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  • TER's Avatar
    08-27-2016, 06:47 PM
    I just want to emphasize that I believe God is merciful and just, and He knows the hearts of men and which men truly love Him. I also believe He works in the lives of all those who call on the name of His Son and who look towards the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-26-2016, 04:59 PM
    That is not what the Roman Church or the Eastern Churches believed, neither at the time of the Great Schism or after (except perhaps for what Vatican II taught, regarding Branch theories and such which completely go against the Patristic teachings). They don't believe the Church can be divided, and rather each claim to be the true Church established by Christ. Before the Schism, this was true, but after it, one was the true Church and the other fallen away. To any serious seeker of the truth, this fork in the road is the pinnacle in determining where the Church of the New Testament is. It is one of two, either it is the Roman Catholic Church or the Eastern Orthodox Church. Christ's Body cannot be broken into two. It wasn't that the Church divided in unity, it was that one section fell away. Although a branch falls from the tree, it does not mean that the tree has divided. It remains one tree. You are correct, but if you think the doctrinal developments have to do with icons or the Second Council of Nicea, you would be incorrect. The innovation which developed was actually iconoclasm, and that is what was rooted out by the One Church. As for the innovations which led to the Great Schism, it did not occur in the Orthodox Church, it occurred in the Western Church (ex: Filioque), first with Rome and then the Protestant Reformation (which is the offspring of the Papal Church which broke away).
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-26-2016, 03:18 PM
    I can only speak from what I know with regards to the Orthodox Church. The studies which I found and posted earlier in the thread are not very clear on which denomination they were testing. One of the tests involved the subjects receiving Anglican communion which did not demonstrate any transmission. You will get varying beliefs on this. If you study the Church Fathers, it is quite ubiquitous stated that those sacraments held outside the Church are without grace (for example, this was the charge held against the Arians and many other heretical splinter groups which developed in the course of history.) Most priests I have spoken with tell me to worry about my own sins and let God worry about the sacraments held outside the Church.
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-25-2016, 08:02 PM
    As for the study above which you suggested should be done, it would be very interesting to see the results. It would require many volunteers if it is to produce data which is valuable and reliable. I would greatly be interested in seeing the results of such a study. It is good to have these discussions, which are fruitful and brings great benefit to those who hear and listen. I, for one, am grateful that we can do so in a forum which allows such frank discussions. I applaud the moderators who have restored order and decorum to this subforum. I also thank you jmdrake for digging deeper, so that we might find treasures. This is what friends do, and I thank you.
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-25-2016, 07:48 PM
    That's true! Every page or two, the topic is completely different, and sometimes there are four or five conversations taking place at one time! :)
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-25-2016, 02:18 PM
    Funny when lawyers start trying to be doctors. :) As I said before, I am done discussing this topic with you. However, I am grateful that we had it because it helped me find those scientific publications which I didn't know existed. I praise the Lord for this, and I thank you as well!
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-25-2016, 12:16 PM
    Experiments on the communion cup Betty C. Hobbsa1, Jill A. Knowldena1 and Anne Whitea1 a1 Central Public Health Laboratory, Colindale Avenue, London, N. W. 9 Experiments were made to find out whether the common communion cup is likely to serve as a vehicle for the transmission of infection. A silver chalice and sacramental wine containing 14·5% of alcohol were used. Observations with volunteers showed that the number of organisms deposited on the rim of the chalice varied from person to person, but was usually quite small—less than 100. Rotation of the cup was of no benefit except to those partaking during the first round, since the saliva deposited on the rim by each person in turn remained to contaminate the cup during the second round, and the combined effect of the alcohol and the silver of the chalice was not rapid enough to destroy the contaminating organisms before rotation of the cup was completed.
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-25-2016, 12:09 PM
    Here is some more: L. Managan, L. Sehulster, L. Chiarelo, D. Simonds, W. Jarvis Risk of infectious disease transmission from a common communion cup Am J Infect Control, Volume 26, 1998, pp. 538–539 "Bacteriological experiments have shown that the occasional transmission of micro-organisms is unaffected by the alcoholic content of the wine, the constituent material of the cup or the practice of partially rotating it, but is appreciably reduced when a cloth is used to wipe the lip of the cup between communicants." (again, the spoon in the Orthodox service is not wiped down- TER).
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-25-2016, 11:56 AM
    Just found this article jmdrake might be interested in, using actual scientific experimentation. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1201971213001872 International Journal of Infectious Diseases November 2013, Vol.17(11):e945–e948, doi:10.1016/j.ijid.2013.05.001 Infections associated with religious rituals James Pellerin Michael B. Edmond
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-25-2016, 11:46 AM
    Did he say that the antiseptic properties listed above is enough to explain the fact that there is no evidence of anyone ever getting a transmittable disease from partaking from the Common Cup, including during times of pandemics?
