You can listen to an audio podcast of this talk at https://www.spreaker.com/user/youngfaithradio/osc52
OSC is back at our adult class at St. Irene – After a long break, during which I recorded our talks alone, we are back to our original setting, which is our adult class at St. Irene Church in Rochester Hills, Michigan.
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In our most recent series of classes we have made a case for leaving or remaining out of World Orthodoxy in order not to be in communion with the heresy of Ecumenism, and for belonging to one of the Orthodox bodies that call themselves the True or Genuine Orthodox. In our last class, I gave some guidelines for someone trying to discern which True Orthodox jurisdiction to join. I did not, and do not plan to, go into the particular claims of this or that True Orthodox jurisdiction. To do so would get us off track, because I would be deluged with pointless controversy and waste hours on confusing intramural Old Calendarist polemic. My goal was to make the case that the official jurisdictions are in heresy and therefore one must seek out bishops who are not in heresy. I offered some guidelines in our last talk on how to choose such bishops. Beyond that, if anyone wants my opinion on this or that group, please contact me one on one for a private conversation. Some of our listeners have already begun to do so.
In tonight’s class, which I have titled “Where to Now? Part II,” we are going to start a series of talks on a theological bridge from our current section, “Faith Comes First,” to our next section, which I shall entitle “Living in the Matrix.” By the Matrix, I mean the entire system of falsehood that we live under today, fabricated by the Antichrist global elite, not only by their employing the vast network of communications media institutions that Richard Weaver labeled “The Great Stereopticon,” but also by their infiltrating and finally taking over every essential social institution – church leadership, government leadership, finance, the entire private sector relating to essential needs (food, water, energy, etc.) the military, education, medicine, and, finally, the family. We have already covered the Great Stereopticon at some length. Now we plan go on to these other topics involving society and family, and go to work constructing our Orthodox lens in order to view our present predicament accurately, in order to know what to pray for, how to act, how to speak, and, in general, how to live.
It is essential to grasp that we already live under a total Luciferian system that is ever more rapidly approaching final completion, in both the public and private sectors, controlled by an elite network who, at the top levels, receive instructions directly from demons, and all of whose policies are directed to the goal of Satan to destroy the human race physically and spiritually. Only the mercy of God, only the fact that He is sovereign, and that He is upholding us at every moment, prevents our complete destruction. And, ultimately, the Church will triumph, as the Lord has promised. But will we be in the Church? Will we be among the saved? That is the question. To be and to remain among the saved, we must be orthodox in faith, as the first condition for belonging to the Church.
Ecumenism, which we have covered at length, and which is indeed the heresy of heresies, is not, however, the only heresy ravaging souls in the Orthodox world. It is the heresy formally embraced by the leadership of World Orthodoxy, who are officially, as a matter of openly stated policy, members of the global New World Order elite, though very low down on the pecking order, among the useful idiots. (The chief difference between the official Orthodox hierarchies and the True Orthodox hierarchies is precisely this, that the former are no longer simply infiltrated by the agents of Antichrist: they themselves are now agents, they themselves are, willingly or unwillingly, formally, openly, and institutionally committed to the program of Antichrist. The True Orthodox hierarchies and clergy are indeed infiltrated by conscious and unconscious agents of Antichrist, but they are not institutionally and formally committed to the Antichrist program, or at least not yet. If they were not infiltrated, that would mean they were not doing their job, because only effective enemies merit the System’s attention. But infiltrated is not the same as fallen. The World Orthodox hierarchies are no longer simply infiltrated but fallen).
The True Orthodox are those who have cleanly rejected Ecumenism institutionally and thereby have effectively and not only theoretically confessed that the Orthodox Faith is the only true and saving Faith. Very good. But there remains a problem of other trendy theological errors that are popular throughout the Orthodox world today, and that cross over the “True” vs “World” divide, which, though not formally defined as the position of this or that jurisdiction, do operate in sermons, classes, videos, podcasts, articles, and policies – policies of action or, more critically, lack of action – of various True Orthodox as well as World Orthodox clergy, teachers, writers, speakers, and, most critically, spiritual fathers. These trendy errors do not constitute stated formal positions, but they do create a haze of vaguely comforting confusion that paralyzes fighting members of the Church Militant and makes them into milquetoast members of a “Church Supine.”
