Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I would be very interested in people's reactions to this article by Daniel Greeson

From Restoration to Orthodoxy


judy thomas said...

Interesting. Not familiar with Orthodoxy--Greek, Orthodox Presbyterian, or what? See Deana Nall's experience in Deanaland. Link on my blog. Judy Thomas

judy thomas said...

that's July 8, 2007

Maximus Daniel said...

I am interested to see how COC would respond to my journey. It is somewhat bare bones on Faith and Theology, maybe I could add more to what I had there...

and btw, I am in Nashville every weekend, it is where my parish is.

Brian Littlefield said...

well, my understanding of the orthodox church is limited, but I believe that they're just a half-step off of the Catholic church.
I have a friend who recently converted from highly conservative CoC to Catholicism, and my main reaction was that it was sad. Trading the truth of living by the Word and the spirit for fabricated (over millenia, but still fabricated) structure of a liturgical church.
On that note, I'll counter what the latest Pope had to say about other churches and admit that (this should not be a surprise to those within the CoC) Catholics are not true Christians.

Maximus Daniel said...

My questions are
Is not the COC a structure that is only 200 years old?
What qualifies a true Christian?

Kevin Burt said...


Hey, it's been a while since I've been to your blog. Incidentally, I am a former minister in the CofC, and I and my family am also converting to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Brian, your perspective on the Orthodox Church is understandable since you said it is limited; the "half-step" from the Catholic Church is more akin to urban church legend.

To be quite frank, when I run into people who make careless statements like, "Catholics are not true Christians," I realize I am in the company of one who, well, makes careless statements. I have much respect for my friends and family still in the Restoration Movement, but I am glad to have found the historic Church. A believe a "true Christian" is less concerned with "countering the Pope" as with being a living witness of the resurrection. That is, at least, what they teach us in Orthodoxy.

Phil said...

Hi, Kevin. I'm curious, how similar is your story of conversion to Daniel's?

Casey said...

'A believe a "true Christian" is less concerned with "countering the Pope" as with being a living witness of the resurrection.'

How can you be a witness of the resurrection when you have not _seen_ the resurrected Lord?

The apostles and other who saw the Lord after his resurrection are the only such witnesses (Acts 10:40-41, 13:31).

Brian Littlefield said...

well, the denomination of the churches of Christ is only about 200 years old, but the church is 2000 years old. I firmly believe that the Roman Catholic church deviated from the real church long ago (over a thousand years ago - beyond that the lines start getting blurry).
the list of what makes a true Christian is extensive, but actually pretty simple. you have to understand sin, and be aware of the separation from God and other destruction that it causes. and you have to admit, with incredible remorse, that you (and every person on the planet) are a sinner. you have to understand that Christ alone provides our salvation (no prayers to saints, or intervention by a caste of priests or anything else, or earned entrance into heaven through pennance) and only when we repent from our sins. you must have faith in God and His word, and dedicate the rest of your life to serving Him above all else in this world.
It's a single-minded abandon to returning to the Lord.
I don't know a single Catholic who has ever had such devotion, and followed according to the Word, rather than to traditions of men.

My statement was far from careless. I firmly do not believe Catholics are Christians. I know that the Orthodox church promotes a separate priesthood which denies the reality that we are ALL priests (I Pet 2:5,9 ; Rev1:6, 5:10), and may approach God freely without an earthly mediator. I believe that the priesthoods in both religions dictate that the priests should be referred to as "Father" when the Bible clearly tells us to NOT refer to anyone on earth as Father (Matt 23:9). I know that they participate in exalting saints, which is a form of panthiesm that was allowed into the church when it was legitimized as the official state religion in Rome. I know that every Catholic I've ever known has had more knowledge of the (written-by-men) catechism than of the Bible. I know that the Orthodox church practices infant baptism, giving a false sense of security to those who've been in the church "all of their lives" and have never come to faith completely on their own. I believe that the Orthodox church exalts one man to the same level as the Pope, which is another form of institutional idolatry.

