Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Unbiblical Practices of the Russian Orthodox Church

Saint Basil's Cathedral, Red square, Moscow
During Moscow's Victory Day parade on Red Square in May 2015, the Kremlin cleverly staged a deceptive publicity stunt. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu entered the square to inspect the awaiting troops, standing in the back of an open car. He was driven through the gate in the Spasskaya Tower, and the car slowed down as it passed beneath the giant icon of Jesus in the tower. There beneath the portrait with St. Basil’s Cathedral to his right, Shoigu, made the sign of the cross before putting his headgear back on. Since this man is not a Christian, but a Buddhist, this carefully orchestrated act of veneration was probably not an expression of sincere devotion on his part. Rather it shows how important it is to President Putin to promote Russian Orthodoxy. Putin, a former KGB member, claims to be a man of faith and his administration has also consistently sought closer relations with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Although there is currently a resurgence of interest in the Russian Orthodox Church, it is just as much of a false religion as the Roman Catholic Church.  In fact, these two major religions are inseparably connected. The Russian Orthodox religion has most of the same unbiblical practices and doctrines as Roman Catholicism. Don't be fooled by it. The primary difference is that Russian Orthodoxy refuses to recognize the pope in Rome as their leader, and instead has its own patriarch in Moscow. However, Putin himself, an Orthodox Christian, has gone to meet with the Pope three times in the past six years, most recently in June 2015, demonstrating his desire to strengthen ties between the Vatican and Russia, and improve relations between the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches.

While there has historically been a great division between these two religions, they have the same sinful practices of Mary worship, image worship, and priests as mediators. Therefore, if you are in this Russian Orthodox religion, I am here to warn you that it is not of God. If you stay in that Church, you will not make it to heaven. Please take the time to read my previous article about the Unbiblical Practices of the Catholic Church. The same things I said there apply to your religion, too. And please also read Messages from the Lord for Catholics Worshipping Idols.

One Mediator
The way to God is through Jesus Christ alone, not through Mary, the saints, or the priests.

"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'" (Joh 14:6)

"For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1Ti 2:5)

No Idolators in Heaven
In his 2013 visit with the Pope, Putin brought him an icon of the Madonna as a gift, and they both took turns kissing it, joining together in their idolatry. However, no idolater will inherit the kingdom of God.

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God." (1Co 6:9-10)

The use of titles
The Orthodox Church is very hierarchical and uses many titles. For example, every single priest is called "Father." All such titles are completely unscriptural.

This was another main point in my blog on the clergy-laity distinction. As I stated there, we have only One Leader, and His name is Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself taught us not to use titles like “Father,” “Leader,” or “Rabbi” to distinguish ourselves or set ourselves apart from other believers. He said, "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Mat 23:8-11). So we should not use titles of any kind, such as “Father,” “Bishop,” "Reverend," "Most Reverend," "Right Reverend," etc.  The Lord doesn't know you by that.  He knows you by your name. You shouldn’t let anyone address you with titles, and you should not address anyone with titles.

You Must Be Born Again
"Jesus answered and said to him, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.'" (Joh 3:3). Please read You Must Be Born Again.

Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand!

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. The photo of Saint Basil's Cathedral, Red square, Moscow by Ludvig14.

Author's note:  Don't miss Unbiblical Practices of the Catholic Church, Angelica Zambrano's First Visit to Hell, Angelica Zambrano's Second Visit to Hell, Messages from the Lord for Catholics Worshipping Idols, and Visitation of Jesus to Samuel Oghenetega. You may also like the other posts in this blog, such as Exposing Heresy, Accurately Handling the Word of Truth, Tradition vs. Truth, and Former Pope in Hell Declared a Saint. You may access more of my articles on the Main Directory of this blog, as well as my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

6 comments:

