How Does Someone Join the Church?

“Placing My laws in their mind, I shall write them upon their hearts; and I shall be their God, and they shall by My people.” - Hebrews 8:10b

If you have read through the previous five sections, you may be interested to know just how an adult not raised in the Orthodox Christian Church becomes a part of it. While confessional affiliation in Christendom was—until as recently as the past century—a foregone conclusion throughout Europe, in America our pluralistic context makes such affiliation an active decision on the part of each believer. Even if one is buried in the same communion in which she was baptized as an infant, she must decide in young adulthood first, that the faith of her parents and grandparents is now her own faith, and second, that she will be a participant in that faith. It has been wisely said, “God has many children, but He has no grandchildren.”

This pluralistic fluidity has seen large numbers of people becoming a part of the Orthodox Christian Church—they range from those raised in other Christian communions, to not having any religious background whatsoever. This has been an experience the Church has not seen since the first centuries of its existence, large numbers of adult conversions were naturally not seen in the Christian Roman Empire where every child was baptized in infancy and raised in the Faith. With this new experience the Church has developed catechetical resources for adults, such as this brief introductory series. Nevertheless, this formation of the mind is only a part of the transformation of an inquirer—there must also be a transformation of the heart as one attends the services of the Church, keeps the fasts, and prays at home. The following pages will talk, in general, about the process of entering the Orthodox Christian Church.

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