is it wrong to listen to protestant hymns or sermons

edited December 2013 in Faith Issues
As an Orthodox Christian, I often strive to keep my mind occupied on holy things. Sometimes, Coptic resources are not available, and what is available is protestant material (s) in the form of books, TV shows, songs, etc.

Is it wrong to engage in such things? 

I go to a Coptic Church where the youth actually go off to a protestant church after the liturgy and attend their sermons. Then they come back to the Coptic Church and make us all sing protestant hymns with them.

Abouna says nothing, so I just get the feeling that this is OK. 


  • The way you have set up the question and the forum gives you the answer. The truth is that we need to know our orthodox faith. Now if the protestant teaching is not against our faith than it is acceptable as long as it fits in with the spirit of the church. Whether they sing songs or not, that again depends on the theological accuracy of the songs. Learn to take the good from everyone and leave the bad. Be more solidified in your own faith than worrying about the protestants. By labeling it the way you did you will make anyone that comments after me say that this priest is wrong and that you need to start a revolution to return orthodoxy as happened on this forum before. Please refrain from these types of discussions because in the end every single person is going to do what they see fit anyway. All it does is cause commotion. Pray for me. 

    Also you need to be able to judge what is protestant, and what is just another way of singing etc. Not everything that people bring to the church is protestant. The church should accept different ways of singing and worship because we all pray differently and we all are different people. In the Coptic church we have become accustomed to a certain way but unfortunately that makes us label everyone else's way as wrong. NOT TRUE. Thanks lol 

  • You want to worship God in a way inspired by the Holy Spirit and develop an orthodox mind that is based on teachings and songs / hymns inspired by the Holy Spirit. Anything not inspired by the Holy Spirit is inspired by man or by the devil. Anything not inspired by the Spirit will not have any spiritual effect on believers. The Spirit does not inspire heretics. Protestants are heretics. The Spirit is not the author of confusion nor does He find amusement in leading the faithful astray.

    When you read Protestant teachings, even when they do not contain obvious error, they will merely elevate you, if at all, to the human level. You are not called for this. You are called for the divine level, to which the Spirit has to be present.

    The difference between both is huge. When Peter delivered a sermon on the day of Pentecost, he converted 3000. Take the same sermon, recorded in the book of Acts, with the same words, and go and read it in Cairo Stadium in front of 100,000. What will be the effect?

    The words are the same, you might even add evangelical twist and charismatic moves to it, and use the technology not available to this simple, illiterate fisherman to advance your message further. You will produce one convert at the max, if any.

    The force is not in the word. The force is in the Spirit that works through the Person, even if he / she are mute.

    John the Beloved grew old. He approached 100 years. They carried him to the Church to lead them in worship. His only words were: Love each other ! Was it still effective ? Of course.

    It is the Spirit that works through an orthodox person that makes a difference. It does not work through heretics. And Protestants are heretics. 


  • Just as I thought
  • zoxsasi,
    you are doing this deliberately to see what people will say!
    naughty boy!
    repent and go to tasbeha...
    your sis,
  • Mabsoota,

    Why are you saying that? What am I doing deliberately? 

    I enjoy listening to protestant speakers, and actually, i was just wondering to myself if that is dangerous? Some of the stuff they say is scripturally correct (about forgiveness mainly), yet somethings are just wrong.

    For example, they believe that song of solomon is basically, for a lack of better word, the Christian equivalent of the Karma Sutra. Can you believe that? 

    Is it??

    They are very weird. 
  • We're weird too.
  • Is it wrong to drink poison if you are hungry? Zoxa, I know hard it is these days to find the spiritual material that we need-especially with what passes for spiritual material these days in Coptic parishes :/... But the solution for this thirst is not to drink the poinson which is offered in protestant churches.

    If you understand arabic, the sermons of Fr. Matta El Meskeen are heavenly! I recoomend.


  • this bit:
    'Abouna says nothing, so I just get the feeling that this is OK'
    you weren't joking?
  • ReturnOrthodoxy... I'm sorry.. but POISON? really? 
    In this case, I better run off and burn my New King James Bible, because it is poison produced by the Protestants. 

    Zoxassi, here are my 2 cents... No it is not a sin to listen or use protestant material, AS LONG AS you know your identity as a Coptic Orthodox Christian. Actually, it is never a "sin." Killing someone is a sin, committing adultery is a sin, lying is a sin. Listening to "Above All" or "Our God is an Awesome God" does not qualify as a sin, nor is it inspired by the devil, as someone here suggested. 
    It is all about discretion. Take the benefits from the protestants, and leave all the negatives the protestants have. We, as a church and as a people, should learn to take the positive qualities from every situation and every person around us, instead of branding people into different categories of sinners and shunning them all together. 

