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Holy Scripture and the Church August 13, 2011

Posted by The Prodigal Son in Christianity, Orthodox Christianity.
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By New Hieromartyr Hilarion (Troitsky),
Archbishop of Verey

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Editor’s Note: The following article was written in 1914, when St. Hilarion was an archimandrite and a professor of the Imperial Moscow Spiritual Academy. Its message is especially pertinent for our times, when there is widespread confusion and ignorance about the true nature of Christ’s Church and about the right approach to Holy Scripture. It can provide invaluable help to Orthodox Christians in understanding their Faith more deeply, and in defending and giving an account of it when confronted with heterodox—especially Protestant—claims. At the same time, it can serve as wake-up call to Protestants, who separate the Bible from the Church, as well as to those Orthodox Christian scholars who have been unduly influenced by the modern “higher criticism” of the Bible which originated within German Protestantism—the fallacies of which are profoundly demonstrated by our modern-day Orthodox apologist, St. Hilarion.

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In the Church there are no stone tablets with letters inscribed by a Divine finger. The Church has the Holy Scriptures, but He Who established the Church wrote nothing. Only once, in the Gospel of John, was it said of Christ that He stooped down and wrote something; but even this one time Christ wrote with his finger and on the ground, it may even be that He did not write any words at all, but merely drew with His finger pointing to the ground. And yet the Church has Scripture, which is called by her Holy and Divine.

Christ did not write anything.

It seems that if one reflects enough on this fact, one can somewhat understand the very essence of the work of Christ. As a rule, other religious leaders of humanity, founders of various philosophical schools, have written readily and in abundance, and yet Christ wrote nothing at all. Does not this mean that in its essence the work of Christ has nothing in common with the work of any of the philosophers, teachers, or leading representatives of the intellectual life of mankind? Furthermore, has the Church herself ever viewed her Founder as one of the teachers of mankind? Has she ever considered His teachings as the essence of His work? No, with the utmost exertion of her theological strength, the Christian Church has defended as the greatest religious truth that Christ is the Only-begotten Son of God, One in essence with God the Father, Who became incarnate on earth. For that truth, the greatest Fathers of the Church labored to the point of blood.

They were unbending in the battle for this truth. They did not yield a single inch to their adversaries, literarily not even a single iota, which in the Greek language differentiates homoiousion, “of similar essence,” from homoousion, “co-essential.” “Those who call these men [i.e., Arians] Christians are in great and grievous error,” writes St. Athanasius the Great. Thus did this adamant of Orthodoxy argue definitively about the impossibility of being a Christian while denying the Incarnation of the Son of God, Who is co-essential with God the Father.

But was the Incarnation of the Only-begotten Son of God necessary only in order to write a book and entrust it to mankind? Was it absolutely essential for Him to be the Only-begotten Son of God just to write a book? If the Church insisted with such determination on the Divine dignity of her Founder, then obviously she did not regard writing to be the essence of His work. It was the Incarnation of the Son of God that was necessary for the salvation of mankind, and not a book. (more…)


The Orthodox Christian Church Is… May 22, 2011

Posted by The Prodigal Son in Uncategorized.
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The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Christian Church is:

(a) The Body of Christ

(b) The community of believers and followers of Jesus Christ since Pentecost — that point in time at which that community has been guided by The Holy Spirit, as had been promised by Our Lord prior to His Crucifixion and Resurrection:

[John 16:13: “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” Matthew 16:18: “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”]

(c) The same yesterday, today and forever, just as Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever [Hebrews 13:8]

(d) One, as Jesus Christ Himself is One and Indivisible

(e) Holy; sacramental; liturgical – as opposed to being merely some sort of club for social networking, or activism, or community organizing, or debating, or …. whatever is the trend of the week

(f) Catholic; universal; The Church for all of humanity in all places at all times, and also with each “Church” — each place of Orthodox worship, and each Autocephalous Church — complete in itself as the nexus between time and eternity, between Heaven and Earth.

(g) Apostolic; in continuity — both temporally and in terms of teachings and tradition — with the Apostles, who themselves were guided by Our Lord and Saviour, and who were in continuity with the teachings and traditions of the Israelite people prior to the temporal ministry of Jesus, the Messiah

(h) Orthodox; of correct teachings, correct worship, correct glorification.  Lex orandi, lex credendi.


A Conversation With A Protestant… August 7, 2010

Posted by The Prodigal Son in Uncategorized.
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Here’s a quote from a website I visited:

“The Gospel-

Sound complicated? It’s not, really. It is simply a matter of believing that Jesus is God’s only begotten Son, and that He came to Earth, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died to remove your sin — that original sin you inherited from Adam — then rose again on the third day to assure your future resurrection.

Here is what it takes to be “born again.” It is as simple as ABC:

A – Admit you are a sinner.

B – Believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died and rose again to give you eternal life.

C – Call upon Him in prayer and ask for salvation.”


So… I ask you – is that  the true Gospel? Or is it a lie invented in the 16th century which only serves to fool people and keep them from the knowledge of the truth and the salvation found in His Church?