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 Do we NEED to evangelize?
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bluegrey
Starting Member

4 Posts

Posted - 08/03/2010 :  20:06:43  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I spoke with my priest on the subject and he said that there is no need to try that. As long as we live our lives according to God's teachings, people will want to learn from us and will come if interested. I'm afraid i disagree. I feel that the reason evangelical christians get such large number of converts is because they are very active in approching people. And while i don't admire, "have you been saved/found Jesus" approach, i still feel that doing nothing is bad too. What does everyone think?

Brian Fink
Starting Member

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 08/05/2010 :  14:41:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Blue,
As I remember from a study report from about 10 years ago, the "Evangelical" approach tends to attract a lot of converts, with very little staying power. So what was happening back in Cincinnati was that a new church would open up, attract a lot of people for about two to three years and then drop sharply as people looked for the next exciting thing to hit the market.

Like your priest said, personal, quiet witness tends to be a good approach. Someone may see me cross myself or notice the chrismation cross I wear (which is quite large) and ask me something about what I believe. Thats when the conversation about Orthodox Christianity starts.

Brian
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asorthodox
Junior Member

USA
381 Posts

Posted - 08/05/2010 :  15:41:29  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A study I read stated that personal invitations is the most productive way to bring someone to Church. That said, personal conduct in a Christian manner can be very helpful in that regard. But let's face it, how many of us are such great witnesses for Christ that we will be magnets for others. Too often many, myself included, fail such a test. And further, we need to admit that there are many non-Orthodox whose conduct others may find appealing for good or bad reasons.
Where does that leave us? Prayerfully we need to ask God to help bring persons to salvation through the Church, and we need to want them with us for that reason--salvation--and not to fill our coffers or our pews or our standing space, or to make us feel good about all we accomplish. We need to want them because we care about them and believe that in Orthodoxy they find the fullness of a life in Christ, or at least the potential for such a life.
Also, if we have attained a reasonably loving community as we should strive for, we do need to make it known. If we are hidden, no one is going to know where we are, who we are and what we are all about. And we are not too visible, because of our small numbers, in this country. So we do need to do more in that regard.
I have questions? What is meant by evangelizing in terms of the Orthodox Church? What specific actions can be used to try and attract persons or make ourselves known to others?


Fr. William
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vasily
Starting Member

20 Posts

Posted - 02/27/2011 :  13:05:27  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Glory to Jesus Christ,

I agree with the posts here. It is up to each of us but also, each church must be active in their respective communities.We must not become isolated ethnic ghettos. Certain materials about the Orthodox faith must be available in each church. Education and awareness on the part of each priest to his parishioners should be a priority. If there exists a number of Orthodox Churches in an area, cooperation should be the key. Apart from this, unity amongst all the jurisdiction must be achieved and become a reality.
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dsaur2
Starting Member

4 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2011 :  11:51:52  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bluegrey,

The reason that evangelical christians attract a lot of converts, in my opinion, is not simply their approach. Protestant (evangelical) churches, by their very nature, are flexible to the wants of the people. The Orthodox church demands submission. I have heard, and believe, that the Orthodox church is a very difficult church to join for an outsider. This is because Orthodoxy does not flex its norms, change its standards, it simply is the way that we interact with God as completely and fully as we can. Try explaining to a non-Orthodox christian our certainty that the Divine Liturgy is elevated from earth during the service. Or try to explain to them the simple concept that an icon is a reminder and representation of the life of saints that are still with us and worship with us.

I listen to American Family Radio on a regular basis. They are an evangelical ministry and a very good one. But sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or cry as they painstakingly flirt and skirt with true Orthodox concepts that we recognize implicitly as true. An interesting point, they had a guest pastor on that wrote a book about his church changing from a "seeker" based ministry to more of a spiritual based church. They lost one thousand people in the process.

This is not to say that evangelicals don't have it right and are not holy. But I will say that Orthodoxy has a more mature and complete communion with God that requires much more spiritual work for converts to grasp.
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Aristokles
Senior Member

USA
1097 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2011 :  12:23:37  Show Profile  Send Aristokles a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Welcome to the forum, dsaur2.
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YeshuatheSavior
Starting Member

USA
2 Posts

Posted - 03/01/2012 :  21:04:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bluegrey

I spoke with my priest on the subject and he said that there is no need to try that. As long as we live our lives according to God's teachings, people will want to learn from us and will come if interested. I'm afraid i disagree. I feel that the reason evangelical christians get such large number of converts is because they are very active in approching people. And while i don't admire, "have you been saved/found Jesus" approach, i still feel that doing nothing is bad too. What does everyone think?



Cherie Robinson
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YeshuatheSavior
Starting Member

USA
2 Posts

Posted - 03/01/2012 :  21:15:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi, I think to evangelize is important. The apostles were always in the temple talking about Jesus or going from town to town to spread the gospel. How else will they hear unless we tell them? Being older American, I just found out there was such a church as the Orthodox 2 years ago. The Orthodox is a very hidden American secret...The Roman Catholics are front line for pro-life and keep our religious freedoms-battling Obama. The Protestants, Mormons, 7th Day Adventists, Charismatics etc..we know about them..but, I never heard about the Orthodox Church. When I tell people I want to learn about the Orthodox..they ask:'what is that?" I think to more visible in the world might not be a bad thing. I've read several books about the beautiful faith of Orthodoxy. Its very hard to join this church. I am not Greek and I don't speak Greek. The Greek classes to understand the services are about $100 a month-I can't quite afford that. I was told by someone else:"its a Greek social club." this is so sad. They don't exactly encourage anyone to find out about them or have an inquirer class. What is this Christian religion? Why is it so hidden? I would love to go to an inquirer's class. It is very old and beautiful Christian way to worship.

