It’s become apparent that the Christian world is splitting along the same line as the rest of the world, between Modernity and Tradition. The breakdown of Church unity that happened in 1054 AD when the Orthodox world and the Catholic world tragically broke union with one another, for good reason but an event that nonetheless is perhaps one of the most tragic in world history, planted the seeds of heresy throughout the Western world.
Within several centuries of the schism another schism occurred between the Catholic Church and what now has grown to be tens of thousands of “denominations” some ranging in size from a clapboard shack with one family in it to so called “mega-churches.” While the Bible confirms that “all nations” will be represented at the throne of Christ, the Bible makes it clear that many who call themselves Christians will find themselves having been deceived by wolves in sheep’s clothing at the moment of the Last Judgment.
Scripture tells us that we have two lanterns to guide our path through the dark world that we live in, one is the light of Holy Scripture itself, and the other lantern is that of Sacred Tradition that has been handed down from Christ to the Apostles and through the Apostles to the Church over the past two thousand years. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 tells us “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” something that it appears that many denominations have now forgotten.
Saint Hilarion Troitsky famously gave a sermon that should remind us that to be cut off from the Church is to leave the believer in a place of spiritual death by following churches that have abandoned both Scripture and Tradition “We know and are convinced that falling away from the Church, whether into schism, heresy, or sectarianism, is complete perdition and spiritual death. For us there is no Christianity outside of the Church. If Christ established the Church, and the Church is His Body, then to be cut off from His Body is to die.” The most recent and perhaps most visible example of believers falling into spiritual death are the recent moves by the Presbyterian Church U.S.A, moves that will be far reaching for American culture and for millions of believers, both in this world and the next.
The Presbyterian Church U.S.A or PCUSA has been the standard bearer for liberal “Christianity” for quite some time. I put Christianity in quotes because by following the logic that a man standing in a garage can call himself a car doesn’t make him one, just because you call yourself a Church and a Christian doesn’t make you a part of the Body of Christ. I do not judge the PCUSA based on my own beliefs or opinions, but by looking at the words of the Church Fathers, two thousand years of Sacred Tradition and Scripture it becomes clear that PCUSA is as much of a house of God as your local synagogue, mosque or Masonic Temple.
One of the first attacks against Sacred Tradition by PCUSA was the ordination of women to the priesthood. Church Tradition has always held that men and women are spiritually equal but that there are specific roles for each gender within society and within the Church. Since the time of Christ and the subsequent ministry of the Apostles, women have always played a crucial role in the Church including the Scriptural role of deaconesses, but never has the Church ordained women to the priesthood. To ordain women is to categorically revolt against the Traditions of Scripture and the Church, it is a modernist invention to attempt to meet the world half-way on issues that have firmly been decided since the writing of the Holy Biblbe.
Bishop Kallistos Ware said on this subject “The ordination of women to the priesthood lacks all basis in Scripture and Tradition, and after two thousand years we have no right to innovate in a matter of such importance.” In 1873 PCUSA appointed Edith Livingston Peake as an Evangelist and quickly went on to fully support the ordination of women to be priests, destroying Tradition and bringing in a fresh wave of heresies into the American Christian landscape.
No matter what the forces of political correctness say, you cannot make Tradition and Truth fit inside what is politically correct or socially fashionable. The Truth will always be the Truth regardless if anyone but a small remnant believe it. Father George Grube wrote recently that “Tradition is the living continuity with the past, the link we have with the Church of ancient days. Tradition cannot change, it is Truth! This is because Tradition is the faith and practice which Christ imparted to His apostles, and which has come down to us throughout twenty centuries.”
Beyond the priesthood, the PCUSA then supported allowing women to be bishops, officially breaking the Presbyterian Church from having any claim to Apostolic Succession. In Church Tradition, men have always been bishops. To radically redefine the role of the bishop to include women is to effectively destroy the office of bishop in anything but name. In 2006, the PCUSA elected Katherine Jefferts Schori to be the presiding bishop over all PCUSA Churches, another slap in the face to Sacred Tradition.
PCUSA also has become unwilling to stand for the protection of the sanctity of human life by protecting the unborn and standing against abortion. The official PCUSA stance titled “Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly” from the 204th General Assembly held in 1992 states that the Church does “not have substantial agreement on when human life begins.” Beyond merely not agreeing that life begins at conception, something that the Church canons from the earliest days of the Church reinforced, the Church more recently had “78 percent of the PCUSA General Assembly struck down a resolution condemning the killing of babies born alive during abortions, as occurred with notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell.” PCUSA officially has a position that if a baby is born and out of the womb you can kill it and it is neither immoral nor a sin.
This is not just confused or misguided thinking, it is Satanic.
Now in 2015, the PCUSA has taken another step towards becoming entirely one with the world, the “blessing” of homosexual “marriages” within their Church. The new church policy reads: “Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives.” Never in Church history has homosexual behavior ever been considered a pious and Christian lifestyle. There is a place for homosexuals within the Church, in a place of prayer, repentance and of celibacy. All Christians are called to carry a cross in their lives of sinful inclinations that they are beset by.
Some Christians have a drive to gamble or to be alcoholics, sins that other Christians may not be troubled by, but nonetheless we must all love and help one another to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12 One cannot ignore that Scripture makes it clear that homosexual behavior is sinful and to live in a homosexual lifestyle is to dwell in sin and depravity. The life of a homosexual in Christianity is to work to overcome his or her homosexual urges and inclinations because as Romans 6:23 tells us “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Just like how a Christian who has overcome drug addiction must never use the substance they used to be addicted to, only through abstinence can a homosexual live a life that is in accordance with the Word of God.
