Missionary Conversations with Protestant Sectarians

Part I

by Rev.  Kyril Zaits


From the New Sarov Press Edition 1993

Printed with the blessing

of

His Grace Bishop HILARION

Russian Orthodox Church

Outside of Russia

---------

Thaddean Fathers Publishing House Edition 2005

Mail Only: 212 S. 16th Av., Caldwell, Idaho 83605

((208) 459-2901

 

Edited and Republished with the Blessing

of

His Eminence Metropolitan Archbishop +THADDEUS

American Orthodox Church

North American Orthodox Church


Editorial Notation: We present this to you who have had, or are having, trouble explaining the difference between the non-Orthodox, non-Catholic and Protestant denominations.

 

    The "Anglican Orthodox" sometimes called "Orthodox Anglicans" are, for many of them, very Orthodox in faith and praxis by their use of the Liturgy approved by St. Tikhon which is often referred to as the "Tikhon Liturgy".  We praise them, We bless them and We pray for them.  But many "Anglicans" outside of the Orthodox Anglican and Catholic jurisdictions are not truly Orthodox or Catholic in spirit and truth.  The same can also be said of many who claim they are "Orthodox" or even "Catholic". 

 

    Often times, we have found that those who are very "Orthodox" are the "Ethnic" who view anyone else as being outside of the church, unless they are under a Patriarch, even though a special dispensation was given by decree. 

 

    As to those who are often extremely "Catholic" in liturgical practices, etc. are those who predominantly belong to the Roman Jurisdiction of the Catholic Church which had been based in the roots of Orthodox Catholicism (the faith). 

 

    Then, you have another breed of "Orthodox" "Catholics" who are so "ultra" in their claims of practice that they go out of their way to besmirch, by name and jurisdiction, those whom they are opposed to and they go to the extremes of airing dirty laundry as a means, they think and hope, will praise them in the eyes of mankind, believing and stating they are "Conservative" when they are more often than not, spiritually destitute, lack in maintaining the commission and charge they obligated themselves to maintain when they were ordained or consecrated. 

 

    There is one last "breed" of "Orthodox Catholic Christians" who admit their errors, not afraid to seek repentance and forgiveness openly and publicly, who stand firm for the pillars of the faith including the pillar which affirms their faith by action... that being the Seals of the Confessional.

 

    As for the many who are Protestant: Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints),  Jehovah's Witnesses, Church of Christ, the Baptist Church, Denominational and Non-Denominational... this article may help in delineating those who hold to heretical teachings, theologies and practices that were never, ever, a part of the true Christian Church during the first several centuries. 

 

    These Protestants may call themselves by many names, even "Evangelical" but lack all that the word means in spirit even though by today's understandings of other Protestants, they view them as being 'Evangelical' who are (for most) members of an entertainment mentality with much ado with use of psychological mass hysteria techniques, for even the Romans have often been found to do that too; no matter how much their members may hold to their belief with a sincerity of faith.  Those pastors or ministers of their churches are, for many of them, carpet baggers whose agendas are more political and pocket-book than having a desire to learn truth from error. They use their halls of worship as entertainment centers for such draws people in who are (and have been) lazy with their faith.  They draw upon politicians to draw on those whose emotional balance for a particular issue is central to whether or not they belong to the right church.

[Might it be noted, as an example only, that not all members of those congregations are bad as exampled above.  There are many Pentecostal believers and even some Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons who are actually very HONEST, GOOD people who do not necessarily believe that their congregation's members are doing the right things.  Yet, the ministers and pastors of these Satanic cults who follow the heresy road of Satan's making, believe themselves above reproach which allow them to get away even with murder... We know of several members of those so-called "christian" congregations who are owners and managers of gas stations, grocery stores and gas companies whose ideals of their congregations are not what they are supposed to believe.  In fact they are more honorable than many of their ministers and pastors. But the majority of their congregations are so enthralled with this false doctrine that they will do whatever is necessary to stop any FACTS from reaching the public for they see such as attacks....  Hmmmm.... ]

[The leaders, pastors or ministers of these so-called "Evangelical" churches do not want anyone to know the truth because they themselves do not know or want to accept the truth of the roots of Christianity because of the material goals involved (gold, silver, money, land, boats, houses, etc.)  Another reason is because that which is "Catholic" is often misunderstood as being "Roman" which is only a part of the "Catholic Church". 

