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Author Topic: For There Must Also be Heresies Among You  (Read 2406 times) Average Rating: 0
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sinjinsmythe
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« on: February 03, 2003, 11:59:22 PM »

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For There Must Also be Heresies Among You

By Archbishop Averki

How does one properly understand these words of the Holy Apostle Paul? Does he really approve of dissensions among Christians or recognize them as necessary or desirable? Is he making them the rule? If so, then how can this be compatible with the numerous places in his epistles where he so forcefully and persistently calls Christians to full agreement and unanimity? Be of the same mind one toward another (Rom. 12:16), or Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord of mind (Phil. 2:2).

Furthermore, not only the Apostle Paul, but also other apostles exhorted Christians to be of one mind. Thus the Apostle Peter directly writes to Christians in his first epistle, Be ye all of one mind! (I Peter 3:Cool. Not only does the Apostle Paul call Christians to oneness of mind, he even warns them of such people who cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which they have learned (Rom. 16:17) and urges them to avoid them. saying that they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple (Rom. 16:18).

What kinds of "heresies" can there be among true Christians when the Lord Jesus Christ Himself prayed for them to God the Father in His prayer as the high priest: That they all may be one; as thou Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us (John 17:21). See what unity must exist among true Christians: unity according to the image of the oneness of Persons of the Most Holy Trinity! Can you imagine that among the Persons of the Most Holy Trinity there would be dissension? This is why, before beginning the most important moment of the Divine Liturgy-the great Mystery of the Eucharist, followed by the partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ by the faithful-the priest exclaims: "Let us love one another that with one mind we may confess!" the choir then explains whom we are confessing: "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, The Trinity One in essence and indivisible."

Thus, oneness of mind is made the chief condition for the communion of Christians in the Mystery of the Eucharist. If there is no oneness of mind, what kind of communion can there be in this great Mystery, in which the believer is mysteriously united with Christ and becomes one with Him? But why do we say before all else, "Let us love"? Because, of course, without true Christian love oneness of mind is impossible, and also because true Christian love entails oneness of mind among Christians. True Christian love is expressed above all by oneness of mind. Where there exists such love, there also exists oneness of mind, and where there is no oneness of mind, there consequently is no true Christian love, but only an appearance of it-only Pharisaism! All this should be considered and seriously taken into account by all those steadfast in "Christian love," and at the same time persistently and forcefully defending, for some reason, their right "to disagree." To this group belong all contemporary modernist theologians who preach ecumenism, or the imaginary "union of all," and not only the union of all "Christians," but also Jews, Moslems, and pagans. In short, it is the union of all heretics, who retain their full right to "disagree," seemingly confirming the teaching of our Holy Orthodox Church, in the person of the Apostle Paul.

To such clearly heretical teaching there is now suddenly added "inter-communion," when people not belonging to the Holy Orthodox Church are allowed to approach the Holy Chalice, directly opposing the order of the Divine Liturgy established by our Holy Church. According to this established practice may only the faithful receive Communion, but even be present in the church during the Mystery of the Eucharist. Everyone else must leave the church when the priest says, "As many as are catechumens depart." See how these people who so blatantly violate one of the most important rules of our Holy Church even dare to call themselves "Orthodox" and try, by way of all kinds of false interpretations of the Word of God, to justify their "dissension" with the age-old teaching of the Universal Church of Christ. And what is especially horrible-they take shelter behind their imaginary "Christian love" for the "dissenters."

O how great is the evil of these contemporary evil-doers, how unlawfully do they misappropriate for themselves the patent on 'Christian love," and all those who disagree with them they accuse of a lack of "Christian love," and even fanaticism!

