Orthodoxy Q&A

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Orthodoxy

Question & Answer

What are your views over the nature of Christ?

The Lord Jesus Christ is One of two natures after Incarnation. He is God (the Divine Nature) and He is human (took flesh from St. Mary and became Man). After the Divine Incarnation He is ONE Nature of two natures mentioned above. This unity between Divinity & Humanity is without mingling, confusion, change or alteration.

 

II. Would you say that you follow tradition primarily and the bible or secondary the bible primary and tradition secondary? Would you give at least one example?

We follow the Bible primarily and holy Tradition second to the decrees of the Ecumenical Council Fathers. All the services in the Coptic Orthodox Church are based on readings and texts from the Holy Bible. In the Liturgy we pray and read every Sunday 5 readings from the Bible; from St. Paul's Epistles, from the Universal-catholic Epistles, The Book of Acts, a Psalm and the Gospel reading of the day. Also two Gospels in Vespers and Matins services.

Tradition is used to explain and elaborate.

 

During the creation of the 'man', the Bible refers to the Creator as plural, is He three or one being. (Gen. 1 :26)?

The plural refers to The Holy Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Then the Book says in Genesis 1 :27 "And created man on His image .. " that is the unity of The Trinity. God uses singularity to show oneness of thought and economy for His Divine work. And uses plurality also to show agreement among all the Three lconums (Persons) of the Holy Trinity.

 

Do you believe that Christ came to this earth and was fully man and fully divine? If so, where is He now?

And is He in the human form (being at one place at the same time or in the form of His pre-incarnation (omnipresence?)

The Lord Jesus Christ came to earth and was fully Man (took flesh from Virgin Mary and became man), and He is fully Divine for His Divinity parted not from His Humanity for a single moment nor a twinkling of an eye.

After His glorious Resurrection, 40 days later, He Ascended into the Heavens with His glorious resurrected body. He is Omnipresent yet allowed His glorious body to enter into the Heavens and be confirmed in the might of the Father-The Godhead which is of one essence with the Logos (The Word & Mind of God).

 

Is the Holy Spirit a separate identity or a "spirit" of the Father (one and the same?)

The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father (John 15:26), sent by the Son (John 15:26; 16:7) to remain in the Church and with the church till He comes back in His Second Coming to Judge the world in righteousness and give each one according to his/her deeds, whether good or bad.

 

The Father is the essence of the Godhead, the Son is the Logos-word & mind of God and God is alive by His Holy Spirit. The Book says, "and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters .. " (Gn.1 :2), so God is a living Being by His divine Spirit, which we call 'Holy Spirit.'

So, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are ONE; God and His Mind/Word and His Spirit are ONE.

 

In the Orthodox belief, how is one saved?

We are saved by several steps. First we are preached, then we believe that Christ is the Savior, then we confirm our faith in Christ by the Holy Baptism. (Mark 16:16)

The Lord Jesus Christ went to the Cross to redeem man from perdition and the debt he-man owed to the Divine Justice was paid in full on the Cross, that is why the Lord Jesus said the sixth word on the Cross "It is finished.'' (John 19:30)

By this divine act, we were saved from the bondage of the enemy-Satan.

 

Does it matter the religion you are in to be saved, and enter heaven?

The Lord Jesus said to Nicodemus in chapter 3 in the Gospel of St. John, "unless one is born again (baptized), he cannot see/ enter the Kingdom of God.'' (John 3:3) And "He who believes and is baptized will be saved.'' (Mark 16:16)

  • Also the Lord Jesus said in John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me." So, from the above verses (and many more) it is through Christ and Christianity that we enter and are brought before the Father into Heaven.
  • No one else and no other philosophy can permit humans into Heaven but Jesus Christ.

 

What is the traditional way to be baptized?

First to believe that Jesus is Savior, then confirm the faith in the Lord Jesus and then be immersed in water three times (Matt. 28: 19; Col. 2: 12); resembling the burial of Jesus in the tomb for three days, then we rise from the water of the Baptismal font "putting on Christ'' (Eph. 4:24) a "new creature" (2Cor. 5:17).

 

Do you believe in justification and sanctification? If you do, what do they mean? And how do you obtain them? By works or faith?

JUSTIFICATION: we find that in Romans 4:25; 5:18 it means God's act of declaring us 'not guilty' for our sins, where He paid our debt/dues to the Divine Justice on the Cross claiming "It is finished".

