As Orthodox Christians living in the 21st century we as traversing through perilous times. The Truth of Christ in His Church is being relentlessly assaulted in a manner no less than that utilized by Godless Communism in the 20th century, although the methodology is not identical. Nonetheless, the diabolical goal to subjugate Eternal Truth to worldly whims is in full swing and very sadly is being championed by those who bear the name of Orthodox, even those in authority. In my previous article, The Unity of Christ and the Collective of Antichrist, I highlight certain aspects of the demonic methodology at work to destroy Christianity from within. Shoot a man in the heart and you have shot him dead.
In this interlude to that article and its forthcoming second part, I present below an extremely vital excerpt from the writings of the great Church Father and saint of the 20th Century, Justin Popovich. The reader will see that I am not attempting to present my own novel ideas but those of the saints. The following text is vital because it is a spiritual diagnosis of “Western Christianity.” The diagnosis is terminal. This is why there is such a great push for Orthodox to “unity” with “Western Christianity,” so that it will be infected by its terminal illness. Indeed, it is very evident that certain persons in Orthodoxy already are uniting themselves to it, may the Lord help us.
There is no triumphalism or boasting here, for what profit is it to boast over a dead man? No rather, it is with the sole hope and concern that this dead man would be resurrected and healed – not in the image of its former corruption but rather in the image of the Threanthropos. The diagnosis is given with the greatest love because love desires not the destruction of anyone. It is indeed an act of love to warn of death and destruction.
In our times, there is also a great temptation with the interaction between the Church and States. St. Justin reminds us that the life of the Theanthropos is the governing principle for all things, yes even the State. The Church is never called to exchange to treasures of the Faith for secular advantage or peace. “According to the theanthropic philosophy of life and the world, man, society, and the state must adjust to the Church as the eternal ideal, but the Church must never adjust to them, and, most especially, not be subverted by them. A people has true values only if it lives by the evangelical virtues and embodies theanthropic values in history.”
Moreover, the diagnosis must also be applied and taken as a warning to those of us in the Orthodox Church, for we are not exempt from being physically in the Church and yet still hold many ideas and philosophies that are contrary to it. The reader will read this critique by St. Justin of Western Christianity, “The Church has been transformed into a state, the Pope has become a ruler, the bishops have been proclaimed princes, priests have become leaders of clerical parties, the faithful have been proclaimed papal subjects…” It is a great misery when Christian offices are transformed into authoritarian devises to lord it over people – from the top on down to the bottom. True Christianity is not a “lordship” but a service and a sacrifice of love starting with the Hierarchs and flowing to the people. But if the clergy demand only obedience devoid of Christ-like love and sacrifice, we become no better than the Roman model of power and in some way, every bishop then potentially becomes his own self-contained pope.
Suffice my little introduction, as I wrote already this topic ties into the topic I started to address in my last post. It is very grieving that “Western Christianity” is terminal but there will be no benefit or life – only death and destruction – for any Orthodox who continue down the path of false unity with the decaying corpse of religious putrefaction currently eating the “Western” world alive. The only hope is holding fast to Christ in His Holy Life-giving Body of the Church. That is why the diagnosis below is of the greatest importance.
Note – Theanthropos is from Greek and means God-Man.
Begin text –
“A theanthropic ideology of Christianity can be preserved only by a theanthropic methodology of Christianity. The Lord Jesus is both the Truth and the Way; not only the Truth but also the Way, the only Way that leads to Truth. The abandoning of theoanthropic methodology inevitably leads to the abandoning of theanthropic ideology, of Christ the Theanthropos.
In the European West, Christianity has gradually been transformed into humanism. The Theanthropos has, for a long time and with deliberate intention, been diminished, altered and narrowed, until He was reduced to a man: to an infallible man in Rome, and no less infallible men in London and Berlin. Papism was thus created, which robs Christ of everything, and Protestantism, which seeks very little, often nothing, of Christ. In both Papism and Protestantism, man has displaced the Theanthropos as the greatest value and the highest criterion. A sickly editing of the Theanthropos, His work and His teaching, was undertaken. Papism has determinedly and persistently worked at replacing the God-Man by a man, until it has replaced Him forever with the ephemeral ‘infallible’ man, with the dogma of papal infallibility. By this dogma, the Pope was clearly and decisively pronounced to be not only somewhat higher than man, but also higher than the holy apostles, the holy fathers and the holy Ecumenical Councils. With such distancing from the Theanthropos, from the universal Church as a theanthropic organism, Papism has out done Luther, the creator of Protestantism. In fact, the first, radical protest in the name of humanism against the Christ the God-Man and His theanthropic oranism, the Church, can be traced to Papism, not Lutheranism. Papism is actually the first and earliest Protestantism.
Make no mistake: Papism is the most radical Protestantism, for it transferred the foundations of Christianity from the eternal God-Man to ephemeral man. It has proclaimed this as its central dogma, as the highest truth, the highest value, the highest norm for all beings and things in all worlds. The Protestants only accepted the essence of this dogma and worked it out to a fearsome extent and in fearsome detail. In fact, Protestantism is nothing other than generally applied Papism, for in Protestantism every man individually lives-out the main principles of Papism. Following the example of the infallible man in Rome, every Protestant is an infallible man. It could be said that Protestantism is vulgarized Papism, devoid of mysticism, authority, and power.