The remarkable success which these "much loving evil-doers" enjoying our time can be explained only by the fact that contemporary people, among whom are many Orthodox Christians, have departed too far from true faith in God, in Christ, and in the Church. They do not know the Word of God and are unfamiliar with the teaching of the Holy Fathers and the Church's decrees and it is easy to lead them into error by smooth words and flattery as the Apostle Paul emphasized even in his time (Rom. 16:18). There are also some among them who have a great weakness for gifts and presents and readily follow after anyone who will give them, not troubling themselves to investigate their teaching, whether it be of God (Acts 5:39). These words of the Holy Apostle Paul, For there must be also heresies among you (I Cor. 11:19), contemporary modernist theologians and ecumenists interpret totally arbitrarily, for their own advantage, not bothering to think that they are adulterating the Word of God and thereby they sin mortally.

This saying of the Apostle Paul is beautifully explained by our truly eminent Orthodox theologian, Bishop Theophan the Recluse, who in his time was the rector of a Theological Academy and wrote a complete and remarkably profound commentary on the epistles of the Apostle Paul. Here is how he explains these words [quoting Saint John Chrysostom]: "By the word 'heresies' he [Saint Paul] understands here not errors concerning dogmas, but actual (and similar) quarrels. If he were speaking of errors concerning dogmas, however, he would not have given occasion for offense (with the words, for there must be). For Christ said, It must needs be that offenses come (Mat. 18:7), but at the same time He did not violate our free will and establish this as a necessity and inevitability for us. He foretold the future which happens from the evil will of mankind, not as a result of His prediction but from the arbritariness of depraved people. Offenses occurred not because He foretold them, but rather He foretold them because they were going to occur. For if offenses occurred out of necessity and not according to the will of those who caused them, then in vain would He have said, Woe to that man by whom the offense cometh. "That the Apostle actually called these disturbances and divisions during meals 'heresies' we see clearly expressed by him in the previous sentence. For he said, I hear that there be divisions among you. He did not stop here however. Desiring to explain what divisions he is referring to, he then says, For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper (11:21). It is evident that he is speaking of these disturbances; but do not be surprised that he calls them divisions (schisms). As I said, he desired to have a greater effect on them by using such an expression. If he had meant dogmatical heresies he would not have spoken to them so briefly." (Saint John Chrysostom, Commentary on the first epistle to the Corinthians). As we see, Bishop Theophan explains the words of the Apostle Paul with the words of the great universal teacher and hierarch, Saint John Chrysostom, and therefore the explanation is especially authoritative for us. From this it is clear that it is in vain that the modernist ecumenists use these words of the Apostle Paul for their own ecumenical purposes. These words of the Apostle Paul refer to particular incidents and disturbances during the agape meals, about which he speaks in the eleventh chapter of this epistle. Therefore there is decidedly no basis for using this saying of the Apostle Paul to justify disagreement concerning dogmas, and especially for justifying union of all Orthodox and non-Orthodox in the Mystery of the Eucharist in the presence of obvious differences of opinion, precluding, according to the clear teaching of the Holy Church, the allowance and possibility of such a union.

This is one of the most characteristic examples of how deceitfully just like sectarians, the contemporary modernist theologians use the texts of the Holy Scriptures, attributing to them meaning which is not there. And the Apostle Paul could not contradict himself, saying one thing in one c~rcumstance and something else in another. As we saw above, he clearly and unequivocally condemns differences of opinion among Christians and calls all to absolute oneness of mind and soul. Fulfill ye my joy he writes to the Philippians, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind (Philip. 2:2).

Such should be the case among all true Christians, for: There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all (Ephes. 4: 4-6).

Archbishop Averky

* In the Russian translation, this phrase literally reads: "For there must be also dissensions among you...". Originally appeared in Orthodox Life, vol. 44, no. 4, July-August 1994, pp. 42-45.
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« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2003, 01:38:30 PM »

sinjinsmythe -

Great article!

I am one of those Orthodox Christians who thinks we should get out of the whole Ecumenical Movement. I think it does more harm than good and, as a former Protestant, I can tell you it makes Protestants think their "churches" are legitimate and of comparable standing with the Holy Orthodox Church.

