Guide Witness For The Defense: Masquerading As A Christian

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Six times deposed from office and six times reinstated, he was finally strangled by Turkish Janissaries, troops of Sultan Murad , and his body was cast into the Bosporus. In retrospect, there is something deeply tragic about his career, since he was possibly the most brilliant man to have held office as Patriarch since the days of Saint Photius. Had he but lived under happier conditions, free of political involvement, his exceptional gifts might well have been put to better use.

Christian Witness to Nominal Christians among the Orthodox (LOP 19)

Lukaris tried to bring the Orthodox church closer to a Calvinistic theological position. He entered into cordial relations with the Archbishop of Canterbury and other important Protestant leaders. He sent some of his ablest young priests to study at Oxford, Helmstatt, and Geneva. This thoroughly Calvinistic document taught that the church was subject to the Scriptures and could err, that predestination to eternal life is irrespective of good works, and that justification is by faith.

It defined just two sacraments, and taught a Reformed doctrine of the Eucharist. This statement caused a reaction in Europe. In direct reaction to Cyril, two other Orthodox hierarchs, Peter of Moghila and Dositheus of Jerusalem, produced Confessions of their own. Dositheus, Patriarch of Jerusalem from , also drew heavily upon Latin sources. The chief matters over which Cyril and Dositheus diverge are fourfold: the question of free will, grace and predestination; the doctrine of the church; the number and nature of the sacraments; and veneration of icons. As far as the divinity and humanity of Christ are concerned the Orthodox are divided into three groups:.

All these churches practise infant baptism and believe in the Nicene Creed. All the Orthodox churches believe in seven sacraments:. The Nestorians do not include marriage or Chrismation; instead they count Holy Leaven and making the sign of the Cross as sacraments.

The Liturgy of Eucharist is ancient. The Liturgy or Mass as a whole has two parts: 1. The liturgy of the word. The Eucharist. It consists of chanting; and now, in some churches, there are sermons along with liturgy. The liturgies are all ancient. Even the lectionary prepared many centuries ago is repeated without change. The liturgy is usually long. In some cases, local language translations are used. Festivals and memorial days, prayer to the saints and for the dead are observed in Orthodox churches. Icons are used in the Orthodox churches in general.

However, Nestorians object to the use of any images, icons, or crucifix. The Orthodox Christians consider sacramental worship as essential for salvation. Private confession to the priest is compulsory in all Orthodox churches, except the Nestorians. Regarding the calendar, many of the Orthodox churches follow the ancient Julian calendar, while some have changed to the Gregorian calendar made by Pope Gregory in the seventeenth century, and followed by all Catholics and Protestants.

The Orthodox church in different cultures numbers million. Immigrants found churches of the same kind as in their homelands following their mother church in doctrine, and are connected somehow to the policy or government of their homeland church. Stalin attempted to impose by force the same form of totalitarianism on all, but the results varied in each case. Approaching the Orthodox in these countries need not, however, involve us in a detailed political examination of each main relevant country USSR, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Albania.

To generalise, there are probably about Protestant missions active in Eastern Europe today. Of course, many of these are very small, and, among them, there is hardly anyone well enough versed in Orthodox theology to make a meaningful approach possible. In the USSR, with a population of million, there are 50 million Russian Orthodox, 3 million Protestant number unknown but could be higher , 30 million Muslims, and 4 million Jews. In Poland, with a population of 35 million, there are 31 million Catholics, , Orthodox using the Slavonic language and liturgy, and , Protestants.

In Romania, with a population of 22 million, there are 17 million Orthodox, 1million Catholics, , Baptists, , Pentecostals, 30, Brethren, , Lutheran and Reformed, , Muslims, and 45, Jews. Each year 6, converts are baptised in the Evangelical churches. In Yugoslavia, with a population of 22 million, there are 9 million Orthodox, 7 million Catholics, , Protestants, and 2 million Muslims. The Orthodox believe in the Bible and use liturgies. There is a spirit of nationalism and involvement in politics. In Bulgaria, with a population approximately of 9 million, there are 6 million Orthodox, 45, Catholics, 55, Protestants, and , Muslims.

