Wednesday, May 02, 2007

An Ecclesiological Pascal's Wager

Yes, this is firmly tongue-in-cheek:

I believe everyone could and should be firmly convinced by the Orthodox Church's ecclesiological claims: that She is the One True Church founded by Jesus Christ. If an Orthodox Christian becomes convinced the Roman Catholic Church is that Church, then I'd counsel him to reconsider and read our theology. If at last he could not accept our Church, then he should make an ecclesiological Pascal's Wager:

If he is right that the Papacy is all it claims to be, he is not excluded; since Vatican II, and particularly under the current Pontiff, the RCC considers Orthodoxy a "true particular church" with valid sacraments and orders. The Vatican has a view that Orthodox, in a nutshell, are too dumb to realize we're really part of their church.

If he is wrong (as I believe they are), he is renouncing the true Church and apostasizing. As St. Theophan the Recluse said, "You ask, will the heterodox be saved... Why do you worry about them? They have a Saviour Who desires the salvation of every human being. He will take care of them. You and I should not be burdened with such a concern. Study yourself and your own sins... I will tell you one thing, however: should you, being Orthodox and possessing the Truth in its fullness, betray Orthodoxy, and enter a different faith, you will lose your soul forever."

If nothing else, weigh those two outcomes in the balance, then make your decision.

(End naughty jesting.)

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Blogger Jake and Anya Knotts said...

What of those who never possessed the truth in it's fullness, in other words, those who were never Orthodox, according to St. Theophan?

I am curious as to your opinoin on Protestants? You obviously recognise that there are some genuine believers, those who do believe in and love Christ. As one who reads your blog often, I would like to hear your thoughts on salvation for those outside of the Othodox Church.


9:53 PM  
Blogger Ben Johnson said...

Forgive my late response. St. Theophan's words about those who were never Orthodox are that we (Orthodox) are not to pry into that; God is by nature merciful and given to tenderhearted compassion for all. That is why in the Byzantine Rite they so often repeat that Christ is the "Lover of Mankind" (philanthropos). He will "have mercy on whom He will have mercy and pardon on whom pardon." God's mercy is unbounded by ecclesiological divisions; however, those seeking the fullness of the Truth must embrace all the light God sends to them and ultimately seek Him in His Church. From our point of view, that is the Orthodox Church.

I hope that helps. If not, let me know. May God bless you as you continue to seek Him and reward you with the gift of Himself.

God bless,

9:54 PM  

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