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"The Church is not a 'purity' cult..."

Updated: Feb 2

"One of the things that is distinct about the Orthodox Church as compared with both Catholics and Protestants is that we have no actual mechanism in place — neither an infallible and supreme papacy nor any kind of democracy — for making alterations to the substance of the Christian faith. No one may decree, nor may any body vote, to change the dogma and core praxis of the Church.

That is one of the reasons why I can't get excited about theories that the Church will be destroyed by people who say wrong things.

The reality is that, every Sunday, there are 1000+ heresies spoken at coffee hour and even some in sermons (not to mention the probably millions of heretical comments that appear every day on the Internet), yet the Church doesn't get altered by this impurity of opinions. That's because the Church isn't a purity cult -- unlike some religious sects.

If someone actually manages to lead a lot of people astray such that parallel hierarchies are set up, then there are conciliar remedies to deal with this. In many cases, God Himself cuts off leaves and branches that are withering and harming the rest of the vine.

That last point is the most important, by the way -- while each of us is called to keep ourselves as pure and clean in faith as we can, and while some are given the pastoral responsibility of purifying those God has placed in their care, it is ultimately God Who prunes and chastens those who need it.

The franticness and anxiety come when people forget that God has not abandoned His Church, and they treat it as though it's merely a human institution that can be successfully altered by humans.

It can't. The question for each of us is not whether the Church will fall away but whether we ourselves will. So, the main thing is for each of us to look primarily to his own soul and to the souls God has given us". By Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick

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I understand the point of this article, and the need to look after one’s own soul. But looking at it from another direction, the Church overflows with saints and martyrs who were defenders of the Faith, not those who looked the other way and said to themselves, “God will all work out in the end.” . I agree, as stated in Matthew 16:18 that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against (the Church). But the Orthodox Church has always stood against false teachings. The Church will stand. However, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season, correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction.” That is our charge. “For the time wil…

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Thanks for your perspective from another direction. There are certainly those who take the role of watchman in the Church or guardian of the Church. Yet, I don't see that we are bidden to protect the Lord (nor could we) nor does He require defence of the truth or His church by us. We don't protect the Lord; He protects us. He defends us and His Holy Church from a victory He has already achieved. Thanks for chiming in! Blessings to you! Pax Christi.

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