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-25-2016, 11:22 AM
    Can you point to where in the article by the Orthodox MD where he denies my premise? You have mentioned it a few times now, but I don't see it.
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-24-2016, 10:08 PM
    My premise is that it would not simply be antiseptic properties of diluted wine which can explain the lack of disease transmission from the Eucharist as administered by the Orthodox Church. Now if you believe that as well, then I missed it and I apologize. In my preceding posts, I used 'proofs' which were not good enough for you, which I totally get. You are not alone. You need scientific studies to believe. I don't, and as a physician I also say that, that is how confident I am with this topic. I think there is more than enough proof, both anectodotally and historically (as well as theologically) to demonstrate that with faith, there is no need to worry about contracting illnesses from sharing in the Common Cup. It is also the conclusion I make through experiential knowledge of actually communing of the Holy Eucharist within the Orthodox Church. Thus, I also believe there is a great deal of personal confirmation and faith which is involved. I do not deny that. Since we are at this impass which I cannot resolve with words, I think it is best that we will have to agree to disagree. Unless of course, you do agree with my first statement of this post, in which case, we are simply arguing for the sake of arguing!
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-24-2016, 09:50 PM
    Thank you jmdrake for the post above. I can tell that you are not prepared to believe in the miraculous nature of the Holy Eucharist and that I will not convince you. In that case, I will withdraw from that debate with you. It was nice discussing it with you. God bless!
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-24-2016, 09:15 PM
    What happened to the historical continuity of the Christian Faith and the very Church at the time of the Great Schism that precludes you from referencing any EO figure since? Did the Church disappear? And if not, where did it go? The Papal Roman Church? Or did it stay with the remaining four Patriarchates which are still in communion to this day? I am interested to learn what you are being taught.
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-24-2016, 09:10 PM
    What you are saying is : I take my interpretation to be above all others. HU already demonstrated above that you use the word 'corn' for at passage which is NOT what the Bible literally says. You were wrong there with your interpretation. How many other verses and words are you reading that are not what the original manuscripts literally wrote or meant? Any person can pretty much pick whatever context (even one with no historical foundation) or translation which suits them. How easy! You can't even depend on the translation you are using, how is it that you can claim to know the literal meaning of the verses and words? Even more astonishing, how is it that you think you know better than those who lived in the days of the early Church, who read and spoke Greek, and lived and worshiped with the very Apostles? I bet you that there are dozens of instances in the New Testament where you are using poor translation of the original literal word, and from that harboring ideas and beliefs which go against the witness, understanding and interpretation of the early Christians. That's okay. We all need to grow. But the problem as I see it is that you are taking a very dense and wrong approach in this new found faith. Ignoring history and one's weakness and deficiencies, and taking a prideful approach towards the meaning of the Scriptures, is not a beneficial way. It will leave you apart from the Church. We must humbly heed the voices of the great Christian saints who came before us, as important members of the body, and hand down the teachings they also handed down from their own fathers, in obedience and faith. For this is the (Biblical and historical) way the truth has endured: through humility, faith and obedience, which is through unity, love and consensus. It was a great message of St. Paul's ministry, and indeed, for all the Apostles and Saints.
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-24-2016, 07:32 PM
    What an unfortunate post. There was a greatly revered Orthodox monk of the last century (his name escapes me at this time, but I believe he was either Romanian or Greek). He was what is called a fool-for-Christ, which is when extremely virtuous and saintly monks take upon the act of a madman in order to demonstrate how crooked and illusionary the world operates, to be around and associate with great sinners in order to bring them to Christ, as well as to avoid human praise and pride. Anyway, he used to go to different places of worship, such as mosques and Jewish synagogues and Indian temples, to have peaceful and respectful discussions about eachother's faith. There he would politely listen to their points and all the while teach the listeners about Christ and the Gospel. Even though those around him would disagree with much of what he said, he was such a grace-filled and meek and humble man, they would listen to what he said, debate with him in a friendly atmosphere, and then kindly depart in peace. He said the only time he was shouted down, rushed out, and threatened physically was when he once went into a Baptist Church to discuss with them the Gospel. lol
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-24-2016, 06:55 PM
    Not really. I don't need to prove it. I already understand the great power of the Holy Eucharist by my own personal experience. Also, I have spoken with enough priests and read enough writings to believe that what I wrote above is true with regards to the miraculous nature of the Holy Gifts (which are in no way limited to the few examples I have provided). You are free to not believe it. and if you wish to disprove it, then you can go and conduct an evidence-based study to do so. But I have seen enough evidence in my own life to believe it and don't need to see a scientific study to do so. If that is not enough proof for you, I understand. I'm okay with that. Gluten allergies are not deadly and do not cause anaphylaxis as peanuts can. Well, they aren't, so your example does not apply.
