Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Further Religious Erosion

The story of the continuing death of Christian life in the States has been mentioned recently on American Family Radio (Bryan Fischer, Wil and Meeke Addison, to name a few).  This is an ensample of what they are referring to:

We are grateful that they, together with the rest of the folks at AFR, do share information like this.  The more secular folks on the so-called Right like Limbaugh and Levin do not talk about these things (Limbaugh, for instance, says he doesn’t ‘do church’ on his radio program, just politics.  That is impossible:  All political beliefs are an outgrowth of religious beliefs.  Thus, in order to ‘do politics’ properly, one MUST speak of religion.).

That said, they are their own worst enemy.  For in calling for a return to the Protestant Way, they are dooming what is left of Christianity in the States.  Protestantism, with its heavy focus on the authority of the individual conscience (a focus which confuses the meaning and undermines the authority of the Scriptures the Protestants say they hold so dear), has ripped apart the ark of salvation, the Church, as each one seeks to uphold the dogmas he has invented against those others have invented; and has left those who come into their congregations with little more than a few planks, a little rotten fish, and some rusted chains to carry them safely to the harbor of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Is it any wonder people are turning away from this offer?  Just as with the structure erected by the Roman Catholic Pope, people will eventually discover that something is amiss, something is counterfeit, something has died, and look elsewhere to satisfy their spiritual cravings (Europeans have been leading the way in this:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/21/christianity-non-christian-europe-young-people-survey-religion).

What the ‘Nones’ are seeking but not finding in Roman Catholicism and Protestantism is in the Orthodox Church, which has not strayed from the Apostolic teaching, as these holy elders from Optina Monastery proclaim:

I’ll say it briefly: Before you begin showing proof in favor of the Church, you have to compare your own opinions and beliefs with the Word of God and the teachings of the spiritual and right-believing Church Fathers, while over anything that you cannot find such a confirmation for it is more profitable to keep silent. What we think based on our own conclusions is one thing, and the very truth, inviolable, confirmable by the Holy Scriptures, is another.St. Ambrose of Optina

He [the Lord] commanded us to listen to the teachers and pastors of the Church, appointed and ordained by the apostles… But as for the one who does not listen to it [the Church], let him be to you like a heathen and a publican (Mt. 18:17); and to the apostles He said: he who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me (Lk. 10:16). This is how important it is to obey the Holy Church and its dogmas and teachings established by the Ecumenical Councils and the authority of the great Church Fathers. St. Macarius of Optina

For one’s salvation it is necessary to be a part of the Orthodox Church. At the present time, the number of sects has multiplied… Sometimes sectarians come to me, saying, “We believe in Christ and seek him; where is He?” “He, first of all, especially makes manifest His glorious presence in Heaven, and, secondly, in the Church on Earth. Do you belong to the Church?” “No, we’ve left the Church, but still hope to be saved.” “Well, then your hope is in vain; salvation is impossible outside of the Church.” Those who belong to the Orthodox Church are traveling to the Jerusalem on High, that is, the Kingdom of Heaven, the right way: They sail along the sea of life in a boat, the Helmsman of which is Christ Himself; while those outside the Church attempt to cross the sea on a mere board of wood—which, of course, is impossible—and perish irrevocably. St. Barsanuphius of Optina

Mr Fischer is furthermore worried that rejecting Protestantism will change the culture of the States to something other than what it has been.  He is concerned that the Protestant work ethic, the emphasis on individual rights, etc. will disappear.  His worries are well-founded.  For should the peoples of the States widely adopt the Orthodox Faith, the culture will change from one obsessed with non-stop work, making money, and acquiring goods (holdovers from the New England Calvinist Puritan teaching that God will bless with worldly prosperity those who are among ‘the elect’, a teaching which has infected all the regions of the (unnecessary) union, including the South), to a culture that really is Christian rather than one that says it is Christian but actually worships Mammon.

The goal of a Christian country is the union of all her people with God, the closest union possible in this life.  To do that, it is necessary to do more than imagine ways to squeeze more and more economic productivity and efficiency out of people and the environment.  The faithful Jews of the Old Testament are a perfect ensample.  Their cycle of fasts and feasts and resting and their laws regarding property are a rebuke to the chaotic, unsettled, fast-paced Protestant American way of life.  Would American businesses, big or small, allow their workers to have eight days off in a row every year to spend in the wilderness for a feast like the Feast of Tabernacles?  Would the banksters of today cancel debts and allow properties to revert to their original owners on the Day of Jubilee every 50 years?  Would farmers in thrall to the agribusiness giants be allowed to let their fields lie fallow every seventh year?  The answers, sadly, are obvious enough.

Life in Orthodox countries was and is simply a continuation of what we encounter in the Old Testament liturgical cycle, with only the reason behind the feasts, etc., changing:  a life in which many days during the year are rest days so that people can attend services for the 12 Great Feasts, Holy Week before Easter/Pascha, various saints’ days, and so on; and where usury and other financial abuses are outlawed.

The Holy Elder Paisios of Mt Athos (+1994) was right when he said (paraphrasing), Orthodox people go to Western Europe and the [u]nited States to make money and lose their souls.  A religious change does need to come to the States; not the agnosticism of the Nones, but the True Faith of the Orthodox Church.


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!

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