SANCTIFICATION: we also find this in Romans 5:2; 15:16 it means that Christians should become more and more like Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit in them and their deeds to show true Christian life.

  • St. James in his Epistle said; "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." [James 2:26) Therefore, we show our faith by our actions not words.
  • Also St. John in his Epistle said; "My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in action/deed and in truth." [1John3:18)

How important is the Bible?

The Bible is the word of God to each and every-one of us. It is the breath of God to us to sanctify us. The Lord Jesus said to His Disciples, "Now you are clean because of the word which I have spoken to you" (John 15:3).

  • So, the word of God provides us with cleanliness of thought, mind and actions, and cause us to be pure. As I always say, 'one chapter a day, keeps the devil away.'

 

Do you confess out our sins? If so, unto who?

  • In the Old Testament, during John the Baptist, the Book says people came to him; "And were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins". (Matt. 3:6; Mark 1 :5)
  • We confess our sins to God in the presence of His steward 'the priest'.
  • For the Lord Jesus breathed unto the faces of His Disciples after His Resurrection and said, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit, whoever sins they are remitted shall be remitted unto them, and whoever sins be retained they shall be retained." (John 20:22)
  • And we also see in the Book of Acts in the early church that "many came confessing (their sins) and telling their deeds" (Acts 19:18) before the Apostles, who have received the grace of the priesthood from Jesus after breathing on them.

 

What is Hell? Does it actually exist?

Hell is the eternal place and condition for Satan and his soldiers. (Matt. 11:23; Luke 10:15)

  • In the Gospel of Luke, ii mentions the story of the beggar and the rich man, where the rich man went to Hades for his wicked acts, "And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus (the beggar) in his bosom .. Abraham said, 'between us and you there is great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there ass to us." (Luke 16:25-26)
  • It was not designed for humans, but those who have rejected Christ and His salvation and deny His deity will spend eternity in Hell, unfortunately, with Satan.

 

Do you believe that there are cults? How do you distinguish them?

  • Yes there are many cults in this world, for they are the agents of Satan to deceive people away from the truth, i.e. Christ Jesus.
  • These "dreamers (false prophets) defile the flesh, reject authorities, and speak evil of dignitaries." (Jude 8)
  • They also promote following their teachings (Jude 12) and, in some philosophies, worshipping the false prophets or equating them to/with God!

 

How satisfied are you with your church?

It is my life for ii has and teaches the Apostolic faith from Jesus' time till Kingdom come.

 

Would you change anything? Why, or why not?

Definitely not, no changes are required for the church has all the truth and teaches nothing but the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • My Orthodox Church has all its dogma from the Holy Bible, witnessed by the Fathers of the church, and confirmed by the Ecumenical Councils. So, it is pretty sound.

 

Is it important to convert others to your specific religion?

Only if they are called by God's Spirit, yes, convinced by the salvation message of the Lord Jesus Christ, and accept Him as Redeemer and Savior.

  • I would love to see each and every person in this world, worship God in truth and in Spirit so they will not miss eternity with Christ Jesus.

 

Why should I be a Coptic Orthodox? How would it affect me in a positive manner?

Coptic stands for ‘Egyptian’; 'Orthodox' means straight praise/teachings.

  • What we, Copts received have kept without modification or alteration from the Apostles time till now and will remain so.
  • Copts love to praise the Lord, and pray to Him with diligence. Daily we have a Vespers service, then mid-night praise and prayers, then Matins we offer thanksgiving incense to the Lord, followed by the Divine Liturgy where we partake of His Body and precious Blood for the remission of our sins.
  • Also, reading the Bible daily, for it is the breath of God.

The First Ecumenical Council

The Second Ecumenical Council

The Third Ecumenical Council

Store

The First Ecumenical Council explains the deity of Christ.

 

The Second Ecumenical Council proclaims the Lordship of the Holy Spirit.

The Third Ecumenical Council addresses Saint Mary as the Mother of God Incarnate.

In addition to Pre-Marital Counseling, Father Markos has authored books about Coptic Christianity. These Items are available at his Online store.

 

Father Markos Hanna was ordained presbyter by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III on Friday, February 19, 1988 in St. Mark Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt. He served at St. Mark’s in Los Angeles from 1988-2002 and is currently serving at Archangel Michael in Simi Valley. He has written and translated many church books from Arabic to English. Amazon published one of his books; MORAL ISSUES in 2012.

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