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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Do Orthodox And Baptists Have A "Similarity of Beliefs"?

A Response to a Commenter
of

Concerning the question of the "Similarity of Beliefs" between Orthodox and Baptists
"Are we to be ortho-dox or homoios-dox- right believers or similar believers"?

John,

Thank you for your conversation, questions and contrite heart. I didn't take offense at your first comment and was particularly blessed by your second comment, especially where you said, "You took the time to let everyone know of you're reasons for leaving to fulfill any curiosities or wondering, and I took it as a theological attack on the church." You have well understood my intent and have received with love the core of my heart. I can only hope that others will as well, though I am realistic in that hope. The ability to discuss things of the faith without focusing on personal indictment is a sign of spiritual maturity. Also, that you are still in your teens is a testimony of your faith and a statement of the quality of your parents whom I know and respect.

I have been working on addressing the subject of baptism or our lack thereof, for a while. The issue surrounds the fact that we were received into this local Antiochian church through Chrismation alone, our Southern Baptist baptism by single immersion being deemed valid. While my reply here is not intended to be a thorough theological treatment, it at least sheds light on inherent problems with the current convoluted practice of the Antiochians and other jurisdictions that have been influenced by Ecumenism.

Your priest seems to be paraphrasing St. Vincent of Lerins (5th Century)-that which is held "everywhere, always, by all". Since the fact and mode of baptism by triple immersion is Vincentesque, then it behooves opponents of this requirement to produce evidence as to when ALL the church decided to alter that which is clearly established throughout history and the Apostolic Canons. It is feeble indeed to site the few seeming exceptions to the rule to validate the mass acceptance into the Church of the heterodox without administering the Sacrament of Baptism. In any case, Canon 95 specifically denounces single immersion baptism and requires baptism. Perhaps this is why your priest says the Canons are confusing? How can he reconcile that his Metropolitan Philip received so many into the faith without baptism, including him, when the Canons forbid it? He would have to believe that either the Canon does not mean what it says or is taken out of context, or it has been made irrelevant by way of the Heresy of Ecumenism, or that he, himself, has not been baptized. Thus, his exhortation, “don’t read these, it will only confuse you.” I have read them and I am not confused as to their content. The only confusion is in the wondering how so many blindly accept the Heresy of Ecumenism and fail to recognize its influence on their belief structure. Goodness, John, the Calvinists are not even confused about what Orthodox believe and practice regarding baptism!

The Puritan Board (Calvanist Theological Discussion site)
The Dialogue Against the Luciferians, 8. Cyril of Jerusalem claimed that Christ's mode of baptism was a three-fold descent into the water, Catechetical Lectures, Chapter 20, 4. Basil of Caesarea references a three-fold immersion as the mode of Baptism in Letter 236, 5, and On the Holy Spirit, chapter 15, 35. This mode of baptism has an ancient precedent in the early church, and particularly among the eastern Church fathers, hence the precedent for Eastern Orthodoxy today.”

The website from your own church illustrates the ecumenical ambiguity and subjectivity that has resulted in the watering down of the Faith of our Fathers as they link to this article which says,

The Procedure for becoming a member of the Orthodox Church
After the period of instruction, there is a Service of Reception into the Church. If you are converting from a non-Christian religion, you will make a profession of Faith, be baptized and chrismated. If you are being received from a Church which has a similarity of beliefs with Orthodoxy and you have been properly baptized and confirmed, you will participate in a brief Service of Anointing (Chrismation) which signifies reconciliation with the Orthodox Church. The reception of Holy Communion is always seen as the consummation of union with the Church.

“Similarity of beliefs"? So, when did the ONE Church decide this "Similarity Rule" and who gets to determine what is similar enough? When was this idea accepted "everywhere, always, by all"? Can one not see how convoluted, inconsistent and unOrthodox this ideology is? Is this subjective method of determining what is Orthodox not a page right out of the Protestant playbook? To accept Heterodox or nonOrthodox Baptisms because there are similarity of beliefs is as nonsensical as the Billy Crystal/Miracle Max quote from the movie, The Princess Bride,


So, are SBs just "mostly dead" and "slightly alive"? So, one does not have to believe the whole truth to be valid, just have some slight truth, thus a "similarity of beliefs"? So, truth is not absolute anymore? This ecumenical concept makes the very meaning of the word, “orthodox” (right belief) void. In actuality we become "homoiosdox" (similar belief). But considering the idea of homoiosdoxy, how is it that the Southern Baptists (SBs) are similar enough to Orthodoxy to have their baptisms endorsed? Yes, Baptists believe in the Triune God but James, the first Bishop of Jerusalem, puts this idea of "similarity" in perspective,

"You believe in the one God-that is credible enough,
but even the demons have the same belief, and they tremble with fear."

So the SBs belief in the triune God is credible, believing the proper mode of baptism is by immersion is credible, but so are the demons "credible" in those regards. The inference is that there are dissimilarities that make the similarities meaningless and void of the power and grace of God. Even so, let's look at the question "Do Orthodox and Baptists have a "Similarity of Beliefs".

Are There Similarity of Beliefs Regarding Holy Orders?