    I am sorry if I offended anyone, but there are some things that cross the line... We pray for the unity of churches, do we not? The Bible talks about the Unity of the Churches... if that is to happen, we can't go on believing that everything that is not Coptic orthodox is an abomination. Who are we to judge anyways? The Bible has not shortage of stories where people judge based on appearances, but God in His wisdom looks at the heart. We can say that something is bad or poisonous, but that is not our position, leave it to God. 

    God Bless 
  • edited December 2013
    Coptic Pharoah,

    Though I understand your statement, and I wish I could agree, I fear this type of mentality may be dangerous. Off course the unity of the churches is of extreme importance but allow me to share my disagreement with your post.

    Here is where I personally disagree. "It is all about discretion." I know for myself, I cannot say I have all the knowledge in this Coptic Church to claim I have enough knowledge to be able to discern those subtleties. I do not think anyone will tell you it is a sin to listen to any of these things, but it is extremely dangerous. Let me speculate a few things for you. We know, that from the passages in the Bible, that we need the sacraments to earn eternal life. It is the understanding of the church that it is necessary for salvation. Thus, despite we should not automatically condemn them, to the very least we should not encourage them. By listening to their songs and/or their sermons, yes, maybe you have all the necessary knowledge to discern (which I highly doubt anyone in this world has that ability), but even if you do have that knowledge, you are encouraging them just by listening to them. You are basically subtlely telling them you agree with their faith in general and there is no need for us to serve them, rather we are in need of their service. I honestly cannot tell you protestants can be saved and if I cannot I rather encourage them finding a church that will, whether it be another orthodox church or even the catholic church. 

    Now, as for using the protestant resources, what is the need for it? There is so much orthodox and catholic resources that are SO RICH. Upon reading the opinion of certain people (such as Fr. Peter Farrington) I came to be convinced that their may be subtleties within the protestant resources that may be dangerous and unorthodox that is very difficult to catch on. For example, in general, most of their resources target your emotions. By targetting our emotions, we relate God and having a successful relationship with God only when we feel Him. And that offcourse cannot be right or healthy for us. When you are married, the love you feel for your husband or wife is not a question of a simple emotion. Emotions come and go. They are welcomed, but they do not dictate the health of a relationship. If I feel dry, I should still be able to help my husband/wife, talk and listen to him/her, learn things from him/her. Same goes with our relationship with God. If we feel nothing, I have to learn to be able to talk to Him despite my dryness, to be able to listen to Him despite my dryness and to be able to learn from Him despite my dryness.

    So all this to say, the discernment can be quite difficult and it may be poisonous, despite that not being our judgement but rather our fear. By not listening to them, you are being safe about your own salvation, and making sure to the very least that you do not encourage their faith of which we cannot confidently say that it leads to salvation.
  • Coptic Pharaoh,

    First of all, we don't have to go run and burn anything. All we need to do is acknowledge the danger of Protestant work. 

    Second, in an ideal world, yes, we would avoid the New King James Bible because it is not based on the Septuagint. The Coptic Bible is Septuagint. This is how the entire Christian Church dealt with Biblical canon for 15+ centuries. It was only in the 17-19th centuries when the Protestant bibles became more popular than the Septuagint Greek Bible (and versions based on the Septuagint), including the Coptic Bible and Arabic translations based on the Coptic Bible. But in the real world, the Protestant Bibles have become the de facto bible in our Church for many reasons. We can't ignore their prevalence. However, at the very least, we acknowledge the poison of all Protestant translations. At the very least, we acknowledge that the deutrocanonical texts are not apocrypha like the Protestants throw down our throat. There is much to say about Biblical canon. This is not the point of this thread. Suffice it to say, even Bible translations are prey to Protestant poison.

    Regarding what is or isn't a sin, St Paul clarifies the problem in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8. "Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened." Just because one doesn't see how Protestant songs like "Our God is an awesome God" IS "old leaven", doesn't mean we can claim it is permissible (much less ignoring that it is demonic). It is not the song itself that is demonic. It is the way demons use it to "leaven the whole lump". 

    Yes we pray for unity. Yes we pray for Jehovah's witness, Seven Day Adventists, Mormons, and all people. But it doesn't mean we are judging anyone when we say "we refuse to unite with anyone who doesn't believe in the Trinity, or who doesn't believe Christ is God uncreated, invisible, without beginning, without end, immeasurable, or Christ is one nature out of two or one hypostasis with two natures without mixing or confusion, perfect man and perfect God, or St Mary is the Theotokos, or the saints are living in the glorious Resurrection" and so on. It is not an abomination if we says "we refuse to unite with anyone who believes in doctrines foreign to Orthodoxy, such as papal infallibility, immaculate conception, mixing with Judiazers, divorce," and so on. This is not an abomination. This is not even "Coptic-only". This is Orthodoxy only. To substantiate this claim, I look to Christ's words recorded in the synoptic Gospels (Mt 16:5-6, Mk 8:13-15, Lk 12:21). "In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." Is it an abomination that Christ warns against a specific false doctrine instead of seeking out pseudo-unity? The disciples thought Christ was talking about appearances only. They thought he was talking about actual bread. And Christ responded, "How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 

