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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Catechumen responds to Paul Negrut

As seen from his blog:

In Response to Paul Negrut


"While browsing Hank Hanegraaf's website, I decided to
do a search for the Orthodox Church and see what the site had to say about it.
Initially it was rather respectful of the Church...then I came across this
article by Paul Negrut, entitled Searching for the True Apostolic Church: What
Evangelicals Should Know about Eastern Orthodoxy and originally printed in
Hanegraaf's publication Christian Research Journal. What I read shocked me.

Negrut opens his article by citing the famous event where Peter
Gillquist, along with 2,000 followers from 17 different churches, embraced
Orthodoxy. It was proclaimed by many of them as a "coming home" to the apostolic
church. Taking a right turn, Negrut says to us that "one cannot avoid asking if
such statements are based on solid historical and theological arguments or if
this movement is yet another religious diversion."

I am curious as to
what this "religious diversion" is. Diversion from what? Is the Orthodox Church
comparable to Mormonism or Jehovah's Witnesses, who are drawing people away from
the true meaning of Christ? Perhaps Joel Kalvesmaki, editor of Dumbarton Oaks
Research Library and who wrote a response to the article, is right when he
asserts that the "growing number of converts to Orthodox Christianity from their
own ranks, Evangelicals have begun to publish to stave off the growing success
of a Christian tradition that, until recently, has generally been unknown."
However, I'm not particularly fond of conspiracy theories, and I don't think
this one article is proof of Protestant plan to turn people away from Orthodoxy
- I think it is simply an example of someone ignoring the real facts due to
stubborn thinking. I'm also not particularly fond of those with a "martyr's
complex" and don't want to make those reading this blog for the first time think
the Orthodox population has such an attitude.

In any case, Negrut's
article is full of misunderstandings and fallacies, which I'd like to go into in
detail by following his arguments point by point.


ORTHODOX FAITH OR
FAITHS?


Negrut begins his critique of Orthodoxy by saying that,
contrary to popular belief, "Orthodoxy is not a monolithic bloc that shares a
unified tradition and church life." The term "Eastern Orthodoxy," Negrut
explains, "comprises all the Christian churches that separated at an early age
from the Western tradition (Rome) in order to follow one of the ancient
patriarchies (Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople)."


The problem here is that Negrut has his history completely reversed:
Eastern Christianity did not split from Rome - Rome split from the East! I spoke
about this in greater detail in
this entry, but I will summarize it
here.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Rome felt
isolated due to political separation between east and west, and gradually more
and more power was granted to the Roman Pope, who began to act more independent
of the other Churches. After conflicts of interest in the Balkans and Latin
versus Greek services, a Roman delegation excommunicated the entire Eastern
Church in the 11th century, thereby splitting west from east. The sacking of
Constantinople by Crusaders fulfilled the schism.This made me wonder if Negrut
had really read Gillquist's book, rather than glanced through a few pages or
read a couple of reviews for it. All of what I've just said is discussed from
pages 47-53 of Becoming Orthodox, with two pages dedicated to a map showing the
splits Christianity experienced from the crucifixion of Christ to the Anglican
churches."




To read the rest, go to his blog: In Response to Paul Negrut






JNORM888

2 comments:

Tony-Allen said...

Thank you for posting this here, as well as the kind words on the original post. You truly flatter me!

Jnorm888 said...

no prob, anytime!




JNORM888

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