De curând a apărut un nou blog evanghelic românesc (chiar dacă este scris exclusiv în engleză). Autorul este cunoscut în diverse moduri celor din ţară, dar mai ales celor din diaspora, deoarece locuieşte în prezent în Statele Unive, unde “păstoreşte” un grupuscul baptist la San Diego. El se numeşte Paul Dan.
Numele blogului, (relevant sau confuz – depinde de perspectivă) este Eastern Orthodox Reformation.
Principalul text afişat (deocamdată) pe acest blog este un eseu destul de lung, din care vă citez un fragment semnificativ, care vă va ajuta să înţelegeţi, poate, titlul acestui post. Deoarece este vorba, în mod evident, de un blog antiortodox, nu voi cita prea des din el. Ceea ce urmează însă mai jos trebuia să apară aici. Sper că veţi fi de acord.
Ştiu bine că există riscul ca acest post al meu să crească rapid numărul de accesări pe blogul cu pricina, dar trebuie să răsplătesc cumva “amabilitatea” cu care autorul mi-a trimis acest text într-o formă preliminară, înainte de a-l afişa pe blogul său nou-nouţ.
Vă transcriu deci, mai jos, pasajele cu pricina, fără comentarii (deocamdată), ca să vă puteţi desfăta şi voi cu ele aşa cum m-am desfătat şi eu. Vă doresc lectură prielnică! Voi reveni.
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The Eastern Orthodox Strategy in England concerning young Romanians seeking PhD in theology.
I think it is a fair game for the E. Orthodox to facilitate grants to the young Romanian students (and others) in order to get a PhD in E. Orthodox studies, because Evangelicals also share their faith with the Eastern Orthodox at large. None of these Christian denominations should be afraid of exposing their convictions to each other. When E. Orthodoxy accuses Evangelicals of proselytism, they just prove theological insecurity. The problem is not with the E. Orthodox assisting Eastern Europeans to study their theology, but with those Eastern European Evangelicals who by studying E. Orthodoxy and become persuaded of the mysticism thereof. These Evangelicals prove that they are either uncommitted to the Bible, or not born again. Another problem with Eastern European students studying E. Orthodoxy abroad is their lack of training in the doctrines of grace, specifically an in-depth analysis of the epistle to the Romans. Still, I personally know several Romanian theologians who earned their PhDs in England on E. Orthodox subjects, and remained perfectly sound. Although I will express critical views on specific theologians in the next paragraphs, I care for them and I pray for them.
Emil Bartos as I mentioned was supervised by Timothy Ware in writing his PhD dissertation. His work later became a book known as Deification in Eastern Orthodox Theology: an evaluation and critique of the theology of Dumitru Staniloae. This book fails a scholarly exploration of Staniloae’s theology, because it lacks a competent discussion of its Neoplatonic foundation. An example of how E. Orthodox scholarship should look is John Meyendorff who does not avoid exposing Neoplatonic foundation of the Eastern Church. Bartos’ work developed within E. Orthodox perimeters is not fully academic. Probably was no freedom to work with Timothy Ware as a PhD mentor.
Although Emil Bartos disagrees with different aspects of Eastern Orthodoxy, and respectively with portions of Staniloae’s dogmatic theology, still he adopted concepts from it, and tries to be an integrative theologian of protestant and mystical Eastern Orthodox Theology, which is an impossibility. He renders a indirect service to the mystical cause worldwide. The result is Emil Bartos compromised his Evangelical stand and his Biblical protestant theology. Bartos got a lot of recognition for his work, but in the same time, he became an Eastern Orthodox at heart and later an ecumenist. In private discussions, he was promoting E. Orthodox theology among Evangelical students, while he was a professor of systematic theology at an Evangelical university.
Danut Manastireanu is an astute thinker, but rebellious, restless, ecumenist, and uncommitted to the Bible. He is a Romanian theologian. He is totally pro-Orthodox. His doctoral dissertation is done in England, researching the area of The Perichoresis of the Trinity, a highly speculative mystical subject. He considers Dumitru Staniloae as the greatest Romanian theologian109. This assessment is untrue unless he puts the word mystic before theologian, in order for it to make sense. Still, there is no such thing as mystical theology. It is a contradiction in terms. Therefore, Manastireanu’s assessment fails. Manastireanu offers an opinion that the formation of a good theologian also implies rabbinical studies, like in the case of his tutor William Horbury110. One of the latest developments of Manastireanu’s “spiritual journey” is joining the Anglican Church111. All these issues prove his gradual departure from a Biblical Christianity and the possibility for him to move to other forms of historical Christianity and even non-Christian religions. As a side note, a prayer by Theresa of Avila is presented on his blog as something commendable, when in reality she excelled in occultism112.
Silviu Rogobete is another Romanian Evangelical turned pro E. Orthodox and ecumenist. He is paradoxical because in spite of his pro E. Orthodoxy, he still vigorously defends Evangelical rights. Rogobete’s PhD studies also have an Eastern Orthodox subject. No one will debate his good intentions, but with time, his appreciation for the Eastern Church mysticism will grow. That will lead him, and others with the same background to later become supporters of mysticism driven apostasy.
Conclusion on some Romanian Evangelical Scholars. The three theologians mentioned in this short analysis are part of a larger group of young, eager Evangelicals who have studied or are studying abroad in order to secure doctoral degrees. God gifted them with great abilities, earning highest honors from Cambridge, Oxford, and the like. The problem is that those who depart from a Biblical commitment, and instead practice a philosophical theology, engage on a pathway that is hard to return from. There is also a clear manifestation of an elitist behavior among them, being disconnected from the life of the church.