in Eastern Orthodoxy
if you are a Protestant and/or an Evangelical reading this article, please do not underestimate how important this topic is. It is practically a refutation of Eastern Orthodoxy.
Please read this carefully!
It is like a refutation of Orthodoxy!
Telling people your church is infallible has a lot of upsides in the art of deceiving people and getting converts from fear, but a big downside is the inevitable conclusion that - if you find one single thing they have wrong - the whole infallibility lie drops apart and crumbles like a cake left outside turning into mush on a rainy day. The catechumen issue is one such infallibility collapse scenario. The Evangelical belief that being born again is between you and God alone through Faith is unshakeable, but the knock-on absurdities about the catechumen period for converts into Orthodoxy, where being "born again" is supposedly withheld for a year or even years (plural) when you simply must be born again to see or enter the kingdom of God and could die at any moment, is, to the sincere and spiritual, a clear refutation of the Orthodox religion and its absurd claim to be the original church and infallible with it. Absurd because so many things in it are absurd.
This is because Jesus said, quote:
"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
" John 3:3-8.
This is an emphatic statement - Jesus says that without being born again, you cannot either enter of see the kingdom of God. Full stop. Fact.
If people are not born again, why would the Orthodox try to claim Peter was a foremost apostle when he was the only one to openly deny Jesus. It was only after the resurrection anyone was born again (though I have yet to determine whether Orthodoxy claim OT people were born again, and if so when, in which case they would be saying Peter denied Jesus when born again).
THE EVANGELICAL PERSPECTIVE:
In order to fully express an Evangelical view I will here express my own view, in order to expound a few details others might not always agree to.
Being born again, or regeneration, is one of the benefits of entering into the new and better covenant with God, (Jeremiah 31:31-34) which comes through believing the good news or "gospel that saves" (I Cor 15:1-4)........... (under construction)
THE ORTHODOX VIEW:
The Orthodox belief in how they are born again, is that through the performing of the rites of chrismation and triple baptism (and don't forget the exorcism), a baby or child becomes part of the church and born again. This differs from Catholics who say it is through infant sprinkling that regeneration or being born again happens, but being part of the church only happens when you are confirmed, which really means "pass your confirmation exam". Both stands have in built illogic - Catholic as of you are born again you are part of the church already, Orthodox as you become born again after a decision babies don't make, not through rites.
Having established this we move on to the proselyte or catechumen who wants to convert to Orthodoxy. According to Orthodoxy the person is not born again or part of the "one and only true church" of Orthodoxy until he passes through the churchianity process of rites like triple baptism, chrismation, exorcism, but now also with "the renunciation" added where the person renounces justification by grace through Faith alone. (they also purify the church with holy smoke in case demons are hiding in the woodwork).
According to online sources this catechumen period of what amounts to passing an "I am Orthodox exam" lasts for about one to two years on average (they will doubtless deny that, no matter how true it is, if only try to start making everything more foggy). So there we are. A person wants to be in a state of born again salvation, when ONLY by being born again can you be saved, and they are keeping you from "it" (their idea is bogus anyway) for several years, which is the complete opposite of Acts 8: 36-39
"and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."
Baptism was immediate on Faith, and regeneration had happened already by Faith.
Can you see now the idiocy of the Orthodox "Catechumen" process and doctrine? In Evangelicalism NO ONE can stop you being born again and in a state of salvation RIGHT NOW. In Orthodoxy you have this stupid situation where a bunch of babylonian style pseudo priests are supposedly "keeping you from it" for two years, sometimes to make sure that you believe or make profession of doctrines not even necessary to believe at all, like whether the Filioque is right or wrong, or which is right the monophysite or miaphysite belief or two natures in the hypostatic union? For me this is a clear refutation of the entire Orthodox religion! "Queue-up to get born again in two years time here." Pathetic.