The Southern Baptist baptizing agent (a pastor or layman) has not received the sacrament of Holy Orders in the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, therefore, where is his apostolic authority to baptize to begin with? Yes, something similar to, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”, is said by the agent, but how can such a SB agent pronounce the blessing or administer a sacrament of the Church which he does not represent? The SBs have a Congregational Ecclessiology. There is no apostolic succession, no hierarchy and each local church is completely autonomous having been founded by an individual or individuals. Where is the Bishop? There is none. The pastor is generally the operational authority, but he can be removed by a vote of the people.

Are There Similarity of Beliefs Regarding Single Immersion?

The SB immerses the convert only once. This is NOT Trinitarian and the Fathers refer derogatorily to this practice as a “Baptism only unto Death”. The Orthodox belief is that the mode of Trinitarian Baptism constitutes three parts, The

Death (Immerse),
Burial (Immerse),
Resurrection. (Immerse).

Have you ever seen a person, infant or adult, baptized in the Orthodox Church by single immersion? No. So, how is it that such a baptism outside the Orthodox Church is acceptable? If a person were to request a single immersion baptism from an Orthodox priest they would be turned down with an explanation as to the tradition and purpose of the triple immersion. Why doesn't the same explanation apply to the convert who has been immersed only once? Why is their baptism acceptable? Something is ecumenically amiss! Ecumenism has allowed the redefining of “Trinitarian Baptism” to simply mean, if the agent of the baptism orally says (redundant for the purpose of clarity) the words “In the name of the Trinity”. Thus the Ecumenist asks, “Were you baptized in the “Name of the Trinity”? ”Why, yes, I was.” “Come on in your water is fine.”

John, your own priest has stated that he “always asks whether or not someone has been baptized by triple immersion”. Why is this, John, if it is of no matter and all you have to be is “similarly” baptized? Can you go any further in this query with this question not being answered? Does not such an inconsistency require an Orthodox explanation?

Watch a Baptist Baptism. Listen to the Pastor Mock The Saving Sacramental Value



How Is The SB Baptism Similar If It Is Not Salvific?

The SB baptism is symbolic only. SB pastors not only stand opposed to the salvific nature of Baptism but many make a direct statement denouncing the historical and Orthodox salvific nature. Statements such as "there is no power in these waters" and the more sarcastic, "baptism doesn't have any magical saving power" are common in the mini sermonettes that proceed the Baptismal Service. So, is the SB baptism still considered a valid baptism simply because it is similar? Since the Orthodox believe that “baptism now saves you” and that original sin is washed away at the moment of baptism, did this happen in the moment I was baptized by the SBs? If so, would we not have to deduce that SB's baptism is sacramental and effective? If so, why become Orthodox? If not, and a “brief Service of Anointing” as your church and others propose, makes the SB baptism legitimate, then what was my spiritual state for the 48 years between my SB baptism and Chrismation? What if I had not become Orthodox after that limbo period? Would this not make the SB baptism invalid when it happens but valid if I became Orthodox later? Is my salvation suspended in time? Since the SB baptism contains no rite of exorcism from demons, that historically accompanies Orthodox baptism, is the demonic influence still with me for the 48 years? Am I to surmise that I was only "mostly dead"? It was either a baptism or it was not. The Canons (see below) say IT WAS NOT.

Are There Similarity of Beliefs Regarding Salvation?

The SBs believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven. This is credible. In this they are more Orthodox than some of the apostate World Orthodox Hierarchy of the World Council of Churches (See Why We Left… Where We Went…) The SB's definition of how salvation is obtained, however, is not similar. SBs believe salvation is obtained through confession, by grace, through faith alone. A SB believes that if he confesses with his mouth that Jesus is Lord, he is saved and the Holy Spirit “comes in” at that instant. There is no chrismation administered as the concept of Holy Oil is foreign to the SB paradigm. That oral confession, "truly intended", is the whole of salvation for salvation is an experience not a process. If, at one moment in time this is done, then eternal salvation instantly occurs and cannot be revoked by either God or the confessor. If one does renounce his faith later and turns from God, then a convenient Southern Baptist explanation kicks in, “Well, they were never really saved to begin with.” Orthodox know that “he who endures to the end” will be saved and that the beginning of salvation is in the waters of baptism. Although confession through faith is a part of salvation, Orthodox know that it is only a part. While SBs laud the importance of righteous works they allow no concept that a man’s works have anything to do with obtaining or keeping his salvation. They change the concept of salvation by grace to salvation by grace alone. Their champion, Martin Luther, even added the word ”alone” to his translation of the scriptures. So is any of this similar enough to Orthodoxy?

Are There Similarity of Beliefs Regarding Eucharist?

What about the Eucharist? The SB believes that there is no real presence of Christ in the elements and that the “Lord’s Supper”, as they call it, is not sacramental but only symbolic.The word "Eucharist" is foreign in the Baptist culture. Grape juice (Welch's Brand when I was growing up) and unleavened crackers are used. Is this similar to Orthodoxy? In fact there are NO sacraments in the Southern Baptist Church. Baptism and the Lord's Supper are considered “Ordinances” and they are void of any power. How similar are the beliefs, here?

Is The Orthodox Canon Of Scripture And The SB Canon Of Scripture Similar?

