I will provide here, over time, some resources to combat what I see as three of the more malevolent isms which many churches and Christian Theologians offer today. Whilst these isms sound wonderful ostensibly, I think they may be AntiChrists. This is a hard position to take but seems somewhat necessary.
These three isms in various forms interrelate and I fear can wreak havoc on the Church, God’s creation and life as a communion of Love, rightly ordered with God and one another, if we take them 100% seriously.
Like my previous post on Marriage and Sex, I hope this exposes the radical falseness and heterodox nature of these Anti-Christ doctrines, despite their sweet sound and appeal to some sense of Christian piety.(One, which I think is well intentioned but dangerous.)
I use Anti-Christ in the sense that they give the appearance of being the true orthodox view, flatter us and sound like the truth of the Gospel but for that very reason are so dangerous.
Please see David Cayley on the AntiChrist in Rene Girard and Ivan Illich.
This understanding of Christ and Anti- Christ can be found, at least implicitly in the likes of C.S Lewis and even non Theologians such as Christopher Lasch, both referenced below.
Besides the Holy Scriptures, Tradition, human history and experience itself, I’ve been influenced by a number of prophetic thinkers. Therefore I’ll call on their witness and share some of their insights in the hope that you’ll see-
1- That these isms are Anti-Christian and untrue.
2- That despite their high sounding nature, are actually ultimately destructive to Christian life in the greatest, most ultimate of ways.
These two points are intertwined and hopefully serve as a fair opening for understanding of purpose.
Our target is just a part of the ever present Anti-Christ tendency which we must struggle against, but mostly in our time manifests itself in the ‘therapeutic’ model of the world.
This is a model which has replaced salvation with health and deification with enlightenment or a transvaluation of values. This model, at least from what ive seen, is of ‘the world’ and ‘man centred’ rather than God AND Man centred together (ie Christ-centred) and arguably replaces an older different but equally man-centric church of the middle ages, with all the nuances that brings East and West. ( think St Irenaus…fully alive).
By decrying this model, I do not offer a reactionary return to a pristine past therefore and find those who do, Catholic, Orthodox or other, to be naive and dangerous, so want to show that nonsense up as well, implicitly or explicitly.
Some of the persons to consider pertaining to our area, are- Dimitru Staniloae, Georges Florovsky, John Behr, C.S Lewis, Christopher Lasch, David Cayley( and Illich), Paul Gottfried, Thomas Sowell, Norman Wirzba and Alexander Schmemann.
Each, consciously or unconsciously, rails against one or more of these heterodox isms in their brilliant work.
My blog has been inspired by above mentioned as well as the likes of Fr Kimel’s ‘Eclectic Orthodoxy’. He is a brilliant scholar and much smarter than I am, but I hope to bring together a lot of relevant resources to the Christian life just as he does, in his admittedly superior and more structured way.
Funnily, he’s a Universalist like some of my other intellectual heroes (Kallistos Ware and Berdyaev amongst others.) But, I could not disagree more pertaining to Universalism and hope to show it’s pernicious character below. (Ironically, he has a criticism of Staniloae on his page which is meant to make Staniloae’s view appear unjust- I think it actually has the opposite effect, showing how the coming together of time and eternity of our lived lives in this world, gives ultimate meaning to our choices, as they relate to the Kingdom.)
Needless to say, I think this misrepresents both Staniloae and the ‘Traditional view’ of hell badly. Fr Florovsky, in Creation and Redemption shows clearly why this is incorrect.
See these videos and sources, to gain a more perceptive insight, imo-
Some of these, both for as mentioned and against are my great influences and their gifts, I share these all humbly, acknowledging that I run the risk of misintrepeting or misrepresenting them and apologise if I do. Suffice to say, they are not to blame for my shortcomings.
Anti Christ 1- Universalism ( Mercy without Justice.)
https://t.co/K5u3mteZTw Brilliant, necessary personalistic understanding of law, for not just the criminal but the victim, in episode 2 and the series is great all round. Although, not about he’ll per se, I think has very real consequences to consider pertaining to that doctrine.
