Where Is the
Information on Churches and Sectarianism II
Bishop Alexander (Mileant)
Introduction. Baptists. Quakers. Pentecostalism. Contemporary "Gift of Tongues." Methodism. Mennonites. Mormonism. The 7th Day Adventists. Jehovah’s Witnesses. Christian Science. Scientology. Secular Humanism. Pseudo-Religious Societies And Cults. Sects and Heresies in Russia. The Uniats in Russia. A brief comment on Other Denominations. Atheism. Taking Superstition Seriously. Conclusion.
This booklet is the second and the last part of our short outlines on the contemporary Christian denominations. Those two parts introduced to the readers are a history and teachings of various branches of Christian denominations. The short information, and also the deeper research of these, will help the sincere seeker to find the great advantage of the Orthodox Church over any other churches, because it points to the roots that go back into the First Century which kept a purity of the faith of the apostles and the apostolic succession. The Roman Catholic church had the apostolic succession, but strayed away from the apostolic purity of the faith. Other ‘Christian’ denominations appeared relatively recently and every one of them in one way or another broke away from the apostolic tradition, in various degrees changed the Christian faith and did not keep the blessings of succession.
For: Orthodoxy, Roman-Catholicism, Protestantism, Lutheranism, Calvinism, Reformation, Presbyterianism, Anglicanism that had or had not attributes of the REAL CHURCH, was studied in the first part of our booklet. In this part we will look on denominations of much later origin.
The Baptists’ sect evolved from the English "Puritans." The Peculiarity of it, is that Baptists reject baptism of infants. The first commune appeared in England circa 1633, and in 1639 transferred into North America with its center in Rhode Island, in which Roger Williams played a leading part. In the beginning this movement was not successful. At the end of the 18th century they created the "Missionary Union" whose aim was directed toward preaching among the American Negroes, and to be free from dogmas, rites and symbolism. This was received positively by the Americans, who supported it. Homes for orphans and aged, schools and hospitals, and a large number of volunteer missionaries appeared. At this time Baptists found new followers in England, Germany, China, Japan, India, Poland and later in Russia. Established in the U.S., the "Baptist Union," since 1814, began to have large financial resources and started propaganda (known as missionary) in the rest of the world. The sect drifted into Russia from Germany, where its center was established in Hamburg circa 1834, by J. G. Oncken.
As time went by, the Baptists were divided into many splinter-parties. Divisions started at the end of the 17th Century, when they split into two parts: "Particular" — that accepted Calvinistic teaching on unconditional predetermination, and "General" — (or Baptists of the Free Will) that accepted for everyone God’s Grace which saves, and is attracted by men’s free will. In pre-revolutionary Russia, "Particular" Baptists rejected oaths, military service, and courts; however, at the present time they do not have such an open rejection of government and civic authorities.
There exist some Baptists with an inclination toward Judaism: "The 7th Day Baptists," who celebrate Saturday (Sabbatarians)."The Christian Baptists" — reject the teaching of the Holy Trinity, hell, the devil, and holy days (as if they contradict the Holy Scripture). There are Baptists that teach about two offsprings of Eve: one of them being from the devil, as some Jewish books of the apocrypha have taught. Another offshoot of Baptists are the Evangelistic Christians, "Shtundists," (Hard shell) Evangelists and many others. Baptists are characteristic in their animosity toward Orthodoxy. All branches of Baptists are unified in the rejection of baptizing infants. As a reason for this rejection, they claim that infants (children of Christians) are clean by the blood of Christ, and therefore need not be baptized. They quote the words of Christ to His disciples: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the HolyGhost (Mat. 28:19; Mk. 16:16) In those words they say they were told to baptize only adults and not infants.
This teaching about baptism contradicts the Holy Scripture and the practices of the Early Church. Holy Scripture requires to baptize all people including infants. The Lord God said, that only those "born of the water and of the Spirit" can enter into the Kingdom of God (John 3:5), considering children, He ordered: "Forbid them not to come unto Me" (Mat. 19:14). The baptism of children has its beginning from the time of Apostles — as testified by Origen, a well known Christian writer of the 3rd Century. In the New Testament the Sacrament of Baptism replaced the Old Testament custom of circumcision which was a prototype of baptism. In the book of Acts, is an example where whole families were baptized, who undoubtedly had children. All people that were baptized, old and young, became members of the Church of Christ. The earlier a person accepted a baptism, the sooner he incorporated himself into the Church and was blessed in life. His spiritual and physical growth proceeded simultaneously.
The Baptists and Protestants do not have a clear and distinct teaching about the Church, instead they reject the Apostolic teaching about it. "I am unable to formulate our teaching about a church," said H. Phillips, one of the leaders in the Baptist church at the conference in Edinburgh in 1937. There are also similar statements from other Baptist leaders.
Confidence in the matter of salvation is the basic distinction of all Baptist preaching and its off-shoots. It follows from all Protestant off-shoots, a conviction that salvation is automatic as long as one believes in Christ. They support their conviction by citation, taken out of context from the Holy Scripture: "Verily, verily I say unto you, he that believes in Me hath everlasting life" (John 6:47). "These things have I written unto you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know you have eternal life" (1 John 5:13). Those sentences we cannot take out of context, since it makes a big difference between dead faith and the real faith. The faith that saves, and the faith that does not save. "What does it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not work? Can faith save him?…Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead being alone" (James 2:14-17). "The demons also believe and tremble" (James 2:19).
Therefore, it is not enough to believe in Christ’s sacrifice, one has to carry his cross and follow Christ (Luke 14:27), because it is said: "He that endureth to the end shall be saved" (Mat. 10:22).
(Friends, society of)
Simultaneously with Baptists in England and Scotland there appeared a sect by the name of Quakers, originated by G. Fox. Brought by his religious reflections into a state of "delight" (allurement), he considered himself called upon from above to establish true Christianity and in 1647, came forward to preach.
