False religions thrive on Biblical ignorance. Eastern Orthodoxy is no exception. The “Evangelicals” in this video are also no exception. We will be limiting our comments to the 5 slides shown in this popular video which claim to refute the mistaken arguments against Eastern Orthodoxy.
The line in the sand should be clearly drawn at the beginning. You cannot be a Bible Believer and be Eastern Orthodox. Eastern Orthodox believers have 2 authorities: a bible (not King James as they use the Septuagint) and the so-called Church Fathers (also known as the “church babies”). Bible Believers have one Final Authority: the King James Bible. These are mutually exclusive sets of beliefs. They cannot both be believed at the same time.
Are there saved people who are caught up into the Eastern Orthodox system? Of course. This world is huge and we can be sure because of the Law of Large Numbers and the Eternal Security of the Believer that there are many people who sincerely trusted the Lord Jesus Christ and the Gospel and got saved and then never got any Bible teaching and ended up in an anti-Bible system like the Orthodox Church.
I suppose you could say that these articles are for them. People need to see the anti-Biblical nature of these supposed Christians of the east.
Let us begin.
I do not apologize for the poor quality of the screenshot. The focus of this article is the words and ideas. Feel free to reject the words and ideas because of the screenshots. Haha.
The slide starts by saying, “Orthodoxy does not accept sacraments at the expense of faith.” No one is claiming that there is no “faith” in the Orthodox system. There is a bit of a straw dummy to this statement. The claim made by the evangelicals in the video is that Orthodoxy rejects that salvation is faith without works.
The Bible says in Romans 3:28 – “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” To conclude differently, as Orthodox people do, is to be against the Bible.
Beyond that there are no “sacraments” in the New Testament. There are no “rites that confer sanctifying grace” in the New Testament. They are not in the Bible explicitly. There are no implications about sacraments. The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper is a memorial, not a sacrament. 1 Cor 11:24-25 – “And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in REMEMBRANCE of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in REMEMBRANCE of me.” To make the Lord’s Supper more than a memorial is to add your own ideas to the scriptures.
Water Baptism in the Bible is always AFTER someone received the forgiveness of sins. Every. Single. Time. Orthodoxy teaches that “water” in John 3 means “baptism” although the passage SAYS “water“. More will be said in a later article about Baptismal Regeneration in Orthodoxy.
The third sentence really demonstrates the mind games that the Orthodox Church plays in order to seduce people.
They say, “Orthodoxy rejects such dialectical tensions, which are uniquitious (sic) in the west.”
We will not focus on their incorrect spelling of UBIQUITOUS. Let’s just say it happens.
But what we have here is a classic example of problems of Eastern philosophy that has completely destroyed the Eastern church. The spiritual nature of the Shemitic mind forgets to emphasize clear thinking first and then moves on to the deep and esoteric. The Japhetic mind emphasizes clear thinking and then forgets to move on to the deep and esoteric. Obviously there is a balance here and a correct order must be observed or else you end up with nonsense. Biblically, we have to take the plain meaning first and then we can get deep.
We must remember that the first purpose of the Bible is DOCTRINE and not spiritual and devotional and allegorical application. 2 Tim 3:16 (AV) “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
Notice: Proverbs 8:8,9 – “All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all PLAIN to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.” Ignoring the plain reading of the text is a mark of someone who doesn’t understand the text. I would even personally go further and state that people who ignore the plain meaning are probably trying to deceive you.
So-called “dialectical tensions” is just a fancy word to distract. Regardless of what the Eastern mind might want or like, the Law of Non-contradiction is universally true and applicable. They are using fancy words in order to get you out of thinking that two opposites can’t both be true at the same. They can’t; whether you pretend that it is “uniquitious” to the west or not!
Salvation is either all by grace through faith or it is not. Either/or. One or the other. Both cannot work. They are simply mutually exclusive.
This truth is universal and has nothing to do with East vs West. To claim otherwise is only an attempt to deceive. Paul (the Easterner) shows this himself. Romans 11:6 – “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”
See the “dialectical tensions” inherent in: good or bad, saved or lost, light or dark, just or unjust, flesh or spirit. This isn’t ubiquitous to the west. It’s ubiquitous to the Bible.
It’s amazing how a quick check of the Bible can straighten out 1500 years of Eastern theology.
By the grace of God, Orthodoxy has remained “olympian and aloof” from the errors of Jesuitism, some doctrines of Mariolatry, and Caesaro-Papism. There are no equivalents to the horrors of the Jesuits in the churches of the East (Praise God. Having more than one would be a complete disaster.) For sure there are innovations in Rome that the Easterners always rejected in regards to the ridiculously unbiblical teachings of the Popes. And of course there is no universal Pontifex Maximus figure in the eastern churches, but that has more to do with historical interplay than any claim to being closer to the scriptures. Just like at the little popes or Patriarchs of the East who would, no doubt, love to be as powerful as the Roman Pontiff.
Orthodoxy also rejects the heresies of Purgatory and Indulgences and the Confessional Booth. As the Australians say, “Good on ya, mate!”
But let’s be honest here (unlike Insitum Verbum). Almost every other heresy of the Church of Rome has been taught by the Church of the East. This of course stems from the rejection of the King James Bible and Dispensationalism and their acceptance of the church “babies” as an authority, aka “Holey Tradition”.
Romanism and Orthodoxy reject the truth about how to get saved and know it. They reject the difference between Israel and the Church. They teach Baptismal Regeneration for infants. They both use statues and icons as “aids to worship”. They both teach forms of transubstantiation. They both refuse to separate church and state as Paul and Christ did.
