Saturday, February 28, 2015

"Fundamentalism": Black & White or Life-Giving & Life-Rejecting Positions

Fundamentalism started as a Protestant designation for the fanatical Sola-Scriptura crowd (which does vary in itself). In Orthodoxy, I see it only as a term to diminish any credibility with those who opposed modernist tendencies. I notice this about the modernists who use this label; they are extremely vague and avoid specifics. I have not seen a modernist accuse a particular person as a fundamentalist. Rather, those who hold a certain position are fundamentalists. This is an attempt to dismiss a fundamentalist as one with cloudy thinking, uncontrolled emotions, and not level-headed enough to be taken seriously.

One could say the pan-heresy of today, ecumenism, is a coin with two sides to it. On one side, there is disregard for what the Tradition of the Church and ignorance of that life replaced with an academic attitude and spirit that those with this attitude know better than everyone else. The Orthodox oppose fruitless endeavors in the Church, or the overstretching the oikonomia to the detriment of spiritual growth which shows caution and/or discernment on their part. The modernist/tribal/ecumenical person disagrees with these positions. On the other side of the coin, sometimes, are the zealots. They think the faithful Orthodox are part of the problem in that they do not resist enough. The zealots are self-righteously resisting. The "Genuine Orthodox Church" are part of this group. They are schismatics, both have attachments to Freemasonry and are infected with a Gnostic spirit.

Those who simply want to have a Christian life participating in the fullness of the Church as much as possible are not fundamentalists. Those who follow the saints and imitate the monastics as much as they can, and who deeply value their guidance and words are not fundamentalists. Those who recognize the Fathers, love them, and try to live the life, in which the Fathers guide the Christian, are not fundamentalists. If someone knows theoretically and practically the history and application of the canons, and the difference between akriveia and oikonomia, they are not a fundamentalist. Someone who understands traditional ecclesiology, and by extension the sacraments, who does not fall prey to the relativism that defines this "modern Church", and understands it to be a heresy, is not a fundamentalist. These Orthodox Christians are Orthodox. The Orthodox, if he believes a wrong has occurred, will still work his hardest to correct it, encourage others to see the truth, but respect the freedom of others and preserve the harmony of the Church.

“Modernists” describe “fundamentalists” as those who reduce the Faith to simple and minimal theological axioms, which against everything is measure. However, the very name of Church “Father” means they lead and instruct us as their “children”. So measuring things against the Fathers is the natural order of the Church. It is death to be an egotist who think he can categorize, compartmentalize, or knit-pick their life giving words (even if he does so with esteemed quotations from esteemed philosophers or "theologians"). The Orthodox humbly tries to follow the Fathers, Saints, and monastics toward Paradise from their light-giving direction.

It is not fundamentalism to receive converts by Orthodox baptism. Many have spoken and written on why this has always been the practice of the Church. It has been the message when looking at the totality of canon law (see here). It is consistent with the theology of the Church's Tradition.

The Body of Christ has boundaries, just like the Nation of Israel, just like any body. How can the grace of our Sacraments exist outside the Church? They cannot! Those who disagree must not grasp the variety in the energies of God which the Fathers point out. They do not recognize that the deifying energies of the sacraments only occur inside the Church. There are clear and solid indications whether groups and persons are inside this Body or whether they are outside it. The Church has boundaries; its deifying grace is inside those boundaries. There are saints who can truly see where this grace is and where it is not. This grace is in the Orthodox Mystery of Baptism and this grace is inside the Orthodox Church.

This is largely in response to George E. Demacopoulos here:

Fr. John Whiteford writes an excellent piece for more information:

I have those dear to me who were received into the Orthodox Church by chrismation alone. They were received in this manner out of obedience to those who led them into the Church. This obedience keeps harmony in the Church.