In Albania, with a population of 2 million, pre-World War II statistics of the religious groups indicated 1. Since , all forms of religion have been outlawed. In almost every country of Europe there are flourishing Orthodox churches. There are approximately , Greeks in England, mostly Cypriots and living in London. In Germany there are almost , Greek workers. In Finland there are approximately 66, Orthodox. Political Situation : From April 21, , to July 24, , therewas a military dictatorship, which terminated with the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

Now there is a multi-party parliamentary democracy. Economic Situation: An important development that took place on May 28, , was the decision for Greece to become the tenth member of the European Economic Community, which took effect in January, This is bringing changes in Greece, not only economically, politically, and socially, but also religiously. Religious Situation: According to the new Constitution, freedom of religious conscience now exists in Greece, but proselytism is still illegal. The population of Greece is approximately 10 million people. Ninety-six percent are Greek Orthodox, 0.

At present, in Greece there is a striving among some priests for both higher educational standards and also more contact with source material and clerics outside their own church. Another sign of change is the activity of laymen. Through the associations, Zoe Life ; Apostoliki Diakonia Apostolic Ministry ; and Soter Saviour , the laity is struggling for a greater share in the propagation and shaping of contemporary Orthodoxy. This lay involvement is predominantly a modern phenomenon. Among the various Protestant denominations in Greece, the main ones are: The Greek Evangelical church, the Free Evangelical church, Pentecostal churches, and Independent churches.

The Greek Evangelical Alliance was formed on October 28, Finally, change is most clearly seen in the field of ecumenism. A high degree of unity has been achieved with Rome. Since the sixties, the Orthodox churches have become full participants in the World Council of Churches. By means of frequent contacts with Protestant leaders, such as the Anglican archbishops, Orthodoxy is broadening both its basis of unity and its influence in other parts of Christendom.

During the year , Athenagoras I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Istanbul, and Pope Paul VI took the first tentative steps toward the reunification of the two great Christian churches by removing the anathemas. Since July after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus , almost half of the island has been occupied by the Turks, causing a difficult refugee problem about , The religious situation is similar to that of Greece.

There are also Armenian Christians in Cyprus and Greece. Istanbul Constantinople : Istanbul today is the ecumenical seat of Eastern Orthodoxy, under the leadership of the Patriarch Demetrius I. Although he is the head of all Orthodoxy in the world, his position is purely symbolical. At one time there were 4. This decline in numbers is due primarily to political tensions between Turkey and Greece.

Christians in India represent only 2. However of India is a secular state, and there is freedom of religion. Marxists rule in Western Bengal, and a coalition government, with Marxists as a leading partner, is in power in Kerala State where the largest Christian community lives. A member of the Orthodox church is on the Central Cabinet at New Delhi, and another member of the same church is the governor of Andhra Pradesh. Since India is a secular state, Christians by constitutional guarantee can practise and propagate their faith.

In spite of attacks by some fanatical Hindus against Christian evangelistic endeavours in North India, where Christians form a minority, the political situation does not condone any interference in evangelistic efforts to reach the Orthodox or others. Although it is not as binding as the caste system among Hindus, Syrian Christians usually avoid intermarriage with Latin Christians or Protestant Christians who do not belong to the Syrian tradition.

In Iran, the single largest Christian community is the Nestorian Church with about , followers, a mere token of the once-strong missionary-minded church which was nearly wiped out with the Muslim conquest of Persia. Several other ancient Eastern churches, including the Armenians, number a total of about , followers; Protestants number about 8, As a cultural minority, Christians enjoyed special privileges under the Shah, and have requested the new government to accord the same privileges to them.

Christians claim that they are safe in Iran at present. Iraq counts about , Nestorians, 70, other Orthodox, , Roman Catholics, and about 4, Protestants. The President tolerates the Christian minority. But certain Nestorians who call themselves Assyrians often demand autonomy and privileges as a cultural minority, thus creating suspicion in the minds of the authorities. Although Shiites are more numerous in Iraq, the rulers are Sunnis. Iran wants a change in rule. The poor Christians who live in both countries may suffer as a result of these political rivalries between the two nations.

Culturally, the Nestorians in Iraq and Iran are the same as Assyrians, and claim to be the descendants of King Nebuchadnezzar. In Syria, the four Orthodox communities number a total of about ,—with , Roman Catholics and 14, Protestants. Political instability and laws prohibiting Muslims to change their religion have kept the Christian witness small. In Lebanon, the Orthodox churches number about ,—with about , Maronites Roman Catholics , and 26, Protestants. Lebanon is the only state in the Arab world with a Christian majority, and is somewhat strategic for Christian missions in the Middle East.

