Ecumenist Love

Christ commanded us to love one another as He has loved us. He taught us that His love is higher than natural love. One way He taught this was by giving us the command to love our enemies. It is not natural for us to love enemies. He showed us by His example [even to the Cross} that His love is sacrificial. Real love will do what is best for the other person no matter what the cost. This higher above-the-natural love is born from first loving God, which is the first and greatest commandment. The second commandment - to love thy neighbor - is utterly dependent on the fulfilling of the first commandment to love God above all else. To love thy neighbor is an automatic result of the fulfillment of the first commandment. If love of neighbor is lacking, then we know the first commandment has not been fulfilled.

The ecumenist love has a couple of things wrong with it. Love for God's Church and His Truth does not get its rightful first place. And the ecumenist does not consider us a "neighbor."

Archbishop Averky of blessed memory wrote:
More than anything on earth we value our Church's freedom. This is not at all because we do not have "love," as we are so superficially accused by the "ecumenists," who are themselves too full of "love" for the enemies of the pure and unadulterated Truth of Christ and, sometimes, even for open enemies of our holy faith [only for us, their brothers by blood and faith, have they no love!] Rather it is because we have a love of the Truth; because we firmly believe [having none of the doubts the ecumenists obviously have] that our Holy Orthodox Church is, as the Word of God teaches, the "pillar and ground of the Truth" [I Timothy 3:15]; and because we desire, as commanded by the holy Apostle, to "walk in Truth" [II John 4] and, following the warning of the great Father of the Church, St. Gregory the Theologian, we do not want to become betrayers of the teaching of the faith of the Truth," "communing of the leaven of the Evil One and joining ourselves to the plague-ridden ... apostates from Truth" [cf. Works of St. Gregory, Part I, p.12 in Russian]

Alexander Kalomiros describes the ecumenist love this way:
...Sugary, or unsalted and sentimental Christians regard [Orthodox eschatology] as extreme and repulsive pessimism. As allies with the world, they cannot see the seal of the devil on that which they approve. Neither can they estimate the horrendous gulf which separates the world from God, for then they would be required to admit that the same gulf separates them too from God.

They cannot, therefore, tolerate anyone being pessimistic about the contemporary Babel. They are that content with their era. They see such a bright future. Christianity for them is very much in step with the world, and they are so pleased with this that they will never forgive you if you show them that they are deceived.

They visualize in the future a united world-church with all men united by the bond of love. The heretics of the various sects are to them their Christian brothers from whom they were separated by the egotisms and narrow-mindedness of bygone eras. They admit that there are dogmatic differences, but these differences shall be overcome by love, or to speak more openly, they shall be forgotten by love.

But what relation does that sniveling love have to the love of God? How can they shamelessly claim that they have more love in their hearts than the Saints who were not able with their love to overcome the barriers which divided them from heresy, but on the contrary, they made these barriers higher so they could protect the sheep from the wolves?

But that which they take for love of men is in its essence nothing but love of the world. It is a coming to terms with falsehood by men who cannot bear the hardships of the war with the powers of darkness.

And their dream, that idyllic image of good and kindly people who make Christ reign on this earth -- that temptation of the desert -- is a dream condemned by the Lord Himself. [Against False Union, St. Nectarios Press, 1967, p. 65,66]


Joanna Higginbotham said...

The ecumenist has room in his world for every religion except one: uncompromising 0rthodoxy. Since the new world religion is based on compromise, the uncompromising have no place. We become an enemy greater than a heretic. A heretic will compromise, thus fulfilling the one mandatory requirement to accept that there are many paths to God. Which is why, as Bishop Auxentios has pointed out [3 posts back], Patriarch Bartholomew "denies that we are even part of the Church, yet considers Roman Catholics one lung of the single body of the Church"

Unprofitable Servant said...

Just one comment.

We can, and should, certainly "love" and care about those who have separated themselves from the Church without partaking of their ecumenist errors.

Some years ago, my Protestant father-in-law came to the liturgy at my ROCOR parish while visiting our city. Our ROCOR priest, viewed by some today as "true Orthodox priest," began to make angry, derogatory comments about Protestants during his sermon. My father-in-law was understandably offended, and I thought that the hostile comments from the priest were uncalled for, certainly not exemplary of Christian charity.

In our zeal, let us not forget that the greatest Christian virtue remains love, and that, without it, we are merely a sounding brass, similar to those self-righteous Pharisees who were so often criticized by the Lord for their coldness of heart.

Joanna Higginbotham said...

The Doors! The Doors!
Surely some of what our true shepherds teach us is not fit for heterodox ears. However, an angry or contemptuous priest should refrain from speaking, even to his flock.