A simple handyman, who was attracted to Bible reading and took into consideration the variety of interpretations in the Anglican Church with respect to the faith. By not receiving answers to his questions, he arrived on his own at the complete rejection of the Holy Tradition, teachers of faith, theologians, official denominations and a creed of faith. Going further, he came to the following conclusion: (1) The true interpreter of the Holy Scripture is the Holy Ghost, Who was absent in all different Christian denominations, and therefore they all do not have real Christianity. (2) Only he, G. Fox, had the real revelation from the Holy Ghost. (3) True Christianity consists not in the dogmas and theological systems, but that the Holy Ghost directly reveals to men and directs them into perfection. At the same time, Quakers put personal direct "enlightening" ahead of the Holy Scripture and Holy Scripture in itself, is interpreted as being a prompter for their personal "enlightenment". With this type of approach to the Holy Scripture, misinterpretation and misuse is inevitable.
Consequently, the Quakers rejected hierarchy and have no apostolic succession; also were rejected the Sacraments including Baptism and Communion. At their meetings, after reading Holy Scripture, they designate a so called, "constructive silence," that is, silence and concentration while each is waiting for the infusion of the Holy Ghost. If anyone feels "enlightened" by the Holy Ghost, regardless of social standing, — he/she starts to teach and prophesy. The congregation takes those words as revelation from above which they have to use as a guide in faith and life.
In the middle of this 20th Century appeared a movement, which is called "charismatic," (from Greek work — chares = benefaction) that was aimed to restore in contemporary society the gifts, that the Original Apostolic Church had and in particular this movement wanted to restore "the gift of tongues" — which is the ability to speak different languages at will. This movement attracted many Baptist and Protestant churches. In reality Protestants (in a very general sense) joined the "charismatic" movement, because they did not have apostolic succession and renewed Grace of the Holy Sacraments. Unbeneficial sectarian prayer meetings can’t satisfy the spiritual needs of a Christian.
The Charismatic movement promised to pour in fresh spiritual streams into the spiritual life of Protestant churches. It became very popular and soon, in different parts of U.S. there began to appear Pentecostal movements. Once in a while Pentecostals have large meetings that bring members from all parts of the world including USA. Because they do not have a definite structure, it is hard to put a number on them. Recently Pentecostal movements started to spread in Europe and Russia.
The aim of all Pentecostals is a desire to get a beatified enlightening and the gift of tongues. Most Pentecostals accept the Holy Trinity, the original sin and that the Savior come from God and His Redeeming Sacrifice. They accept baptism by immersion and Communion, the Last Supper with which they also combine the rite of "washing of feet." The apostolic succession, priesthood and other Sacraments they reject, as do all Protestants.
The name "Pentecost" comes from their understanding of how the Holy Ghost descended on the Apostles on the 50th day after the Resurrection. They teach that they emulate the Apostles at the time of baptism and public prayer, they also get the gift of the Holy Ghost and miraculous ability to speak with different languages. In order to "get" that gift, Pentecostals use many artificial methods at their prayer-meetings: they inspire themselves by singing in unison, stamping their feet in rhythm, clapping hands and from time to time singing "alleluia" and "amen" in chorus. The object of all this is to artificially inject into oneself, good feelings and arrive at ecstasies. Some members with susceptible nervous systems get into a trance of hysteria, start laughing without stopping, gesticulate and mumble incomprehensible words or phrases.
"Gift of Tongues."
Despite of all artificial attempts by Pentecostals and other "Charismatics" to create the miracle that happened to the Apostles on the Day of the Holy Pentecost, what they got is anything but a real miracle. We can read in the first few chapters of the Book of Acts, what happened to the Apostles on the holy day of Pentecost when the real "Gift of Tongues" was given to them. Holy Apostle Paul in the First Letter to Corinthians, ch.12-14, explains the reason for this miracle. The "Gift of Tongues" was needed for the Apostles, so that they could spread the Gospel to different nations. By getting the "Gift of Tongues" the Apostles could preach to people in their native language and thanks to that the Church began to spread very rapidly. As we know from history, this "Gift" disappeared shortly thereafter. As the people of various nations became Christians, many qualified native preachers became available. The need for the miracle to speak different languages at the same time, decreased. At the time of St. Irenaeus of Lyon in the middle of the 3rd century, "Gift of Tongues" was mentioned as a rare occurrence.
From the Second Letter to Corinthians of St. Paul, we can conclude, that the "Gift of Tongues" was spread more there, then anyplace else. "GoT" was one of the spiritual gifts which some Christians received after baptism and after the "Apostles laid hands " on the heads of the newly baptized. However, not all, who received it used it properly. Apostle Paul cautioned them not to use it carelessly. During the services (prayer meetings) some Christians in Corinth were speaking in foreign languages that were not needed. Most likely they did it to "show off." Apostle Paul explains that the "Gift of Tongues" is needed for... "not them that believe but to them that believe not." In other words "GoT" is needed for missionary work, to convert pagans to Christianity and not for those that were baptized. In addition to this, "GoT" had a negative aspect on prayers, when used at the wrong time. For example, when during the service several people started to talk simultaneously in foreign languages, it created disorder which resulted in prayer disorientation. In order to correct this improper use of God’s gift, the Apostle explains to Corinthians that this gift is lesser then other gifts, that are needed for spiritual growth. The Christians of Corinth will be better off if they will pray to God to enrich them with: gifts of faith, restrictions, patience, love, wisdom and other similar gifts.
If we compare the Apostolic "GoT" with contemporary "Tongue-speakers," we can see a big difference. In apostolic time Christians got a gift of a real spoken language. It was a human spoken tongue that was used for missionary purpose. If we compare it with the modern Pentecostal "tongue," it is nothing more than some mumbling, mostly isolated, without any connecting phrases or words and in some cases with violent outcries. The explanation they give is that it is the "Language of Heaven," It is impossible to accept as God’s miracle this incomprehensible mumbling. This is most likely the result of nervous excitement, trance, or hallucination bordering on raving. Therefore, sectarians blasphemy with artificial exaltation and sometimes, with inhuman sounds that are assigned as God’s inspiration.
In general, the aim of modern society is for any acute psychological sensation, such as loud wild music, which brings up erotic and evil feelings and encourages sexual disorders, misuse of stimulating drugs and narcotics, fascination with horror and wild crime movies. All these perversions are symptoms of a sick soul.