As a whole, Christians in the Middle East live under Muslim control. They have freedom to worship, but are not permitted to convert Muslims. Nestorian communities are found in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Jacobites are found in Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and Turkey. There are representative bodies of Orthodox in the Holy Land.

Some Orthodox churches favour the Julian calendar and are known as Old Calendarists. The population is 42 million—with 8 million Coptics, , Evangelicals, , Catholics, and Islam is the state religion. Christians are free to worship but not to proselytise. Candidates for ordination to the parish priesthood must be married, since marriage is forbidden after ordination.

The Order of Deacon is open to both men and women, and other Orders to men only. The leader of the church is known as the Patriarch, locally he is called the Pope, but he does not have the kind of authority which the Pope of Rome has. Thus no individual can make theological pronouncements.

The Luciferian Conspiracy

The theology of the church is defined by a group, after carefully studying it in a council. The Patriarch must be a monk. Monasticism has given the Coptic Orthodox Church an unbroken line of Patriarchs, beginning, it is claimed, with Saint Mark, the author of the Gospel. It is traditionally held that Mark was the first organiser of the church in Egypt. The Coptic church is conservative, going back to the church of the martyrs. It has a Coptic calendar which started on the 29th of August A.

The Muslim missionary zeal became strongest with the economic boom in the Arab oil countries, a boom which has given Islam a great boost in recent years. Partly because of this missionary zeal, but perhaps mainly because of leftist political agitators masquerading as religious reformers, Christians have once again found themselves the target of attack. They studied the example of the early church and noticed that it was marked by a spontaneity, warmth, and witness lacking in modern times.

They went back to the Word of God and began to rediscover it in a fresh way. They began to pray for the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit. Today, one sees the beginning of revival and renewal in Egyptian churches. It is especially noticeable in the Coptic Orthodox Church where new emphasis is being put on the necessity of personal renewal and on a disciplined study of the Word. They are of a diverse ethnic composition, and about half of the population are Christians—most of them, members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which is the state religion. Orthodoxy predominates in the Northern provinces, but all of the Southern provinces have Muslim majorities.

Within the Orthodox Church, the Patriarch is the highest authority, and the Synod of bishops is his body of counsellors. They have limited authority to innovate. Bishops are elected by the ecclesiastical electoral college, but because of heavy government pressure, the church is largely dominated by secular authority and of illegality as far as canon law is concerned. Over 30 mission agencies have been sponsoring about missionaries in the country. Foreign workers confront a very difficult climate, as well as prejudice, fanaticism and opposition from the State church.

In North America there are more than 6 million Orthodox, subdivided into at least fifteen national or jurisdictional groups, with a total of more than 40 bishops. The Greek Orthodox in North America number approximately 3 million, with more than parishes. They are headed by Archbishop Jakobos, who exercises leadership of 10 auxiliary bishops one living in Canada, and the others in South America. The Russians have four theological seminaries in America: St. Orthodox life in America today displays vitality. New parishes are being formed and new churches built.

The chief problem of the Orthodox communities in North America is that of nationalism and its place in the life of the church. There is danger that excessive nationalism will alienate the younger generation of Orthodox from the church. This younger generation has known no country but America; their interests are American, and their primary language is English.

Another problem is that of materialism, which occupies the mind and interest and absorbs the energy of many immigrants in America. There are , Orthodox, mainly Greeks. Melbourne, with , Greeks, is one of the largest Greek-speaking cities in the world. The situation is similar to that of North America.

Some Orthodox churches are deliberately promoting the distribution of modern translations of the New Testament to their people, and encouraging them to study it. There are about 14 Greek-speaking Evangelical churches in Australia with good evangelistic ministries. The most effective methods seem to be personal evangelism and home Bible studies. In addition to immigrant Orthodox communities found in countries such as South Africa and Kenya, there are also Orthodox churches planted among the nationals established in recent years by Greek Orthodox missionaries.

There are churches in Uganda and Kenya, with a theological seminary in Nairobi. There are small national Orthodox churches both in Korea and Japan. There are also Orthodox churches in Latin America. In dealing with the issue of a Christian witness among nominal Christians from any tradition, one must have a deep sense of the lostness of religious people. Just because a person is named among Christian peoples and has a form of godliness does not mean that he has the life-changing power of the gospel. The most subtly lost people are those who rely on the thought that they are Christians, without really knowing what that means.

