by Raphael Masterjohn, Orthodox Theologian
The idea of the Ecumenical Movement of our times is that the Church is divided and must find a way to become reunited as one Church. This idea was conceived by a Patriarch of Constantinople, Meletios Metaxakis about 80 years ago.
The premise he presented is flawed, therefore the whole ecumenical idea is flawed. The Church being the Body of Christ, being the branches of the Vine, being the sheep under one Shepherd can never be divided. The Church, conceived as an ark in which those being saved and sanctified, are being transported to eternal life, all of the aforementioned absolutely deny division. You are part of the Body or you are not. You are a branch on the Vine or you are not, you are a sheep under one Shepherd or you are not. You are aboard the Ark or you are not. Our Lord promised that “the gates of Hades would not prevail against his church.” Just what are these gates of Hades? Orthodoxy knows that they are the mouths of heretics through which the Evil One is enabled to insult and slander Christ, and to deny his Divinity, His natures, His essence, His wills, and His sacred icons. A false premise, “the Church is divided” necessarily produces a false conclusion, known today as “ecumenism”.
All beliefs contrary to Orthodoxy are heresies…The Papacy is a heresy, because the Pope usurps the authority of Christ and claims to judge everyone one but [is] himself not to be judged at all. All Protestantism is a mixture of many heresies…together they deny the historic Church, the Body of Christ, the Ark of salvation — Orthodoxy.
On what foundation do the Orthodox ecumenists build this house of sand? On the Holy Scripture, and especially John 17:20: “Neither do I pray for these alone, but for than also which shall believe on me through their word; that they may be one, as you Father are in me, and I in you, that they may be one in us, that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
Today we see thousands of sects which are called Christian churches. Ecumenists see it as their divine task, based on these words of Christ, to unite these fragments of Christ’s Church so that every one of them will be united in the one Church. Why do they attempt this? They lack both divine guidance and love.
We who are blessed to be part of the true Church have a sacred duty: to bring everyone we can out of their unbelief or misbelief, away from heresy and into the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Love compels us, because the Lord desires that all men come to knowledge of the truth and be saved. By dialoguing with them for almost eighty years, and not telling them this truth, millions of souls are being lost, and the dialoguing Orthodox are to blame. To withhold the truth is to sentence the one to whom you are talking to eternal death…
Our Lord Himself prophesied regarding the Papists and Protestants and even wayward Orthodox clergy, saying: “Therefore if any man shall say unto you, lo, here is Christ, or there; do not believe it. For there shall be false Christs and false Prophets, and they shall show great signs and wonders, so much that, if it were possible they would deceive the very elect. Behold I have told you before” (Matthew 24:23-25).
St. Paul very clearly tells the Apostle Titus and every Orthodox Bishop and Priest for all time: “A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonishment, reject, knowing that such is subverted and self-condemned.” Are not these words crystal clear[?]…Admonish them for their errors with a genuine spirit of love that seeks their eternal salvation. There is no time for dialogue [since] every soul we speak to is in danger right now, when [they live] outside of the Ark [Christ’s Church]. We must reach out and pull them aboard lest they drown. But if we go into their dinghy, and storms come, we will drown with them. A good father, a good mother, a good teacher, admonishes one for their errors or sins. A good bishop or priest should admonish the people individually and collectively and not tell them what good Christians they are.
Not one Latin Christian or Protestant brings the doctrine of Christ before us. Every one has a faulty and heretical and even blasphemous view of the doctrines of our Church. The Apostle filled with love of Jesus, whom Jesus loved so, much tells all of us in every generation, “They went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us, but they went out that they may be manifest, that they are all not of us” (1 John 2:19).
If we really love Jesus Christ with all our minds, all our hearts, all our strength, and all our souls, we will have but one single desire toward those outside the Church: bring them in quickly while there is still time. Your heresy is condemned by Christ himself to a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, and their worm does not die. By not bearing witness even at the cost of being put to death, we indeed deny Christ and forfeit our own salvation. May our Lord bring these foolish ecumenists to true repentance and back to Orthodoxy, and save their souls, causing them to help save the souls of all others that they come into contact with. Then the heresy of Papism and the multi-headed hydra of Protestantism will diminish as Orthodoxy takes on a new life and grows in leaps and bounds, with the United States becoming a citadel of Orthodoxy.
(Article reproduced with the permission of the author)