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-24-2016, 11:52 AM
    I understand the science a bit (being a physician) and what I wrote in my previous post is accurate. You made the statement that wine kills germs on contact, and that is an inaccurate statement. The article you posted expresses that wine does indeed have antiseptic properties, which I am not arguing. It most certainly has antiseptic properties. That doesn't mean there are not myriads of bacteria and viruses that cannot survive in diluted wine, especially in the short time it takes to dip the spoon into the chalice. This is science as well. I am arguing about your statement that wine is some kind of powerful disinfective agent that is incapable of transmitting disease. How wonderful that would be! We could wash our dirty, bacteria ridden pots and soiled children in wine and then drink the run off when we are done! As for the fact that the Holy Eucharist stay fresh and does not turn to vinegar while sitting on the Holy Altar for a year, you seem to have ignored. Any science you know which can explain that? If there are any studies which have compared the illness rate of Orhodox Christian priests to the general populations, please let me know. I haven't seen any. I guess you will just have to take it on faith until someone spends the money and time to scientifically prove or disprove this claim. Anectodaly and historically, it does indeed appear to be the case.
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • Theocrat's Avatar
    08-24-2016, 06:15 AM
    This is definitely a "must-see" video for everyone:
    7 replies | 225 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-23-2016, 10:01 PM
    In the Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy, the priest uses a spoon to feed the faithful the Holy Eucharist from a chalice, like this: This can be a line of scores or even hundreds of people. Wine does not kill most germs on contact. Grain alcohol, maybe. But not wine. Especially watered down wine which is used in the Holy Eucharist service. It would require high ethanol content and some time to kill many of the common bacteria and viruses, but there are PLENTY of pathogens that would normally not be destroyed in the short time between putting spoons in people's mouths one after another and then finishing the entire cup. Thus, it is a miracle people do not get sick (especially the priests who consume whatever is left).
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-23-2016, 09:45 PM
    There is much to unpack here, but I will first start with your misrepresentation of what the Orthodox believe and don't believe with regards to the Church Fathers. We do not believe the Saints before us to be infallible. We do not believe them to be above question. We do not believe in running carelessly after men and succumbing to their teachings, especially when they go counter to what is the shared experience and beliefs of Christians before them. It is true that in time, as the generations went past, it became necessary to use more precise terminology to describe the Christian understanding of God. Using the limits of human reason and the human language, doctrines and terms were written to describe what is actually undefinable and unexpressable, namely God and our experience of communion with Him, in love and abiding in Him. The reason it became necessary to proclaim certain beliefs and dogma, such as the economy of the Persons of the Holy Trinity and the Christological definitions, was because of the various heresies which had grown and caused unrest within the Church. But even with that all said, this greater means of expressing the human experience of an encounter with God was not in itself creating a new experience. It was not describing a different experience of God. It was rather trying to describe what was already known and experienced by Saints of every generation. It is indeed the same Holy Spirit Who revealed the truths to the Apostles as He did to those who followed them. Humans have invented words and terms to describe these truths, but the faith remains the same faith "which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 1:3). The point is that even though the Holy Evangelists did not use the words 'ὁμοούσιον' or 'consubstantial' in the New Testament, doesn't mean that this is not what they believed. The Church had to contend against heresies and the pressures in the world, and so she did. But the Christian experience of the God-man Jesus Christ within a man's heart and the peace, joy and wisdom which comes from it, is something which is indeed personal, but shared and in union through unity, with all who have experienced His presence. Thus while Saints may have erred on particular things, it is not these errors which glorify them to be called 'pillars' and 'fathers', but rather those things they taught which resonate far and wide as being true to the people's own common understanding and knowledge about God and how Christians have always believed and experienced and handed down (namely, the catholic and orthodox faith).
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • Theocrat's Avatar
    08-23-2016, 08:47 AM
    It's the same reasoning used to justify voting for the lesser of two evils. We hear it over and over during every Presidential election cycle. Donald Trump is evil, just as Hillary Clinton is evil. Nothing is going to change with either of them in the Oval Office, and even Dr. Ron Paul recognizes that.
    123 replies | 2199 view(s)
  • Theocrat's Avatar
    08-22-2016, 08:23 AM
    Like phill4paul, I'm anti-Trump, too, but if Trump loses and we end up with Hillary as our next gun-grabbing President, then it will be the fault of the Republican Party and Republican voters who continue to tolerate, endorse, support, and vote for unprincipled, big-government candidates just so we don't end up with a stinking Democrat in the Oval Office. The GOP should have promoted Sen. Rand Paul when it had the chance because he would do far better against Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump can. And, of course, Sen. Paul has a much better record on gun rights than Donald Trump has.