Orthodox people are hard to reach with the gospel message, because most of them believe they do not need to be reached. Working with the rough nominal Orthodox will require positive, definite means and a carefully planned strategy. While some East European countries have become more open, the signs are disturbing in that the opposite is taking place in the USSR. The recent history of 60 years of persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church has led her to hold tenaciously to her own traditions and to resist any infiltration from outside.

Nevertheless, there is, alongside this resistance to change, a growing number of outgoing Orthodox who are ready to look at the meaning for them of Protestant theology. Atheistic Communism is a threat to Christianity and, therefore, it has put the fear to believe in the hearts of the people. To believe in Christ is stupid and a sign of weakness. In some countries, Christians are not accepted into the university, and the better jobs are withheld from them.

Churches have been infiltrated by communists posing as priests, including some who have become church leaders. This makes it difficult for the people to separate themselves from their church without being accused of denouncing their national and cultural heritage. Many of the Eastern Orthodox churches exist in underdeveloped countries. Their members are struggling to make a living.

Their low financial status is a burden to them. A number of them cannot think about their salvation, for they are looking for a better life in the here and now. In countries, such as Greece, which are developing economically, people are striving to improve themselves financially and socially. Because hearts and minds are set on material goods, they are more secularistic and materialistic than religious. Immigrants from underdeveloped and developing countries are sometimes hard to reach because they have been attracted abroad by the more affluent life of their new country.

For them, the Orthodox Church is often more a cultural association than a spiritual one. If they have spiritual motivations, these are sometimes turned into bigotry and fanaticism. Eastern Orthodox churches have a religious life closely related to their own culture. They have specific days on which they honour their saints. They have their own vocabulary. They have their own way of expressing their faith. There may be good and bad elements in their rituals of worship. Believers go through motions such as crossing themselves, kissing icons, and lighting candles, which are barriers to them in hearing and understanding the simple gospel message.

Close family ties in many cases create a difficult situation for those who enter a living experience of Christ, as they have to face the opposition and ostracism of relatives and friends. Most of the Orthodox people feel that they belong to the only True Church, because historically the Orthodox Church is the oldest one. The leaders of the Orthodox Church emphasise again and again to her adherents that they should be proud of their church and that everyone else is either heterodox or heretic. Thus the average Orthodox has been prejudiced against Christians of all other traditions.

Fanaticism is supported by the ignorance of most Orthodox about their faith and the truth of the gospel. Being religious at the sacramental and ritual level, they develop a form of godliness which often denies the power of God to transform them. Some believers differentiate between the office and the man; but, in some cases, the wealth of the clergy and the riches of the church have become a great obstacle to the reception of the gospel, especially in the poorer countries.

Christians believe the Bible teaches that there are rewards for faithful Christian service, as the Christian labours together with God for the fulfillment of his will on earth. As Evangelicals, we strongly and without apology declare that salvation is by grace through faith. To the Orthodox, the cross of Christ does not mean the atonement accomplished completely so that salvation can be offered once-for-all as a free gift.

Rather the sacrifice is spiritualized and is continually offered in the Eucharist. Thus Christ i. The fact that Christ took upon himself our nature so that he could die in our place is the heart of the gospel message. They forgot that the one and only Mediator preserves his human nature throughout eternity 1 Tim. Because his deity is emphasised, he is somewhat beyond our reach; and therefore, there is the need for many lesser mediators, especially the Virgin Mary, if our petitions are to get through to God.

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Through the years, the Lord used missionaries from other countries to bring the gospel to Orthodox countries. Thousands of people have been saved, and hundreds of churches have been established, Foreign missionaries are still needed today, according to local circumstances and cultures. They cannot reside in most countries of Eastern Europe, and there is a limited scope of what they can do.

However Orthodox people have a pride which inhibits their welcoming foreigners, who are considered, by many, to be agents of foreign propaganda. We realise that missions have helped very much in spreading the gospel through institutions, literature, schools, hospitals, orphanages, and in other ways. Missionaries who come from abroad should not ignore the culture of the people, but rather need to adjust themselves to the local situation.

We see the need for a closer co-operation between churches and missions. There are many Evangelical denominations with small churches in Orthodox countries. That situation creates a negative impression to the Orthodox, who do not distinguish between the Body of Christ and the institutional church.

