Coptic Identity?

edited June 2016 in Youth Corner
Hi everyone! Kol sana wa entoom tayibeen! :)

I have a general question, and I would like to know people's thoughts on this:

Do you think it is more important that our primary identity is "Christian" or that our primary identity is more specifically "Coptic Orthodox Christian"?

Additionally, do you believe God categorizes Christians and judges us as either "Orthodox", or "Catholic" or "Protestant"?


  • This question has come to mind in the month or so.
    The answer is that God reveals Himself and that Christians have different theologies on the way they think He has revealed Himself.

    For instance, I had a protestant visit my house and he asked me if I believed that we speak in tongues. I know where he was coming from and I know what they do; if you've ever seen them, they make a gibberish type language that I don't understand, but the point is like any protestant, they take bible in literal context.

    While our understanding is God's mystery is revealed by the Holy Spirit through our church fathers.

       This is our understanding:

        The three Hypostases or the three characteristics (or God's self-description) are: 
        The Existence = The Father
        The Wisdom and Mind = The Son
        The life = The Holy Spirit
        And this means that The Father exists by Himself, spoken in the Son, alive through His Holy Spirit.
        And the Son exists through His Father, spoken by Himself, alive through His Holy Spirit.
        And the Holy Spirit exists through the Father, spoken  through the Son, alive through Himself.
        The one God exists by Himself ( The Father has a wise spoken word (The Son) alive through His soul (The Holy Spirit). Quote Kenonia

       All Christians believe in the trinity.

        Is our theology more important, or the way we identify God or the way He identifies (reveals) Himself, or is it the love He has for us that when we obey Him in His righteousness (guidance) our love for Him is a communion with Him?

       I would say both are important as identity and love are important.

  • I don't think she asked a question about the Trinity, and I'm afraid you might have confused her than helped her question.


    The question you ask can be asked in a different way. Is it more important to be merely Christian or is there a correct way of being Christian? Is it enough to say I believe in Christ, or did Christ establish a Church through which we may CORRECTLY believe in Him?

    This is the way to arrive at the question you ask. The question of how God categorizes people is a question of judgment. Only God knows the answer, but He also expects something from us, and He shared with us the One True Church to believe in.

    Have you ever had a conversation with a Hindu? He or she would probably say God does not care about what religion you would be in. Christians in general (whether Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox) would disagree. Of course God cares. Christ taught "no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6).

    So if a Protestant says Christ does not care which Church you belong to, wouldn't that be inconsistent and hypocritical of them? If Christ established the Church, HE CARES which Church you are in. "On this rock, I will build My Church, The gates of Hades shall not prevail prevail against her." (Matthew 16:18). "The church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:15). If churches disagree about very important dogmatic teaches, there are only one of two possibilities:

    1. Hades has prevailed over the Church and the Church is not the foundation of the truth. At this point I should find another religion or just become atheist.

    2. There is a Church, a TRUE Church which Hades has not prevailed over and is the foundation of all truth. Christ promised this, and we should obey humbly.

    That doesn't mean I categorize or condemn everyone. Once I know what the right thing is to do, I do it and I try to evangelize and serve others to join me in this beautiful pillar and foundation of Christ's Truth.

  • And by the way, the Coptic Orthodox Church is part of the Oriental Orthodox Church, which includes Syriac, Armenian, Ethiopian, Indian, Eritrean. So "Coptic" is a cultural identity (for the main part) identified with the Orthodox Church, which includes all races and backgrounds.

    The word "Orthodox" means "correct worship". It's important to worship correctly as a Christian, i.e. "Orthodox Christian".
  • Now, expanding on that, how do we know which church is right? And does that mean all the others are not saved? Like the Catholic Church is very very similar to the Orthodox Church, and we are slightly similar to the Protestant Church (albeit with much more major discrepancies) so where is the cut-off drawn? Could there be some doctrines/practices in which other churches are more correct than we are, and also vice versa for other doctrines/practices? Do you think that to some degree every church has been tainted at least a very little bit by the work of man?
  • edited June 2016
    Well, thank God we have history available for us as well as writings from the Church fathers. If you have specific questions, we can go through them to prove how the ancient Church believed.