Now comes those who think and believe they are "Catholic" by calling themselves "Independent Catholic" - others believe themselves "Old Catholic" and "Old Roman Catholic"... And as to those who are true to what it means to be an Old Catholic or Old Roman Catholic we must admit that the true Old Catholics and Old Roman Catholics are those like Archbishop +Andrew Berry of Canada, Archbishop +Bostwick here in the U.S.A. and several others. 

But then we have, for example, those who, like +Donald Weeks, of reposed memory, and those who are in union with him, lock, stock and barrel; have opted for the falseness of a Catholicism that allow for the inclusion of Pentecostalism attitudes and beliefs, Muslims and Jehovah's Witnesses and more.  It must be noted that not all who subscribe to his yahoo group are with him, but the majority are not. This is another "back-door" by which Satan has taken to promote Synchrestic Ecumenism that has been, is and continues to be the destruction of Orthodox Catholic Christianity as it was handed down to us by Jesus Christ Himself, His Holy Apostles and Patristic Fathers.  These are the "Cafeteria" Catholics who have opted to be inclusive of female priests, Pentecostalism attitudes, and worse.  [In Muslims (Islamists) it is their belief as given by their so-called holy book (Quoran or Koran), that the next prophet of Muslims (Islamists) will be through the loins of a man... which means that during certain Muslims (Islamists)ic festivals they must attempt to impregnate (Sodomize) young boys, teenagers and under teen aged youth.... This is a fact of truth which is not told to the world populace.  This is what they do! During those certain Muslim festivals, they are required by their holy book to 'take' a youth, to sodomize him.  But, during other times of non-festival, it could be discerned by Muslims (Islamists)ic law, to be homosexual, depending upon who the Imam is that oversees the observance of their holy laws.  Yet, in many instances, such activities during non-festival times is overlooked, especially if the man caught is wealthy or has political pull, etc. - This almost sounds like the actions of some Jehovah's Witnesses and Pentecostals who abhor and deny any kind of homosexuality altogether, but who, as observant to their satanic faith, will go after those who are "Catholic" or "Orthodox" Catholic.  Because they, like Muslims (Islamists) believe their actions are a Holy Action in the name of their prophet or Messiah. ] It is the aim and goal of so-called "Ecumenists" of these present times, to bring about an amalgamation of all religions and faiths no matter what they are, to be of the same idea that they worship the same God.  This is what the Independent Catholic movement and Independent movement is doing... Thus, anything which spreads TRUTH and FACT is acted against in order to silence them.  The FACTs are that the God of Islam - Muslims (Islamists) is actually Satanic.  The God of many of the Protestant Cults is not the Life and Teaching of Jesus Christ, but a pseudo-idea of what they would like Christ's Life and Teachings to be as a result of the manipulations made to the Bible.  ]

    Cafeteria Christianity is, for most of them, what cultic Protestantism is about... the very same that has taken root and involved in and with the World Council of Churches.  It is found that in the year 2005, many Romans and some of the Orthodox are imbibing of bitter waters of practices and theological beliefs far removed from the roots of that which Jesus Christ, the Holy Apostles and early patristic fathers maintained as is evident of the early (seven) Oecumenical councils which has been and is for those who are true spiritual strugglers, the root and base of what constitutes Orthodox Catholic Christianity.

 

    One understanding that is so important that comes forth, amongst other understandings:

 

WHO MAY TEACH IN THE CHURCH

Mt. 28:19-20; Eph. 4:11; 1 Cor. 12:28; Bom. 10:15; 2 Tim. 1:11; 2:2; Heb. 5:4.

 

(Those who may teach in the Church are: The apostles and their successors; only those set aside by Christ Himself — those who are ordained; those who are sent by the Church; those especially appointed and called by Christ, through His Church and in His Church. But no one may appropriate the position and responsibility for himself as some have done and others do even to this day).

 

    Therefore, read all of the article, for it is very lengthy... and use it appropriately and properly.  But, remember, there are some things in this article that could very easily be applied to some of our Orthodox Catholic and Roman Catholic brothers and sisters not so much as being "Protestant" as they can be applied to the manner with which some clergy and faithful of the Orthodox Catholic jurisdictions have opted for a 'politically correct' and 'entertainment' mentality approach' as a majority of Protestantism does, instead of what might be called the 'struggle' approach for things eternal ...