The formation of Evangelical Alliances will help to overcome fragmentation within the Body of Christ. We must confess a lack of world vision and missionary zeal, as well as an unpreparedness in Evangelical churches. This hampers outreach and results in failure to effectively witness to the Orthodox. Pride, narrow-mindedness, and denominational fanaticism hinder the progress of evangelism. There is a lack of unity, and thus a lack of revival, in many countries among Evangelical believers.

Poor testimonies given by some Evangelicals scandalise the nominal Orthodox. Among Evangelicals, even in Orthodox countries, there is widespread ignorance of the tradition and faith of the Orthodox church. Often wisdom is not used in evangelism. Many Evangelicals ignore that which is positive in Orthodox theology and practice, assuming that everything in Orthodoxy is wrong. Protestants in Western Europe and North America are almost totally unaware of the recent history of the persecuted church in Eastern Europe. They do not help the persecuted church as much as they would desire because of government restrictions.

A major educational and support programme needs to be undertaken by the Christians who subscribe to the Lausanne Covenant. Well meaning, but often ill-informed, amateurs from perhaps missionary societies are working in countries with significant Orthodox populations. Sometimes there is needless duplication of effort, and often workers not only do not work together, but sometimes even act in damaging rivalry.

As we believe in Almighty God, we live with the expectation of seeing both Evangelicals and born-again Orthodox reaching nominal Christians in those nations with the gospel. We could use teachings common to both faiths, use Orthodox editions of the Bible, and refer to the writings of the Church Fathers and quote them in our preaching!

We should use Orthodox religious terminology rather than Evangelical jargon where this will not lead to misunderstanding of the concepts involved. We should be sensitive to their beliefs, avoiding arguments about doctrine, and we should refrain from attacking harmless Orthodox practices. In many countries, from the beginning of missionary work, both missionaries and national Evangelicals in general had the tendency to separate themselves from the culture of the people.

The churches that were established were Western churches with Western singing and decoration, Western literature and mentality, Western ways and means of spreading the gospel. There is not much in many Evangelical churches to remind people of their cultural and religious heritage.

Study of the Christian church in Communist lands is needed the experience and life of the whole persecuted church, not only the Orthodox Church. Inside the USSR, fellowship in suffering prison camps has already overcome some barriers. Solzhenitsyn, for example, learned about prayer from a Baptist while in prison, but he remains a loyal Orthodox—indeed an enlightened one. Radio broadcasting is one medium which evades political barriers. There are 16 radio stations preaching to the USSR—a magnificent opportunity. However, there needs to be a greater amount of offering co-ordination and co-operation for producing better programmes to reach all classes.

There also needs to be a better co-operation in literature programmes for Eastern Europe. The needs are immense, demanding major resources from our mainline denominations and faith missions. Due to over-all confiscation of vehicles carrying literature into the Soviet Union in the past few years, there has been a proportionate decrease in the amount of literature that has entered the Soviet Union, and tourists have been frightened to use the opportunities which do exist. In dealing with the nominal Orthodox, many of whom do not know the major doctrines of the Scriptures, there is the danger of compromising our beliefs in our zeal to identify ourselves with them for the purpose of winning them to Jesus Christ.

This is the essence of the gospel. It takes much preaching to make clear to an Orthodox that repentance and faith bring salvation. In general, there are several stages that the Orthodox mind goes through in the process of accepting Christ. They are:. Either he does not know how to be saved, or he believes he will be saved by works and by participating in the sacraments. Even if an Orthodox reads the Scriptures, he still is not sure about his salvation. But we must do good works in order to go to Paradise. Generally speaking, much time is needed to make clear the gospel to an Orthodox person.

For a time, there is a devout loyalty to Orthodoxy, accompanied however, by a frustration that he is not being fed spiritually through his church. Many Christians from an Orthodox upbringing, having trusted Christ, become hostile toward the church. This makes it hard for them to relate to the priests and properly appreciate the tradition of the church, which now seems meaningless to them.

Often, during this stage, ties are cut with nominal Orthodox acquaintances, limiting the future possibility of evangelizing them. In our study we find that three main groups of people are reaching, and will continue to reach, the Orthodox. Effective evangelism is done when the Evangelical churches in a given country work in a united way.

These churches are a permanent voice of the gospel in these countries. Church growth principles can be of great assistance in helping the Evangelicals to reach the Orthodox world.

