Eastern Orthodox Beliefs and Non-Beliefs
Eastern Orthodoxy has existed since the days of the apostles and therefore it is the oldest denomination in Christianity. It is also the most apostolic, since it has not deviated from the teachings of the early Church. For this reason, there is no difference between the early Church and Eastern Orthodoxy, though the term "Eastern Orthodoxy" is used nowadays to differentiate it from other modern denominations or churches. The following list is a record of the doctrines of Eastern Orthodoxy.
Eastern Orthodoxy believes:
1. That there are three Divine Persons in God, distinct, yet equal.
2. That the Father is the head of the Trinity, neither begotten, nor proceeds from anyone.
3. That the Son is begotten from the Father, of the very same essence (omo'ousios) of the Father. He is God and also truly Man like us, because He assumed human nature from the Blessed Virgin Mary, except for sin. He died on the Cross to save mankind, and He ascended into Heaven. He will come again to "judge the living and the dead".
4. That the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father.
5. That the world is not self-created but is the work of one God.
6. That there are Seven Sacraments: Baptism, Holy Chrismation, Holy Eucharist, Holy Confession, Ordination, Marriage, and Holy Unction.
7. That no one can be saved unless he is baptized.
8. That the Holy Scriptures and Holy Tradition are of equal value, and that they complete each other.
9. That God assigned to every man an Angel to guide and help him.
10. That after death, man's body goes to earth, and the soul, which is immortal, is presented before God and, according to its actions, pre-enjoys happiness or pre-suffers punishment until the General Judgement.
11. That of all saints, the Mother of God has a supreme grace, and that the veneration given to icons and relics relates not to the sacred images as such, but to the person whom they represent.
12. That God knows which road man will take, but He does not predestine him.
The following list is a record of the doctrines that the Eastern Orthodox church has never believed, due to the lack of spiritual evidence, nor were they ever accepted in the early Church.
Eastern Orthodoxy does not believe:
1. That early Christian traditions from the apostles, which deal with stories, lessons, rituals, and Bible interpretations, are either inferior to Scripture or should be totally rejected.
2. That Scripture alone reveals all the doctrines necessary for the Faith.
3. That Scripture can be interpreted flawlessly by the help of the Holy Spirit, even in opposition to early Christian doctrines and to other so-called flawless interpretations.
4. That there are only two Sacraments- Baptism and Communion.
5. That the Heavenly Church of the saints has no direct connection with the earthly Church, so that prayers for the dead and prayers to and from the saints are regarded as useless or as heretical.
6. That monasticism, the institution of monks and nuns, is of little or no value to one's salvation and to the edification of the Church.
7. That the Church is a collection of invisible Christians on earth, rather than the visible Church of the apostles, that is, all the faithful united in faith, worship, practice, and doctrine through the 7 Sacraments and the single apostolic interpretation of the Truth.
8. That eternal salvation occurs at a single moment during one's life on earth.
9. That eternal salvation occurs at the moment a person feels convicted in his faith in Christ.
10. That once a Christian feels convicted in his faith, then his eternal salvation can never be lost.
11. That a Christian can feel convicted of his eternal salvation.
12. That faith alone leads to eternal salvation, and that the eradication of one's sins, the growth of good works, love, hope, perseverance, holy knowledge, and all the other virtues are secondary to faith in the matter of eternal salvation.
13. That the union of the body's senses with the soul in worship is of little or no value in the communion of man with the Lord.
14. That the early Church had long ago been abolished, changed, altered, falsified, and/or destroyed by new and evil doctrines which gave rise to a need for later church reformers to restore the original apostolic Church.
15. That all genuine Christians are mystical priests, and that an earthly succession of apostolic priests is either inferior or totally unnecessary for the edification of the Faith.
16. That the consecrated Bread and Wine of the Eucharist are merely symbols of Jesus Christ, and that all the Sacraments are simply symbolic gestures of eternal salvation.
17. That ancient rituals in worship have little or no value in the spiritual life.
18. That Confession does not need to be done before a priest on earth, but rather to God alone.
19. That eternal salvation can be easily and equally granted to a person no matter which church one belongs to and no matter which set of doctrines one believes in.
20. That the early Church, including Eastern Orthodoxy, made serious mistakes in teaching the Faith, interpreting Scripture, and applying the original Gospel of the apostles, especially so that later correction was required.
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