 

PREFACE

This series of missionary handbooks has been compiled and translated from the Russian, especially in order to help younger Orthodox Christians maintain their balance in a world filled with clever deceptions and subtle, satanic teachings hidden in flowery philosophies and decorated with exciting slogans. Satan is no fool; he knows his job well. He does not begin to lead one astray by presenting him with grossly blatant falsehoods or with the open rejection of Christianity and morality. No, he begins with some scrap of truth, labels it "Christian" and then, having attracted one's attention, presents one with just enough of the truth to entice his victim to follow him. Thereafter, by ever graduating degrees, Satan introduces open falsehoods, nurturing the pride which then leads the deceived one to create his own false teaching. Such is what Protestantism various Denominations and Non-Denominations, "Reformed" and so-called "Conservative" churches are about, and now-a-days various jurisdictions of the Independent Catholics, even various parts of the Roman jurisdiction of the Catholic Church as well as a small but growing number of the Orthodox Jurisdictions of the Catholic Church are becoming by their imbibing of those bitter waters.

 

The "conversations" presented in this series have been selected for two reasons: because they present clear cut refutations of heretical teachings and because, in the process, they present correct Orthodox Catholic Christian teachings in a clear, simple manner, more easily understandable to younger readers.

 

These conversations are actual events from real life and they may lead one to deep thinking. How zealous these sectarians are in the spreading of their destructive heresies! With what energy and daring they appear everywhere, striving to impose their false teachings upon everyone in tones which do not permit objections. If, however, they encounter someone in the midst of their listeners who is familiar with, their twisting of the Scriptures and their craftiness, they soon vanish.

 

On many occasions, though, they are successful in tearing some weak member from the Church established by Christ, and leading that person on their road to destruction. Such a lost one is usually an uninformed person, who does not often pause to think his thoughts through to the end.

 

These terrible attacks against the One, Holy, Orthodox, Catholic and Apostolic Church are increasing almost daily, and it is become no small matter for those who are firm in the faith.

 

Our love and unity extends to the weak as well as the strong. It is imperative that our young people and our weaker members be taught the truths of the Holy Orthodox Catholic Christian Church and it is imperative that we all redouble our prayers and support for sound Orthodox Christian missionary and teaching efforts everywhere.

 

For the parent who really has a concern and care about his children and their salvation, three publications; The Orthodox Word, Orthodox Life and the Orthodox Christian Witness* should be coming into your home and read attentively by both parents and children. There are also a number of other helpful publications available from the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, N.Y., the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, Massachusetts, and may other publications from the Thaddean Fathers of the American Orthodox Church .

 

We ask parents not to betray their own children, but to provide for their true-Orthodox education. Their eternal lives depend upon it.

 

We also ask those in the clergy of various jurisdictions in North America not to betray the trust, commission and charge of their vows to the One, Holy, Orthodox, Catholic and Apostolic Church, for to do so automatically causes for the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit that is, to depart from them, leaving them void as an empty vessel, no longer true servants of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit abandons them and those who follow them as reprobate unless they, in this life, come to recognize the sinfulness of their ways in accepting unfounded teachings not in accord with those truths, those rightful understandings, handed down to us through time and history from the Apostles themselves.

 

The sum and substance of what follows applies to all who call themselves "Christian" whether Protestant, Roman, Orthodox, Celtic, Anglican, Lutheran, Baptist, Pentecostal, Mormon (if they could even consider themselves "Christian" by any sense and meaning of the term and word), Church of Christ, Denominational, Non-Denominational and many others.

 

 

·   The Orthodox Word, Platina, Calif. 93940

·  Orthodox Life, Jordanville, N.Y. 13361

·  Orthodox Christian Witness,   9223 – 20th Ave. N.E., Seattle, Wash. 98115

· Thaddean Fathers Publication House (American Orthodox Church), P. O. Box 1652, Columbus, New Mexico 88029

 

    ON SEPTEMBER 1, 1927, Father Kyril Zaits had the occasion to be in the Ascension parish on the feast day of St. Simeon Stylites. Every year on this day there was a large gathering of people. Many came by train from distant places and returned home on the evening train.