In the same manner seeking of delight and ecstasy in payers — is the sign of a passionate and proud state. Here, occurs the substitution of the real gifts of the Holy Ghost by artificially created psychological feelings. Totally ignoring the spiritual experience of the Saints, rejection of God’s established priesthood and the Sacraments, contemporary sects try to achieve grace by very questionable methods. By using this approach — one obtains deception or a "delight" against which all the saints of the Orthodox Church warned.
An orthodox Christian has to use all possible means not to follow this type of religious feeling. We all have complete access to the real spiritual treasury in the Sacraments of the Church, its Services and sincere personal prayer. In unification with God we have to seek not an anesthesia and sharp experience, but a regeneration of our sinful soul. Regeneration occurs through humbleness, repentance and correction of one’s self. By the degree of regeneration of a person’s soul, an authentic Grace of God will flow into him and with it heavenly peace and pure joy, by comparison to which man-made delight is a cheap and poor substitute.
The Methodist movement originated in the 18th Century from the bosom of the official Anglican church without any desire to change its teaching. The main aim was to bring more Christian morality. Two hundred years after severance with the Roman Catholic church and constant religious fighting negatively influenced its society. The moral and religious face of the society were on a very low, if not the lowest, level. Circa 1730-40, the Archbishop of Cantebury in a heart-broken speech indicated that secular circles of nobility and scientists openly make mock of the church and its clergy, without any embarrassment. At this dark time for the Anglican church, a young theologian of Oxford University, by the name of Charles Wesley and his brother John, with a group of his friends created a club of zealot faithful calling it the "Holy Club," whose aim was to live according to Gospel teaching, prayers, fasting and good deeds, following very strict methods (from here came their name). For six years, Wesley lectured at Oxford and presided at public discussions. He proclaimed himself to be a follower of Luther in the matter of "faith justifications" and became a wandering preacher of piety. Shortly thereafter, he was excommunicated from the church. He created his own "Unified Society" in which anyone could preach, regardless of his social standing. In 1741, as a consequence of disagreement in the teaching about "predetermination" (some people are predetermined by God to go to hell, and some predetermined to go to heaven), Methodists split into two groups. In England, they recognize in the matter of salvation free will and freedom, and in America they still keep this teaching about unconditional ‘predetermination."
In dogmatic teaching, Methodists are close to Anglicans by recognizing the necessity of good deeds. They do not require unification in teaching, nor specific forms of worship; however they do require the fear of God. Methodists kept the ranks of bishops, presbyters and deacons. Presbyters serve the sacrament of Communion and deacons can "bless" a marriage, perform a baptism and help during the Sacrament of Communion.
Methodist seriously respect the Commandments of Christ, they have a knowledgeable organization of faithful and well developed missionary work. Their parishes are divided into "circles" and "classes." Classes meet every week, where they discuss the spiritual standing of each member and all exchange ideas of their spiritual experiences. Methodists do not disdain any work, pay attention to children, fight for Sunday restrictions, are against thoughtless entertainment's, foolish spending and alcoholism. In the United States, there are about 12 million members. As all Protestants, they do not worship the Most Holy Theotokos and the saints. They give very awkward names to their children. Have no icons, have no symbols and no church architecture.
(Free Church principle)
In 1520, there appeared in Saxsonia, a sect called "Anabaptists." It gets its name from the custom of baptizing everyone who joins them. It started to practice the principal of "freedom," not only of religion, but also freedom from society and politics. They did not hesitate to use force and violence to obtain their understanding of "freedom." Using those definitions, they started to overthrow the civic government, social relations and developed complete "equal rights" in the use of all property and even marital relations. This sect represented a revolutionary social-political organization, that used religion as a "cover up". The action of this sect and teaching of its ministers brought about armed revolts, killings and robberies. In the city of Munster (Germany), some baker proclaim himself as a king and renamed the city "New Jerusalem" and his kingdom as "New Zion." He sent 28 "apostles" to conquer all people in his region. In order to equate all in education he ordered to burn all libraries and destroy any work of art. The Christian churches were destroyed, clergy and more wealthy people were killed. This "kingdom" ended in 1535, by armed storming of the city and executions of all guilty ones. Anabaptism was going into declivity and was partially rescued by a former Roman Catholic priest by the name of Menno Simons who became an Anabaptist. He introduced stricter discipline, still baptizing newcomers, avoided civil oath, military and civil services and evaded dealing with courts. Mennonites exist in Holland, Russia, England and the United States where they are distinguished by strict moral behavior, decency and hard work. Anabaptists like the Baptists reject infant baptism.
("The Latter Day Saints and the legacy of Joseph Smith)
The American sect originated in 1830. It now has about 2.5 million members, most of whom live in the state of Utah (USA), Canada, England, Switzerland and New Zealand.
The originator of this sect is Joseph Smith, who wrote a book, called the "Book of Mormons," which the Mormons consider a holy scripture and is supplementary to the Bible. In that book, Smith narrates a fantastic story, about a large group of Hebrews in 600 B.C., who emigrated to America. The less cultured part of that migration became ancestors of wild Indians; the other, the more intelligent part started to build cities, encouraged knowledge and was visited by Jesus Christ. His teaching, supposedly was recorded on the golden tablets by the "prophet" Mormon. His son, Moroni, copied those tables and hid them in the ground. At 400 A.D., the first group was annihilated by the second group and 1400 years later Moroni was resurrected and gave the hidden tablets to Smith (which later, some how — disappeared). Smith using those tables, wrote a book with the rules that govern the life of Mormons. The teaching of this sect has very little in common, if anything with Christianity and even with Protestantism. Mormons have a strict discipline, do not use alcohol, coffee or tobacco. They have a strict family and social organization. They are well-off financially and help each other.
Mormons are obligated to donate ten percent of their income. In the beginning they had polygamy, which is now forbidden. They also have a strong missionary activity. The Book of Mormon they equate to the Bible and Joseph Smith, the originator of sect, they consider to be a saint like the prophet Moses and even as Jesus Christ. (For details see booklet # 66).
The 7th Day Adventists.
