I’ve pointed out many times now that as a general rule, and a courtesy, we do not publish email without the permission of the sender. However at the same time, all email sent to AM and Christian Research Network is considered the property of Apprising Ministries so we may indeed publish unsolicited email for the purposes of edification.
The evil influence of the egregiously ecumenical Emerging Church aka Emergent Church—morphing into Emergence Christianity (EC)—which is a cult of postliberalism now firmly within mainstream evangelicalism—have blurred crucial distinctions within the church visible. One of these concerns apostate Eastern Orthodoxy, which has been further confused with recent Manhattan Declaration debacle.
With this in mind, here’s the very first testimony of its kind that we have received and it’s published with permission. Scott, again I thank you very much for sharing this with us and I do believe it will be an encouragement and blessing to the many who have yet had the chance to read it:
I had been a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church (EOC) for about 5 years and had been ordained into the Eastern Orthodox sub-deaconate. I had been accepted into the late vocations program to become a deacon, yet I knew in my heart of hearts that something wasn’t right.
I was introduced to the EOC when I was in the Balkans on a deployment with the military, and it seemed to offer the stability I craved. By and large I was ignorant of Reformation doctrine, oh I knew the basics about salvation, but other than that I was completely in the dark. I had left my particular Baptist denomination disillusioned. In my mind the Protestant Church seemed to grab on to every fad and gimmick. No more preaching about sin, it was more about entertainment.
I read about Peter Gilquist’s journey to the EOC it seemed logical (although aspects of his denominations’ mass conversion to the EOC were disconcerting) and I read Frank Schaeffer’s book (a very angry man by the way) “Dancing Alone”. The EOC like Catholicism claims to have an uninterrupted line of succession from the Apostles to the present day, they hold “holy tradition” on par with Scripture and use it to interpret Scripture. They also lean heavily on the writings of the Early Church Fathers. So I switched…”I came home” a popular catch phrase that is used by converts to the EOC …and I went all the way.
However, after the novelty of the ” smells and bells” and the pageantry wore off, I was left with more questions than answers. The major selling point of the EOC that you’ll hear from most Protestant converts is that of the harmonious communion that all Orthodox share as the real body of believers and true Church. Nothing could be further from the truth.
This is not a unified body of believers that contains the “fullness of the faith”. This is a fractured denomination split along national and ethnic lines. It is rife with “Byzantine intrigues” and power politics. Maintaining the status quo and acquiring political power and influence are the hallmarks of the EOC, particularly in former communist states.
The EOC in North Americas is comprised of many jurisdictions and is primarily a Church for immigrants. Most “converts” are dissatisfied Protestants not new believers. The EOC in North America does not like to proselytize, it is close-knit and clannish. The Church is obsessed with maintaining the cultural and ethnic heritage of it’s immigrant members not spreading the Gospel.
Unlike Protestant Churches who instruct Christians to apply the teachings of our Lord in their daily lives; the Orthodox Christian’s life revolves around participation in the liturgy which is highly ritualistic and filled with mysticism. Consequently, most Orthodox do not have a clear understanding of the scriptures or of the full meaning of Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Many can quote chapter and verse from the teachings of the Early Church Fathers, or from the lives of various of “saints” however, if you ask them to back up these teachings with Scripture they are hard pressed.
This is not in anyway meant to minimize the contributions of the Early Fathers, however the measuring stick for all doctrine and teaching must be the Scriptures. Moreover, the practice of contemplative or centering prayer is encouraged. “The Jesus Prayer” is a simple two line prayer in which the practitioner is instructed to repeat over and over and over in conjunction with a pattern of controlled breathing.
As you can see I was in a spiritual quandary so it was no coincidence that I stumbled on Apprising Ministries and Slice. The articles at Apprising Ministries have given me a great education. I would read one of Pastor Ken’s articles and would follow up with study and my own research. I would have to say that Pastor Ken’s work has shown me that there are still Bible Believing Churches and Christians out there. It is incumbent on us as Christians to seek out like minded believers and Churches’ who value God’s Word above all.
More importantly however, AM has taught me that it is every believers’ responsibility to take the necessary time to seriously study God’s Word for themselves. My Biblical knowledge and familiarity with Reformation Doctrine has increased exponentially over the last year and it is because of the work at AM. There would be so much less heretical garbage if only every believer would like the Bereans, examine the Scriptures daily to see if what they were being taught was true.
God Bless you, Pastor Ken, you, your wife and your church, you have made a difference in this believers’ life. Your ministry has brought me “Back Home” to the Reformation and the simple message of the Gospel.