I do not have the reference handy, but I know it is absolutely forbidden in the ancient canons of the Church for an Orthodox Christian to even pray with a heretic.

And make no mistake - Protestants are heretics.
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« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2003, 02:42:31 PM »

sinjinsmythe -

Great article!

I am one of those Orthodox Christians who thinks we should get out of the whole Ecumenical Movement. I think it does more harm than good and, as a former Protestant, I can tell you it makes Protestants think their "churches" are legitimate and of comparable standing with the Holy Orthodox Church.

I do not have the reference handy, but I know it is absolutely forbidden in the ancient canons of the Church for an Orthodox Christian to even pray with a heretic.

And make no mistake - Protestants are heretics.

Linus, do you know where one can find that canon?  I would be interested in seeing it.  However, it seems to be ignored by some of our bishops.
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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2003, 04:44:09 PM »

[Linus, do you know where one can find that canon?  I would be interested in seeing it.  However, it seems to be ignored by some of our bishops.]

Synod of Laodicea  A.D.  343-381

Canon XXXII: It is unlawful to receive the Blessings of heretics, for they are rather lies than Blessings.

Canon XXXIII:  No one shall join in prayers with heretics or schismatics.

The Apostolical Canons

Canon XLV:  Let a bishop, presbyter, or deacon, who has only prayed with heretics, be excommunicated:  but if he has permitted them to perform any clerical office, let him be desposed.

Note;  One has to read the entire selection of canons here before picking and choosing certain ones to fit their needs.  
Also included in this council are the following examples -

Canon LIV: If any of the clergy be found eating in a tavern, let him be excommunicated, unless he has been constrainedby necessity, on a journy, to lodge in an inn.

Canon LV:  If any of the clergy insult te bishop, let him be deposed: for "thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people."

Canon LVI:  If any of the clergy insult a presbyter, or deacon, let him be excommunicated.

======

Canons are made to be guidelines not  die hard rules.

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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2003, 04:54:25 PM »

Orthodoc -

Thanks for the info.

How do you feel about the Ecumenical Movement?

This is an honest question; I'm not trying to stir controversy.

I personally think we should get out of it, not because we should isolate ourselves, but because I think it does more harm than good.

It is easy to want to bend and compromise to please people we find personally attractive or who seem "pious," even if their beliefs are heretical. Little by little the truth gets lost in the shuffle.

As I said before, I also think our participation in Ecumenism causes Protestants to look upon us as just one more sect and to equate their groups with the Church. It gives them a legitimacy that Christ never gave them.
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« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2003, 06:04:28 PM »

Linus7, I think you're absolutely right. We do seem to legitimize them, among other things by being in their WCC's and such. BTW  I keep thinking your posts are by Mor Ephrem since you both use the same icon for an avatar!
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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2003, 06:21:12 PM »

Linus7, I think you're absolutely right. We do seem to legitimize them, among other things by being in their WCC's and such.

Personally, I do not think we--and by "we," I specifically include our hierarchs and lower clergy--should be engaging in public prayer services, especially of the liturgical variety, of any kind with the heterodox--that always leaves a bad feeling in my gut.  But I do think that we can and should legitimately join with the heterodox in the Pro-Life cause, in joint Christian charitable endeavors, e.g., running soup kitchens, low-cost used clothing stores for the poor and needy, shelters for the homeless and the like, and as citizens defending Christianity at governmental levels.

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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2003, 07:03:16 PM »

Orthodoc -

Thanks for the info.

How do you feel about the Ecumenical Movement?

This is an honest question; I'm not trying to stir controversy.