The Orthodox use the Septuagint version of the Scriptures, translated in Greek by The 70. The SBs do not. The Orthodox accept as inspired the Apocryphal Books and even though the original King James version of the SB's included them, the SBs use a version where these books have been removed. So, the Protestant version of the Bible that they use is minus 12 or so books and uses the Hebrew translation that has had the messianic elements of Christ dumbed down. Granted, the versions are similar, but where they differ, they differ greatly.

Is The SB Concept of "Alien Immersion" Similar?

Consider the SB concept called “alien immersion”. Since SBs consider themselves THE "True New Testament Church" anyone, even another Protestant, who wants to become a Baptist, must be baptized as a Baptist, their prior baptism being "alien". Thus the Convert’s baptism via a group that is not of “like faith and order”, a SB phrase often used, is an “alien immersion”. Actually, the "like" or "same" concept may be Orthodox but the repositioning of the SBs as the authentic agent or foundation of truth is not. The ecumenical Orthodox proponents of the "Similar" ideology would practice a watered down version of "like faith and order". They are satisfied with a "similar faith and order" or "kind-of-like faith and order". Credit must be given to the SBs for adhering to what they believe and not accepting as valid anything outside their tenants of faith. In fact, SBs denounce the Orthodox as a heretical cult or sect and teach their people how to "witness" to the Eastern Orthodox believer by issuing their official documents, "Witnessing to People Of Eastern Orthodox Background-Turning Barriers of Belief Into Bridges of Personal Faith", and their Interfaith Evangelism Belief Bulletin-Eastern Orthodox, both of which fallaciously attempt to discount the very foundations of the faith of our fathers. Do the Orthodox agree with this stance? If this is similar enough, then again, I could have just remained a Baptist. There are volumes of other dissimilar SB doctrines and practices, but since there are some similarities, their baptism is acceptable? Please forgive, but with this criteria one could be baptized by a demon because the demon has a "similarity of beliefs". Demons know and believe all the truth but are they the church? No. SBs believe only some of the truth but are they the church? No. In Orthodoxy, belief is not the sole standard for truth. Truth is ineffective unless it is sacramentally applied. Then it becomes authentic with the grace and power of God. The fullness of the authentic sacramental grace and power of God is contained in the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church- the Orthodox Church. Have they who claim that similarity of belief is enough, forgotten this basic, Orthodox principle? They have made the concept of Apostolic doctrines and succession null and void. "Come on in your water is fine."

John, your priest once told me, "There are voices within the Orthodox Church that state that no baptism outside the Orthodox Church is valid". With this I wholeheartedly agree, but who are these voices? They are the voices of the Apostles, the voices of the Fathers, the voice of the Scripture, THE VOICE OF THE UNDIVIDED CHURCH! One of the most common reasons given for receiving SB converts by way of Chrismation rather than baptism is that the Church has the authority to do so, therefore it is okay. But, has the WHOLE Church said it is okay, "Everywhere, always, by all"? NO. Unfortunately, many of these Ecumenist World Orthodox, of which Antioch is a part, use only the last 50 years as their frame of reference to determine what is the correct practice and doctrine, i.e. "Don't look at these. They will only confuse you." This also is why your Antiochian Patriarch Ignatius can make an independent decision to commune with Monophysites contrary to the determination of four prior Church Councils. This is why you worship by a New Calender innovation that before 50 years ago was unconscionable and strongly universally condemned by the WHOLE church. These things are brought about by a progressive Ecumenical influence. Thus in regards to baptism, you must look prior to the Ecumenist influence, to see that only those who were once in the Church through right baptism, having strayed through various heresies and now renouncing them, may be received back into the Church through Chrismation alone. They are not baptized “again” because they have already been baptized into the church. On the other hand, the faith of the Church is that all others must be baptized because, according to the Church, what they call baptism is not baptism at all. Thus

Southern Baptists and other Heterodox have NEVER BEEN BAPTIZED!

So, restating the two issues:
1. Should a heterodox convert be baptized?
2. Should the heterodox baptism have been by triple immersion?

The second question becomes irrelevant if the answer to the first is "YES."

There is nothing confusing about what the Church has always practiced, that which has been believed "everywhere, always, by all". See the words of the pre-Ecumenist Church:

“The church in Constantinople condemned Sabellian baptism in a letter to Antioch around 450, the Justinian Code of 529 (Byzantine Empire) declared the death penalty for both antitrinitarianism and rebaptism, the Council of Constantinople in 553 again condemned Sabellian baptism, and Martin Damiun (died 579), bishop of Braga, condemned Sabellian baptism for ‘retaining single immersion under a single name’.”

Canon 95
Those who from the heretics come over to orthodoxy, and to the number of those who should be saved, we receive according to the following order and custom. Arians, Macedonians, Novatians, who call themselves Cathari, Aristeri, and Testareskaidecatit√¶, or Tetradit√¶, and Apollinarians, we receive on their presentation of certificates and on their anathematizing every heresy which does not hold as does the holy Apostolic Church of God: then first of all we anoint them with the holy chrism on their foreheads, eyes, nostrils, mouth and ears; and as we seal them we say— The seal of the gift of the Holy Ghost. But concerning the Paulianists it has been determined by the Catholic Church that they shall by all means be rebaptized. The Eunomeans also, who baptize with one immersion; and the Montanists, who here are called Phrygians; and the Sabellians, who consider the Son to be the same as the Father, and are guilty in certain other grave matters, and all the other heresies— for there are many heretics here, especially those who come from the region of the Galatians— all of their number who are desirous of coming to the Orthodox faith, we receive as Gentiles. And on the first day we make them Christians, on the second Catechumens, then on the third day we exorcise them, at the same time also breathing thrice upon their faces and ears; and thus we initiate them, and we make them spend time in church and hear the Scriptures; and then we baptize them. And the Manich√¶ans, and Valentinians and Marcionites and all of similar heresies must give certificates and anathematize each his own heresy, and also Nestorius, Eutyches, Dioscorus, Severus, and the other chiefs of such heresies, and those who think with them, and all the aforesaid heresies; and so they become partakers of the holy Communion.