Heterosexual lust is an issue for myself in an age where pornography pervades pop culture and the public square. My calling as a married man however is to resist the temptation that the world presents and to stay faithful to my wife and above all to strive to live a life that is pleasing to God, filled with prayer, fasting, good works and putting aside my own will and replacing it with the will of God. A monk or nun in the Orthodox Faith who was taken their vows also give themselves to a life of celibacy, regardless of their sexual feelings. In Christianity celibacy is not a punishment, but an opportunity to become closer with God.
Homosexuals are not unique in their struggle to live a life free from the passions of the flesh, but groups like PCUSA are attempting to call what clearly is a sinful lifestyle a righteous one. Anyone who overcomes physical lust can be a shining light to the Church, such as the holy Father Seraphim Rose who himself rejected homosexuality after becoming Orthodox and grew to be one of the holiest Orthodox believers of the 20th century.
Saint John of the Ladder said on this subject “Let them take courage who are humbled by their passions. For even if they fall into every pit and are caught in every snare, when they attain health they will become healers, luminaries, beacons and guides to all, teaching about the forms of every sickness and through their own experience saving those who are about to fall.” Christians must call everyone to overcome their sin, not encourage them to engage in it, and that is exactly what PCUSA is now doing.
When the Church attempts to meet the world half-way, the world always wins and the Faith always suffers. What is clear though is that as a denomination becomes more liberal, it loses membership. The post Vatican II Catholic Church in America and Europe, the Anglican Church in England, the Unitarian Church and now the Presbyterian Church are all seeing that a watered down doctrine does not motivate people to attend worship or be involved in the life of the Church, if the Church and the world are indistinguishable than why not just sleep in on Sunday morning?
Many Presbyterians have watched the growing liberalization of their denomination and voted with their feet by moving to more conservative branches of the Presbyterian Church or different denominations, including a growing number of Orthodox converts, something that would have been unheard of even a generation ago. The New York Times even noted this fact in their gloating article about the PCUSA vote this past week when they said
“The church, with about 1.8 million members, is the largest of the nation’s Presbyterian denominations, but it has been losing congregations and individual members as it has moved to the left theologically over the past several years. There was a wave of departures in and after 2011, when the presbyteries ratified a decision to ordain gays and lesbians as pastors, elders and deacons, and that may have cleared the way for Tuesday’s vote.
With many conservative Presbyterians who were active in the church now gone, as well as the larger cultural shift toward acceptance of same-sex marriage, the decisive vote moved quickly toward approval, according to those on both sides of the divide.”
From a purely pragmatic perspective it makes little sense to liberalize a Christian denomination. If you liberalize you will lose followers, parishes will close down and you will become alienated from other Christian believers. All of this is viewed as irrelevant because the PCUSA and many mainstream American churches are seeking one thing above the salvation of souls or even tithes from believers, acceptance by the secular modern culture. Approval of celebrities and the mass media is viewed as a fundamental value of modern American Christianity.
The modern American Christianity is steadily becoming “McChristianity,” a version of creating a doctrine exactly as you want it, regardless of the views of the Bible or of Scripture. If someone doesn’t want duty, good works or Biblical Truth as part of their Faith, then they just order up a new denomination for themselves. “I’d like an order of Salvation, hold the responsibility” seems to be the new mantra of American Churches with groups like PCUSA leading the charge.
If Christ was willing to fashion a whip and beat the money changers who had turned the temple of God into a side show, then why have we passively sat by as the Church Militant to watch the erection of McDonald’s restaurants inside our Churches? As Paul Di Lucca, the head of the heretical “McMass Project” recently said “Christianity is unable to capture modern audiences.” Yes, Mr. Di Lucca, modern Christianity is unable to capture modern audiences because it has utterly abandoned everything that Christianity is supposed to be.
Young men and women from the Middle East and around the world are flooding to join radical Islamic groups like ISIS because ISIS presents the next generation with an unmovable pillar of belief and a calling for their lives. The modern Church will not bring about spiritual revival through compromise on issues like gay marriage, abortion, ordination of women, or latching on to trendy social views like amnesty for a flood of Third World immigrants. It is this spirit of inner and outer crusade, a totally life changing and by worldly standards, extreme, way of Faith that we all must follow.
Father Seraphim Rose told his spiritual children that “It is essential to realise, that, while we make efforts to live the Christian life today, the world which have formed in our spoiled times, demands soul, both in the everyday life and in the religion, and can be called totalitarian.” We must be crusaders both inside and out, totalitarian, extreme and Faithful. The Church, as Orthodoxy has done, must stand on both Scripture and Tradition and be willing to suffer the slings and arrows of the world in order to truly stand for Christ and Truth.
PCUSA may totally abandon Christian doctrine, I would say with as much certainty as I can have from looking at the words of Scripture and the Saints that the PCUSA and other liberal Christian denominations are no longer in any way shape or form part of the greater Body of Christ. They will be get praise from the Jewish owned media moguls and the forces of darkness, but the light of Truth grows ever dimmer inside the Presbyterian Church in America as Tradition is extinguished with each passing day.
I pray that the millions of PCUSA members will turn away from the world and its pleasures and instead find the fullness of the Faith that can only be found in true Traditional Christianity, inside the walls of the Holy Orthodox Church. May God have mercy on the souls of the heretics who have driven PCUSA down a Satanic road and on me, chief among sinners.