Saturday, May 19, 2012

What Does Orthodoxy Mean to Me?

I want to write about what Orthodoxy means to me. I hope that this will become an ongoing series on this blog, with me updating semi-regularly. I'll add the tag "Meaning of Orthodoxy" to any post that would fall into this category so any interested readers can find those posts. And note, this is my own personal interpretation of Orthodoxy and does not necessarily mean that other people's views are the same as mine.

So, what does Orthodoxy mean to me?

Firstly, the Orthodox Church is the True Church that was established by Jesus Christ and has stood the test of time whilst also prevailing against the gates of Hades. I know that there are many denominations that teach that the early Church fell into apostasy soon after the last Apostle died, or that "true Christians" went underground after the Edict of Milan only to resurface during the Protestant Reformation when it was safe for them to do so.

Personally, I do not believe this (at least not anymore). Through my own research it seems apparent to me that the Apostolic Church carried on in the faith down through the centuries and is now known as the Orthodox Church. Reading some of the earliest Church Fathers (St. Clement, St. Ignatius, St. Polycarp, and St. Iraneus) and the Didache - an early document circling around the Church in the time of the Apostles - has shown me that what they taught is what was taught by the Apostles. Subsequent Fathers taught the same things as the Early Church Fathers and so on and so forth down through the centuries as is evidenced by their works. Also, if the Church fell into apostasy then Jesus either lied or was wrong, which means that He is not God and therefore Christianity as a whole is meaningless.

Secondly, Orthodoxy is the means to salvation. It used to be that when somebody asked me if I was saved that I would say yes. I mean I had said that prayer and I had been baptized, that was all that was required of me, right? But those verses in the epistle of St. James (2:14-26) kept nagging at me. Every where I looked I saw faith with out works, people would wear the name of Christian so they could fit in with others, but they never really wanted to do anything to prove that they were Christians. I was one of them. Everything you do in the Orthodox Church is aimed at working to achieve theosis - to achieve salvation; from the Eucharist and the other sacraments, your daily prayer routine and many other things. Now if some one were to ask me if I am saved I would say "I have been saved/ I am being saved/ and by the grace of God, I will be saved" is a more apt answer, especially to Evangelicals. There is much work to be done, and the work is done to improve faith. The reverse of those verses is also true, work with out faith is just as dead.

That is all for now, I don't want to make these posts novels. That just crams too much information into a tiny space, and I believe that reading would cease to be fun then. Also, this gives me time to arrange my thoughts into more coherent forms instead of rambling on and on with no connection between any of what I say. I don't know when I will update on this again, but it will be when I have more to add in a semi-coherent form. 

Also, special thanks to my editor for helping me to improve this post.
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