Apostles Canon #49 & 50

49. If any Bishop or Presbyter baptize anyone not into the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit in accordance with the Lord’s ordinance, but into three beginningless beings or into three sons or into three comforters, let him be deposed.

Interpretation.
When the Lord sent forth His disciples to preach the Gospel, He told them: “Go ye, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). So the present Apostolical Canon prescribes that any Bishop or Presbyter who, instead of baptizing in that manner, in accordance with the ordinance of the Lord’s, baptizes into three beginningless beings, into three sons, or into three comforters shall be deposed. For certain heretics, blaspheming against the Holy Trinity, were being baptized in such a manner notwithstanding that the Church of orthodox Christians had received instructions to say the Father on account of His being beginning-less and unbegotten, even though the Son is also said to be beginningless as respects any beginning in point of time, as St. Gregory the Theologian theologically argues: and likewise to say the Holy Spirit, though not with respect to cause and natural beginning, for this character belongs only to the Father. Accordingly, the formula includes a Son on account of His ineffable birth, and a Paraclete (or Comforter), the Holy Spirit, on account of His super-rational procession out of the Father alone. Note, on the other hand, that all the Canons of the Apostles that relate to and speak of baptism mention only Bishops and Presbyters. For they alone have permission to baptize, and deacons and other clergymen have not.

50. Trine immersion in baptism.
If any Bishop or Presbyter does not perform three immersions (literally, “three baptisms”) in making one baptism (literally, “one initiation”), but (sc. only) a single immersion (literally, “a single baptism”), that given into the death of the Lord, let him be deposed (sc. from office). For the Lord did not say, “Baptize ye into my death,” but, “Go ye and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).

Interpretation.
There are three things quite necessary and in any case altogether indispensable in the mystery (i.e., sacrament) of Holy Baptism: holy water; trine immersion and emersion in the water; and an invocation of each of the three Supergod Substances. In the foregoing 49th Canon the divine Apostles ordered and taught concerning the three invocations, what names we are to say, and in what order. In the present, or 50th, Canon they proceed to ordain concerning the three immersions and emersions. This means, as we have said, that these are necessary as regards what is simply called necessary, and are constituents of the true and orthodox baptism. Accordingly, without them not only is a baptism incomplete, but it cannot even be called a baptism at all. For, if to baptize means in more familiar language to dip, then speaking of immersions in the water is the same thing as speaking of three dips or baptisms; a dip is also called a baptism, and is not so called because of anything else. But let us see what the Apostles decree in regard to the word. Whatever bishop or presbyter in the single mystery of baptism fails to perform three baptisms, or three immersions, but instead performs only one immersion carried out as though into the one death of the Lord, let him be deposed from office. (See this Apostolical Canon refuting Eunomius — a Roman Catholic bishop deposed A.D. 361 — the first to substitute a single immersion in baptism, as we said before, though other heretics may have been doing this even in the time of the holy Apostles). Since the Lord did not tell us, His Apostles, when He was sending us forth to preach, “Baptize ye in my death,” but instead He told us, “Go ye and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” — which means, of course, baptize ye them with three immersions and emersions, and with each immersion add ye aloud each single name of the Holy Trinity. For in a single immersion and emersion neither is the three days’ death of the Savior perspicuously represented nor are the mystery and the theognosy (i.e., knowledge of God) of the Holy Trinity at all indicated. Hence any such baptism, being destitute of theology, and of the incarnate economy, is most impious and cacodoxical. But with three immersions and emersions both faith in the Holy Trinity is clearly affirmed and the three days’ death and burial and resurrection of the Savior are at the same time symbolized. Thence it consequently follows that our baptism comprises the two fore­most dogmas of our expression of the orthodox faith — that, I mean, of the theology of the vivifying Trinity, and that of the incarnate economy of the God Logos.

Does it not then raise a question to all Antiochian coverts who were received by Metropolitan Philip? Is it not of concern that this man, whose uncanonical, heretical, deceptive, fraudulent, greedy, self-serving practices are now being exposed, is also the one who told thousands of converts to “come on in, your water is fine”? Would one not at least want to explore how it is that such a stance seems opposed to the Canons and seems to fly in the face of the “everywhere, always, by all” principal of Saint Vincent of Lerins?