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  • They should be careful to observe the following principles:. Evangelicals must be sensitive not to offend the Orthodox when they present the gospel to them, whether in personal conversation, in publications, in church meetings, public halls, or open-air meetings.

    How do I witness to a nominal Christian?

    The Apostle Paul set such a precedent when he was in Athens see Acts Evangelicals must be careful of their vocabulary and terminology, which may be familiar to an Evangelical but have a completely different meaning to an Orthodox. They should also attend church services occasionally in order to understand the Orthodox liturgy, worship, and mentality, to help in finding a common ground of spiritual communication.

    Such movements can prove to be effective in winning the nationals. Although some people and movements are facing problems and difficulties with the leaders of their church, some persevere and witness to their own people 1 Cor. Unfortunately, these people continually face the problems of compromise. Yet we Evangelicals can be an encouragement to them. The methods and means that can be used to evangelize nominal Orthodox people vary according to the particular circumstances. Following are suggested methods which we believe are especially effective, with comments on where certain methods may be more useful than others.

    Essentially all mass media and impersonal means should be geared to bring the interested nominal Orthodox into personal contact with someone who can follow him through the steps to conversion. Dial-in-ministry involves posting a number in public places, and callers hear a recorded message with another number to call for personal counseling. Direct phone evangelism, done in a spirit of friendliness, wisdom, positiveness, and great courtesy, can locate those who are interested in spiritual things. In these canvassing attempts, the evangelist should make his position known right from the start so as not to be misidentified.

    It is most effective when done on a united interdenominational level, and whenever it is possible to get Orthodox circles involved. On the occasions of Orthodox holy days and festivals, Evangelicals should be encouraged to hold open-air or other public meetings, appealing to the religious instincts that are more intense at those times. Evangelicals should be encouraged to offer good religious films to secular theatres and TV stations. There is a great need of Christian literature and Bibles among Eastern Orthodox peoples.

    A monthly evangelistic family newspaper has proven to be a very good way to witness to thousands of people in Greece. Also evangelistic messages in paid advertising space in secular newspapers and magazines which are read by thousands of Orthodox people, have sowed the seeds over a period of years with reopening by personal contact later on. Many of the cultures where Orthodoxy flourishes do not have the sophisticated visual productions of the West, and even simply produced materials have great appeal. In reaching the nominal Orthodox, we must have long and short-range goals.

    In the book of Acts, we read about thousands of people being saved and many churches being established. We must encourage believers and churches to enlarge their vision and set up goals to reach many Orthodox and establish local churches. Helpful tools for these and other kinds of ministries are drama presentations, Christian athletic teams, and music groups. The born-again Orthodox is faced with the problem of staying in or leaving the Orthodox Church.

    He may feel uncomfortable in his church because he is not being fed spiritually, and he has to attend the liturgy that contains unbiblical sections. We recognise that the degree of faithfulness to the Bible or dedication to dead ritual formalism within Orthodoxy may vary from one geographical area to another, as well as from one congregation to another, depending on the political and cultural circumstances, the degree of apostasy, the enlightenment and boldness of the individual priest, the extent to which the church community consists of sincere God-fearing members, and the stigma attached locally to identifying with other Christian groups.

    For this reason the following alternatives may be variously implemented, according to local circumstances. The born-again Orthodox may choose among three alternative solutions to the problem of what church to attend. By leaving the church, he is saying that he no longer trusts her sacramental system, nor fears the consequence of abandoning her. His boldness and clarity of decision arouse the curiosity and attention of his family. There are instances of Orthodox who have taken a strong stand by joining the Evangelical church, and have led a number of their close relatives and friends to the Lord as a result.

    In some areas of the world, those who come to personal experience of salvation can remain in their own churches with the hope of bringing reformation and renewal to the church. The Orthodox believer can continue to have fellowship with his Evangelical brothers for growth and edification. The things he learns from the Evangelicals can be passed on to his own friends in the Orthodox church. A number of Orthodox believers have joined parachurch organisations that have been established by either Evangelical or Orthodox believers and leaders. They are thoroughly evangelical in doctrine and maintain certain harmless practices of the Orthodox church in their meetings, thereby making points of contact with other Orthodox.

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    Also, by keeping some kind of contact with the Orthodox church, there are many opportunities to witness and lead to Christ their Orthodox relatives and friends. These Christian movements meet in homes or halls and are not stigmatised as much by the Orthodox as are Evangelical churches. These groups sometime function as churches. Their contribution is that they provide places for brothers and sisters to fellowship, and centres for systematic discipleship programmes.