    Finally, it is a contradiction to say "know your identity as a Coptic Orthodox Christian" and accept a conflicting Protestant identity. The problem in general is that most do not see how Protestantism is conflicting. It is not Orthodoxy. It is not Christianity. To accept anything else is violating your Orthodox Christian identity. (Notice I am taking out Coptic because that only identifies a subordinate characteristic of Christianity - culturalism). One can take a hardline conservative approach based on scriptural commandments as I described. One can take a moderate approach as ShareTheLord has described. But a liberal approach is unacceptable in any shape or form. 

    (This last paragraph is my response to Zoxasi. You, Zoxasi, acknowledge some of their doctrine "are just wrong". Therefore, if you are seeking out their wrong theology, or even seeking out their sermons in hopes of finding Orthodox theology, you are violating your Orthodox identity and Christ's commandments to "beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy")
  • "ReturnOrthodoxy... I'm sorry.. but POISON? really? In this case, I better run off and burn my New King James Bible, because it is poison produced by the Protestants. " Yes, Really/ Not all protestantant things are poison. A heretic like Arius was an ascetic! But his words are poison none the less. Yes, protestant theology/praxis is a poison. No amount of funny comments regarding the NKJV will make me resent what logic shows. 
  • edited December 2013
    Coptic Pharaoh, 

    When you mention the words "Christian Unity" my question is "What unity?". As much as we disagree with the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic, in the end of the day if we are to unite with them, it will likely take the form of incessant prayer gatherings across the globe, ecumenical meetings/dialogue, joint documents and a mutual recognition of priesthood and sacraments. When it comes to the Protestant tradition: What form of church leadership are you hoping to sit down and dialogue with? Do you know that there are literally thousands of protestant denominations, and apart from this, even within denominations, there is hardly any way for the formal leadership to execute any authority or control on individual parishes since they hold no priestly role? 

    But: let's ASSUME that we could gather all protestants in the universe from the thousands of denominations and the hundreds of thousands of independently operated parishes into 2 or 3 denominations so that we could logistically sit down with them, and discuss theology through the work of the Holy Spirit: are the theological differences so minor so as to attribute them to "misunderstandings" or "Semantic/wording differences"? That would be ridiculous. These men and woman totally reject the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church through the priesthood and the mysteries which have kept the Church alive and upheld Her as a manufacturer of saints ever since the birth of Christianity. It is at the core of their doctrine to call "Idolatrous" what the Orthodox Church, for 2 millenia, has held as "life-giving". Most (although I will agree not all) Protestants boldly despise the Holy Tradition of the Church, in its entirety, including our foundational doctrinal principles (e.g. the proper understanding of Salvation, the Incarnation, the nature of Sin, The Person of Christ and other things), the reject any association with the men and woman who lived their lives in accordance with the Will of God, guided by the Holy Spirit who we call "Saints", they also reject and despise traditional rites (this is a foundational element of their theology). So you can see here that for "Unity" to occur, you are asking for someone to change their core principles and not to agree on revised wording, modified understanding or anything of that sort. A core change in theology means a core change of mind which is the definition of repentance. I'm not trying to say that we shouldn't repent as a precursor to our pursuit of unity, but our repentance must take a different course (for the compromises we made against the Will of the Holy Spirit by introducing foreign ideologies into the Church in the last century, and for other things you can read about in Fr. Matthew the Poor's book "Christian Unity"). The best solution is similar to the model we read about in the 19th Chapter of Acts when a group of "Disciples" supposedly "Did not know that there was a Holy Spirit" and yet professed to be believers: they were taken in by the apostles who baptised them with the Spirit and with Fire in the name of the Lord Christ, introducing them into the timeless and boundless Body of Christ. A modern example of this is what happened with the British Orthodox Church as they submitted a request to be canonically recognized by the Orthodox Church and receive Apostolic Succession. It was not total eradication of what they once believed, but rather, it was through the laying of the hands and the Guidance of the Holy Spirit that was able to complete their faith and as such they were joined into the communion of believers. 

    So I would recommend not throwing around the word "unity" as something that is merely represented by a "Hand-Holding Ceremony" and "Warm Speeches" where we forget our differences and blindly stride in an unknown direction, which will eventually lead us into a pit: where we have neither attained pure and undefiled Orthodox Faith, and neither have we attained Core Protestantism, but some tasteless and meaningless innovation of our own imaginations. 

    For this reason, Unity is a Unity of Faith first and foremost, which must be naturally followed by Unity in our mutual recognition of priesthood and Church mysteries. Any other Unity is a hoax, with all due respect to the people who think it works that way.

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