5 Misconceptions About the Orthodox Church

Misconception #1 – Orthodoxy is only for Certain Kinds of People (Greeks, Russians, etc)
Misconception #2 -The Orthodox Church is the Same as the Roman Catholic Church
Misconception #3 -The Orthodox Church Worships Images and Idols
Misconception #4 -Orthodox Christians Believe they Earn Their Way to Heaven
Misconception #5 – The Orthodox Church is a Dead Religion

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKWS1-cHenc

Transcript:

Misconception #1 – Orthodoxy is only for Certain Kinds of People (Greeks, Russians, etc)

One misconception that a lot of people have about the Orthodox Church is that it is only for certain kinds of people. Only for Greeks, only for Russians, etc. The truth is everyone belongs in the Orthodox Church and we want everyone to check us out and to become part of our communities.

 

Misconception #2 -The Orthodox Church is the Same as the Roman Catholic Church

We have a lot of things in common with Roman Catholicism, but there are some big differences between the way that the Orthodox and Roman Catholics view Church authority, the way that we view salvation, the way that we understand what happens to us after we die. So even though we have a number of things in common, some very important things in common, we’re really not the same. Not only are we not the same,but we’re not in communion. The Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church have not been part of the same church together for about a thousand years now.

 

Misconception #3 -The Orthodox Church Worships Images and Idols

The word idolatry, literally it means, the service of phantoms or the service of something that is fake, something phony, and for us what we see in our icons is not something that’s fake, it’s something that’s real. An icon of Jesus is about the real God-man. Icons of the scenes are about real people who actually exist and walked this earth and now are glorified with our Lord and we connect with them with these things. An icon is for us a connection between a heavenly reality and and ourselves. If I see an icon of Jesus, when I pay honor to that icon, by say, bowing to, it or kissing it, I’m not giving my devotion to that piece of wood or that paint that is on that piece of wood. I am giving my devotion my love to Jesus Christ.

 

Misconception #4 -Orthodox Christians Believe they Earn Their Way to Heaven

One thing some people will say about the Orthodox is that we think that we earn our way to heaven. That’s not what we believe at all. We believe that the only reason why any of us can be saved it’s because of God’s mercy, which we do not deserve. There’s nothing we can do to deserve God’s mercy. There’s nothing we can do to to earn it.  Rather what happens is God gives his grace, fully, completely, to all of mankind, and then we can choose to cooperate with it or or not to cooperate with it. For instance if you if you want to get a suntan, then the sun which is shining on the whole world, you need to go out and stand in the sun and experience the sun so you can get that suntan, but if you stay inside you’re not going to get the suntan. You’re not earning the suntan by going out there, but you have to be in the sun, if you want to experience the benefits of the sun. It’’s God who does the work, but we have to open ourselves up to let Him do it.

 

Misconception #5 – The Orthodox Church is a Dead Religion

Sometimes when people will say this about religion, that is liturgical, in other words that’s focused on ritual prayer they won’t examine the rituals in their own lives. For instance, most Americans have various rituals that we do all the time. We have a ritual for graduation from high school or college, we go through a ritual when we want to inaugurate a new leader, like a president, and so forth, we might shake someone’s hand when we meet them. We all have rituals, which we always use to define something really important for us. So it only makes sense that rituals would also define what is actually the most important thing that human beings can do, and that is to worship the one true God. Far from being a dead religion, Orthodoxy is very much a live religion. Now can people make it dead by participating in it half-heartedly? Of course they can. Any ritual can be participated in half-heartedly. I’m sure we’ve all experienced shaking someone’s hand and we knew that they didn’t really mean it, but that doesn’t mean that shaking hands is a bad ritual. It’s a good ritual, but it just has to be done with the heart.