    They are proving to be very effective for nurturing and teaching the new Orthodox believer. Some Christian movements in Greece, whose members are Orthodox believers, are growing considerably. They are deeply-rooted in the Scriptures and they participate very actively in establishing centres in big cities. Their programmes include home meetings and distribution of large quantities of literature among young people and university students.

    If, by the grace of God, these groups come together, they could be a great force for evangelism in this land and perhaps will gather the people who will establish a Reformed Orthodox church! This is not a new development. But the state tried to suppress enlightened tendencies.

    In , Peter the Great replaced the Patriarch with a holy synod governed by a layman who was a civil servant. As Russia saw an increasing vigor of social and reforming ideas in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, enlightened Christians planned to free the church from state dominance. The prophetic tradition did not die with Tikhon, a victim of the communists in It lived on in prisons and exile, while the church as an institution was virtually liquidated.

    They were also deeply conservative theologically. There was no schism between the tendencies, though there have been many tensions. In , Khrushchev unleashed another period of persecution. One direct effect of this was to bring the prophetic tradition out into the open for the first time since the Revolution. See, for example, the life and witness of Father Dimitri Dudko for youth ministry-preaching , Father Gleb Yukunin for human rights activity , Anatoli Levitin for presentation of Orthodoxy to the modern world , and Lev Regelson for Orthodox history of twentieth century written for the first time.

    All of these are now in prison or exile, as a result of the latest period of persecution beginning in Vladimir Poresh, 31 years of age, was arrested on the lst of August , and has been held since then in prison in Leningrad.

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    He was born in in Smolensk and was brought up in an intellectual, atheistic family. His father was for many years rector of the Smolenski Institute of Physical Culture, and his mother teaches political economics in an institute; both are Party members. When he left school in , Poresh entered Smolenski Pedagogical Institute. Three year later he transferred to Leningrad University, graduating in He then worked in the Academy of Sciences Library in Leningrad; first in the bibliography department, then in the department of the history of books.

    He has published works on Romance philology. In , Poresh was a pupil of Tatyana Shchipkova another member of the Christian Seminar now serving a term in labour camp , who describes him at that time as being sceptical about religion but a good and thoughtful student. However, his views changed after he went to Leningrad University. From thinking that everything was totally meaningless, he began to find meaning in life.

    In , he was baptized by Father Dimitri Dudko now also imprisoned and awaiting trial into the Russian Orthodox Church. In that same year, together with Alexander Ogorodnikov, he started the Christian Seminar and devoted himself to public religious activity. Poresh looked upon his activity in the Seminar as putting his Christian beliefs into practice in the world.

    Together with Ogorodnikov, he has been one of the leaders and inspirers of the Christian Seminar, which provides a forum for discussion and education for young intellectuals who have recently become Orthodox. An unusually detailed description of Poresh by 18 Christian friends reveals the deep affection he has inspired in others.

    The high forehead of a wise man immersed in deep tragic thoughts. He is a person of harmonious beauty, made so by his faith. Poresh is married to Tatyana Kupatadze, and they have two young daughters—Olga, aged 2, and another whom he has never seen, born after his arrest. Understanding is a prelude to any action. Yet, at the same time and in a wonderful way, it is these very people whom God is leading in providence, to make contacts with other denominations in the USSR and outside.

    There is here for Evangelicals a new opportunity, which needs to be prepared for and seized. CMS College Kottayam and Madras Christian College are examples of institutions started by the missionaries which admitted into their fold some students from the Orthodox Jacobite church. These students were from prominent Orthodox families who could afford higher education for their children.

    The youngsters appreciated the Christian life of the missionaries and began to attend their chapel. Other Protestant speakers and Anglican bishops also have spoken in Orthodox churches or conferences. Laymen and clergy who had opportunity to learn the Bible began to preach in their conferences. This instigated a challenge for other Orthodox Christians to study the Bible. Small groups of people, without denominational differences, began to meet in many places. They did not have any official recognition from the Orthodox Church. However, Orthodox members, though in small numbers, have participated in these interdenominational prayer groups.