Cherie Robinson
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macacic
Administrator

USA
2414 Posts

Posted - 03/02/2012 :  11:30:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Welcome to our forum, Cherie.

Many Orthodox parishes were established by immigrants from countries with an Orthodox Christian history. Unfortunately, some of those have become more of an ethnic social club, particularly when it comes to non-ethnic inquirers.

Fortunately, this isn't always the case, particularly with Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and Antiochian Orthodox parishes. To locate one of these close to your home, I'd strongly recommend this web site: http://orthodoxyinamerica.org/

Part of the lack of evangelization in the US stems from the fact that Christianity is well known here and the Orthodox find it rather odd to evangelize among people who already know and follow Christ, even if they do so in a way other than our own. It is more important, or so the modern Orthodox thinking goes, to evangelize in those areas where Christian churches are very rare, there is open suppression of the Christian faith, or the economic conditions are such that growing the faith is very difficult. (See the Orthodox Christian Missionary Center for more info in that regard: http://www.ocmc.org/)

You may find that you'll get more responses to questions if you post in the Inquirer's Corner, the area in our forum set aside for non-Orthodox who have questions about the Orthodox Christian Faith.
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calvaryoakville
Starting Member

USA
5 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2012 :  03:01:21  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes because that's what God wants us to do.
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Aristokles
Senior Member

USA
1097 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2012 :  09:07:16  Show Profile  Send Aristokles a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Oh, that is nice. Violate our forum rules and think you're making a point, "Mitch".
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macacic
Administrator

USA
2414 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2012 :  19:38:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Are you an Orthodox Christian, calvaryoakville?
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Pauli
Starting Member

Canada
11 Posts

Posted - 09/13/2012 :  10:31:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Some of today's so-called evangelical groups are very casual, to the point they would really shock most of their spiritual forefathers. But it is not fair to simply paint them all with the same brush, just as it is not fair to say that all Orthodox are as arrogant as some of those I have heard who really scared me. We need humility, to not idealize ourselves and not demonize others. There is a healthy individualism, somewhere in between an individualism which says every one is autonomous and that which says we have no individuality. I mean, to not sink into a herd mentality about ourselves or others. Of course, we cannot be open to God's Word and Spirit and remain trapped within ourselves, either as individuals or as a community. God is the ultimate Open Relationship. Jesus said He loves us in the same way the Father loves Him, so as we abide in His love (John 15:9) drinking in their Spirit, we are set free from self-imprisonment and become living icons of God-incarnate to the world around us.

Paul Nurmi
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Al Lipscomb
Starting Member

USA
21 Posts

Posted - 09/22/2012 :  12:56:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
As a convert to the Eastern Orthodox Church from a very active Evangelical group it was very tempting to continue the practices I once followed and go out to "preach the Gospel". As I have learned more about the Orthodox Church I am starting to understand that we do need to spread the Gospel, but like so much else in the Eastern Church, that has a different meaning.

I cannot ask a person "Do you know where you will go after you die?" any longer. In my denomination salvation was a simple contract with a simple requirement. In most cases it was "Say this prayer and you will be saved." Nice, neat and easy to present. Today I cannot present my situation as simply, nor make such an easy offer.

Instead I must work on my own aquisition of the Holy Spirit and maybe God will give me the grace to help start others on this path. I must also look around me and see if God has already called others to this task and see if I can support them rather than attempt a task not given me by God.
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asorthodox
Junior Member

USA
381 Posts

Posted - 09/22/2012 :  13:11:40  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We witness for Christ in a number of ways--especially by following His teachings to love, forgive, not to judge, be charitable and uphold His Truth. Certainly since Orthodoxy is the fullest expression of Christ we would be very willing to share it with non-Orthodox be they in another Church or not. One would think though that those not in Churches represent the most fertile ground.
While we may not go door-to-door, we do need to make ourselves visible or no one would find us, as Christ taught about not hiding the candle under the bushel basket...
So we do make efforts to reach out so that persons know who we are, where we can be found, what we believe.
We must always remember that a person's decision to come to the Orthodox Church is made through God's Grace and without God we can do nothing.

Fr. William
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Al Lipscomb
Starting Member

USA
21 Posts

Posted - 09/22/2012 :  16:37:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
One issue I have found is that people have learned to understand "christian" from the Western (Catholic and Protestant) view points. When I hear someone tell me "I don't know if I can follow a God that sends people to Hell" it becomes an opportunity to present the different views the Orthodox hold on Heaven and Hell. It is important to understand that there are differences in the meaning of key words. Often Protestants become confused with Roman Catholic practices that, to the Protestant, look the same as the Orthodox practice. So it is important to learn about these differences and be able to communicate them without being condemning.
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