The reduction of Christianity, with all its endless theanthropic truths, to man has turned western Christianity into humanism. This may appear paradoxical, but its truth is upheld by its undeniable historical reality. Western Christianity has, in its essence, the most decided humanism, because it has pronounced man infallible and turned the religion of the Theanthropos into a humanistic religion. This is seen by the God-Man’s having been exiled to heaven and a deputy appointed in His vacant place on earth: Vicarius Christi – the Pope. What tragic illogic: to appoint a deputy to Christ, our omnipresent God and Lord! But this illogic has become incarnate in western Christianity: the Church has been transformed into a state, the Pope has become a ruler, the bishops have been proclaimed princes, priests have become leaders of clerical parties, the faithful have been proclaimed papal subjects and the Gospel has been supplanted by the Vatican’s codex and canon law. Evangelical ethics and the methodology of love have been replaced by casuistics, jesuitistics, and the ‘Holy’ Inquisition. This means the systematic removal of all that does not submit to the Pope, even to forcible conversion to the papist faith and the burning of sinners to the glory of the meek and gentle Lord Jesus!
Without a doubt, all these facts lead to one inescapable and logical conclusion: there is no Church in the West, no Theanthropos, and there is, therefore, no real theanthropic society in which one man is an eternal and immortal brother to another. Humanistic Christianity is, in fact, the most decisive protest against Christ the Theanthropos and all the evangelical, theantrhopic values and criteria. This truth permeates the desires of European man that all should be reduced to man as the foundation of all values and criteria. Behind all this stands an idol: Menschices Allzumenschliches (human, all too human). By its reduction to humanism, Christianity was, undoubtedly, simplified, but was, at the same time, ruined. After the completion of this gleichschaltung (blending) of Christianity with humanism, there are today, in scattered parts of Europe, calls for a return to Christ the Theanthropos. The calls of individuals in the Protestant world of Zuruck zum Jesus! (Back to Jesus!) are only cries in the darkness of humanistic Christianity which has abandoned theanthropic values and criteria, and is now drowning in despair and impotence. From the depth of the ages, there echo the bitter words of the melancholic Prophet of God, Jeremiah: Cursed be the man that trusteth in man (17:5).
In the broad historical perspective, western dogma on the infallibility of man is nothing other than an attempt to revive and immortalize dying humanism. It is the final transformation and glorification of humanism … The most important aspect of humanism is that man is the highest worth and is the highest criterion; man, not the Theanthropos.
According to our Orthodox understanding, Christianity is Christianity through the God-Man; it is His theanthropic ideology and methodology. This is a fundamental truth that cannot be compromised. It is only as the Theanthropos that Christ is the highest value and the highest criterion. We must be completely honest and consistent: if Christ is not the Theanthropos, He is the most impostor, proclaiming Himself to be God and Lord. But the evangelical, historical reality irrefutably shows and proves that Jesus Christ is, in all respects, perfect Theanthropos. It is, therefore, impossible to be a Christian without faith in Christ as the God-Man and in the Church as His theanthropic Body, the Church in which He has left His entire miraculous Person. The saving and life-giving power of the Church of Christ lies in the God-Man’s eternal and omnipresent Person. Any substitution of the Theanthropos by any man whatever, and any picking and choosing of those aspects of Christianity that suit an individual taste, reduces Christianity to a superficial and helpless humanism.
The exceptional importance of Christianity for all mankind consists in its life-giving and irreplaceable theanthropy, which gives purpose to humanity in general, leading it from the darkness of non-being into the light of All-Being. Only by its theanthropic power is Christianity the salt of the earth, the salt that protects man from decay in sin and evil. If it is dissipated into sundry humanisms, the salt of Christianity loses its savor and becomes tasteless, fit only to be spilled and trampled underfoot.
Any tendency towards the equating, the gleichschaltung, of Christianity with the spirit of the times, with ephemeral movements and regimes of particular historical periods, detracts form Christianity the specific value that makes it the unique theanthropic religion of the world. The supreme rule of the Orthodox philosophy of society is: we must not adapt Christ the Theanthropos to the spirit of the times but adapt the spirit of the times to Christ’s eternity, Christ’s theanthropy. Only thus can the Church preserve the life-giving and irreplaceable Person of Christ the Theanthropos and remain a theanthropic society in which men live and interact with the help of divine love and righteousness, prayer and fasting, love for God and fellow-man, and all the evangelical virtues.
According to the theanthropic philosophy of life and the world, man, society, and the state must adjust to the Church as the eternal ideal, but the Church must never adjust to them, and, most especially, not be subverted by them. A people has true values only if it lives by the evangelical virtues and embodies theanthropic values in history. What is valid for a people is also valid for a state. The goal of a people as a whole is the same as that for each individually: to embody evangelical righteousness, love and holiness; to become an holy people, the people of God that proclaims, through its history, the divine values and virtues (1 Pet. 2:9-10; 1:15-16)”
From – The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism. pp. 119-123.