So: Before leaving the “Faith Comes First” section of our course and examining the Matrix, we need to deal not only with Ecumenism but also with these very real errors that paralyze not only various World Orthodox but also various True Orthodox clergy and faithful, and render them powerless to undertake militant, intransigent opposition to the Luciferian world system. We True Orthodox need to realize also that there are World Orthodox clergy, writers, and speakers, who do openly point out and oppose these errors and that there are True Orthodox clergy, writers, and speakers that embrace these errors. In other words, this is my position: I am a True Orthodox in order to avoid having to commemorate a bishop who is publicly and formally committed to bringing on the reign of Antichrist. But I don’t have the illusion that the spirit of Antichrist is not at work in True Orthodox circles, and simultaneously I must be honest and recognize that there are individuals who find themselves under the Ecumenist leadership who nonetheless are – both in their words and in their actions – witnessing to vital truths, to essential Orthodox doctrines that are under attack, and I not only applaud them, but I use their work, when needed, to help my own flock.
So we won’t leave “Faith Comes First” quite yet. First we must further solidify our doctrinal foundation, so that we shall be standing on the truly firm ground of Faith and can take the shining weapons of truth into our battle with the Matrix. What are these errors, these trendy ideas that are circulating among “True” as well as “World” Orthodox pastors and teachers, these paralyzing false perceptions which hinder our fight? Let’s take a look.
A Catalogue of Related Errors and a New Friend
Below you will find a list of trendy errors that to a greater or lesser extent have become popular in Orthodox circles. As we go along, we shall see that they are all interrelated, and, most importantly, that they all partake of the spirit of the present age, in that they debilitate the struggle against the worship of the ego and the fallen will, which is the essence of the Luciferian mind: non serviam. I am simply going to list them and briefly summarize them. We plan to deal with them at length as we go along:
1. Pelagianism – the Denial of Original Sin. This error says that we are born not spiritually dead but simply spiritually damaged, that we are born not sinful but simply inclined to sin. At birth, people are spiritually alive and pure until, as they grow older, they commit actual sins, and they need Baptism only as a help not as radical rebirth to being spiritually alive. This becomes a basis for the error of…
2. Universalism – All “good” people go to heaven. Some (or many?) people, without the help of Baptism, are nevertheless pleasing to God by their works and, despite the damage of the Ancestral Sin, somehow keep their childhood innocence and purity sufficiently enough to find salvation apart from Faith and Baptism. (This is Pelagian-based Universalism. There is also Origenist Universalism, but that seems popular only in far left World Orthodox circles; it’s not a problem in True Orthodox circles, at least not yet. The latter, Origenist version, is actually a more complete and ancient intellectual system. The former is based on a shallow sentimentalism, a recent phenomenon related to contemporary man’s incapacity for grasping the actual nature of the human condition, his tendency to an absurd optimism, and his incomprehension of the tragic worldview inherent in all the great philosophical systems, art, literature, etc.). Of course, no, or least very few Orthodox clergy – whether “World” or “True,” formally embrace Universalism. Remember, I am talking about tendencies and confusions, generally due (I hope!) to ignorance not malice; I am not talking about stated positions. But this paralyzing vapor, this deadly nerve gas of intellectual confusion, this miasma of sloppy thought on these subjects, seeps into the minds and wills of Orthodox people everywhere and vitiates the power of our witness.
3. The Denial of Penal Substitutionary Atonement – It is trendy to say that the Orthodox don’t believe that Christ paid the price for our sins, that He died vicariously for us on the Cross to fulfill the Justice of God, and that we are under God’s wrath and curse apart from the Redemption. “Oh, that’s all a bunch of Latin influence; it’s just a bunch of legalism,” they say. The Orthodox position, however is clearly stated in the Catechism of Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow, the last catechism synodically approved by the Russian Orthodox Church before the Bolshevik revolution:
Q: “How does the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross deliver us from sin, the curse, and death?