 

This time there were many passengers, particularly peasants in the third class coach. There were also members of the local intelligentsia, merchants and several Jewish people to be seen.

 

The time was after 10 P.M. and some of the passengers were dozing off, while others, on raised bunks, were preparing to sleep. Talking could be heard through out the entire coach since the compartment was not closed. Suddenly, in the compartment next to mine, some passenger began to speak especially passionately and loudly. General conversation died down and Father Kyril was roused from his dozing.

 

The speaker, a young man of small stature, began to walk about the coach, inviting everyone to listen to him. Evidently many people became interested.

 

"I was a great sinner. I did not know what spiritual life was ..., " said the young passenger, "but now here I am a believer! I heard secret voices calling me to salvation. I was converted and I became a different person. I was saved by dear Jesus. With his own blood he washed away my sins ... I now have no sins ... I am holy ... Christ is my brother..." etc.

 

While he spoke of himself, of his former sins and present holiness (and he spoke much), the public listened in silence and some women turned to the wall in order to doze off. They probably were not listening to such a speech for the first time.

 

Then however, the sectarian preacher began to touch upon Orthodox dogmas, especially the reverencing of ikons and objections began to be raised by the passengers.

 

    "So you worship the ikon of Simeon Stylites," said the Baptist. "Ikons are unnecessary. This is idol worship! One cannot bow down before pictures. The word of God forbids it ... It is necessary to pray only to dear Jesus ... I was wounded twice, was seriously ill, but I turned to Jesus Christ, prayed and became well without any ikons ...".

 

      Objections were heard.    One irritated peasant asked the sectarian:

 

"What are you doing here, agitating us? I likewise was seriously wounded, but I went to the church, asked our priest to serve a thanks­giving service before the ikon of the Mother of God and I became well."

 

Thereupon a general discussion began. The sectarian attempted to answer all the objections and began to sprinkle his speech with quotations from the Holy Scripture- His speech became disunited. Texts were introduced out of context and often pointlessly. It seemed that he would achieve a victory of sorts simply by speaking endlessly.

 

One could not tell if this eruption of words and playing with Holy Scripture would last long, but the argument had gradually become very heated, so Fr. Kyril, unable to sleep, decided to interject.

 

The unexpected appearance of a priest at once cooled the sectarian. Everyone became silent.

 

"You have spoken quite a bit tonight, my friend," began Fr. Kyril, turning to the protestant, "but you have made precious little sense. You have talked around and touched upon some things, but I for one cannot tell what it is that you are getting at. You present yourself as 'saved' and you have tried very hard to convince all these people who are believers to accept that Never-the-less, it is clear that you are at enmity with Orthodox (Catholic) Christianity.

 

"Please allow me to ask you several clear questions and be so kind as to reply to them clearly, without any misleading eloquence.

 

"You are quite probably a preacher — of which confession is of no significance to us at the present. One thing however is clear; you are not in the Church of (established by) Christ. Tell us, have you preserved the great spiritual wealth which the Holy Apostles have given to Christ's Church, or have you never thought of this? In. fact, have you ever even heard of this wealth?

 

The sectarian remained silent.

 

Father Kyril continued, "Do you have the priesthood? No? But it has been in the Church from Apostolic times. It was passed on by the apostles and it is clearly spoken of in that very Holy Bible which you are now holding in your hands. [Deacons: Phil. 1:1;  1 Tim. 3:8, 10, 13; etc. Presbyters: Acts 14:23, 20:17; Tit. 1:5; 1 Cor. 4:1; 2 Cor. 3:6; etc. Rom. 1:9, 15:15. Bishops: Acts 1:20; Phil. 1:1; ITim. 3:1; etc.]

 

"Have you preserved all the Mysteria (Holy mysteries and sacraments): Baptism, Chrismation, Repentance, the Holy Eucharist, Marriage, Holy Orders and Unction? These things were already established in the times of the apostles and they are spoken of in the holy books of the New Testament. [Scriptures relating to the Church.  Most of the relevant Scripture is quoted in full at the end of this series. This is because the King James Version, for all its great beauty, is frequently unclear.  Not only does its syntax and style often render the meanings of many verses nebulous, but, in fact, the understood meanings of many words have altered greatly since the KJV was first issued.  Moreover, there are some few instances of actual mistranslation in the KJV which have been willfully continued in later versions of the Bible created by non-Orthodox.  The Amplified New Testament of the Zondervan Press clarifies some of what we are talking about.]

