Friday, February 15, 2013




“ Above everything is love.  The thing that must concern you my children, is love for the others,  for their souls. Whatever we do, whether it is prayer or offering advice or pointing out some error,  let us do it with love.”                 Elder Porphyrios

   The roots of the ecumenical movement date back to the early part of the 20th century – almost a hundred years.  The original idea was that the Protestants work to seek mutual unity, and then seek to unite themselves to the Orthodox Church, that is to abandon error and accept the living Orthodox Faith. 

  The Orthodox participants working with  the W.C.C.  who preach and practice ecumenism, know that they are limited in certain things, and that they should not and I believe will not deny Orthodoxy. They have been gathering and meeting with the heterodox for about a half  century. 

It is important to note that in the beginning,  the Orthodox strongly proclaimed the One Church and the truths of Orthodoxy, aimed at persuading  the heterodox to be reborn into the true  Church.  But things have changed in the years that they have been meeting with them, discussing with them, listening to them, and praying with them, experiencing some very scandalous displays at these meetings. They exchange ideas and form committees, but these actions is the cause of ecumenism being badly flawed. For despite these many activities the most essential thing is continuously overlooked.  They talk about love for one another but fail to practice true love in Jesus Christ.  Love according to Christ, is guiding every soul with whom we have contact, to salvation, sanctification and deification, which is  the main task of the Orthodox Church.  For it is the Lord’s desire that  that not a single soul  perish,  but that all come to salvation and eternal life.

    The Lord did not tell his disciples to go forth  and discuss the faith with pagans, but to go forth and preach the Gospel, for it is  filled with divine power, and has brought many to the Faith. Preaching and persuading is the Orthodox  method of spreading the Faith. So powerful is the preaching of the Gospel, that by its words alone idols crashed to the ground, pagan temples were destroyed, and many came to baptism and salvation in the Faith.

   The flaw is based on this fact: A single soul  saved is more precious than the whole universe. Long drawn out discussions that continue from year to year, are not the Orthodox established  methodology as we learn by reading Scripture  and Church history.  The method always used was the simple preaching and firmly proclaiming the truth with love.  Scripture instructs, “if they do not heed your preaching,  then shake off the dust from your feet as a witness against them.”   Preaching is not an exchange of niceties or ideas, or repeated debating,  instead the main message of  the Gospel is to  teach  men to change their entire way of thinking about everything:  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is here.” This is what the Apostles did so successfully, overthrowing the former world of idolatry and demon worship.  Each soul who responds to the preaching must then be  brought into the Church, catechized,  baptized and sealed with the gift of Holy Spirit. This enables such souls  to be fed and communicated with the living Body and Blood of Christ which deifies and cleanses them of all sins.  Then continuing with their struggle, with fasting and prayer, they join with us in  working out their salvation in the fear and love of God, with great rejoicing that they are now within the   bosom of Church. That is why we are all baptized into the death of Christ, so that we may also rise in the joy of His Resurrection.

   Another flaw is that the ecumenists generally speak of the heterodox as being part of the divided Church,   and they wish to restore unity. But this is fallacious, for the Church, like Christ’s robe, can never be divided,  nor can the gates of Hades prevail against it, because it is the living Body of Christ. Those who leave it or are outside and not a part of the one Church.
   The Orthodox in the ecumenical movement in not using the method of Christ and the apostles, show further proof  that it is badly flawed and harmful to the souls of themselves  and the heterodox and this is easily seen in its fruits.  Our Lord teaches that a good tree  brings forth good fruit. The good fruit that the Church produces, is the salvation of the  souls of men and women, who upon hearing the preaching,  abandon error become members of  the Church, as they firmly travel on the path of salvation.  Ecumenism does not bring hundreds or thousands of heterodox into salvation and eternal life. Preaching is ordered by Christ, and is the established method of attracting people to everlasting life. Every Orthodox Christian is responsible to multiply his talent. We are all duty bound in the spirit of love to live our Faith and share this holy treasure with everyone on  earth, leading them into the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. After the Resurrection, Christ commanded His Apostles: “Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to all creation. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he who does not believe shall be condemned. (Mark 15:-16)   Also: “Jesus came and spoke to them saying: All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you unto the close of the age.”  (Mat 28: 18-20)

    On the day of Pentecost, Peter boldly preached to the Jews bringing three thousand people to baptism and the path to everlasting life. St. Irene preached the true faith during her martyrdom and hundreds of thousands were baptized.  Paul preached, performing many signs and wonders, bringing whole cities and nations to baptism and salvation.   Ecumenism does not accomplish any of these things, for if it did, its fruit would be visible, and we would see thousands joyfully entering the Church.

  Ecumenism is extremely harmful to the heterodox for being  outside the Church, they are not on the path of salvation, but headed for perdition.  They cannot be saved in their heresies as the Scriptures; the Fathers and Canons  teach.  Lacking true baptism and the grace of Holy Spirit,  they  are not being  fed with the Bread who came down from heaven, which is necessary, for without eating that bread,  they have no life in them as Christ says. Everyone knows that they all fail to accept the truth which the Church preserves, but unfortunately are caught and trapped by falsehood instead. For goodness sake, Christ’s love commands or I should say demands that we bring every soul possible into the Church, the only place where there is salvation and eternal life, not overlooking even a single soul.  This is where most of our energy should be applied.  Failing to do this, is evidence that we do not really love them.  Because the meaning of love is to give all the good one has to his beloved. The  good that we Orthodox possess is our unalterable and holy Orthodox Faith. Which descended from heaven and is not of man, like the heterodox.  This faith is not our possession but is only loaned to us. Only God can open the heart of a man to receive this Faith.  Our sacred duty is to give it to every person that we can, for there is no better gift.  If they refuse, we are not responsible, but if we fail to offer this faith to every one we can, we are in danger of losing our own salvation.

   Protestantism is not harmless, for it teaches contrary to the honor we give to the Theotokos and the Saints; against their intercessions and against their icons,  it teaches against the bread and wine becoming the Body and Blood of Christ. It teaches against a sacred clergy and priesthood.  It teaches that faith alone without works will save them, contradicting the Church.  For while faith saves us,  we will all be judged according to our works,  for faith without works is dead, according to Scripture. Faith must be followed by the fruits of faith, which are peace, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, charity and all other virtues.  Only one of the aforementioned   separates a person from God! 

 Ecumenism not only fails to bring the heterodox to Christ, but is also harmful to Orthodox Christians, who finance the work,  for the following reason. From the Orthodox peoples resources,  amounting to millions of dollars and man hours , including travel expenses, food, lodging etc., are invested in a fruitless endeavor, which obviously fails to lead the heterodox away from their errors and blasphemy against our holy Faith. We Orthodox possess the most precious treasure in the universe,  the living Truth, who came down from heaven, and this treasure can only be acquired in Orthodoxy.  If we do not lead the heterodox, by using our time and energy,  to this Truth and eternal life, then all work in ecumenism is in vain, lacking beneficial purpose. Those who take part in this task, necessarily sacrifice time and energy which belongs to the work of the  Church but fails to lead anyone to salvation. Fifty years have passed without results. For they have not abandoned their heresies nor embraced the truth of Christ’s Church. Is it not time to reassess our engagement in the ecumenical movement?

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