John, you misstate when you say that “I simply think that leaving the church is not the right course of action, there we differ in strategy.” Nowhere have I suggested a strategy to “leave the church” and indeed I have not done so. I have left the Antiochian jurisdiction, so that I might rightly enter the Genuine Orthodox Church! The Monks on Mount Athos, to which you refer, are being heavily persecuted with violence for just this reason! Many refuse to remain under the jurisdiction of those patriarchs or bishops who have become apostate. One monastery is holed up having their water and food supplies cut off by the “Orthodox Hierarchy” and the government law enforcement. Why are the Antiochians and the members of SCOBA, your Metropolitan, your Bishop and your local priests not publicly denouncing this and coming to the aid of their brothers? Could it be because it is YOUR Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who is leading this violent, oppressive charge? The World Orthodox of which you are a part, will willingly commune with Roman Catholics and call Muslims their brothers, but let an Orthodox person leave their jurisdiction with a heart toward the purity of the Faith of our Fathers and all hell is released on them.

A good way to judge who is adhering to the Faith of our Fathers is to follow the persecution, particularly in Greece and Russia but ever increasing on our shores. Likewise, me and my family have had “shame” pronounced on us and I have been accused of “besmirching” the name of the priest, of being “rebellious” and have been called "deranged and irrational." All this because I posted a doctrinal statement after we left explaining Why We Left The Antiochian Diocese and Where We Went. Though this persecution is minor in comparison, I know there will be more in the days ahead.Yet, not one of these accusers, I say again, NOT ONE, has offered a substantial biblical, scriptural, canonical, or historical argument refuting what I have presented. To the contrary,

They actually agree concerning the presence of the heresies
while deriding our decision to separate ourselves from them!

Granted, couched between their personal attacks they have given various opinions and examples, but Orthodoxy is Right Belief and Right Teaching not Right Opinion. This is why I emphasized to you that our opinions mean nothing unless they come along side that which is believed “everywhere, always, by all.”

Even the Associate Editor Of the Antiochian.Org Website issued this response after having read the JTO article, Why We Left...Where We Went,

"Though we can't publish your article for obvious reasons,
it contains some valid points...there is no doubt that the Church is a mess..."


So they acquiesce to the existence of heresies, but like
they remain in the pot and those who hop out are gigged.
Brethren this out not so to be!


"Leave the church"? A resounding, NO! But, if you have not been canonically and scripturally baptized and your local church will not baptize you, then a qualified, resounding, YES! For the sake of your soul, leave your local church or jurisdiction and find a Genuine or True (See the JTO Links) jurisdiction that still adheres to this vital Orthodox truth.

It is strange that baptizing converts has become a foreign concept to some Antiochians and other jurisdictions of World Orthodoxy. John, perhaps your priest should take note of his fellow Antiochian priest, Father Andrew, at Saint John The Theologian Christian Orthodox Church in San Juan Capistrano, California. The recent baptism of 30-plus converts included mostly those from the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Churches (ICCEC). One of his parishioners explains the event thus,

-->
"I was so proud of Father Andrew. I know it was a difficult decision because his bishop basically let him make the decision on whether he was going to baptize a certain amount of us or be chrismated. And I have no personal distinction with those who were chrismated and those who were baptized other than to say this, that he [Father Andrew] had given of himself to study on this and it’s only been in the last 150 to 200 years where there’s been a distinction or an economy model of the latter because the bishop guards the faith of the church and the priest as an extension of the bishop guards that as well and the parish, the orthodox parishioners guard the faith. So, you know I had people ask me questions, 'what do you think he’s gonna do?'. I said, 'pray for him that he has courage to make the right decision, even if it’s unpopular'. And as it turns out he did make the decision for many people that had a preference and he said, 'I feel that you should be baptized', or, 'you should go this way…' And in the economy model its..the pastoral application, if we were going to use contemporary terms, then we’d say, 'Well I don’t want it to be a deal breaker. I mean if you have a trinitarian baptism and you don’t want to be baptized, welcome into the church. You know, the Bishop gives his amen and you have the blessing, you're not any less than anybody else.' The thing that I am trying to get at-he [Father Andrew] kept a standard that was not necessarily contemporary, good feel idea. It was what people had died for, martyrs had given their life for to keep the dogma of the church consistent. And I really believe that one of the expressions you are going to see in American Orthodoxy is a return if you will or a presentation of the dogma with no apologies or no being ashamed to present the thing that the martyrs have given their life for and given their blood for ...” (Kevin Barry)

This is of particular interest to me because my family and I were also ICCEC just prior to our entry in the Orthodox Church and yet we were not baptized. We were not even required to produce a baptismal certificate proving our SB baptism. One priest baptizes and one does not. Where is the absolute truth in this matter? "Are we to be ortho-dox or homoios-dox- right believers or similar believers"? Since the Canons equally condemn both the failure to baptize and baptizing twice, both of these Antiochian priests cannot be correct. I propose that one of these priests is following the Canons and the practice of the Church, the other is not. The heresy of Ecumenism says, "Come on in, your water is fine" but

THIS IS THE FAITH:

"I confess one baptism for the remission of sins,"

So, you must be baptized by triple immersion in the
One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church
for the remission sins.

See this Antiochian Priest baptize Converts who only had a "similarity of beliefs". Apparently he knows something that some of his fellow Antiochian clergy do not. 

[UPDATE: 12/27/10 - Notice that the video below, which was once public, now has restricted access. Why? I actually e-mailed the priest at the time of this original post, to interview him as to  his decision to baptize the ICCEC members. Father Andrew did not respond. Knowing that his Bishop and the AOC as a whole is immersed in the Ecumenical movement, it is likely that his right decision to baptize was not met with a positive response. I still welcome a response from Father Andrew.]