    66 replies | 1295 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-21-2016, 11:31 PM
    Which guy? That is a good answer. May you be blessed by God. Hermaneutical skills? How about the hymns and liturgies of the Church, and the hagiography and writings of the Saints. Should these not play in our hermaneutical approach to finding the true and everlasting understanding of the verses in the Scriptures? Does not how the Christians lived and worshipped and understood and applied these verses give some light?
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-21-2016, 11:15 PM
    Have you ever sat around with friends and played the game of 'telephone'? St. Ignatius is like second in the circle. Are you opposed to the idea that you may have some theological errors and misinterpretations, and it is St. Ignatius, who is second in the circle, who is correct?
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-21-2016, 11:07 PM
    CL, would you be interested in helping restart this old thread? There was still much to discuss about St. Ignatius and what he wrote to the Church in Magnesia. We get a great glimpse into the early Church established and formed by the Apostles. If we want to know what the Apostles taught to those whom they handed over the Church to, and how Christian life was very soon after the destruction of the Temple and to the close of the first century, then look to God and the beloved Saint Ignatius, the God-bearer as he was called. For in his letters, we find apostolic teachings and pastoral guidance and indeed the Holy Spirit working strong. We too find in his writings deep theology and everlasting truth. During St. Ignatius' times there were many great Saints, including Apostles. Some have been remembered and commemorated to this day. Others, the pages of man's history books have no mention but whose blood became the seed for more conversions and spread of the gospel. St. Ignatius is a pillar of that era. I am happy to restart this thread but only if you give your commentary as well and answer and ask questions. Deal?
    112 replies | 1141 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-21-2016, 10:39 PM
    St. Ignatius lived in a different time, in a different world. There will be distinctions for sure. But with regards to eternal truths, there must be unity and confirmation. Otherwise, it would not be truth.
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-21-2016, 09:41 PM
    If you kissed a picture of her out of love and piety, does that mean you are worshipping her? Or the picture? RJB hit the nail on the head. We kiss pictures of our fellow members in Christ (the Saints) out of love. It does not mean we are worshiping the Saints or the picture. Our love is directed to the one whose image is on the picture, just as it is when I kiss the picture of my beloved departed grandmother. I am not worshipping my grandmother just as I am not worshiping the Saint, who is also a beloved member of my family through Christ. The Christian Faith is above all about love, and indeed a love enfleshed. It is love with movement and form. It is also a love with spirit and light. In fact, the closest thing we can say regarding the essence and ontology of God is the word 'love'. That is why St. John said "God is love". Our very ontological being in life is in relationship through love. Through communion with the other (both God and neighbor), we find true personhood, true being. That is what it means to be in the image of God - as a person who gives and receives love. This is the very mystery of the Holy Trinity, and our growth in theosis (that is, in the likeness of God) pertains to our ability to love and be loved. Images and pictures are an extension of our great love for God Who has entered into the world and sanctified it. If God is love, and God is infinite, so too is love infinite. Thus while we worship the Uncreated God in Holy Trinity alone for through Him all love finds its source and being, we too have love for those dear to us, such as our family members by birth, our friends by choice, and our baptized brothers and sisters through Christ. There is plenty of love to go around when one has allowed Christ to enter into their hearts and transform them with divine love. From this overflowing love, we find the pious acts of veneration. It is not mandatory to venerate an image of Christ or of a Saint. One is not a heretic because he feels uncomfortable doing so. It can be difficult for some due to cultural upbringing or previous indoctrination. It can be difficult also for some to differentiate between worship and adoration, especially for new converts. Having personal discomfort is not heresy, yet it does demonstrate there is room to grow spiritually. Yet because we may personally find discomfort or unease for our various reasons does not mean that those who do not are necessarily idolaters. And that is when a person is called a heretic within the Church - when they stubbornly place their individual beliefs, interpretations, and judgements to be above all and accuse their brethren falsely simply because they don't yet fully understand or comprehend.
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-21-2016, 06:59 PM
    You would have to be an unrepentant Orthodox Christian in order for me to call you a heretic. Your belief is indeed heretical as defined by a Holy Ecumencial Council, but you yourself are not a heretic since you are not a baptized member of the Orthodox Church. I understand you cannot see the difference between worship and veneration. I leave it up to God to convince you. In the meanwhile, make sure you don't kiss your mother on the cheek when you see her, lest you commit idolatry according to your heterodox standards.
    383 replies | 5527 view(s)
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