Information on these errors is easy to find on my blog and throughout the internet. See especially, my notes against Roman Catholicism here, here, and here and anything under the category “Bible Hating Popery”.
To say that Orthodoxy “never fell into the errors of the Roman Catholic Church” is a damnable half truth not unlike “Ye shall not surely die” (Gen 3:4).
This slide is partially true. The actual verse reads, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” (James 2:24) “Faith only” and not “faith alone”.
Taking this one verse doesn’t prove that a person today can go to Heaven with only faith. We must look at the context and other verses and always remember the Law of Non-contradiction.
Without turning this article into a primer on Dispensationalism, notice the context of the Book of James. Jam 1:1 (AV) “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” Ask yourself, who is the book addressed to? Is it to lost Gentiles? Is is to Christians? Answering these questions simply and honestly will open up the Scriptures to you whereas refusing to answer these questions will result in forcing a man to run to the Pope or some church “babies”.
The importance cannot be overstated. Especially because we have a cross reference to James 2:24 in Romans 4:5 – “But to him that WORKETH NOT, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Who is Paul addressing here? Look in the Scripture. Eusebius is no help here. Romans 1:7 – “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul is writing to some saved Gentiles in Rome. Which verse addresses the topic of Church Age Salvation better? Don’t run to Jerome. He’s no help.
Both verses can’t both be true at the same time. That would break the Law of Non-contradiction. Go by the Bible. 2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” And remember what Paul said right in the context, 2 Timothy 2:7 – “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.”
According to the Bible and contrary to the church “babies” and the patriarchs and church councils, salvation today is by grace through faith without works. This is true until the Rapture of the Church (another plain doctrine not found by the Eastern churches). James 2 will be doctrinally applicable in the tribulation or the Time of JACOB’S trouble after the Rapture.
Whenever you read something along the lines of a “huge group of people ALWAYS _______” you should be very ready to assume you are about to get lied to. Unless the “always” is the idea that connects the group together in the first place, i.e. “Muslims always revere Muhammad” or “Lutherans always appreciate the writings of Luther”. But evangelicals vary greatly. The idea that holds them together is the Gospel (Evangelion) not “lamenting the erosion of beauty” blah, blah, blah.
No doubt there are SOME evangelicals that “lament the erosion of beauty in their churches”. But… always??? Give me a break. I don’t lament it. I think my churches are beautiful (especially if beauty is in the eye of the beholder). I have never heard more than a handful of Evangelicals complain about the “erosion of beauty”. And those complainers weren’t people who spend a lot of time in their Bibles.
Now, as a Bible Believer, I couldn’t care 2 cents what Dionysius the Areopagite thought about Beauty. I have two questions about this slide. Do you think that the church that Paul addressed in Ephesus was “beautiful”? Did it look like the Hagia Sofia or like a little storefront Baptist church or a house church? Come on, answer honestly.
Secondly, what does the Bible say about “beauty”? Romans 10:15 says, “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How BEAUTIFUL are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” There is a connection between the preaching of the Gospel (Evanglion) and Beauty. Want more beauty in your church? Don’t make more pictures or statues of “saints”. PREACH THE GOSPEL. Some say that St. Peter’s in Rome is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Not according to God. Do you agree or disagree with God?
Usually you want to end the article with a bang. Unfortunately, we must end on a dud. MacArthur’s rant about his dislike of the order of service is typical, American garbage. There is nothing wrong with chanting the Psalms like most Orthodox often do. Of course, the video is right to call out MacArthur.
The problem lies in the fact that Orthodox people emphasize chanting to the exclusion of the PREACHING of the word of God. Chanting is technically permissible as long as it doesn’t take away from preaching. Orthodox churches do have some preaching, but few would dare to argue that the sermon is the main element of their gatherings.
What saith the Scriptures? How can a person deny the emphasis on preaching found in the Bible? If you don’t think preaching is important, you must not be reading the Bible. Words coming from the root of “preach” occur over 150 times in the King James Bible. “Chant” shows up once in Amos 6 and the context is ungodly people. It is however not a direct reference to Orthodox worship services so we will be gracious and not apply it here.
However we will apply:
1Cor 1:21 (AV) For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
Phil 1:18 (AV) What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
Col 1:28 (AV) Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
2Tim 4:2 (AV) Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
If their final claim that “Correct theology is communicated through correct worship” is true, then there is a problem. Orthodox theology and worship does not emphasize the preaching of the word of God as does the Bible.
All this to say that being a Bible Believer and being Orthodox are mutually exclusive. MacArthur and Sproul don’t have much to say either, but the Orthodox comments in the video are worthy of our attention.
I hope this makes some sense. Bible Believers go by the Bible. The Orthodox church does not.
This is the first in a series of articles about Eastern Orthodoxy and their slowly expanding internet presence. The YouTube channel “Insitum Verbum” or “engrafted word” will be the main target.
I would also like to write a few more articles about the professed smarty pants “Dr. Michael Heiser” the typical Alexandrian sower of doubt as my articles about him get lots of hits. Gotta give the people what they want, right?
I would also like to apologize for taking the last couple of months off of writing articles. The lack of discernment from American Christians about the seriousness of the Coronavirus caused and continues to cause a crisis for me. The main flaw in the arguments of conservatives in America was pointed out by Doctor Ruckman for over 50 years when he would continually say “BE SKEPTICAL OF SKEPTICISM.” That’ll get you a long way. It’s good advice.