Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Eastern churches
From Fr Joseph Huneycutt

On Anglo-Americans, including in the South, turning Catholicwards through the Orthodox tradition
Others have written on the phenom of a new, larger RC presence in traditionally Protestant Dixie thanks in part to yuppie migration of Northerners but also to Southerners discovering the full faith.

(As one of the tutors at college put it, teach an Evangelical history and he often becomes quite Catholic.)

It seems to be Novus Ordo but conservative; sound in the essentials — it’s got potential to take the next step and become traditional liturgically.

The phenom described specifically here is what I call Eastern Orthodoxy’s convert boomlet over the past 20 years and includes former Evangelical (Free Church) leader Franky Schaeffer, Terry Mattingly and LRC’s Steven Greenhut.

Fifty years ago these John Henry Newman-like people would have become Anglicans or RCs.

‘The end of the world’ in the 1960s changed that.

Now they’ve essentially got the faith but with a mystical kick that’s culturally unique and with the company of lovely people from Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

The rite (all of its texts and practices) and all of the positive doctrinal statements (not the negative opinions about post-estrangement issues with the West) contain everything I believe in.

"It's not about getting the sin-debt paid, the ticket punched and now you wait around to die and go to heaven. Orthodoxy is a transforming journey where every day the Christian is being enabled to bear more of God's light. That's exciting," she [Frederica Mathewes-Greene] said.
Western Catholicism teaches the same thing. Coming from a charismatist version of Low Churchmanship Mrs Mathewes-Greene might not know that.

Roman Catholics believe the pope has ultimate authority, while Orthodox Christians say their council of bishops is more in line with Scripture and church tradition. (The early church had five centers of Christianity - in Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Rome and Constantinople, which is now Istanbul.)
Acknowledgement of the Chair of Peter is patristic East and West but to give these dear people their due I noticed that a lot of the rhetoric recently on the changing of Popes (the flock gathered round its shepherd, spiritual fatherhood, etc.) rightly applies (primarily?) to the local bishop, perhaps (?) more than to the super-patriarch of the whole church.

The Pentarchy, the five centres named in the article, are an historical accident, nothing to do with Catholic ecclesiology as such — all that’s essential sacramentally are bishops, no matter the places.

Orthodox Christians also disagree with the [Roman] Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, which states that Jesus' mother was born without sin herself.
The truth on this matter.

Some good words from a fervent, observant, un-liberal bishop:

Archbishop Dmitri, 81, leads the Archdiocese of Dallas and the South for the Orthodox Church in America. He grew up as Robert Royster in a Southern Baptist family in Teague, Texas, but converted to Orthodoxy as a teen because he wanted more out of faith.

"Everything was true, but it was not complete. It wasn't that I needed to repudiate it. I just went on to find the rest of it," he said.

The Orthodox consider themselves to have a bond with other Christians but believe they have a more accurate understanding of the faith. At a recent daylong festival in Dallas about Orthodox Christianity, Archbishop Dmitri encouraged people in other denominations to cling to the elements of the historic faith that their churches uphold, but added an invitation: "If you find there are holes at the bottom and you have to abandon ship, then head for one that's still afloat," he said.
How he became a clergyman is an interesting story. The Antiochian Archdiocese did an experiment in the 1950s or 1960s of ordaining some converts with little or no formal training and all predictably were disasters except him. God moves in mysterious ways.

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