======
I know you are not Linus7.  I am against any type of ecumenical dialogue.  The Orthodox Catholic Church should get out of both the NCC and the WCC, etc.  
We should have learned our lesson when we spent all those years  during the communist era in both organizations who convinced us they were working for Christian unity, fellowship, and equality.  And these same hypocrites first reaction after the fall of communism was to try and take advantage of our weakened condition to proseltyze and sheep steal.  So much for their platitudes regaarding unity and fellowship!
I actually shutter when I hear some of the unOrthodox ecumenical statements coming from some of our Orthodox Catholic bishops under the EP.  Especially bishops Nicholas, Vsevelod, and Ware.  
As far as inter communion or praying together, I am basically against it except certain occasions of national events or emergencies providing it is done outdoors and each religion does its own thing.

I do, however, see no problem with us working together with other Christians or religious groups in areas like pro life and appealing for abortion law reform, feeding the poor,  assisting in catastrophies, etc.

Think I covered it all.

Orthodoc

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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2003, 07:28:04 PM »

I agree with LInus and Nik here.  It is time to get out of the WCC and other ecumenist organizations..they are seducing Orthodoxy to teach unorthodox doctrines.  Frankly, I don't understand this I am okay, you are okay disease that is common in our time.  Not every religion is the path to salvation.  Only Orthodoxy contains the truth, the whole truth that is.  So why are we saying that some heretical group is okay and not so bad?  By participating in ecumenist events, we are not witnessing to the lost, but rather saying that their heresies are okay and making Orthodoxy, instead of being the truth, to be one of the many paths that is no better than the heretics.  We only cheapen ourselves by participating in the WCC.
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« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2003, 08:23:20 PM »

I guess we are all in agreement here thus far! That's a good thing, since we're all Orthodox Christians!

I have another question for everyone:

What about those Protestants who are "more orthodox" than the rest?

I am thinking specifically of very conservative Anglicans who are trying to find and preserve the Apostolic Tradition; you know, the kind of guys who usually wind up with us in the long run.

And what of the Roman Catholics?

I know they are off on many things, but I would hardly put them in the same class with Baptists.

How far do we go with these folks?

No one wants to alienate them, but we don't want them to think they're totally okay, either.

I hate to keep harping on my debating experiences at www.christianbbs.com , but I have often found certain types of Protestants, as well as Roman Catholics, who make common cause with me on issues like the sacraments, Sola Scriptura, veneration of the saints, etc.

It is difficult to see these people in the same light as the "Fundie fringe."

They can very easily be brought into the Orthodox Church because they seem to already have one foot in the door.

What about them?
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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2003, 09:30:29 PM »

Quote
[I have another question for everyone:

What about those Protestants who are "more orthodox" than the rest?

I am thinking specifically of very conservative Anglicans who are trying to find and preserve the Apostolic Tradition; you know, the kind of guys who usually wind up with us in the long run.

And what of the Roman Catholics?

I know they are off on many things, but I would hardly put them in the same class with Baptists.

How far do we go with these folks?

No one wants to alienate them, but we don't want them to think they're totally okay, either.

I hate to keep harping on my debating experiences at www.christianbbs.com , but I have often found certain types of Protestants, as well as Roman Catholics, who make common cause with me on issues like the sacraments, Sola Scriptura, veneration of the saints, etc.

It is difficult to see these people in the same light as the "Fundie fringe."

They can very easily be brought into the Orthodox Church because they seem to already have one foot in the door.

What about them?

This is where I think Orthodox need to be very careful and define terms, such as "ecumenism", before engaging in categorical assertions.  

The Royal Path in such matters is always harder to discern and follow, than the one extreme of compromising Orthodoxy's claim to be The Church of the Creed, and the other extreme of condemning everyone  who professes Christ outside of Orthodoxy as being "graceless".  