John, please pray for me and my family as we continue our journey toward the sacrament of Holy Baptism. My wife put our leaving the Antiochian Orthodox Church and the subsequent critisim we have endured in very simple terms when she said, "Don't they understand? We just want to be baptized. They wouldn't baptize us!" We had to leave Antioch. Perhaps with Antiochian priests such as Father Andrew there is still hope for some who remain.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Anonymous Priests

[From "Orthodox Prophets"]

Okay we get it. You are afraid of retribution. We understand that to speak against a powerful, dictatorial, corrupt, Metropolitan could mean the demise of your career as a priest. You have a family. You need an income and if you make Philip Saliba and his felonious supporters angry there may be retaliation. You may get reassigned, defrocked, have your name dragged through the mud, your own sins revealed or be physically assaulted. We get it. Your decision to be anonymous in your opposition to the evil that is being perpetrated on the Church and on your fellow Christians is, in effect, self preservation.. SELF preservation. We get it, we understand it, but it is not acceptable. It is not Orthodox. This Sunday as you are in the midst of the temple, you will venerate the saints of the ages. You will pray for their intercessions. Did even one of those Saints remain Anonymous in the face of such? Do we venerate even one of those Saints for their decision to remain hidden in their faith? Come out of the shadows, priests! Be the light in the midst of this present darkness! Deny your SELF and follow the truth of Christ. Speak the truth in love but speak the truth even to your own death. IT IS YOUR CALLING. It is the calling of every Christian, but you have received HOLY ORDERS of a different kind. The Church is the Lord's and it is being usurped! The head of the Church is Christ not a Metropolitan named Philip!

"But what about my family. What about my parishioners?"

Have you forgotten that it is their glory to suffer for the right as well? Have you forgotten the Saints who willingly offered their children up to death for the sake of Christ? If you protect them from such blessing you do keep from them the salvation that Christs offers through such. There is no better love of a father...or of a priest. If you cower at this minor oppression how will you be saved in the greater oppression that is to come? Will you remain Anonymous then? Will you say,

"Lord save thy people and bless thine inheritance... and while you take care of that, Lord, I will be over here protecting my SELF."

"For I have been crucified with Christ yet nevertheless I live, yet is not I who live but Christ who lives in me and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me...for me to live is Christ and to die is gain."

"For the Lord has not given me the spirit of fear

but of power and of love and of a sound mind."

FOR GOD'S SAKE AND THE SAKE OF HIS HOLY CHURCH AND YOUR OWN SOUL, STAND IN THE LIGHT AND SPEAK THE TRUTH..."Fathers".

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dirty Laundry and Arab Bias

"Do Orthodox Have Dirty Laundry?"


Regarding the activities of Metropolitan Philip and Assistant Bishop Antoun and their methods of false propaganda as they advance an ethnic bias in the Antiochian diocese.

Read the JTO Article HERE

Friday, July 24, 2009

JTO Sample Unscientific Poll Results

A sample of 39 independent unsolicited and random voters answered the following question:

The Question:

"SHOULD METROPOLITAN PHILLIP BE DEPOSED?
"


Answer options and results:


Absolutely Yes

18 votes- 49%

Absolutely No

2 votes- 5%

He should be
allowed to retire instead
16 votes- 41%


Depose those
who stood against him
0 votes- 0%


Other

2 votes 5%

"I feel he should be treated as Herman

was treated in the OCA. Forced retirement.
Not permitted to wear the white klobuk.
Not permitted to celebrate anywhere but
at his home parish. No kudos. Nothing."


The JTO BLOG
should be disposed for asking such!
2 votes 5%





Monday, July 20, 2009

Greek Clergy Circulate Document On 'Heresy Of Ecumenism'


Posted on Wed Jul 15 2009

"The only way our communion with heretics can be restored is if they renounce their fallacy and repent," the group said in a "Confession of Faith against Ecumenism" that they circulated recently.

"The Orthodox church is not merely the true church; she is the only church. She alone has remained faithful to the Gospel, the synods and the fathers, and consequently she alone represents the true catholic church of Christ," says the document.

The signatories say they wish to preserve "irremovably and without alteration" the Orthodox faith that the Early Church had "demarcated and entrenched," and to shun communication "with those who innovate on matters of the faith".

The list of clerics backing the manifesto is said to include six metropolitans (Panteleimon of Antinoes, Seraphim of Kythira and Antikythira, Kosmas of Etolia and Akarnania, Seraphim of Piraeus, Jeremiah of Gortyno and Megalopolis, and Artemios of Raskas and Prizrenis, Kossovo and Metohia), as well as 49 archimandrites, 22 hieromonks, and 30 nuns and abbesses, as well as many other priests and church elders.

The signatories note that many Orthodox patriarchs and bishops have, "essentially placed themselves outside the church" by abandoning its "uniform, steady and unswerving stance," and attempting to impose a "new dogma and ecclesiology" that all denominations formed part of the church.

"This pan-heresy of ecumenism adopts and legalises all heresies as 'churches', and insults the dogma of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church," says the group. "All boundaries the fathers set have been torn down; there is no longer a dividing line between heresy and church, between truth and fallacy."