This is an American sect which is close to that of the Baptist, but gives preference to the Old Testament. It was originated circa 1830 — 40, by a farmer William Miller. By reading the Holy Scripture he came to the conclusion that the end of the world was near and the beginning of 1000 years of the Kingdom of Christ was to follow. He was confused by the words of Christ: "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (Mat. 24:36). He decided, that this was literally about hours and days, but not applied to the years. He calculated on his own, that the Second Coming of Christ would be in 1844. He also indicated the time, day and a mountain in the state of New York, where Jesus Christ would come. His followers, dressed in white garments, gathered in large numbers at the Mountain of Judgment. After their disappointment, all followers remained faithful to Miller. Non-Christian elements misused the trust of the followers of this movement to enrich themselves. One of Miller’s followers, by the name of George Sparr published his sermons in which he rejected the immortality of a soul and maintained that eternal suffering — is the complete annihilation of a sinner. The date of the Second Coming was changed to 1914, then to 1933, and finally to 1995. This last date coincided with the prediction of some Jewish rabbis who were waiting for the coming of their "messiah."
The Adventists teach that the Second Coming is the most important part in the Holy Scripture, everything else is — secondary. They accept very literally the 20th chapter in the Book of Revelation and on this assumption they teach that in the 1000 years in the Kingdom of Christ only the righteous will be resurrected. After 1000 years Christ will come for the third time, when all sinners will be resurrected and the heavenly fire will soon annihilate them. The earth will become "newly" inhabited only by the "righteous," and eternal paradise will begin.
The Orthodox Church teaches, that the 1000 year period in the 20th chapter in the Book of Revelation is in an allegoric sense: after His death on the cross and His Resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ took away from Satan the power over mankind. The number 1000 is a symbol and represents a long period of time, the exactness known only to God. Before the end of time, the Devil will regain some power over the unfaithful, but only for a short time. Jesus Christ will come the Second time to judge the world, after which the eternal Kingdom will begin. Therefore, "the First Resurrection" — is the spiritual regeneration of the faithful, which had begun from the time of Christ and is continuing until now. "The Second Coming" — is when all souls will be united with their renewed and resurrected bodies, which will happen at the end of time (the end of the world). Then all people will be resurrected, not only the righteous ones. Their appearance at resurrection will reflect their spiritual state: righteous or sinful. We have to remember, that The Book of Revelation is full of symbols, and it has to be understood in the context of Christian teaching about the end of the world.
The teaching of our Savior about "The Second Comming" is well described in the Holy Gospel and in the Writings of Apostles (see Mat. ch. 24; 1 Thes.4:13-18 through 5:1-3; 2 Thes. ch.2).
It has nothing to do with Adventist teaching. The Holy Gospel is very specific about two comings of Christ and about One Judgment: first, when Christ was born in the town of Bethlehem; second — before the end of the world. Some teachings of Adventists were taken from rabbinical books and are relevant to rabbinical teachings about the Jewish Messiah. The teaching about the third coming of Christ is totally made up by Adventists.
(A religion of protest)
This sect is hostile to Christianity and Christian government. It had its origin at the end of the 19th Century, and began to grow in 1930, in the United States and from the very beginning operated with enormous financial resources. Its publication, called the "Watch Tower" is published in 27 languages and has representatives in 150 countries. Jehovah’s Witnesses use the New Testament terminology, but their teaching has nothing in common with any form of Christianity. It is a mixture of religious and political elements. The Church of Christ they call the "Satan Organization" and they themselves call witnesses to God’s anger and God’s revenge against the Christian Church. They preach quick destruction of Christian Churches and Christian nations. On a political field, "Witnesses" openly show marxist ideology and demagogy. They unconditionally promise social equality, poor and rich equalization, work for all, abundance of food, absence of exploitation, end of all wars etc. Their aim is — world power. While criticizing the American system and similar systems, they are totally silent on contemporary atheistic countries and movements. It is one of the most authority ridden religious bodies in the world. Members are told what to find in the Bible, blood transfusions must be rejected and Dogmas may be changed. Their teaching appears to be a conscious plan for the destruction of Christian culture and any Christianity in government. (See more details in booklet # 65).
(A denial of the material world)
The book " Science and Health with Key to The Scripture" — is the Gospel book for this sect. It was written by Mary Baker Eddy at the end of the 19th Century, in the state of Massachusetts. Despite the fact that the founder of this sect condemns Calvinism, in essence, she rejected God. A detailed analysis of the teaching of this sect, gives evidence that it has nothing in common with the Gospels or the Bible. Mrs. Eddy affirmed that her own book takes priority over Scripture, with its not to be changed or doubted key to Scripture, although she did concede that Scripture was inspired. There also is no real science in their teaching.
A singularity of Christian Science is that it is never preached. The Church has no preachers and no sermons. Instead, they have a First and Second Reader who are obliged to read a selection of Scripture and a selection from "Science and health." No comments or discussion is allowed. Mary Baker Eddy is the first and last word about the truth of Christian Science. Everything that Christianity posts in terms of biblical teaching, Christian Science declares to be unreality.
They reject medical treatments since they claim that sickness is an illusion and accept a healing by auto-suggestion (or self-suggestion). They take neither sickness nor sin seriously since "saving men" from all that they could be saved from is unreal. Mary Baker Eddy’s fame lies in her two writings, with which she tends to overcome, what by Christian Science’s own claim is really nothing at all. For God is all.
The founder of this movement was an American, L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986). After World War Two, Hubbard took an active part in a satanic sect, ordained by the known satanist Aleister Crowley. Hubbard accepted many ideas from Crowley, how to build his pseudo-religious system. Hubbard’s son testified, that his father created most of his "scientific discoveries" under the influence of narcotics. Declaring loyalty to all religions, Hubbard, at the end of his life announced a "concealed secret" — that his mission on this earth — is the mission of the Antichrist to prevent the Second Coming of Christ.
The idea to create his own religion became very profitable. From an average writer, who petitioned for veteran's pensions, the founder of scientology had an estate of 640 million dollars at the end of his life. The courts of many countries considered Hubbard a felon and he was pronounced "Persona non grata." He died in 1986.
At present, the Society is headed by David Miskevidge, with its center in Los Angeles and its spiritual executives in Clearwater, Florida, the main base for Europe is in Copenhagen.
The Society of Scientology, in general, can’t be called a church, because the place of God is taken by Hubbard himself and each neophyte pays dues to his cult, as was confirmed and decreed by the Federal Court of Working Disputes in FRG on March 22, 1995.