I've been in the Church now for almost a decade, and there are problems I notice in these two extremes.  On the one hand, among those in the "canonical" jurisdictions who run off to places like Assissi at the drop of a hat, there is an unreflective, robotic quality to their participation.  It gives scandal to the faithful and conveys the message that Orthodoxy endorses syncretism and relativism.  On the other extreme, having had first-hand exposure to "super-correct" attitudes, in both SCOBA and of course non-SCOBA jurisdictions, where the motivation for condemning "ecumenism" is to preserve the uniqueness and witness of Orthodoxy, this ironically does not translate into a warmth or zeal for souls, or taking the Orthodox message to the unchurched and to protestants and catholics with whom we can make common cause on certain questions.  In fact, the fear of "contamination" from the heterodox basically tends to ghettoize "super-correct" types who are unduly preoccupied with canonical rectitude in every minute particular.    

If Orthodoxy is truly Catholic, as we profess it to be, we can rejoice in the truth of separated heterodox, engage in common cause and witness with them on certain things; and gently bear witness to our understanding that its fullness is to be found only in Orthodoxy.  However, if our zeal for purity leads to a fear of "contamination", we'll never get anywhere with anyone, and we will become merely sectarian.  In this regard, the witness of Fr. John Meyendorff (of blessed memory) would be an embodiment of the ideal.

There are several problems that bedevil discussions about ecumenism among Orthodox.  Just to take one example, when someone brings up the topic, the issue is automatically conflated into whether or not we should take part in the NCC and the WCC.  I happen to think that Orthodox should be aggressively involved in conversations and witness with conservative Roman Catholics and Evangelicals.  That's ecumenism.  On the other hand, it's clear that membership in the NCC and WCC has passed its expiration date.  The moribund liberal protestant groups and erastian state churches that comprise the bulk of membership in these two groups do make us "guilty by association" and do compromise our witness.  They are largely irrelevant and we need to turn our attention elsewhere.

Life is always more complicated than extremes; and the Royal Path can be a tightrope walk.  If any of you have access to Archbp. Akervy's commentary on The Apocalypse, I urge you to look at an appendix that contains a remarkable article titled "Before the Face of Antichrist", by a ROCOR archimandrite who discusses an "ecumenism of the anti-ecumenical".
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« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2003, 11:19:48 AM »

Excellent, well-thought-out post, Varangia.  I agree: the fear of contamination by the heterodox should not stop us from engaging in joint efforts of charity and witness, e.g., Pro-Life, with them.  The "super-correctness" kind of Orthodoxy was not looked upon fondly by the late Hieromonk Seraphim [Rose], of blessed memory, either.  OTOH, I see no excuse for us to engage in public ecumenical prayer services, especially when official liturgy is involved, as this only confirms the heterodox in their errors, IMHO.  And yes, our involvement in the NCC and WCC is quite out of date: our witness in these forums has been more ineffectual than not and has only scandalized our faithful.

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« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2003, 02:03:35 PM »

I think the best way for Orthodoxy and Orthodox christians to witness to the world is by clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, protecting the widows and orphans, comforting the bereaved, etc.  I think if we did this we would better serve our cause than to have our theologians and Patriarchs engage in discussions and powwows with heterodox.
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« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2003, 02:55:49 PM »

[I think the best way for Orthodoxy and Orthodox christians to witness to the world is by clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, protecting the widows and orphans, comforting the bereaved, etc.  I think if we did this we would better serve our cause than to have our theologians and Patriarchs engage in discussions and powwows with heterodox. ]

AMEN!  I'm 100% in agreement with you!

Orthodoc
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« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2003, 03:41:57 PM »

Thanks, everyone, for your replies. Thanks especially to you, Varangia. That was an excellent post.

I guess I agree. I have pretty much welcomed the help of all who were willing to take my part in debate; however, I always get around to making it clear that the Holy Orthodox Church is the Church founded by Christ Himself.

If you get a chance, you should check out the debate on the Eucharist over at www.christianbbs.com . There's a guy over there who is absolutely rabid in his condemnation of the Orthodox Catholic doctrine. He has now left argument and debate behind and is merely ranting, blaspheming, and calling names.

Check it out only if you have a strong stomach and can keep your anger in check.
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