look them up, here is a sample:

     
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  15. FenderTL5

    FenderTL5 Well-Known Member

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    The Apostle Paul wrote, "whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.."
    Although it is not defined, exactly, what is meant by an unworthy manner or without discerning in the passage; the Church teaches that we should be baptized and Chrismated into the church, we should have confessed sin and prepare with prayers and fasting. There are preparatory prayers in our prayer books and your Priest/Bishop or possibly your sponsor/Godparent can assist in establishing your prayer rule (how many, how often etc). For morning services, we have a total fast (no food or water) from midnight until after the service. Depending on your parish, that could be different for evening Liturgy.
    Like you, fasting was rarely discussed and certainly not followed in my previous tradition. It's interesting that the specifics of fasting are sparse in scripture. We know the Jews fasted. We know that Christ did. We also know that Jesus anticipated that His followers would fast. We know this because he taught, "When you fast.." not "if" (Matthew 6).
    Just a guess, but I think the Didache is one of the earlier references to the Wednesday/Friday fasts and it contrasts it with the two days of the traditional Jewish fast. It's written as-if it is already in practice and the Didache dates to the late 1st century or early 2nd.
     
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  16. Alicia Schout

    Alicia Schout Member

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    Well, my friend Jesus said when we fast, and not if we fast. Fasting is good as a way to humble ourselves to the Lord. David said in one or more of his psalms: I afflicted my soul with fasting.
    Jesus also said:... this one (refering to the casting out of devils, demons, evil spirits)you cannot cast out without prayer and fasting.
    So fasting and prayer is also a manner of getting certain empowerment to cast out devils.
     
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  17. Kajiki

    Kajiki Member

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    The more I learn the more I realize how harsh the people were in life who called out the EO and RCC as some crazy Mary worshipping cults. (I have heard these exact phrasings sadly). The more I hear the more it does make sense and it doesn’t contradict what scriptures say. I would love to visit my local parish…but there isn’t one. I keep searching online but the closest one is in Hagerstown MD I live in Frostburg MD. If anyone could aide me in my search I would be grateful. I just wish to visit once tbh. I can’t choose if I haven’t seen it for myself. I don’t have a car which is part of or well the majority of the problem…
     
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  18. GoingByzantine

    GoingByzantine Seeking the Narrow Road Supporter

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    Sadly I do not believe that there are any churches closer than that, there has been talk of establishing a mission church in or near Cumberland, but from what I can tell that has not happened yet. There might be a chance that Frostberg State has an Orthodox student group, this might mean that liturgy is conducted occasionally on or near campus.

    I wish I lived nearby, if I did, I would certainly offer you a ride. :)
     
  19. All4Christ

    All4Christ +The Handmaid of God Laura+ Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    I saw one in Central City, but I"m not sure if that is closer. Still looks like a bit of a trek.
     
  20. prodromos

    prodromos Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Fasting trains us in discipline, much like an athlete trains before a competition. If we are practiced in saying no to the little temptations then it is much easier to say no when the evil one sends strong temptations our way. We need to always keep in mind that it is a means to an end and not an end in itself, otherwise there is the danger of falling into pride like in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18.
     
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