Have I covered enough items?

Maximus Daniel said...

Just because you dont know a Catholic who is supposed to be doing what they're faith believes does not negate the validity of the Faith. I have met many wonderful and devout Catholics.
I am sorry but you misunderstand the nature of the Saints, Priesthood, or the Ecumenical Patriarch.
Our salvation is based solely upon the work of Christ. The Saints are not gods. Every Orthodox theologian would affirm the priesthood of all believers, a Priest is a presbyter (greek for elder which anglicized means priest) and ordained to his position. Your use of the passage about Fatherhood is nonsensical, we cannot call ANYONE in our life Father? Did not Paul talk about his Fatherhood in the faith to Timothy? and to other congregations?
The Ecumenical Patriarch is in no sense a Papal figure who legislates beliefs.

You understand your interpretation of scripture based upon certain Reformation and Restorationist principles, so I may in turn say that you understand the Bible only through that lense. Which is different a catechism or a tradition of interpretation?

I really doubt that Phil desired for this type of discussion to occur on his blog. I was afraid these are the type of responses I would receive. Brian, I highly suggest you study what Orthodox believe about every issue before automatically presuming they are wrong.

Phil said...

Well, I asked for reactions, so I don't mind it at all.

Brian Littlefield said...

listen. It's clear to me that you just want to prove yourself right in all of this, so you are resorting to emotional, unsubstantiated arguments. you're not going to prove anything to me - my authority is the Bible, not the church or any long-standing traditions.

I've fulfilled my responsibility in telling you the truth. Whether you accept it or not, whether you walk away from the real church (in going back to the traditional Eastern Orthodox sect), whether you like me or not..... These things are all beyond my ability to control. You know that I (and many other readers of this blog, no doubt) believe you are trading the truth of God for a lie, and that should suffice.

Go in what peace you may have.

DB Carden said...

Just for the record, this reader of this blog does not endorse or believe what Brian is saying.

There is something extremely distasteful about this typical church of Christ response. It claims the bible as authority but does not learn the lessons of it, such as Matthew 18.

Here's where I have trouble with being gracious, so I should probably just stop, but I'll say one more thing. It is about time for us to focus on what unifies us rather than on what divides us.

Kevin Burt said...

Whew. I forgot what these discussions can be like. Phil, I'll email you privately about my conversion.

Brian, forgive me for presuming you to be careless. I am saddened, however, by your lists of judgments against a people that I have had an obviously different experience with. Such is the state, I suppose, of a divided and wounded Christendom. I pray for its unity and for an end to bitterness, on all sides.

Yes, your list is long enough. It contained enough misunderstandings to turn me off from further discussion. I'd recommend some good Orthodox theological works that might help clarify some of your misunderstandings regarding what Orthodox believe.

But, in the end, forgive me if I misread you. I am a sinner; I depend upon God's mercy. I think under the current feeling I get from your comments, further discussions might not be possible in a charitable manner.

If anyone is interested in discussing this further, please email me privately or visit my blog. The peace of Christ be with you all.

Thomas+ said...

I have rarely read statements from a more arrogant person than this Brian Littlefield. If his attitude is the fruit of his religious ideas, then God save us from his religion. It bares bad fruit.

Phil said...

Welcome to conservative Church of Christ theology, Thomas+.

Brian Littlefield said...


Based on everything I'm reading here, I'm going to do a little bit of extrapolation and assume that any/all of y'all would regard Mormons as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Is that correct?

TCS_Architect said...

I missed this one when it was posted. I went back and read the article. Very interesting.

I shared a room (at a chamber of commerce retreat) with a guy 8 or 9 years ago who had somehow decided to become a orthodox priest (Russian Orthodox I think)at the time I didn't know what to even say to the guy. Sad really that my thinking was so narrow that I just pegged him as a kook.

But to go from a "anti" Church of Christ upbringing all the way to where Daniel is now really is interesting. Yancey has pointed so many of us toward others writings and taught us about Grace. I really identified with that part.

Its a great big world full of color.

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