Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Is there some way to overcome Protestant's rejections to the sacraments of the early Church so that they can be brought into fellowship with Orthodoxy? Is there some way to get the Orthodox faith to open up and see that the Lord Jesus Christ was more about love than law? Is there a way to integrate Protestant passion in songs and diligent Bible study with Orthodoxy's passion for maintaining the faith delivered once and for all?

Although the Orthodox Church presents many challenges to the non-Egyptians entering the faith, it can always hold fast to these basic principles:
The original faith of the Church did not disappear with the Apostles or the language and culture of their day. The faith was transferred to many who did not speak the first language of the Apostles. I am sure this took time and patience from many converts.

The faith did not disappear with the end of persecution. Today, many challenges, though not pleasant to endure, such as cultural traits, language translation, and unfamiliarity exist.  These do not pose a threatening danger. With tolerance they can be overcome.

The faith did not disappear when the West became isolated and began to deviate from the original faith of the early church. It withstood political maneuverings and diversities. I am more than sure it will overcome nowadays doubts and questions.

The faith stood steadfast and unmoved when the fracturing of Western Christianity splintered into a thousand different denominations. Thus the treasure of the early church is still alive and in existence. Admittedly the focus of the Coptic Church in America should be more toward encouraging and improving evangelistic efforts. The transition from being a minority oppressed religious population in the county of origin to religious freedom in a land of immigration gradually occurs. It is difficult for one who has known nothing of religious persecution to comprehend the lack of forthright evangelism skills common to many coming from non-Coptic religious backgrounds.
Questions are going to arise and the best way to arrest the questions is through reading and study not continuous doubting and dwelling on the doubt. Further, there are many Coptic diocese conventions and Holy Bible Studies, which could be attended that better address the scope of these questions rather than an email format. Encourage your friend to attend one of our many conferences and perhaps he will find the passion in a song he is searching for, at a Family Conference, Midnight Praises or a Divine Liturgy within a youth conference.

The Church is open to all. The gift of time and patience will dissolve the problem of diversity and personality differences that challenge us all. With time and care we will all become the integrated one faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Encourage your friend to overlook personality differences and look closer within the Divine Liturgy. Prayer and fasting during this Holy Great Fast will improve his spirituality not focusing on others frailties. We all fall short of the glory of God. There is no perfect church congregation.

Please keep in mind part of your friend's introspective attitude is caused by the loss of his father. Death hits us all in this earthly life and the strength of our faith can be typically questioned during such times. Perhaps your friend needs understanding in this difficult times he is going through. He needs to speak out his inner thoughts and then begin to work on them.

I recommend sending the book 2000 Years of Christianity (Meinardis) to your friend as a keepsake in memory of his father as his father also “Converted to Orthodoxy”. This book can be found at It is very fulfilling reading written by an objective author researching the Coptic Church.

May God bless you and bring much needed comfort to your friend.
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