Initial Objections

In the last post, I mentioned that I was brought to the Orthodox church kicking and screaming the whole way. In this post, I will aim to give light to the reasons I was kicking and screaming for so long.

I will not aim to answer these objections in this post, merely to point them out. As this blog is about my journey to Orthodoxy, the answers will come in the order in which I found them. I ask your patience as you follow my steps into the church.

There were three major objections I had to the Orthodox church from the outset. They are also all very closely linked.

  1. Similarity to the Roman Catholic Church. 
    • Growing up, my two closest friends were Roman Catholic. They were awesome people, and we often shared what are churches were like. But mentally for me whenever they would share, I would “guard” my thoughts by hedging their beliefs into a box that I called “heretical”. It was fine for me to listen to them as long as I didn’t buy into what they were saying.
  2. Importance of Mary in the Church
    • Tagging onto the first objection, Mary was central to most of my hesitations about the church. For much of my Christian education, I was taught that Mary was simply a woman who obeyed God. There was nothing special about her, other than her obedience. Coming into a church where she is honored was to me similar to honoring the waiter who brought your food. They didn’t cook the meal, so why would I give them honor that is due to the cook?
  3. Prayers to the Saints/Guardian Angels
    • The final of my three major objections was the way that I perceived prayers to the saints. After all, Hebrews 4:14-16 says that Jesus is our high priest. We should pray to him, and him alone. Again some of the Catholic misgivings I had tainted my view here. I saw the prayers as being directed straight to the saints with the expectation that the saints themselves would answer them. This basically said to me, that my concerns or cares were not important enough to God or Jesus for them to answer them directly.
To repeat, these were the three major concerns that I had. They are all stated above as I thought them at the time. They are filled with my misconceptions about the truth behind them. And I will answer them all in time.
I had some other objections as well, though I found these to be more minor.
  • The Deuterocanonical books. Growing up there were 66 books to the Bible, no more, no less.
  • Iconography. This one seemed plain to me, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
    • This one could be classified as a “major” concern like the three above. However, I didn’t want to dilute the above list with “similar” concerns, due to the closeness of Iconography and Prayers to the Saints. However, I still want to address it, and so I shall.
  • Confession to the Priest. Again Hebrews 4:14-16 objected to this in my mind. Why should I tell a fallen person my own sins, when God is present and listening?
  • Kissing the priests hand or kissing the cross/icons.
  • Honoring relics.
  • Lack of “teaching” during Sunday service
  • Ethnic importance
These are just some of the objections that I had during my initial observance of the church. There may be others that I have forgotten, and as they come up, I will address them.
As I stated in my first post, I do not claim to have all the answers, or perfect understanding of why the church believes as it does. I simply aim to share my personal journey to the church, and will answer these objections with what made sense to me and why I now believe the way that I do.
Christ have mercy on me a sinner.
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3 thoughts on “Initial Objections

  1. I was raised in Catholicism. I was told what to think about God, how to respond to God, what God will do or not do for me. It wasn't until I left the church that I discovered Christianity through the Bible. The Bible came alive to me because it is Alive with His Inspiration. Perhaps you had this wonderful background before you discovered Orthodoxy. You know freedom in Christ. Someone who has never experienced a personal relationship might not comprehend what they may be missing. Being born again by the washing of the Word is a gift that permits exploration. You will never be forsaken or lost. Without that personal transaction of faith in Christ (being born again) relying on church tradition is not as satisfying. It can also stunt one's spiritual growth. And it can disguise God's rich promises as payment for ritual and for accepting spoon-fed doctrine. This may not be your experience, but it was mine. I thank God for showing me His Truth as the Bible reveals. I don't think I would have discovered it in Catholicism. I am confident that you are born-again, therefore research and participation in Orthodoxy is fine for you at this point in your life. God will continue to guide you because He has promised and he has a plan for you that is different than mine. He uses everything for our good. I am humbled by this!

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  2. Thank you for your comment. For me, I became very legalistic through my own understanding of the Bible. Things were black and white, and I eventually had to allow myself to be humbled and re-molded to discover the freedom of Christ. I'm very excited to hear that you have discovered this truth. I'll be praying for you as well that you stand strong in this truth (I know the cares of the world tend to make us forget!)

    In Christ, Urzo.

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  3. Hi Nikodemos. When I was a Fundamentalist Baptist, I conceived of Mary as something like a “waitress”, too. In my heart I was rude to her, and about her. And yet, Mary as the second Eve reversed Eve's “No” to God with her own “Yes” to God, “Be it done unto his handmaid.” Unquestioning faith, immediate response despite the innocent question about how a Virgin might conceive. And in her prophecy she herself interprets the even in inspired Scripture as the Lord magnifying her by doing something magnificent in/through her. It goes without saying that Maryolatry is false worship; and yet, she is far from mere waitress. She is positively as significant as Eve is negatively significant. In addition, our Lord Jesus himself had a relationship with her that was just so in John 2. She intercedes for us, and the Lord loves her and listens. It goes without saying that this detracts nothing from the Lord's sovereignty and glory. And so we love her, too, as the Mother of our Lord and our Mother of the “Christian race.” And yet, only ears that might hear can receive this.

    Although I agree with Humble Bumbler above in the best of what is affirmed, that is a personal encounter of faith and life in Christ, I fear the errors of Catholicism and apparent experience in revivalist religion color the conversation a bit. No Christian group is without their tradition; all rely on it. Orthodox Tradition, however, is not parallel to the Word. Scripture is in Tradition, not alongside it as the Roman Church came to speak of it. The concepts of 'payment' and 'transaction' are likewise Medieval Latin notions truncated if not altogether foreign in Orthodoxy. I digress. Like I say, however, in the main I think Humble Bumbler makes the salient point that a person must be in relationship with Jesus Christ for salvation. Glory to God for all things.

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