Anti Christ 2- Pacifism ( the suicide of the creature)
How extensive and ‘pure’ was the Pacifism of the early Christian Church?
I’m usually more into Eastern Christianity but find the arguments for ‘pacifism’ as THEE tradition-whilst coming from great scholars such as Fr LeMasters and McGuckin- not entirely convincing.
C.S Lewis and Dr Peter Leithart, amongst others, I think offer a more rounded, more Biblical picture.
I do see in some of the canons, St Basil, in Gregory of Nyssa, etc this tendency but Byzantium and ‘Orthodoxy’ seems to have been more nuanced as is Christianity in toto. St Augustine is still ‘Blessed’ in EO despite the attacks on him and his work today.
I’ve also come across this-
Do the Oriental Orthodox of different kinds have the same view/s- for example that whilst war can be conducted it is by nature ‘unclean’ so Priests can’t serve in the military? This makes me really uncomfortable even though I do get the argument that Priests are pointing us to the Kingdom and have seen EO point to King David- but surely that should apply to us all or we risk making an almost two-tiered moral impetus. (This is from my reading of Fr LeMasters http://incommunion.org/2009/02/26/may-christians-kill/ ).
I’m wondering, because they’re two American Eastern Orthodox scholars (and Fr LeMasters has been influenced heavily by Yoder etc) how true is this of EO in general across the world and time, and may there be a certain extrapolating of their modern liberal-democratic influenced ‘therapeutic’ views onto the early fathers, even whilst we recognise certain early Christians thought this way/canons.)
Then, how much of the Tradition does that early Church represent? How much is essential to the gospel and how much was a byproduct of that time? (with the surrounding empires, focus on literal martyrdom and monasticism, etc)
Does the Bible not draw a more multifaceted approach ‘Just War’ or if not ‘Just War’, self defence even on a small scale whereby acting in self defense or defense of another wouldn’t be sinful? I read one EO Theologian highlighting Romans 13:4, saying how the ruler doesnt bear the sword in vain, etc.
Fr John Whiteford, an EO Priest has written a little on this and whilst I often disagree with him, think he makes some good points( http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/96216.htm)
This sort of diversity within the Church I would hope should put halt to ‘this is what the Church has always taught ‘. I’ve came across Girardians and a Jesuit Priest online, suggesting that non violence IS God’s love manifest, even pointing to it as a narrow way that not all can take and this seems wrong- placing a tenuous moral impetus on people who may wish to defend others or oneself from serious physical harm. It fails to see how that can be a true act of love, for victims no less. They’ve said that ‘clearly the whipping of the moneychangers was ‘allegorical’ like some early Christians believe, but from what i’ve seen that isn’t clear at all-
I’m really curious about this, especially today when we live in such a dangerous time. How much of Christian Theology today really is true to the Gospel and how much to political liberalism I wonder. I find it interesting that Origen seems to be central to many Christian Theologians today but was he not the most dubious/on the periphery of the earlier Fathers!? (Fr Barron, DB Hart and co seem to rely heavily on him). I find it interesting too that this runs alongside a tendency towards universalism, with many overlaps and similarities.
“In the Saracen encampment they asked St. Cyril [Enlightener of the Slavs]: “How can Christians wage war and at the same time keep Christ’s commandment to pray to God for their enemies?’ To this, St. Cyril replied: “If two commandments were written in one law and given to men for fulfilling, which man would be a better follower of the law: The one who fulfilled one commandment or the one who fulfilled both?’ The Saracens replied: “Undoubtedly, he who fulfills both commandments.” St. Cyril continued: “Christ our God commands us to pray to God for those who persecute us and even do good to them, but He also said to us, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). That is why we bear the insults that our enemies cast at us individually and why we pray to God for them. However, as a society, we defend one another and lay down our lives, so that the enemy would not enslave our brethren, would not enslave their souls with their bodies, and would not destroy them in both body and soul.”’
From “The Prologue of Ohrid” by St. Nikolai Velimirovic of Zica
Tremper Longman correcting Greg Boyd an co.
Anti Christ 3- Clericalism ( the sacred-secular dialectic).