Evangelism — Orthodox and “Evangelical”

I have not been a fan of using church services alone to “evangelize.” A worship service is for…well… worship. It’s FOR Christ. Not us. But that’s just me. Obviously. ๐Ÿ˜‰

This interview with Bishop Kallistos Ware (bishop of the Orthodox Church in England) is a good read. I like this exchange on “evangelism”:

To draw in the unchurched, evangelical churches often strip away things that might be mysterious or strange. But when you invite someone into an Orthodox liturgy, you hit them full-on with strange symbolism and unfamiliar words.

Yes, and let them understand what God gives them to understand. Throw them in at the deep end of the swimming pool and see what happens. That is very much our Orthodox approach. I would not want to offer a watered-down version of Orthodoxy.

The basic rules of Christianity, our relation to Christ, are very simple. Because they are simple they are also often difficult to understand.

On the other hand, we should not be content with a bare minimum. We should offer people the fullness of the faith in all its diversity and depth. I would wish people, when they come to the Orthodox liturgy, not to think that they understand everything the first time. I hope, rather, that they have an experience of mystery, a sense of awe and wonder. If we lose that from our worship, we have lost something very precious.

 

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