Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

Para-Church Charismata, Rite, Ecclesiology, Mysteriology


First, it is a happy thing when anyone finds the Faith. Whatever they used to be, wherever they came from, we consider ourselves less worthy. However, this is a different question from whether conversion to Orthodoxy means right-affiliation or a right-mind.

One concerns is reports of para-church “bible studies” and “prayer meetings” forming alongside the liturgy, in which the so-called “charismatic gifts” are practiced (speaking in “tongues”, praying “in the Spirit”, getting a “word” of prophesy or letting Jesus “speak to your heart”). This is a grave thing indeed, for it means not only the establishment of a parallel rite, a parallel spirituality (mysteriology), indeed a parallel charism (another Spirit) which is incompatible with that of Christ as revealed in fullness in the Orthodox Church, but also indeed a rejection of the fullness of any rite, Eastern or Western, which is precisely the concern that many of us have consistently voiced.

When the Charismatic Episcopal Church says, “We believe that the CEC has an appointment with destiny to bring back these three streams, to make the Church charismatic, evangelical, and sacramental, all at the same time.” it must not, can never, will never refer to the Orthodox Church. The Church is One, it is Undivided, it is the Spotless Lamb and Without Blemish. it is complete, whole, and the fullness of the Faith. Any notion of coming in to “make the Church” this or “make it that”, to “bring” in fulless, is, friends, an utter repudiation of Orthodox ecclesiology.

“I’m not bringing what I want to Orthodoxy, it’s bringing it back to me.” – Kevin Barry, catechumen (True Convergence: Orthodox Podcast #4)

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January 18, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Debacle of Orthodox Radio


There are a lot of good and useful things out there in Orthodox media. But there are also some rather disturbing things, anyone with a little discernment would admit.

When you listen to Orthodox radio, and you hear an Episcopalian priest who’s being ordained use the word “resonate” 5-times in under 2-minutes: “Orthodoxy resonates”, “this resonates with me”, it tells you that the attitude of the convert and of the group he’s converting to is potentially delusional – as though Orthodoxy appears to fit into an existing “spirituality”, and as though the Faith has external criterion by which it can be judged. It is clear that the internal voice as criterion of truth, faith, and confession, is still at work in this man, and it’s a heterodox notion that has no place in Orthodoxy. People will say we’ve said, “There’s no place in Orthodoxy for you.” No, there’s no place in Orthodoxy for an Orthodoxy without conversion.

When you hear, in the same media, a Charismatic priest who’s being ordained say, “I’m glad to find that there’s a place for me as a born-again, spirit-filled Christian, in Orthodoxy.”, it tells you the exact same thing. One doesn’t want to be harsh by saying, “No, there is no such place.” There’s always a place for any individual willing to really convert, but there is no room for the delusion that “we’re ok, you’re ok, and we’re coming in for a slight tune-up”. Again, this notion of a para-spirituality which denies the Orthodox anthropology, eschatology, and soteriology, and the delusion that it is somehow acceptable, indicates that a real conversion is dubious.

There are good reasons why the Church has rules on new converts speaking in public about these things. The fact that they’re being ignored reflects precisely the kind of attitude that can entertain these delusions. Why the rush to ordain these people when clearly they’ve received inadequate catechesis, and why would they allow themselves to be ordained, when clearly they still have grave differences with the Faith we hold to be apostolic and retain attitudes that so many of us insist are doctrinally and spiritually incompatible?

January 18, 2008 Posted by | -- Catechesis & Conversion, Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Mechanical/Legal Approach to Liturgics & Conversion


The Protestant Notion of a “bare essentials” cannot become a methodology for the adoption of a rite, catechetical instruction, or reception of converts.

“What makes a western rite Orthodox? For many proponents of the western rite, all it takes is a few additions and a few deletions, e.g. “striking the filioque ” and “strengthening of the epiclesis.” This answer implies, on the one hand, that there exists a unified and homogenous reality identifiable as the western rite and, on the other hand, that except for two or three “heretical” ingredients or omissions, th is rite is ipso facto Orthodox. Both presuppositions are wrong.” – Father Alexander Schmemann (1920-1983) (SVTQ 24/4, 1980) The Priest. A Newsletter for the Clergy of the Diocese of San Francisco. Issue No. 5, May 1996

January 9, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It is reasonable to ask…


“We are now witnessing a dismantling of the traditional values and piety on which our [Roman Catholic] faith rests. Added to this state of affairs is the shocking assimilation of Protestant ideas brought into the Church under the guise of the misunderstood term ecumenism with a resulting growing estrangement from the ancient [Orthodox] Churches of the East; that is, a turning away from the common tradition that had been shared by the East and the West.”

It is reasonable to ask whether, in creating a rite specifically for those fleeing the dismantling of their confessions, we risk dismantling our own confession in the process, which has never been something shared with the heterodox over “bare essentials” of doctrine (itself a Protestant notion) which merely need a bit of help. Make no mistake, good, old-fashioned Anglican, Protestant, and Roman Catholic thinking, piety, and worship are more alien to us, than their latest innovations are to the refugees. They still have far more in common with each other, than either their ecumenist or continuing jurisdictions have with Holy Orthodoxy, and a hasty, inadequate catechesis, quick ordinations, and relatively instant mission creation without sufficient time to live the Orthodox Faith (assuming their host churches can really teach them that at all), is unfair to them, offensive to the confessions they’ve fled, and dangerous to the salvation of all involved, ourselves included.

As one current Anglican said, “If they’re going to convert to Orthodoxy, they should convert to Orthodoxy, and not just treat it as a door to remaining Anglican but without the responsibility to live in a Anglican community.”

January 1, 2008 Posted by | -- Catechesis & Conversion, -- Ecclesiology & Ecumenism, -- Evangelism, Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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