  1. Hello Len,
    I enjoyed reading this article of yours. However, I am struggling a bit, and I need your guidence about something. I am Greek Orthodox, and after reading your blogs, I am starting to question the Orthodox faith. This is very difficult for me, because I have always trusted the Orthodox Church, due to the fact that it has remained unchanged for almost 2000 years--even before the bible was written. I know that there are many practices of the Orthodox Church which are not mentioned in the Bible, but that is not a good enough reason for me to leave the Orthodox Church. However, I am willing to leave the Orthodox church if I need to, I just do not have a good enough reason to do so, because it was the Orthodox Church who wrote the New Testament in the first place. I am very aware of the Protestant Reformation, but I don't think that it had anything to do with Orthodoxy. You see, the Catholic church was once part of the Orthodox Church (the Patriarch of Rome), but it decided to split from the Orthodox Church many years ago, to go it's own ways. The pope began to come up with many false beliefs, such as purgatory, the immaculate conception, indulgences, worship of Mary/statues, etc. Luther and the other reformers were frustrated with the false practices of the Catholic church, and THAT is why the Protestant Reformation began, with the idea of Sola Scriptura. The Orthodox Church remained unchanged from the time of the Apostles, even after the reformation. So, I am sure that you can see my confusion here. I just don't know what to do. How could I just leave the Church that has remained unchanged for almost 2000 years? The Orthodox Church has had seven Ecumenical councils, and that is the ONLY way that any decision could be made concerning the Church. And when a certain decision is made in an Ecumenical council, it can NEVER be revoked, because the Church is being led by the Holy Spirit. In fact, the Church CONDEMNED Protestantism in 6 different Ecumenical councils! The Orthodox Church follows both the written and unwritten teachings of Christ. If you remember in the Gospels, it was written that "Jesus did so many other things, that they could not all be written down". But the Orthodox Church follows these things, because they were passed down and preserved. Again, I am just asking for your guidance. I am open to any opinions that you may have. But I am trying to show you my confusion and struggle regarding this decision. Yes, it's easy to look at some of the practices in the Orthodox Church, and to point out that they are not found in the Bible--if that was all I knew, then I would have left Orthodoxy a long time ago. But what I am trying to say, is that there is so much more to this. It's amazing how the things we do in the Orthodox Church today were done the same 1000 years ago.

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    1. Dear reader, the guidance I would give you is to challenge your underlying assumptions. You are assuming that many of the things you have been taught about the Orthodox church (OC) are true, which in fact are not. Just to give you one example, you stated that the OC "has remained unchanged for almost 2000 years--even before the bible was written." Were you there? Did you verify that assumption, or are you taking man's word for it? You assume these things are true and that the OC existed before the Bible was written.

      Yet we know that the entire canon of Hebrew Scriptures from Genesis to Malachi were already written about 400 years before Christ was born. And we know that all of the books of the New Testament were written during the first century. The OC did not yet exist in the first century, which I know is difficult for you to accept, since you have been taught since childhood that it was the original church and was the only one that existed after the resurrection. I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church (RCC), which teaches the same thing about itself.

      The OC and the RCC developed after the first century, after the Scriptures were written, so the Scriptures came first, not these religious organizations. Moreover, the Scripture takes precedence over the teachings of men, since it is the Word of God, regardless of when it was written. All men must conform to the Word of God, which is the ultimate Truth. The Bible is the Book of Truth.

      You also stated that it was "the Orthodox Church who wrote the New Testament in the first place." This is another faulty assumption for the same reasons I have already stated. Therefore, if your assumptions are the foundation for your faith, and they are faulty and are based on the teachings and traditions of men, who are capable of error, then your faith is misplaced. You need to put your faith in God alone and in His Christ, and in His Holy Word, the Bible. Jesus did not entrust Himself to any man, for He knew what was in a man (John 2:24), so neither should you.

      Your orthodox priest will not be there standing beside you when you stand before the Lord on Judgment Day, and neither will your Patriarch. You have put your trust in them, but they cannot save you. Only Jesus Christ can save you, therefore you must trust in Him and His Word alone. I don't care about councils held by the OC either, whether they had 6, or 7 or 100 of them. I close with the words of Martin Luther:

      "Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason - I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other - my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen."

      What you need to do is make the Word of God your guide, throw out everything you have been taught, and start over by reading the Word and only accepting what it teaches. If you had a glass that you drank milk from, then before you would drink water from it, you would not just empty it and pour pure water into it. You would clean out all the residue and then start over with pure water. That's what you must do. Don't pour the pure water of the Word into yourself when you still have the milky residue of the doctrines of men, but cleanse yourself and start afresh with a clean vessel and then ask God to show you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the Truth from His Word as you read the Bible.

      And if you have not yet been born again, that should be your first step before you do anything else. Jesus said you MUST be born again (John 3:7). Please see my article by that name at http://enterthekog.blogspot.com/2015/09/you-must-be-born-again.html. God bless you.

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  2. Thank you so much for your advice. I began, and will continue to do what you said, in reading my Bible without the influence of the Orthodox Church. However, I am asking you to look at this issue without the influence/bias of the Protestant Reformation. You seem to have a great polarization of the “ideas of men” and “the word of God” which is the Bible. Although men come up with many unbiblical traditions, such as the case in the RCC, the Bible was also written and compiled by men—it did not just fall from heaven. I also want to point out that there are two types of traditions: the tradition of men, which Jesus strongly condemns, and Holy Tradition, that which was passed down from Jesus, to the Apostles, and then to the Churches, and so on. The apostle Paul clearly addressed this in his letter to the Thessalonians, where he urges the Church to hold onto their Tradition. He never said that his letters were to be read to every church from generation to generation. So what I am looking to learn about is—“How did the early Church handle the Scriptures/what was their view towards the Scriptures?” Was there even a faint idea of “Sola Scriptura” in the early Church? If that were so, Paul would have quoted the OT Scriptures within his letters a lot more than he actually did. But most of what wrote in his letters was for the purpose of “passing down what he had received from the Lord”. If you claim that the Orthodox Church was not the first Church, then you should show me some proof of this opinion. I also would like to know who it was that compiled the Bible since you claim that it was not the Orthodox Church. Remember that even if the OC was not officially called “The Orthodox Church” 2000 years ago, it could very well have been the same Church that is today called the OC. So , again I am looking for historical, apostolic Christianity, before there was a such thing as the papacy, immaculate conception, indulgences, etc. I am looking to find out what Christians have believed for 2000 years, not just some people’s reaction to the false teachings of the RCC, which resulted in the Reformation. In the same way that you quoted Martin Luther, I am also curious about what early Christian leaders such as John Chrysostom, Nicholas the Bishop of Myra, and Maximus the Confessor had to say about Christianity.

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    1. Dear friend, I can see that you seem to want to debate me, rather than just seek help from me, and that is not something I am interested in doing. Your comments read more like promotional advertisements for the OC, which is not something I am interested in hosting. Unfortunately the same is true whenever I get comments from other Orthodox believers, as they also seem more interested in promoting their religion than in speaking about the Truth of God's Word that has been presented here.

      Again, you are badly mistaken about the matters you have commented on, which reflects your ignorance on the things you claim to know about. The Scriptures were quoted quite extensively by the inspired writers of the New Testament.

      To say I have a great bias for the ideas of men is patently false. I have a love for the Word of God and that is my rule of faith, unlike those blind masses that follow the traditions of men in the corrupted religious organizations like the OC and RCC.

      Regarding the inspiration of Scripture, please read my article, The Bible is the Word of God:
      http://thewordfulfilled.blogspot.com/2011/12/bible-word-of-god.html

      As for my factual statement that the Orthodox Church was not the first Church, the burden of proof is upon you to prove that it was the first church, not upon me, since the Bible doesn't say a thing about the Orthodox Church, and nobody else except the Greek Orthodox Church believes that it was the first church.

      Please do not defend dead religion. Be a real Truth seeker! Search the Scriptures for your answer, not the annuls of your churches version of history or the words of men like Chrysostom, who lived during the days (4th century) when the original church had already been moved off its foundation and become corrupted with heresies. His golden mouth was not exempt from error, as Chrysostom taught the heresy of purgatory. https://justifiedbychristalone.com/2009/02/24/john-chrysostom-taught-the-heresy-of-purgatory/.

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  3. Thank you for your answer. I enjoy reading your blogs and seeking the Truth. I guess I will continue to search, because I do not yet have a clear answer to my questions. To be specific, I am just looking for the original Church, the ancient Church, the Church which Christ established. This is a very hard thing to find! I appreciate your help .

    God Bless you.

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    1. Dear friend, you're welcome. You will find the original Church, the ancient Church, and the Church Christ established in the pages of the New Testament, especially in Acts, the epistles, and even the first three chapters of Revelation. That is ample historical documentation for you. It is only hard to find if you do not accept it and insist it must be found elsewhere. You will also find the true, original Church right here with us, as we are the same Body the apostles were and are still a part of, which is the fullness of Christ.

      Soon after the original Church was established by Christ, the enemy went after it and tried to move it off its foundation -- the foundation of Christ and the apostles, and the Word of God. Even in the pages of the NT you can see evidence of this happening. Paul predicted it to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:29-31. Peter wrote about it in 2 Pet 2, Jude wrote about it, too. And you can find those problems getting into the Church in Rev 2-3, which Christ Himself addressed.

      One of the things that began to happen, in addition to the heresies, is that the Church became institutionalized, formalized, and heirarchical. Men vied for position and power and titles like bishop, archbishop, etc. And the Spirit of God is not in that. So by the middle ages, things had gotten extremely dark spiritually. The Bible was not in the common man's language but in a dead language (Latin) and was kept chained inside the church building, rather than in the homes of the saints in their common tongue which they could understand. Then they were fed lots of lies by the men that were wielding power over them, and mass deception occurred.

      That is why you must ask God for the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth, and then open His Word and expect to find it. That is my own personal testimony of how I came out of dead religion, which you can read in part here:
      http://budapesttestimonies.blogspot.com/2011/02/truth-set-me-free.html. The Lord says, "Seek Me and you will find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart." That's His promise.

      God bless you.

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