Religious minorities have often complained of discrimination in Greece, a European Union and NATO member-State, whose Orthodox church claims the loyalty of 97 percent of the inhabitants and which the State constitution recognises as the country's "dominant religion".

Supporters of the document, which emerged from an April 2009 convention of Orthodox clergymen and monks, might point to an incident in May 2009 as an example of what they condemn. Then, Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All-Greece addressed a Church of England delegation visiting Greece, and told them that the Church of Greece and the Anglican Communion constituted, "two of the main sources of Christian faith in the old continent". Ieronymos said that Orthodox leaders remained committed to "more fruitful cooperation on both theological and major social issues" with other denominations.

The 4000-word "confession of faith" rejects such an approach. The Thessalonika-based Theodromia journal has posted the statement on the Internet, along with an appeal for more signatures from clergy and laypeople.

The document says that the Catholic papacy has become the "womb of heresies and fallacies" by promoting "dogmatic minimalism" and causing "moral deviations such as homosexuality and paedophilia among clergymen".

The "confession" adds that even greater criticisms should be directed at Protestantism, which has "inherited many heresies but also added many more" by rejecting tradition, the veneration of saints, monasticism and sacraments, and tolerating women priests and homosexual marriages.

"The new attempt by ecumenists to project the position that we have a common baptism with heretics is unfounded and hanging in mid-air … For as long as heretics continue to remain in their fallacy, we avoid communion with them, especially in common prayer," the document says.

A member of the Greek church's Synodical Committee for Inter-Orthodox and Inter-Christian Relations told Ecumenical News International on 17 June that his governing Holy Synod had not "rejected or accepted" the confession. Still, he noted that the group was right to insist the church "recognised only its own sacraments," and said the document would be debated if it was brought before the synod.

"As things stand, our church is still participating in the ecumenical movement, with representatives in the World Council of Churches and Conference of European Churches. It is open to serious dialogue with all churches, and it could not do this without contacts with them," said the official, who asked not to be named. "But everyone has a right in Orthodoxy to express opinions and positions, and there is a strong element here, as in other churches, against ecumenism."

JTO NOTE: Perhaps this should be the greater issue for the Antiochian Bishops to discuss.
Warsaw (ENI). A group of Orthodox clergy in Greece, led by three senior archbishops, have published a manifesto pledging to resist all ecumenical ties with Roman Catholics and Protestants.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Core of the Crisis

From An Anonymous Priest

+Philip has never been ashamed to play favorites.

This has caused a great many people to doubt Philip’s ability to judge their own situations fairly. Many clergy fear offending one of Philip’s ‘friends,’ since they can ask him to intervene on their behalf to the detriment of the ‘non-friend.’

There would be no rumors or accusations of discrimination if Philip were reputed to be fair in his dealings. Since he is not, he leaves himself open to
such charges...

"Metropolitan Philip is going to have to learn to stop playing favorites. He is going to have to punish his friends who have brought shame to the Church. He is also going to have to admit that he has protected wrongdoers and has acted in ways that he would never tolerate in others.

Obviously, I don’t think he has it in him to change at this stage of the game to encourage him to retire voluntarily, or failing that, force him into retirement by shutting off his cash supply. The Holy Synod of Antioch could always remove him because of ‘incapacitation.’

After all, a Bishop who sends his entire flock into rebellion is certainly ‘incapacitated.’"

Read the full article HERE. From Orthodox Christians For Accountability.

Friday, July 10, 2009

From Metropolitan Philip: "Nevermind"

We have seen in the last few months the tragic result of what can be wrought at the hands of an Orthodox Hierarch who has drunk from the cup of Ecumenism. When the Canons of the Church are independently interpreted to accomplish the whims of an individual, parish, priest, bishop, or patriarch, the whole Church suffers.

Metropolitan Philip has reversed himself on his aggressive and noncanonical agenda to demote the Bishops in North America. His reversal has all the honor of having said, "Ah, I was just kidding guys. You can still be Bishops." All must realize that since the Metropolitan didn't have the right to de-Bish the Bishops to begin with, his "reversal" is just as offensive and smacks of self-preservation. There was nothing to reverse except his advancement toward a totalitarian papist regime which he fought to set up. The attempted coup failed and the kingdom he built on sand is eroding.

We have discovered that the Antiochian Synod in Damascus NEVER authorized what Philip Saliba attempted to do, and that documents were forged to advance his independent, fraudulent agenda.

The Metropolitan's actions are clearly grounds
for deposition if ever there were any.

The Bishops of the Church of Antioch should move now to send the Metropolitan into retirement, especially in light of what else has been discovered in this flurry of controversy. There are things that have remained in the shadows for years that have now come into the light. Those who have been under the heavy thumb of this heretical ecumenist have now been embolden to speak for the right. Each will have to answer to God and to the Church as to why they did not speak up before, but thank God their voices are no longer silent. Respect is due to Orthodox for Accountability led by Mark Stokoe who has followed this issue with all the skill and thoroughness of an investigative journalist. There is much more to be revealed and I have found this OCA website to be astoundingly meritorious in its coverage.

The Metropolitan's "Nevermind" statement will do little to quiet matters, for the damage is done and other issues surrounding his tenure, and that is what it is-a tenure, will now be addressed.

