Yes, but the Orthodox claim to be Christ's sheep. Roman Catholics claim to be Christ's sheep. Half a million different Protestant denominations claim to be Christ's sheep, and some of them are as exclusive of others as the Orthodox and pre-1960 Roman Catholics. Even a lot of sects in schism from Rome or from canonical Orthodoxy claim to be Christ's sheep. What makes you and your sect so special?
I believe we all are
His sheep, but in different stages of development. Some of us are much further along in some areas than others, and some of us are totally ignorant in areas where others excel in experience and wisdom. The Lord would have us learn from one another in humility.
I never said we were so special, I only confessed what I believe, I am His sheep and I do hear His voice, although not always perfectly. There is one thing I have heard perfectly though, we as Christians must all work to lay down our weapons of division, because there is not one Christian; Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox, that does not have something
we need right now in this minute to grow in holiness and love for God, something we are underdeveloped in.
God fully knows who would profit from the gifts of another. He longs to share these gifts with those who are lacking in them, but pride and arrogance have built insurmountable walls.
What's worse, is that these gifts are needed by all to harvest the catch, not to harvest souls for Orthodoxy, Fundamentalism, Catholicism, but for the Kingdom of Heaven.
Each one of us has different treasures of wisdom and experience, laid up in our souls, that have been placed there by the Holy Spirit, to share
. But Satan, knowing man's propensity for fear and thus division, has found a way to wall off those graces and keep the rest of the Body from ever having access to them. Namely, find fault with their practice, label them heretics, then everyone will be fearful of drinking from their poisoned well. Cornelius never could have received Baptism from Peter if he hadn't come to terms with his attitude, through true discernment.
What I am saying is that there are no shortcuts or substitutions for true
Just because our predecessors carried the banners of division, does not mean that God is pleased with division or will allow it to continue forever, and it is guaranteed these attitudes will not be admitted into Heaven.
There are those who want to learn from us, what they can, but they won't get near us because they are afraid that we will attack their faith. God may very well be drawing them to the Orthodox Faith, but they back away because graces they have received legitimately
from God are labeled as demonic.
They are not totally ignorant, the Spirit of the Lord dwelling within them bears witness that this is not true. And why are they being accused? Because others within the Orthodox Faith, do not have solid experience with discernment and have been taught to be suspicious and dismissive, rather than being trained in these areas so they could judge with righteous and true judgement.
And if those drawn to Orthodoxy do have serious error, they are not strong enough yet, by virtue of grace and understanding to renounce their error, they need to be taught by skilled teachers in a non threatening environment. When I say skilled teachers, again I'm referring to discernment, the ability to see what God is trying to do with the soul and walk along side them supportively until they are ready to look at the error. The Celts have the tradition of the Anamchara which we could learn much from.
The Lord sowed division by confusing the language of those who were building the tower of Babel, so they could not continue to share and gain more knowledge, in the end harming themselves.
Satan has sown division between legitimate Christian people, so they cannot share and gain more wisdom, in the end harming him, by snatching souls away from the kingdom of darkness.
The Scribes and the Pharisees perceived Jesus as a sort of vagante teacher, a cult leader, and so they plotted against him. They were lacking in true discernment, even though they were gifted and faithful in the law. The people however, did have discernment, and were able to accept Him as the Messiah.
I believe He is trying to prepare us for our heavenly homeland, a place of perfect peace, which we will someday (if we remain faithful), enter into. But more importantly, there is a harvest, and He needs His army stepping in unison, not fighting within the ranks.
There cannot be perfect peace without perfect charity, and this earth is our classroom, if we are willing.
As for the goats among us, the Good Shepherd said He would weed them out at the appropriate time.