 

        "Do you obey the Holy Gospel by honoring the Mother of God? Lk. 1:28; 42, esp. 48.

 

 

"Do you have prayerful intercourse with the Heavenly Church, with the holy apostles whose writings are in your hands right now, with the saints, martyrs, confessors and all the righteous?

 

"Do you have prayerful intercourse with angels ? Do you pray to your guardian angel?

 

"All this was in the Apostolic Church and all this remains with us in the Orthodox Church.

 

"Do you have prayerful intercourse with deceased fathers, mothers, grandparents and all those who have reposed in the faith ? Do you pray for the dead, or have you forgotten about them so that death for you has proven to be stronger than the love of Christ? Don't you know that they prayed for the dead in the Apostolic Church?

 

"You do not honor ikons nor do you honor the life-giving Cross of the Lord. And do you sign yourself with the Holy Cross? Do you wear the cross on your breast in accordance with the words of the apostle — 'bearing the reproach that he bore'. [Heb. 13:13. (The cross which Orthodox Christians wear is an ever-present reminder that we must bear persecution, humiliation and suffering for Christ's sake as we read in the "Beatitudes". It is also the symbol of Christ and thus is an open confession that we belong to Him — it is this open confession of Him that brings about the persecutions we must often bear.)]  All this was known in the beginning Apostolic Church.

 

"My questions are clear and simple. Answer them. Why are you silent? Well, what is there for you to say when you do not maintain any of this? Can't you see that this is a great spiritual wealth?

 

"Then tell us," continued Father Kyril, "what do you have? Faith? Yes, you brag of it and call upon these people to believe in Christ Your invitation, however, is late: all of these people, with the exception of two or three Jews, have believed in Christ for a long time already; they have been in the Church since childhood. Calling upon Orthodox Christians to come to believe in Christ is foolish vanity. We all believe incomparably more strongly than you. We believe so strongly that we preserve all that has been handed down to us and we fulfill all that has been commanded — you cannot say this of yourselves.

 

"Call upon the Jews to believe in Christ, go to the heathens, to Mohammedans — preach there, but not here amongst Orthodox believers.

 

"You cannot give us faith for we already have it. What can you give? What kind of spiritual treasure? Absolutely nothing. You come to us as a beggar in rags.

 

"There was, however, something you said which was completely contrary to Christ's teaching: pride and self conceit. We have heard only of your sinlessness, your holiness, about which you bragged and boasted. But this does not deceive us. We remember the words of the Apostle about the Christians of his own time: 'We all sin much'. [cf. 1 Jn. 1:8, "If we claim to be sinless, we are self-deceived and strangers to the truth."].

 

"Could it be that you sectarians, in your lives, are better than the first Christians? The Apostle Paul says of himself, 'It is not to be thought that I have already achieved all this. I have not yet reached perfection, but I press on, hoping to take hold of that for which Christ once took hold of me. My friends, I do not reckon myself to have hold of it yet.. .'. [Phil. 3:12-13.]

 

"And you believe that you have surpassed even the Holy Apostle in spiritual perfection? The Apostle calls himself the "Chief of sinners', [1 Tim. 1:15] but you call yourself 'holy'! ?

 

"Don't you see the absurdity of your boasting and on what a dangerous road you're walking?"

 

The young man was silent. Shortly the train came up to a station and some passengers reluctantly left this late night conversa­tion. When the train began to move again, the priest continued.

 

"I would like to call your attention to one more thing. You are holding a Bible in your hands. You know and admit that every word in the Bible is the unalterable truth. Good. We Orthodox also acknowledge this. I would say that you are a Baptist, yes? Let us assume that there is an Adventist standing next to you, and over there a .Methodist and next to him a member of another Protestant sect and so on. Let us say that there would be several hundred men gathered here since now Protestant sects number in the hundreds. Each man will be holding a Bible. You all acknowledge the Bible as your only source of faith. You all preach that the Holy Spirit speaks by your lips. Please tell us, then, why you do not all teach the same thing? Why do you Protestants consider one another as being lost? Do you mean to say that the Holy Spirit says one thing to one, and another thing to a second? Did this ever cross your mind ?