The book by Hubbard, "Dianetics: the Modern Science of Mental Health" has information from psychology mixed with occultism, black art, and engrams — the main topic in Scientology, is in reality, a pseudo-scientific version of an ancient description of "karma."
The term "scientology," was by adherents decoded as — "study of knowledge." In the beginning, Hubbard tried to present his ‘Dianetics’ as a science, but received very strong resistance from scientists, and therefore had to replace scientific approach by religious approach. Scientologists constantly try to present its teaching with scientific color: their literature is saturated with self-made, science-like — terminology and abbreviations with the use of computer methods, graphics etc. However, there is no real science there. All this is done to study dogmas, which Hubbard wrote in his book. Any expression, written or oral, by Hubbard is considered to be sacred. In reality, scientology is mixture of psychology, black magic, occultism and science fictions that are multiplied by unquestionable faith in the infallibility and genius of its father-originator Hubbard, and its organization.
Scientology proclaims itself as a religious organization and calls itself a "church," however, there are plenty of examples in their instructions, written by Hubbard himself, that prove otherwise; that in the foundation of his organization lay not religious convictions, but a direct business interest. An unweakening race for profit in Hubbard’s own words: "Give money — make more money — force other people to work — so they can make money."
By the decision of our Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia (December 1994), in a section about pseudo-christian sects, neo-paganism and occultism, scientology is called a pseudo-religion.
L.R. Hubbard was the disciple of a known satanist of the 20th Century, Alistair Kroule and was involved in a most repulsive form of occultism. According to KGB archives in Russia (MIA), Scientology is one of many forms of satanic sects, that have crime-demonic direction, actively use psychotropic methods in order to achieve control of its members. This sect has specially created cover-up structures in a form that appear as humanitarian organizations, one of which is the Humanitarian Center of Hubbard.
Scientologists claim, that they are outside of politics and that church and government has to be separated. At the same time, one of the global missions of this sect is to create a civilization without faults, crime, wars, narcotics etc. In order to create this type of civilization, one has to incorporate Scientology into all aspects of life, starting primarily at the government level. Hubbard himself proclaimed before his death, that he will come the second time as a politician. He also claimed, that: "Scientology... Has to establish totalitarian power and authority, to achieve total discipline..." Scientologists actively recruit workers and businessmen of higher caliber through the system of Hubbard Colleges (teaching Administrative Technology). One of the aims of scientology: is to push away traditional psychology, replacing it with scientology, The attack on traditional psychology is ear-marked in all their publications and an instinctive dislike is instilled into all its members.
Representatives of FRG at the seminar on Freedom of Any Confession (Warsaw, April 16-19, 1996), gave a report: that from the time of the appearance of this sect in FRG (1970), local authority was resisting this sect on all levels. It is not by coincidence, that the so-called scientologist Hubbard, in 1973, was declared by the German government as " one of main enemies." Hubbard on several occasions pleaded to the UN Commission of Human Right and OBSE with complaints of "governmental interference" with his interests in FRG and periodically unfolded anti-government campaigns.
Taking all of the above into consideration as well as the activities of this sect in FRG, a more severe resistance to this sect was imposed. This work intends to put into the legal system aspect — the characteristics of this sect. On March 22, 1995 Federal Court of FRG handed down a decree, that Scientology is not a religion or peaceful organization, but a commercial structure, that operates with methods, that use psychological terror and economic felonies. On May 9, 1996 the German Bundstag created a special interrogating commission by the name of "So called Sects and Psychogroups." By the spring of 1998 it will formulate an official degree of the danger of Scientology to society and will give its recommendations to the Federal Government. From 1995 the Ministry of Internal Affairs of FRG was working on reports about the sect of Scientology, which the Government wanted to discuss at the conference of the Federal and State ministers of internal affairs in Hamburg, Germany. Without waiting for the decision of the Federal Government of FRG, individual states took this matter into their own hands and adopted a more severe attitude: the government of Bavaria, on Oct. 17, 1995, put into effect its program of annihilating the sect from its territory. On Nov. 1, 1996, a ban was imposed in this state, on members of Scientology to hold government positions. The State Office of Constitutional Safety, (Counter Intelligence and Internal Security) was empowered to keep an eye on this sect.
From 1991 the Christian Democratic Party of Germany, a leading party of the present coalition started rejecting members who were scientologists. In May of 1995, the Social Democratic Party of Germany, which was the opposition party, made a similar decision.
Almost all countries, that have branches of this sect, are busy investigating its activities. Scientology fights for world domination. The aim of a Scientology organization is to create a new man and a new world, which will function according to Scientology rules. This is a grave danger to all societies, since a society, that is governed by scientology principals will have no freedom and civil rights. According to the teaching of L. Ron Hubbard, the originator of Scientology, any democracy is worthless.
(In order to avoid mix-ups with the definitions, let us clarify some terms by using an Encyclopedic dictionary:
Humanity = being human, kindness, mercy, sympathy, love toward men,
Humanitarian = a person devoted to promoting the welfare of humanity
Humanism = direction of a European thought that began to develop in 15th & 16th centuries during the time of the Renaissance. A desire to direct a thought to solve life’s problems in a materialistic and practical nature in order to improve man’s life).
Contemporary humanism — is a godless sect, that places as the cornerstone of its life, the "highest being" of the universe, MAN. This man doesn’t need God and can create his own laws, rules and moral standing at any given time and place. " Contemporary Humanism" considers all church organizations and faiths as harmful for education, psychology and life of mankind.
"C.H." Was created in USA in the middle of the 1930s by atheistic scientists and philosophers who were organized into the American Humanitarian Association. In 1933 they published the "Humanist Manifesto 1" which was signed by 34 teachers and writers and explained the goals of "C.H." In 1973 was published "Humanist Manifesto 2," which was signed by many influential people of the world (Including those in the USSR).
This sect considers man — master of the world and the highest creation of nature. God doesn’t exist. Prayers will not help. A man has to depend only on his own strength. Ethics, morals and Commandments are creations of men and can be changed at will, depending on time, place and circumstances. A man has to be independent of any higher authority and has to govern his life by his own will, which benefits only himself. He does not have to take care of the sick or poor. Abortion — is his right. Family life should not be bound by any church or civic laws; to have a mate and physical pleasure — is his right.
