Monday, October 10, 2016

The Author and Finisher of our faith

We  are living in a miserable age as far as warfare and heresy (another form of warfare) is concerned, and we find it in many unexpected places, sometimes within the enclosure of Holy Church. It is there where it is most dangerous, because Christians, born and trained to be sheep, when not grounded in the Word of God, can follow, and often do, the voice of hirelings, instead of the voice of the Good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ.

That voice can come from the mouth of an ‘authority’ that sets itself up to be worshiped outside the Church, but more often within her. Hence, we see from history, the departure of the popes of Old Rome from Holy Orthodoxy and, outside, the thousands of voices of the mini-popes of false, dysfunctional fundamentalism.

Anyone who sets themselves up against the Holy Church that we know as Orthodox is automatically disqualified as a teaching authority, even when speaking the truth, because of admixture of truth and falsehood. This is easy to recognize. What is difficult is when the admixture occurs within the Church, coming from hierarchs, yes, but in the current age, from unqualified populists, who use fear to corral the sheep into pens of their own making, where superstition and slander replace faith and discernment. They use the name ‘Orthodox’ with as much duplicity as the fundamentalist slavers use the name of ‘Jesus Christ.’ Both these types are, in fact, contemporary Nicolaitans, those whose object is to divide and conquer the people of God, as is prophesied by Christ in His messages to the seven churches of Asia (Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, in their entirety).

At the present moment, Holy Church is being bombarded by the Nicolaitans within, who are trying to divide and conquer us. Their aim is not the conversion of the flock to ‘True Orthodoxy.’ They only want those sheep who will listen to and obey them without reservation, and who will promote themselves as ‘the only connection’ between the believer and Christ-God. As for the rest of us, who cling to the words of Jesus and try to imitate Him and carry out His holy commands, they have already verbally consigned us to the outer darkness.

So, just as the darkness spreads, not only within Holy Church but all around her, we see open prejudice on the rise all around us. The scapegoats, as usual, are the Jews, and anyone who has a mind of their own. Reason has again become the enemy, even though Reason has appeared in human form as Christ, and those who hear Him and obey. Now, I am seeing more and more the rise of an anti-Roman sentiment and prejudice, compounding historical enmity (which those in Christ should abandon and abhor) with pure, malicious slander. The Roman pope is once again being called the Antichrist, or the one who ushers in the Antichrist.

It’s to be expected that ‘fundamentalist’ Christians outside the Church should speak and believe this way. In the dark days of late medieval Europe, Martin Luther and his followers boldly asserted the same. And now, centuries later, the Greeks are taking up the score, adding force to it by remembering historical atrocities and negligences of the popes of former times perpetrated against them. Mark of Ephesos and Photios are dialectically resurrected to bolster their mindless arguments. Mindless, because they ignore present realities, clinging to the past as if the present, and building fortresses on other foundations than on Christ, who is the only foundation of truth.

All this is nonsense. Someday we will have to heed the call of Christ, ‘Lazaros, come out!’ and emerge from our tombs of superstition and dead faith, where we lie in the dark slumber of slander instead of walking in the Light of Christ, following Him alone, and doing the same things we see Him doing. Don’t we believe that Christ is alive and in our midst, now and always, and to the ages of ages?

We are the God-protected City, not ancient Byzantion, that lost Constantinople that people who dwell in fantasy and fanaticism dream of. We are the great Church of Holy Wisdom, not that magnificent structure with floating dome and glittering mosaics that is now the jewel-box of a Godless people. We are the Orthodox, who say ‘I believe’ when Christ asks, ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life. Do you believe this?’ and who have promised to follow Him and no one else, declaring, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’

As for the pope, we do not slander him or his office. He is still the fifth patriarch. His office was stolen by liars and sellers of indulgences and false promises, but before Christ returns, his seat at Old Rome will return to Holy Orthodoxy.

The Antichrist has been with us since the beginning, hidden in various persons and in various institutions, but too weakly to reveal itself (yes, itself, not himself, because the Antichrist is not only ‘instead of Christ’ but also ‘instead of human’) and the Fathers have already warned us that one of the worst Antichrists, if not the Antichrist itself, is the dark force of Islam, which says exactly what John the Evangelist says of it, that Antichrist will deny that Christ has come in the flesh, that God can become a man, which He did and He does in Jesus Christ.

Again, let us abandon our historical tombs and come out into life, following the command of Christ, ‘Lazaros, come out!’ For Christ is alive and in our midst. He is speaking to us now as He has since the beginning. His prayer to the Father, ‘that they all are One, even as You and I are One,’ cannot be opposed by flesh forever. He comes today, as He came once in Galilee, to do what He always does, ‘the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.’

Let us walk with Him, and do what we see Him doing, brethren, and slandering no one, yield ourselves gladly and without reserve, not to the Nicolaitans who call us to hate one another, but to Jesus, ‘the Author and Finisher of our faith.’

No comments: