Friday, March 7, 2014

Preaching Private Opinions

Many priests and hierarchs preach using private opinions, analysing politics, or speaking about things which do not concern the Church and the faithful. However, in many respects, this has been the practice since Byzantium, where many hierarchs were involved in the political life of the Empire. Fr. George Florovsky claims: 

“Christian Ministers are not supposed to preach their private opinions, at least from the pulpit. Ministers are commissioned and ordained in the church precisely to preach the Word of God. They are given some fixed terms of reference-namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ – and they are committed to this sole and perennial message. They are expected to propagate and to sustain “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints”. Of course, the Word of God must be preached “efficiently”. That is, it should always be so presented as to carry conviction and command the allegiance of every new generation and every particular group. It may be restated in new categories, if the circumstances require. But, above all, the identity of the message must be preserved.
One has to be sure that one is preaching the same gospel that was delivered and that one is not introducing instead any “strange gospel” of his own. The Word of God cannot be easily adjusted or accommodated to the fleeting customs and attitudes of any particular age, including our own time. Unfortunately, we are often inclined to measure the Word of God by our own stature, instead of checking our mind by the stature of Christ. The “modern mind” also stands under the judgement of the Word of God”[1]. 

[1] Florovsky, George, Bible, Church, Tradition: An Eastern Orthodox View, (USA, Nordland Publishing Company, 1972), p. 9-10

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