Uncurbed freedom brings this sect close to atheism and is dangerous, since it corrupts with its propaganda our society, and most importantly — our youth. "C.H." Tries to recruit people with authority and influence, such as: writers, artists, owners of movie studios, etc. Hollywood produced several anti-religious and amoral movies for young people and children. There are also novels and stories with similar content. The corrupt influence of this sect is visible in our society and among young people, and it is capable of destroying any country.
Societies And Cults.
Due to the fact, that the Constitution of the United States guarantees every citizen freedom to his political and religious beliefs and the ability to spread them, there is no easier way to get a few followers and receive a legal registration for a new religious organization or political party. A Religious Organization is tax exempt, therefore, quite frequently, in USA appear organizations or cults, that cover themselves with some religious ideas in order to conduct some form of business.
As an example we can add the sects of Moon (known as the "Church of Unification"), society of Scientology the ("Church of Scientology") and a multitude of other tele-evangelistic organizations that are headed by preachers, pretending to be miracle workers and prophets.
It is difficult to describe their teachings in such a short article, and the scope of their worship. Some of them, as the PTL ("Praise The Lord") preach similarly to Pentecostal’s principals but definitely have a commercial attitude (12-45% of its time is used for money collections. The financial resources grow very rapidly, so that its leaders live in unbelievable wealth, and from time to time cause various scandals that show their immoral and criminal activity.
"The Church of Unification" (proclaiming a new Messiah) was originated in USA in 1972 by the Korean preacher Sun Moon. A teaching of this sect is described in the book "Divine Principle" and is an amalgam (conglomerate) of ideas of eastern religions and small parts of Christian elements. Moon’s followers consider him a messiah that came to save the world. People who join his Church of Unification are treated with an intense psychological workout, that is aimed to make them loyal to Moon in spreading his ideas. His organization has a very complicated administrative structure with a conspiratorial attitude, and under many aliases deals with heavily commercial activities. Very cunningly they recruit young people, taking them away from families, pressuring them to collect money for the Unification Church. This pseudo-religious organization has crippled many young lives.
"The Society of Scientology" has nothing to do with religion. Organized in 1954 by L.Ron Hubbard, they only use a cross as a cover up for a few Christian slogans. The real aim of this society openly described by its originator: "Money, money! Bring more money; force the others to get us money." A financial side of this organization could make jealous any commercial company. Scientologists spread books like "Dianetics," "Path to Happiness," and others; the aim of which is to engage people to take various courses, that are very expensive, which suppose to help a person to achieve spiritual and psychological regeneration. The courses bring millions of dollars. They promise to clean a soul, enlighten with wisdom, bring a good feeling of some accomplishment, bring confidence and discover the secret of happiness. People with low faith and self-esteem, who have some psychological problems are willing to take a chance to get some meaning in life. Some people spend hundreds, thousands and even a hundred thousand dollars, attending unending lessons and some form of health recovery classes.
Auto-suggestion — is the main method for "healing" in scientology.
Eventually, this type of leadership by pseudo-religious societies renders a very poor service to our society, because for personal profits they destroy the faith in God.
The beginning of 1970 blossomed with a multitude of all kinds of societies with pagan ideology in USA. There were also societies of hinduism, theosophy, pseudo-science, astrology and purely satanic. We notice how fast most radical ideas and cults grow in USA. It is worth ro remember, what the St. Apostle Paul said: "...in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron" (1 Tim. 4:1-2); "shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth, a cancer" (2 Tim. 2:16-17); "they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lust shall they heap to themselfes teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned aside to fables" (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
The long years of Church persecution in Russia brought a multitude of aggresivly growing sects and various cults. Since 1989 the press started to write about penetration to the countries of Eastern Europe and Russia: Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Tele-evangelists, followers of Moon and others. All of them try to take advantage of the spiritual vacuum created by communism. It will be not easy to fight them, since they (sects and cults) have enormous financial means and experience how to spread their propaganda and pseudo-religious ideas.
More information about history, teaching and work of various "churches," sects and contemporary religions may be obtained from the organization, that is called Christian Research Institute P.O. Box 500, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92692 USA Tel (714) 855-9926. One book that is recommended is "The Kingdom of the Cults."
Sects and Heresies in Russia.
In its historical path Orthodox Russia had not omitted heretical movements within itself, sometimes of its own, but mostly ones that came from the West.
One of the first heresies in Ancient Russia (Russ) in the10-th century A.D. came from Bulgaria. The sect is called "Bogomilly" from the name of the monk Bogomil. This sect thought, that God begat two sons: Sataniel and Logos. Christ is Logos who was born of the Virgin Mary from her ear. This sect rejected all Holy Sacraments, and demanded a strict life style etc. In the 13-th century this sect spread into South Europe and Spain. Despite persecution, this sect survived in Russia until the 18-th century, when it became converted into a sect called "Whips" and "Eunuchs" (castrati).
Another secret sect was "Jewish-like." It appeared in the 15-th century, first in the city of Novgorod and then in the city of Moscow. It is a mixture of Jewish and rationalistic teaching. It rejects Jesus Christ as God, icons and church rites (services). The originator of this sect was a Jew by the name of SKARIA. He was a leib-madic (doctor) in the retinue of the Grand Duke Alexander (Olgovich) in the city of Novgorod. The preaching of Skaria attracted many people from high government ranks. One of the leaders of this secret sect was the nobleman Theodore Kurizyn — State Minister of Foreign Affairs and even some relatives of the Grand Duke. In 1504, this sect was outlawed and its followers were scattered into various prisons. From surviving members of this sect grew a new sect under the name of "Saturday People."
"The Saturday People" appeared in the 18th century; they celebrated Saturday, instead of Sunday and acknowledged only the Old Testament. Some even practiced circumcision according to Jewish tradition. Emperor Nicholas I banished them all to the Caucas Mountain region.
"Old Believers" or "Old Faithful" — is a general name for the religious group that separated itself from the Russian Orthodox Church in the 17th Century. It all began during the reign of Patriarch Nikon, who wanted to correct all mistakes in the Church books and Church services around 1655. The ones that disagreed with the corrected books grew into a split — dissidence. The dissidents attracted a large number of people, who "blindly" liked the "old ways" and old (unexpunged) books. In the beginning, the dissidents wanted to leave everything the way it was, without any heretical teaching, only to follow old Russian traditions and not to obey church administration. However, by dissenting from the Church, they also started to dissent also from government functions. They started to move to secluded parts in Russia: North Siberia, near the Volga River and also into Poland, Prussia, Rumania, Turkey and China.