1. Why do at least two of the Metropolitan's entourage on the recent trip to Damascus, have a legal history of fraudulent practices?
2. Who forged the documents and who knew they were forged?

3. What will be done to the Metropolitan's Trustee and supporter who issued a written physical threat to Bishop Mark?

4. Armed guards at a Parish Life Conference?!

5. Why are there seemingly more Diocesan Trustees than the law allows?

6. Why has Metropolitan Philip reinstated a Bishop who is a convicted sex offender?

The North American Synod has an opportunity to clean the house that has been tainted. They would be wise not to focus on healing the house until it is cleaned. If the disease remains, there will still be illness.

Clean the house and healing will come.

House cleaning and healing, while Metropolitan Philip holds the keys to the house, does not seem possible, for that would require true repentance on his part.

There is a loud voice that is raised up during times like these that suggests that such talk is somehow unseemly. I have been accused of acting like a Baptist Deacon in regard to Metropolitan Philip. All would do well to reread the lives of the saints who have fought to preserve the purity of the faith when errant Bishops have arisen. This included the righteous laymen who would not be silent. This is such a time. This is a moment in history that, should the Second Coming of our Lord tarry, we will read about years from now. Will we read that good and faithful Bishops stood up and swept the house clean of that which had defiled it or that once the heat had died down they were content to dine with the one who had defiled it?

Outside observers have referred to the Metropolitan's reign as mafioso in nature. I initially resisted such characterization as being too strong. The recent evidence and disclosure of the nature of the man and those around him, including fear, intimidation, threats, and greed, has caused me to reconsider the merit of such an observation. Yes, he may have been a good man and done good things, but the current action of the man is destructive and is threatening the existence and future of the Antiochian Diocese. So, do we allow Philip to fiddle while the Dioceses burns or do we yank the instrument from his hands and sprinkle holy water on the flames? The Church is the Lord's, not the Metropolitan's! All good men and women who love the Lord and His Holy Church must pray that God will bring a man of holiness and selflessness to replace the one who has fallen for fallen he has and pride came before the fall.

Pray for the soul of Metropolitan Phillip, but pray also that his days be few and another take his office.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Breaking News! Muslims Don't Need Jesus!

"Arabic Christian Perspective (“ACP”) is an Anaheim-based charitable organization that does something anyone but an evangelical Christian might think extremely foolish: its members and volunteers try to convert Muslims to Christianity by attending their events and gathering near – but not at – their mosques. "

You will see in the complete article and videos HERE that Arab Christians who attended the Arab Fest 2009 in Dearborn, MI. were harassed and assaulted by Islamic body guards as they attempted to ask questions at a question and answer booth. The city of Dearborn has also attempted to restrict all Christians to a "designated area", a violation of the Constitution and the principals of free speech. This violation, however, should please The World Orthodox Church Leaders who in their World Council of Churches membership (including all SCOBA Members) forbid the evangelizing of their "brother Muslims",

“We respect an individual’s choice with regard to his or her faith, and we do not proselytize anyone, nor do we participate in dialogues between Christians and our brother Muslims in order to convince them to accept our faith.”


"Mohammed is a prophet and an apostle and man of God,"
"Those who speak against Islam and Buddhism are not in agreement with God."

“We are deceived and we sin, if we think that the Orthodox faith came down from Heaven and that all [other] creeds are unworthy. Three hundred million people have chosen Islam in order to reach their god, and other hundreds of millions of Protestants, Catholics and Buddhists. The goal of every religion is to improve mankind.”

“Because we have seen and experienced goodness, truth and holiness among followers of other paths and ways than that of Jesus Christ…, we find ourselves recognizing a need to move beyond a theology which confines salvation to the explicit personal commitment to Jesus Christ.”

Of course it is of no concern for the World Orthodox Leaders that this also violates a greater law of Scripture and the direct words of Jesus:

“All Authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth, go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

"I am the way the truth and the life and no man comes to the Father except he come through me."

If you are a faithful Orthodox parishioner or cleric and don't agree with the unscriptural, uncanonical and unorthodox dogmas of the World Orthodox Leaders, consider which Bishop you will commemorate this Sunday in the Liturgy. Is your Bishop actively involved in this kind of heresy? Is he passively involved through being in communion with a jurisdiction (See SCOBA Members) that adheres to heresy? Is your priest aware of these things and doing nothing about it? Then ask yourself what your responsibility is. According to the Scripture and the Canons of the Fathers of Orthodox Church you are required either to depose such heretics or remove yourself from them. If you do not, then you become one of them. The option to stay and hope it gets better is NEVER an option. Find a Bishop and diocese who IS NOT in communion with the World Council of Churches and who refuse to compromise the Scripture or the Canons of the Church. The World Orthodox Churches have either left the faith or are well on their way to becoming a part of the Great Apostasy Of This Age.

The genuine Orthodox Church today is smaller in number than you think.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.”


Here is a basic criteria for determining if an Orthodox Church is fully Orthodox in Dogma and Canon:
Julian (old) Calendar +
Holy Tradition +
The Seven Ecumenical Councils +
The Holy Scriptures +
The Holy Fathers =
Holy Orthodoxy.


Truth is Absolute. Will you be one of the few who find it?