Malankara World

View of Orthodox Church Practices from a Pentacostal Faithful

Another view from Orthodox Faithful

Reg:

View of Orthodox Church Practices from a Pentacostal Faithful

Answer from Orthodox Faithful

Thank you for sharing your answers to questions posed by a pentecostal member. It was interesting and enlightening.

One other thought that came to mind when reading the letter of the pentecostal member is how many of his doubts/skepticism are in line with common arguments of the non-apostolic churches. It's therefore safe to assume that these ways of thinking were given to them by someone else.

This brings up a very obvious point about our church. In the olden days, our faith was given to us by our family (which included the "extended" family we think of today). Plus, the church included the community. We prayed and worshiped together as one family within a village. So there were many different people who held the same faith.

Now we grow up with only our parents. Our grandparents, uncles, aunties, and cousins are either in another state or another country. Our friends don't even know who Christ is. The church is someplace we go for 3-4 hours within a 168 hour week.

With these changes is the necessity of our church to change, as well. Church can no longer exist as a Sunday-only institution. Ministries must start within our church: regular prayer meetings, youth/men's/women's ministry, etc.

From my observations in America, where there is a church with ongoing spiritual activities and get-together's, there you will find members who are more attached to their faith. As they get together to learn about Qurbana, tradition, faith, etc., they have a deeper understanding and appreciation of their church; they begin to take ownership of their own faith.

The concept of infant baptism alludes to this idea. Why do we baptize a child who is ignorant of what's happening to him/her? One of the main reasons is because the Church is seen as a family, under One Body. It therefore becomes the role of the Church, the family, to form this child into the faith that he/she will eventually accept. Why does our church not allow the mother or father to be the godfather/godmother of their child? Aren't they the closest ones of the child? One main reason is because the family of this Christian child must now extend beyond simply his mother and father. In other words, an active and vibrant church community is more likely to bring about an active and vibrant Christian.

Anyway, this idea of moving away from a Sunday-only church has its barriers. First of all, if the priest is working full-time at a secular job to feed his family, this idea becomes impossible. It's no surprise that pastors within pentecostal churches are typically full-time pastors. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many of our churches outside of India. Another major barrier is the mentality of the church members. If priority is given to secular events, then families will only look to the church on Sunday morning's. And typically these families will inherit children who place secular things first, and the church last.

On the other hand, our church is gradually seeing the benefits of ministries outside the Holy Qurbana. If these on-going ministries are led by church-loving leaders, then they will serve to bring greater value and importance to the centrality of our Holy Qurbana.

So, in summary, let us think about ways in which we can make our own churches move beyond the thinking of a Sunday-only institution.

George Aramath

See Also:

View of Orthodox Church Practices from a Pentacostal Faithful

Answer from Orthodox Faithful

Are You Saved? Answer to Pentecostal Followers

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