Have I always agreed with Lazar Puhalo? No… but the present offering appears to be without blemish. I offer it for your edification. I also offer it as proof as not everyone in the OCA is a nutter modernist like Oliver Herbel or John Jillions or young Meyendorff. After all, Vladyki Lazar still serves on the Traditional Orthodox Calendar… not the Catholic Calendar. I, like Vladyki Lazar, am a toll-house sceptic. My rejection stems from Chrysostom’s teaching that Judgement is being in God’s Presence, and the toll-house lunacy denies that. In any case, John the Golden-Tongued is a far better guide to the Way than the esoteric Basil the New is. Do keep things in perspective.
You don’t have to agree with someone in toto to agree with them on this or on that. I know all about Vladyki Lazar’s history… it’s no worse than some others I could cite, and in some ways it’s much better. I’ll say this… the man is no hypocrite and he has a caring heart (do understand that his defence of Storheim was partly because Storheim rescued him from schismatic floundering… if you don’t understand that, you have a heart of stone). We’re all “broken vessels” to some extent or other… as a fellow “cracked vessel of clay”, I extend to Vladyki Lazar an assumption of innocence until PROVEN guilty.
This present post conflates two posts from the same date.
Faith in Christ pertains to the inner content of the life of Christ; it isn’t just a collection of religious ideologies and moralism which ignores Christ and His message to return to bondage to the law, as if we were without Grace. The Saviour said, “Not one jot or tittle of the law shall pass away until all things be fulfilled”. How is it that Rightwing Orthodox clergy turn to this saying, and never ever pay heed to the prayer we say at the Proskomedia just after the prayer before the Amvon, and before the final blessing. It begins with the theological statement, “Thou who art Thyself the FULFILMENT OF THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS….” If Christ Jesus didn’t “fulfil all things”, what did He accomplish?
Of course, if you believe the Atonement heresy that posits that Christ suffered torture unto death to satisfy the bloodlust of a cruel and unforgiving deity, and that He died to save us from God, then, you mightn’t realise that Christ did indeed, FULFIL ALL THINGS so that every jot and tittle of the law may pass away, so that the “manuscript that was against us is torn up” as St Paul says, and breaks down the “middle wall”. If you are a toll-house believer, then, you already confess that Christ failed and fell short.
We live under Grace; God calls us to repent because of love. Indeed, to repent from fear is merely a fraud, since no one repents from fear, but rather attempts through some sort of penitence, to self-atone to avoid punishment. However, seeking to avoid punishment is mere pragmatism; it isn’t repentance. Repentance is a sincere heartfelt turning around, changing one’s perspective, to seek the spiritual healing of the whole person, which comes about by opening oneself fully to the love, grace and embrace of God, as did the Prodigal Son… to turn around and find that the Father’s forgiveness doesn’t come about when we turn to end our alienation, but that it’s followed us, nay, pursued us, from the moment we turned and walked away from Him. We have only to begin the journey, and we suddenly discover the Father running down the road toward us, bearing a robe of love and a ring of grace.
We shouldn’t strive to fulfil laws, but rather we should transform the inner person into a likeness of the Life of Christ. One can’t do this through laws, moralism, or ideologies, but only through striving toward unselfish love, toward a full comprehension of what it is to love your neighbour as yourself, how our desire, together with the action of His Grace, can bring about a true morality, not through fear, but through a return from our alienation that leads us to do by nature those things which pertain to true morality, not through constraint of law, but by means of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
I was rather shocked to hear that some semi-convert clergy condemn the teaching that the Church is a spiritual hospital. It seems some of them think that the Church is a court of law or a hall of condemnation. However, the doctrine of the Church as a spiritual hospital is clearly and profoundly patristic. It seems that the diseases of Calvinism and Evangelicalism are spreading in the Orthodox Church, particularly down in America, where a nationalism far, far worse than that in Russia has already crippled Christianity. One really does wonder just what these people think the Church is. It’s sufficient to note that the toll-house faction already considers, and confesses, that the sacrifice of Christ is inadequate to gain for us remission of our sins, and that God needs the help of demons to complete our salvation.
31 December 2015
Archbishop Lazar Puhalo (OCA)
Let’s keep it simple. “Evangelicalism” isn’t Christian in any way, shape, or form. We made a mistake in ordaining former Prods to the clergy without a complete Orthodox seminary formation (furthermore, if we had an ounce of sanity, said formation couldn’t commence until they’d been with us for at least five years… to see if they’d conform to Churchly, not “Evangelical”, norms). Therefore, we had things like St Herman of Alaska in Platina, Sam Greene’s bunch in Texas, and St Innocent Academy up in Alaska happen. We paid (and are paying) dearly for allowing unformed Prods without a sense of the Orthosphere or the Orthodox mindset to prance about and pretend that they’re Orthodox clergy. I think that we all know who I’m referring to… there’s no need to “name names”.
“If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand (Gospel according to St Mark 3.25)”… indeed… either we cleanse ourselves of the konvertsy mentality or it’ll consume us. That be the stark choice on offer. We can have Josiah Trenham and John Whiteford or we can have some young clergy from St T’s who shall remain anonymous (there’s more than one that I’m thinking of)… I prefer the latter… I’m NOT alone!
The Church shall have Inner Unity… of what sort is up to us…