 

"Here is a small example for you and it would be good for the rest of you to pay close attention to it also. Let us assume that a jug of crystal clear water was brought here. Each one of us is holding an absolutely clean glass. Let each of us scoop up clear water with his glass from the common vessel. In all the glasses there will be seen absolutely identical clean water.

 

"This young man has a Bible in his hands; this is the source of the purest water. Why is it that when he scoops up water from it, when the Methodist, Adventist, Lutheran and all the rest scoop up water from it, they get un-identical water, un-identical teaching?

 

        "It  is  very  simple.    Their  glasses  are not  clean.    The  glasses are their reason, their weak human minds. Their minds are not clean; they are full of much sophistry and much destructive fantasy. All of this they apply to the most pure water, to God's word. Does one have to be so wise to see that their teachings are muddled, contradictory to one another and unhealthy, just as dirty water is not healthy?"

 

        Father   Kyril   paused   and   turned   to   the   Baptist   preacher.

 

      "I have finished for the time being. Now you, my friend, have achieved the interest of these fellow-travelers of ours and you may give replies and explanations to all these questions which have been presented to you, and we shall all listen."

 

       The preacher did not begin to speak at once. It was necessary for him to come out of a somewhat difficult situation, especially since some of the passengers were beginning to make unflattering remarks about him among themselves.

 

        Then,  without  pathos,  in  a  quieter voice,  he  began:

 

"You heard the priest just now speaking about ikons. I will read to you what the Holy Scripture says about ikons."

 

Thereupon, he began to read slowly from certain verses of the prophetic books — Isaiah, Jeremiah — about idols. During the reading the Baptist explained and suggested that here, it was precisely saying that ikons are idols.

 

When the reading had finished Fr. Kyril spoke up, "We have listened to your reading about idols but there are neither heathens nor idols here. You said you would read about ikons. Very well, then read to us about ikons. Idols don't interest us."

 

    "There is nothing said about ikons in the Bible!" the Baptist retorted.

 

"Are you really telling the truth?" asked the priest. "I don't believe that you are so ignorant as to not know where ikons are spoken of in the Holy Scripture. You know very well, but you don't want to read it. It doesn't fit into your calculations.

 

"Very well, I will indicate the place for you. Find the twenty-fifth chapter of the book of Exodus and read it." [Esp. Ex. 25:18-19 (make two golden Cherubim of beaten work); 26:2, 31, 32 ("... with ikons of Cherubim worked into them." The KJV has "images of cherubim", but the difference between these images and idols is quite clear — they are ikons.)] Note: There is a big difference in meaning and understanding as between an "Image" and an "Ikon" or "Icon".

 

        The young man hesitated, but the people began to demand that he read it. Unwillingly, he sought out the indicated place. He began to read slowly, as if thinking of what to say. When he read about the ark of the covenant and the golden cherubims on top of the ark, the priest turned to him with the question:

 

'Please tell us, the cherubims which Moses made of gold according to God's command, are they not idols according to you?"

 

"That was in the Old Testament" replied the Protestant. "We are living in the New Testament and we don't need the Old Testament... "

 

"Is that so ?" asked the priest. "But when you wanted to read about idols in order to lead the listeners into error, then the Old Testament was necessary. It is a great sin to treat God's word in this manner, and you well know how our Saviour speaks about those who lead others, lesser than they, into error and temptation."

 

The Baptist, feeling the awkwardness of his position, again began to read something more in reference to idols.

 

     "He always comes back to these idols of his!" Father Kyril said. "Well, if you do not want to accept the testimony of the Old Testament about the Divine descent of holy images, let us turn to the New Testament.  Read several of the beginning verses from the ninth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews." [This reading is introduced specifically to show the difference between "images" as spoken of in the Ten Commandments and ikonographic images such as God commanded Moses to make.]

 

The sectarian fell silent. We heard no more of his reading and talking. Gradually, the farther passengers began to fall asleep, lulled by the rhythmic clacking of the train's wheels.

 


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