    For the most part, a person, if he does his homework, can discern the true Church, even if there may be small non-dogmatic issues they might need to be dealt with.

    A good example of a Protestant turned Orthodox is Fr. Peter Gillquist of blessed memory (and he brought 2000 into the Church with him). He wrote a good book called "Becoming Orthodox" which discusses the story of his conversion. I highly recommend it.
  • Hi Lovejoypeace,
       When asked for our thoughts of primary identification as Christian as more specifically Coptic Christian, then asking whether God will judge us in the categories of orthodox, catholic or protestant. The first thing I thought of was the commonality that combines the three, and that was the Trinity. But the sources of faith are different.

       Mina is very correct in mentioning Matthew 16:18, but in addition we are also the bride of Christ. So if you are asking whether God determines which faith is right by a category. I would say Christ chose a bride in the apostles and like any bride she goes to a wedding in purity exemplified by our saints in this Revelation 19:8:  And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the linen is the righteous acts of the saints. So doctrine as in the sacraments like repentance is part of not only our own purity but also the brides.

       I see that through schisms churches have sort after their independence and that all need to hate sin as a core value in fighting the devil. Sadly, some are not strong and sort appeasement with the things of this world.

       Sorry if I'm sounding a bit strong but this is my opinion.

       Love Joy Peace to you through Christ our Lord    

  • salaam. if u wd like 2 visit other churches, this is fine. go 2 any oriental orthodox church and make friends with them.
    if u want 2 understand Christian theology then read what the church fathers wrote. i especially recommend saint athanasius and saint john chrysostom (golden mouth).
    read the orthodox study Bible.
    after u did this then u can ask about what non orthodox Christians believe.
    if u ask about them before u read about our orthodox beliefs u will get confused. this is because other Christians use similar words 2 mean slightly different things.
    i used to be protestant (7 years ago) and i can assure u that the best explanations of Christian beliefs (theology) are in the orthodox church
    :) so don't miss out! read our books 1st.
    happy feast day of saint noufer the hermit (sa-ih)
  • edited July 2016

    Then explain the he differences.

    As the most educated branch of Christianity, the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox collectively, we tend of over complicate things. We are Christians.

    Man made the separation occur.
  • Yes the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox churches are complicated, but they are dealing with the mystery of God and how we through the separation seek salvation. I think as far as we are concerned, we are correct in which God has revealed His mystery and handed it down through the Apostles and Church Fathers to us. 
    If by comparison, following protestants who take the bible in a literal sense, thus believing they have salvation already and thus believing the gifts they receive from God's grace are true, then they have lost the means (works) required concerning God's mystery, namely repentance through the church (bride) God sent out into the world. It is repentance that closes the separation from God and it is this repentance that God gave to His original church.
      Misunderstandings are because of the way we perceive what we are supposed to do and a good example is St Paul and St Barnabus who St Paul was not happy for St Mark to travel with them and St Barnabus was. But later the two groups were reconciled.
      Repentance is reconciliation and as Jesus commanded to love God with all your heart soul and mind and to love your neighbour as yourself, isn't it for those churches who strayed away from the original revealing's of the mysteries of God to reconcile with us, so they can obey those commandments just like St Paul and St Barnabus.
      Then those churches can close the separation through the church by means of repentance.

        I find pride as the biggest sin as it goes against effective communication, because pride doesn't ask for help and so loses the ability to change. I also think the schisms were political and personal. and that once they disobeyed  that second commandment, that pride prevents them from reconciliation into the former state that God sent into the world to perform.

         I pray for the reconciliation that we all become one as God is unity and that our Coptic identity stays on the course given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ.   
  • Acts 17: 29-30
    29 "Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising.
    30 "Truly these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent..

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