As time went by, "Old Believers" were divided into many groups. Some of them used old service books and old style icons during their services. "Old Believers" differ from others and from one another, by strictness in everyday life style and moral standing. They differ from the Orthodox population regarding church customs and the nonrecognition of Church Hierarchy. They may be divided into two major parts: with priesthood and without a priesthood. (The one with a priesthood had priests who left the Church for various reasons and joined them). Both branches were divided into a multitude of smaller groups, which usually carried the name of its originators. Some of them, without priesthood degenerated into various sects.
By the end of the 18th century, the passion for "dissension" quieted down, some "Old Believers" started to look into a return to the Russian Orthodox Church. The Synod of ROC in 1783, permitted its bishops to ordain priests for "friendly Old Believers." The "Old Believers" who recognized the Russian Orthodox Church began to call themselves "Agreeable" (Soglasniki). A few years later a new group of "Old Believers" in Ergize, Kazan, Petrograd (St.Petersburg) and Moscow merged with the RO Church and began to accept its priesthood. That group began to designated themselves as the "One-Faithful." In 1885, at the meeting of Bishops of ROC in the city of Kazan an official statement was released which stated that the "Orthodox" and "One-Faithful" are one Church. Some of the "One-Faithful" parishes were united with the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia in 1970. Some of those sects from Russia are set forth as follows:
"Deniers of the Holy Ghost" (In Russian Dukhobory). This sect came from Quakers in the beginning of the 18th Century, in the Kharkov province. Due to the fact, that they were mostly illiterate, it was hard to formulate their teaching. They believe in the Divinity of Christ and acknowledge transposition of souls; hell and heaven they understand allegorically, they reject church hierarchy and church rites, reject oaths and military service.
"Molokans" — This sect does not recognize sacraments and rites of the Orthodox Church. They do not acknowledge the validity of saints. They worship only by the reading of the Holy Scripture and singing of Psalms. They forbid happy gatherings, drinking, smoking and vulgar language. At one time "Molokans" lived in the area of the Caucas region, later they moved to the United States and Canada.
"Castrati"(in Russian Skoptzy) — This sect considers the savings of a soul by imposing a physical disability (castration) to reproduce. It appeared in the 18th Century in Russia. For reasons known only to the sect, they considered the Apostle Matthew, as their originator.
"Scourge" (whip, in Russian Khlysty) consists in "societies" or "Ships" that are headed by prophets, christs, theotokoses and prophetesses. They reject sacraments, priesthood and the church. They believe in the "improvised" christ: that is, anyone can became a christ through ascetic methods. Their services are called "rvenie"= zeal, and consist of reading and interpretations of the Holy Scripture with singing, jumping, running and circling, that lead into loss of consciousness and hallucination, which is interpreted as prophetic inspiration. "Scourge" are wild fanatics and are a very dangerous sect.
"Pento-books" (in Russian Pjatoknisznyki) members — believe that there is one God, and the five books of Moses are the cornerstone. Jesus Christ is not God. The church is only a society of faithful. All visible appearance is man made and should be thrown away. Church (building) — is a pagan temple, Icons — are idols, hierarchy — are pseudo-teachers, priesthood — is a pagan office. There are no Sacraments. Communion is simply bread and wine. Repentance — is self-delusion. Icons and the Cross should be annihilated as idols. Lent and Monastics — thrown away. All people with different faiths are the same in God’s eyes. There should be no wars and no governments.
The Uniats in Russia.
In 1386, Lithuania and Poland were united, when the Lithuanian Grand Duke Jagiello married the Polish Queen Jadwiga. This was known as the "Personal Union of Poland and Lithuania." It was the beginning of Roman-Catholic advances on the Lithuanian and the Russo-Lithuanian nobility. Until the middle of the 16th Century, these advances were not very intense. In 1569, both countries became one kingdom created by the Union of Lublin and are known today as Poland, in which Polish Roman-Catholic influence became a governing factor. The city of Kiev and the Volyn province also became Polish. By 1596, the Polish king was able to replace the Orthodox hierarchy with candidates who leaned toward the polish-catholic direction. Those quasi-orthodox bishops, being loyal to the Roman-catholic polish government, created the Brest Union with the Roman-Catholic church — and officially gave the Orthodox Church in Poland to Rome. The conditions were as follows: the people and hierarchy would recognize The Pope’s church supremacy, but would keep their inner Church regime and order of divine services.
The general Orthodox public did not agree with the unworthy segment of its hierarchy and the fight began to keep the Orthodox faith and their nationality. In this fight, a very important role was played by the Dnieper Cossacks and those residing beyond the Dnieper rapids. As Poles tried to subordinate Cossacks to Polish landowners and began to persecute the Orthodox Church — the Cossacks began to revolt. These were very severe and cruel.
In 1648, the uprising against Poland was headed by the hetman Bohdan Chmielnicki, which was supported by the general population of the Orthodox public in the South West of Russ. The war was very difficult and the hetman suggested to Cossacks to unite with the Tsar of Moscow. The "general public meeting," in the city of Perejaslow, at the beginning of 1654, unanimously decided: "we are willing to go under the Orthodox Tsar of Moscow..." The Tsar Alexei Mihailovich, "accepted the Little Russ under his eminent reign" giving them complete self-government and an army made up of Cossacks.
Later, when Poland was submitted to Russia (First division of Poland — 1773; second — 1793; and third 1795) majority of people, that were forced to be uniats — returned to the Orthodox Church.
In order to attract the Orthodox population into Roman-Catholicism after the revolution of 1918 — the Roman Catholic Church created the "Eastern Rite." The services are conducted like in the Orthodox Church, but the teaching is catholic. After World War Two many Russian emigrants were lured into the "Eastern Rite" through financial aid and care-packages. Others, that did not understand the essence of the "Eastern Rite" were lured by the appearance of Orthodoxy. Presently, the "Eastern Rite" publish many religious books in Russian and are preparing an army of clergy missionaries to convert Russian people into Catholicism.
