Class 42: Faith Comes First, Session 1. A New Approach. Preliminary Remarks
Listen to the podcast of this talk at https://www.spreaker.com/user/youngfaithradio/osc-42
A New Approach:
Forgive me for taking so long to record our next session. I’ve realized I have to take a different approach in order to do our Orthodox Survival Course regularly. If I continue to insist on writing formal, 3,000 word essays, our sessions will come less and less frequently, as I have taken on further responsibilities within our Church in North America. So I have to go to a different approach: We are going to treat our class as a class, in which the teacher has a few notes in front of him and then just talks based on what he knows. I shall henceforward publish my notes in outline form, with main points, reading suggestions, and links to online resources, rather than write finished essays and record them. The drawback is that, speaking off the cuff, I perhaps shall make mistakes in fact or be too rough in my style. Also, to really benefit, you’ll have to listen to the audio recording, because the notes are just that – notes, not a complete essay. The advantages will lie in being able to talk to you more frequently and at greater length, and in our enjoying the more lively style of the classroom or a radio show.
As I ask your forgiveness for your hearing from me less frequently, I must nonetheless humbly once again ask for your support. As I’ve said quietly in the past, my little parish of St. Irene Chrysovalantou in Rochester Hills, Michigan lovingly supports my family as much as they can – I would say their level of giving per household is far above that in average Orthodox parishes – but they cannot support us full-time, and basically they and two other donors within our Church in a North America underwrite everything I do for you, my Internet audience, even though so much of my time is given to these efforts to help those outside our parish. In fairness to them, and so that I can go on doing this, please consider a gift to help me out. If you have PayPal, you can send a one-time gift, or a recurring gift of x amount per month to my account at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to send a relatively large amount for which you would like to receive a receipt for a tax deduction, contact me at that email, and I can tell you how to donate to our parish, who in turn will pass the donation on to me and send you a receipt.
Today’s Class – Faith Comes First, Session 1 – The Need for Preliminary Remarks
In our last class we made the point that Faith Comes First. All the other problems we have and will talk about must be put aside for moment, and we have to focus on Orthodoxy itself, which, after all, is what is most important: What is the connection between our confession of Faith and being in the Church? This is life or death, for extra ecclesiam nulla salus – outside the Church there is no salvation. The big picture is that we cannot combat all the woes of the nihilistic culture till we deal with this fundamental problem of the leadership of the historical institutions of the Church turning traitor and collaborating with the Anti-Christ Revolution. The Church is the answer, and so we have to put the Church first.
Last time I concluded saying that the big question revolves around the apostasy of the official Orthodox hierarchies in the 20th century, and that in this class I’d give you a rundown of the history of Ecumenism in the 20th century and where each jurisdiction stands now vis-a-vis Ecumenism. But later I realized that I need to do some preliminary teaching first, so that we can approach this history lesson and this evaluation of our contemporary situation with greater understanding. As we go along, I plan to keep referring you to books and articles to read, both in hardcopy and online. I think one of my main goals is to get you reading about these things, so that you can make informed decisions about where you belong.
Preliminary Remarks: Topic 1 – Who is listening to this? And who is doing the talking? From what I can deduce, y’all (my audience out there) are people in my own jurisdiction, the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece under Archbishop Kallinikos, those in other True Orthodox (TO) jurisdictions, those in “World” or “official” Orthodox jurisdictions, and those not yet Orthodox who are seeking to learn more about Orthodoxy. So I need to accomplish several goals:
A. Give enough background on ecclesiology and Church history to make this comprehensible to everyone.
B. Give an apologia for where I am.
C. Confirm my fellow True Orthodox in their convictions.
D. Get the “World” Orthodox and inquirers thinking about these things, while providing resources for them to learn more.
Preliminary Remarks: Topic 2 – “Don’t take this personally…” We cannot help but take all this personally – it’s the most personal thing of all, our eternal destiny! In particular, “World” Orthodox might get upset about what I say about their bishops, which by extension is also about their priests, whom they may be fond of and regard as model clergymen, some of whom I myself know personally and have positive regard. It’s all right to get upset about the things that matter. That’s the way life is. If you get upset with me, I don’t blame you!
Preliminary Remarks, Topic 3 – Don’t get sidetracked: Keep your eye on the ball
A. “Grace/no grace”
B. The calendar is “not a dogmatic issue” – read The Calendar Question by Fr. Basile Sakkas – http://hotca.org/orthodoxy/orthodox-awareness/203-the-calendar-question
C. Crude understanding of “canonical”
D. Procedural issues
E. World Orthodox “saints” and “good priests”
Preliminary Remarks, Topic 4 – Don’t fall for logical fallacies
A. ad hominems
B. straw men
C. begging the question
D. appeal to authority
To get started, do read these four things:
Christian Union? An Orthodox Christian’s Guide to Ecumenism: Past, Present, and Future
Against False Union by Alexandre Kalomiros
Ecumenism – The Path to Perdition by Liudmila Perepiolkina http://ecumenizm.tripod.com/
The True Orthodox Church and Heresy of Ecumenism – http://hotca.org/pdf/TrueOrthodoxOppositionEcumenism.pdf