Friday, June 14, 2013

Will only the Orthodox Christians be saved?

I have continuously heard within ecclesiastical circles that only people within the Orthodox Church, who are baptised in the Orthodox Church, will be saved in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Orthodox Church has the truth; it is the only Church which could claim to be the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, without changing its dogmas, or introducing new ones, as Western Christianity has done. However, the Orthodox Church also believed in the Economy of the Church, whereby it acknowledges that specs of the truth are to be found in the other Christian denominations and religions. However, who will be saved? This is an important question, especially within the current ecumenical circles, where dialogue is crucial for all churches. Will the Anglicans or the Roman Catholics be saved? In St. Matthew’s Bible we read, in regards to the Second Coming where the Son of man will judge the nations (Matthew 25:31-46):


“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And he will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me’. Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothed you? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me’. Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me’. Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me’. And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life”. 
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in his book ‘Encountering the Mystery’, comments on this biblical passage and answers the above concerns (p. 148-149):
“In the New Testament parable…we are told that we shall not be judged on how many prayers we made, or how strictly we fasted, or how many converts we persuaded, or how many formal good deeds we performed. We shall certainly not be asked how much we achieved in worldly terms, what reputation we gained, what level on the corporate ladder we reached, or how we measured our success. We shall be asked only one question: Did we share? Did we feed the hungry and clothe the poor? Love for God can only be demonstrated through love for other people. There is simply no other way; any other way is deceit (cf. 1 John 4:20).
It is curious how in the same Gospel parable, Christ says “I” about every person that is in need or distress: “I was hungry”, “I was thirsty”…God is looking at us through the eyes of all those who suffer…almost everywhere in wealthier cities our streets are filled with the hungry and the homeless, with young women and even children trapped in the ways of prostitution and poverty, and with those who have been irreparably wounded by the greedy ways of our society. These men and women are God in our midst; they reveal the suffering of a wounded God in the crucified Christ, even as He walks through our cities. These wounds become our judgement; yet they also hold our healing and hope. Will we ever respond to them? More important, can we even notice them?”  


3 comments:

  1. Belief in the damnation of all the non-Orthodox is unfortunately taught by the Toll House belief. In the foundational text of St. Theodora's "Journey Through the Aerial Toll-Houses" there is the revelation from the angels: 'Note also,' said the angels, 'that this is the way [the toll houses] by which only those who are enlightened by the faith and by holy baptism can rise and be tested in the stations of torment. The unbelievers do not come here. Their souls belong to hell even before they part from their bodies. When they die the devils take their souls with no need to test them. Such souls are their proper prey, and they take them down to the abyss.'

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  2. Your understanding on Catholic infallible teachings are poor.The Catholic church has never introduced new dogma or has changed dogma.All of its teachings have always been believed or taught by the church fathers.Doctrines that were formally defined in recent times were only formally defined because of attacks on these particular beliefs, but have always been believed.

    Your Orthodox schismatic church are outside the church, outside of which there is no salvation.Your church has deserted the chair of Peter, as St Cyprian quotes.

    Posting lies on your blogs will not save you.Leaving your heretical and schismatic church and returning to the true Catholic faith, will.

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  3. Thank you for your message..Despite it being very polemical, I will answer. From the Orthodox perspective, the Roman Catholic church is the schismatic one, leaving the CHhurch, i.e. the Orthodox Church. If you look at Church history you will identify that Rome left the other four ancient Patriarchates, not the other way round.
    The Catholic Church, as professed in the Creed is the Orthodoxy. I am guessing you are referring to the Roman Catholic Church. Orthodoxy believes that She is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
    Terms as heretical are not today used...more diplomatic terms are used and understood...That is why we have the Ecumenical Movement and Relations. Despite the Roman Catholics not being part of it, they are in dialogue with other Churches.
    The Roman Catholic church has introduced new dogmas and beliefs...the filioque in the Creed (5th century, Toledo), whilst also introducing the infallibility of the pope and many more, including dogmatic issues, which can only be established through an Ecumenical Council. The one Church which can state that She has not changed since the 7 Ecumenical Councils and continues the ancient tradition is only the Orthodox Church.
    I would suggest you went back and read Church History in order to identify what truly happens.
    And if you are to reply...Please be kind, and in the Spirit of Christian love... I do not profess hatred on my blog...you should respect that..!

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