Monday, April 16, 2018

Fr. Peter Heers On the Essential Identity of Ecumenism and Phyletism

As Fr. Seraphim Rose once wrote, the difference between Orthodoxy and heterodoxy is most apparent in that the Orthodox Church (in Her Saints) is able to discern the spirits. Moreover, discernment of the methods of the fallen spirits is a requirement in the formation of Christology and Ecclesiology. As the Evangelist John writes, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

Insomuch, therefore, as one is purified from the passions and illumined by the Spirit of God, so much is his spiritual vision open and discernment acquired. This gift of discernment, the greatest of the virtues, presupposes initiation into the death, resurrection and life in Christ which is lived within His Body, the Church. That few Orthodox Christians possess a good measure of this gift is a testament to the inroads of the spirit of anti-Christ, which, by another name, is secularism. The end of the worldly spirit is the denial of the theanthropic nature of the Christ and His Body, “the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” before the ascent of the man of iniquity, the Antichrist. This temptation is coming upon the world primarily through the spread of the ecclesiological heresy known as ecumenism.

Ecumenism and Secularism

Ecumenism as an ecclesiological heresy and denial of the Truth of the Body of Christ, and as a methodological distortion of The Way of Christ, has been born and bred within a secularized “Christianity.” As we said, secularism is first and foremost the spirit of antichrist, which is “already in the world,” namely, “every spirit which confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” This refers not only to that “Christianity” which expressly denies the divinity of our Lord, the various contemporary “Arianisms,” but every spirit which denies that the Jesus Christ is come – that is, has come and remains – in the flesh, in His Body, the One Church.
Ecumenism as a unification movement ironically seeks to overcome the scandal of division by denying the “scandal of the particular” – the Incarnation. Instead of crucifying their intellect on the cross of this scandal – that Christ entered and continues within history in a particular time and place, being mysteriologically-incarnationally ‘here’ and not ‘there’ – the uninitiated and rationalist followers of Jesus seek a theanthropic Body in their image: “divided in time,” in search of a fullness which they imply exists only on the heavenly plane. They see the Church as divided on the historical plane, as limited by the heavy hand of history. They see as Church identifiers not primarily the exclusive marks of oneness, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity taken together, but rather the externals which “already unite,” such as the water of baptism (whether sprinkled, poured or immersed), the rites of the Liturgy, the belief in Christ’s divinity or the common text of Holy Scripture. It matters little that such externals, and indeed much more, were possessed by ancient heretics such as the Monophysites or Iconoclasts and were never seen as sufficient to produce any sort of “partial communion” or “already existing unity.” Neither does it seem to faze them that “the demons believe and tremble” and thus “unity in belief in Christ’s divinity” would necessarily include the demons.

Read the rest here.

See also this short video on The Meaning of Repentance and the Reign of God within us.


evagrius said...

Sorry...such nonsense can continue to be publicized by your blog...but it's nonsense.
Fr. Heers is in love with a phantom...

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Every Orthodox outside the geographic bounds of the Imperial Patriarchates practices phyletism. (The Roman Patriarch, according to the Orthodox, exercises an invalid universalism).

The Church has truly not known what to do since the fall of Holy Rome and Byzantium. The other big shock was when people realized they could just move away when the wars started or the socialists took over. And here we are, with Americans answering to numerous bishops all tripping over each other. So far I'm not aware of any bishops halting the Sacraments until things are put right.

Maybe we're asking the wrong questions. Maybe the Imperial model no longer reflects the reality of space and time.

I sometimes wonder if the fractioning of the Western Church into Protestant sectarianism would have been mitigated if the Italian Popes had recognized that maybe such strikingly diverse places as England and Germany needed their own Patriarchs. In the East, maybe the splits over Chalcedon were influenced by the fact that the Copts and Assyrians were no longer Byzantine. Moscow simply took autocephaly when the See in Turkey became vacant. This issue has been around longer than we realize.

The conundrum arising from the disappearance of the ecumenical Empire is resolved by a nationalist model, which has its own problems but that has been the de facto solution to date. What is to be done with the Americas, I have no idea.