    The largest annual Christian convention in the world is now the Maramon. It is attended by many members outside the Mar Thoma church, whose evangelistic association is conducting the convention. Many revival preachers from India and abroad bring the gospel messages in this convention. Many Orthodox members are renewed at Maramon. Inter-communion between the Orthodox and others does not exist, but there are inter-marriages. A corollary of these inter-marriages is a spiritual revival.

    Many women of the reformed churches become wives of the prominent laymen of the Orthodox Church. Father K. Varghese and others worked with Bishop and Mrs. The saintly bishop gave leadership for a spiritual renewal. This helped fresh light to enter the Orthodox Church. This society did evangelistic work among the lower caste Hindus. It gained about 25, converts for the Orthodox Church. This, being a missionary movement, helped many young people acquire a new vision.

    Evangelist Billy Graham preached in Kottayam, Kerala, in and , conducting crusades in many towns and villages in Kerala. All these crusades were well attended by members and leaders of the Orthodox churches. Akbar Haqq, an evangelist with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, continues to carry on this evangelistic outreach. It was reported that students who belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church were reached with the gospel by student-to-student evangelism.

    They were in turn, nurtured and trained to reach their own people. A team was formed by this group of Christian students in order to witness. Songs were composed using Bible passages which were sung to Eastern music familiar to the audience. The response was found to be very encouraging. Michael Kalopothakis, was not an attempt to establish a competing denomination, but sincerely looked for the conversion of Orthodox nominal Christians who would remain in their own church. Many of its early leaders had significant impact in witnessing to the Orthodox community.

    This also could be said of the founders of the Free Evangelical Church in the beginning of this century such as Dr. Constantine Metallinos. A century of expansion and development has seen some rising and falling of numbers, but we believe that God is preparing a host of evangelists to witness to nominal Orthodox through the Evangelical Youth Movement KEN , the nation-wide fellowship of young people in the Greek Evangelical church. This preparation has taken place in several stages. Initially, in , there was the need to create a family atmosphere to strengthen the morale of the often-isolated youth.

    The movement was challenged to pray for renewal and revival. Seasonal camps and conferences were organised to promote mature discipleship and broaden the scope of evangelism. During the difficult years of political dictatorship , the young people took the initiative, despite restrictions on religious expression, to actively communicate the gospel.

    Since , strong leadership has encouraged initiative, the use of talents and a concern for missions, with the corollary that many young people are remaining current in their social environment in order to relate the gospel more effectively to their Orthodox contemporaries. This new missionary interest which has caught fire within the Evangelical Youth Movement has given them a new love, interest, and spiritual compassion in their witnessing to their Orthodox friends.

    This movement is already being used by God, and it holds great potential, along with other Christian movements, in the evangelization of Greece. AMG —former! Clearly, there is a special emphasis on Greece itself, where the following operations have been established:. The Evangelicals have become more known to the Orthodox than before.

    A number have come to a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ, and many others have been enlightened. These are factors which are influencing the Orthodox Church. Spiros Zodhiates. Ministries similar to the above have been established in many other countries, representing all six continents. Christian Living Is it really possible to maximize each and every day?

    Author Kelly Wilson believes Author Kelly Wilson believes the answer to the above question is a resounding yes! This book provides a simple, but profound, model that shows you how to make each View Product. A Witness Called Marcus. McDougall is a work of Christian fiction McDougall is a work of Christian fiction that follows a Roman Centurion who finds himself drawn into the passion story of Christ during a tour in Roman-occupied Israel.

    After witnessing His crucifixion Celebrations and Challenges For Christians. The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world! John If anyone wants to come with me, he must forget himself, take up his cross every day, and follow me. Luke Celebrations and Challenges for Christians The Holy Spirit. Man - Ad-dahm'-red earth Is it free? What is the substance Combat Christianity. This is the final book of the Christian's Promised Land series. In this series we In this series we have progressed from the elimination of traditional baggage and misinformation Why Bad Things Happen to Good People through restoration and revitalization of the message most Conquering Demons.

    In these last days, radical Christians are needed! Will you enlist in Christ's army to expose Will you enlist in Christ's army to expose and overcome the enemy? It is my desire, that a new generation of radical Christians will rise in these last days, and that this book will Ending the Day With God. Steve Parr is originally from Little Rock and attended Vanderbilt on a football scholarship, majoring Steve Parr is originally from Little Rock and attended Vanderbilt on a football scholarship, majoring in business and Asian history.

    Parr served as vice-president and international specialist at