“A: That we may the more readily believe this mystery, the Word of God teaches us of it, so much as we may be able to receive, by the comparison of Jesus Christ with Adam. Adam is by nature the head of all mankind, which is one with him by natural descent from him. Jesus Christ, in whom the Godhead is united with manhood, graciously made himself the new almighty Head of men, whom he unites to himself through faith. Therefore as in Adam we had fallen under sin, the curse, and death, so we are delivered from sin, the curse, and death in Jesus Christ. His voluntary suffering and death on the cross for us, being of infinite value and merit, as the death of one sinless, God and man in one person, is both a perfect satisfaction to the justice of God, which had condemned us for sin to death, and a fund of infinite merit, which has obtained him the right, without prejudice to justice, to give us sinners pardon of our sins, and grace to have victory over sin and death.
God hath willed to make known to his saints what is the riches of the glory of this mystery of the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col. 1: 26,27
For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one, much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and, death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. Romans 8:1-4 “
4. The Denial of Divine Retribution and, in General, of the Divine Justice – Related to the above error is a general tendency, related to the Marcionite heresy, to relegate the concepts of the Divine wrath and the Divine justice to the category of an “incomplete Old Testament understanding of God.” This is related to
5. Hyper-Therapeuticism in Pastoral Practice – All of Orthodox pastoral activity is reduced to the therapeutic model, which becomes not one of several but the exclusive model for the Church’s ministry. This vitiates Her ruling authority and prophetic vocation, and She becomes one among many competing vendors of feel-good-ism. “We’re the true faith because we offer a better product.” This is related to
6. Missing in Action-ism in the Culture War – “We don’t take sides in the Culture War,” says the effeminate, hyper-therapeutic pastor. “We are above all that.” “We are spiritual.” “We don’t want to judge and crush people with nasty-wasty condemnations like those mean fundamentalist Protestants and traditionalist Catholics.” In other words, the Church’s job, like Peter Pan’s, is to help people think happy thoughts, and Her pastors are not to be courageous shepherds fighting the wolves that are devouring people’s souls. Such pastors are likely to eschew a prophetic stand against the real enemies of the Orthodox people and instead toss out trendy terms like “racism” and “anti-semitism” to virtue signal to the Powers that Be and to lay a guilt trip for non-existent political “sins” on traditional believers who need their help to avoid real sins and to fight real enemies. The consistent theme here is comfort over struggle.
7. Libertarian Approach to Free Will and the Church’s Role in Society – Now we’ve come full circle, back to Pelagianism. The Neo-Pelagianism that is rife today includes a confused idea about the meaning of free will. “The Church has no business influencing civil legislation, because She wants people to obey God’s law ‘freely’.” But in fact our will is only free in its natural form, that is, prior to the Fall. After the Fall, our will, as well as our intellect and our feelings, is in bondage to Satan, a teaching denied by Pelagius. We may, as St. Paul says, want to do the good, but we are powerless to do it. This is true of the unbaptized, and it is also true of the vast majority of the baptized, who have committed various sins after Baptism and are still struggling with enslavement to their passions. For this reason, God has given the power of the sword to the state, to restrain the spread of evil, and the Church has the obligation to influence the state as much as possible to be as close as possible to revealed truth in its legislation and executive action.
Thus the Catalogue of Errors. But who is our new friend? As I note above, “I also see that there are individuals who find themselves under the Ecumenist leadership who nonetheless are – both in their words and in their actions – witnessing to vital truths, essential Orthodox doctrines that are under attack.” One of these men, whom I call our new friend, is an OCA priest who is, moreover (gasp) a graduate of St. Vladimir Seminary. His name is Fr. Joshua Schooping, and, though he doesn’t know it, he is about to become the new superstar of our Orthodox Survival Course. He has written masterful and compelling articles that take on all of the errors above, and he has them posted on his blog, at https://godlightangels.blogspot.com/. I have been aware of all these errors for a long time now, but I have never made time to deal with them. Now Fr. Joshua has done nearly all my work for me, and since I hate re-inventing the wheel, I plan to use his work extensively in explaining and dealing with the errors I’ve listed above.
You can go to his blog now, of course, search the archive, and find the articles relating to most of the problems I’ve listed above. You will notice that he quotes extensively and exclusively from the Greek Fathers. No one can accuse him of “Latinism,” and no one can accuse him of taking quotes out of context. It’s all there, the consensus patrum on Pelagianism, free will, and Penal Substitutionary Atonement. He has done us a great favor, and I pray the Lord will preserve and save him. In our next class, we plan to tackle Error 1, Pelagianism.