A brief comment on
JUDAISM — evolved from the Old Testament religion established for the Hebrew people. Its main difference: non-recognition of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Judaism is filled with all kinds of rites and customs, has a multitude of small rules, some are written and some are oral, that find one’s everyday life such as: what one can and cannot eat or drink, whom to marry, when to work, whom to have as a friend and whom to hate. By fulfilling all this multitude of meaningless rules, they consider themselves "holy" and a "chosen people." They do not have missionaries and are unwilling to accept converts who do not have a mother of Jewish origin. The concept of vengeance, that is, an "eye for an eye" is very acceptable by Jews, with respect to their enemies. Some of the Jews are still waiting for their "Messiah," who will bring the glory to Jewish people. The Christians identify the coming of a false-messiah with the "Antichrist," who according to the Holy Bible, will come before the end of the world and lead a multitude of people away from Christianity.
MUSLIMISM. The originator of Muslims is Muhammad, who lived in the first part of the 7th century in present Arabia. The most important aspect of this religion is belief in one God (Allah) and the prophet Muhammad — the originator of this religion. Some portions appear to be taken from the Bible. Christ is considered as one of the prophets, but lower then Muhammad. According to Muslim teaching, each man is pre-destined from his birth. Self-control commandments are not needed, since everyone can do whatever he wants, there is no repentance, since everyone is predestined. Everyone, who is predestined to go to heaven — goes there. To kill the "unfaithful" (people of different religions) is encouraged and is rewarded by paradise after death. Muslims have many fixed rules with respect to wine, alcohol, clothing, pork-meat and prayers five times a day. Vengeance is encouraged and is a part of tradition.
BUDDHISM. The originator of this religion is Siddhartha-Gautama, who lived in India (Nepal) in the 7th Century B.C., and was called Buddha, which means, "The Enlightened One." After its beginning, Buddhism spread into many countries in the East: India, Burma, Siam, Tibet, China and Japan. Buddhists do not recognize the God Creator, but believe in eternity of matters and circular motion and in a change of appearance. It teaches, that the universe, suffering and pleasure — are only "illusions" in a make believe existence. By rejection of will — from selfishness and all its consequences — man submerges into a state of "nirvana," that is, a state of complete spiritual peace, absence of desires, thoughts, words — psychological non-existence. According to a Buddha teaching, life is evil. A man should strive into nirvana (non-existence). Happiness is accomplished by self-rejection of one’s will, asceticism, suspension of evil and bad desires, love for all and readiness to sacrifice himself for others. The high moral principal and consequence that came out of it into social life, helped to spread Buddhism. In addition, Buddhism teaches, that there is no real death, but after death the souls of people transfer from one person into another and even into animals. The Buddhist concept regarding transference of souls is in total contrast with Christian teaching. (Christianity teaches, that a soul and body is one being. After death, a soul and body are temporally separated, so that at the moment of Resurrection they are united again forever). Some rules of Buddhism are as follows: do not destroy life, do not lie, do not steal, do not exploit, do not rape, do not use alcohol. Sacrifice everything for the welfare of people. One has to be: quiet, good, modest, be not carried away with wealth, not be angry, offensive, be a peace maker, prevent wars and everything that destroys life. Buddhist teaching is not the same in all countries: each country has its own specific singularity. It is important to note, that the teaching about nirvana does not further the development of man’s progress. Buddhism is a religion of pessimism in that it strives to abolish any identity. By rejection of the real God — Buddhism, in reality, is distinctly atheistic.
Atheism — rejects the existence of God and any higher intelligence. It appeared in the Middle Ages in Western Europe, but only in the 19th Century, did it become a philosophic teaching, acknowledging nothing except matter. (Atheists in principle reject anything that they do not understand, totally ignoring, that the man’s brain grows and develops with age). People in the 13th and 14th Centuries did not know that the earth was round and believed that the Sun circled around the Earth and not vice-versa. Two centuries ago, people did not know about electricity, had no idea about telephones, TV and other contemporary equipment. The Quantum Theory is a new discovery. Therefore, anything that is not understandable today, in the future may be understood and unquestionable. Scientists are slowly discovering that the laws of physics, chemistry, biology and cosmology were put into nature by our Wise Creator. Contemporary science is discovering more and more previously unknown laws, the result of which, them become more humble, when they discover that some of the principle questions appear to be supported by religious explanations. (For example: regarding the questions about time and limits of the universe, or about steadfast development of the physical and animal world, etc.).
In the 20th Century atheism spread into many countries using a base of pseudo-philosophy which began to teach that a men is on top of the animal world, that there is no higher wisdom or will to whom man has to account for his life. Man himself without any help created his environment, his life and his happiness. Atheism teaches to live only for yourself, love only yourself and accomplish only your own goals. The basic principle is: everything is good for a man, that is convenient for him. For an atheist: religion is a myth., family and society comes second. A man can kill, commit crime, have no compassion, be sly, be a traitor, or a criminal, as long as his work benefits the government. There are no eternal moral norms, there is no sin. Atheistic government tries to make itself a man’s goal and its citizens — soulless executors.
All religions acknowledge the existence of a Higher Being — eternal, wise, most good, a just Creator of all visible and invisible worlds. The religious images of God start developing in man very early and, in reality, are inherited as instinct, conscience and other spiritual properties. With correct development, the religious feeling grows stronger, because the entire nature with its beauty and miraculous structure testifies about the Most-Wise and Most-Good Creator. In some moments of one’s life, he/she begins to feel God in one’s soul and see His wonderful light. The more a person gets acquainted with Christian teaching, the more he/she is convinced about the positive influence on individuals, family and the whole society.
Atheism is unnatural, it is a product of incorrect up-bringing and a sinful way of life mostly connected with a life in cities. People are not born atheists, they become so. The big cities with their loud way of living, vanity and lewdness, frequently kill in a person anything good and holy. While losing God, an atheist cannot be without some higher authority and faith, so he creates a belief in matter and begins to ascribe to it: an eternity, invariability and even a wisdom. Without recognizing God, atheism becomes the most intolerable and repressive of religions. At a time, when religion calms a person down and makes him happy, atheism — makes him mean, angry and takes away his inner balance. This is the reason, why an atheist has to persecute someone, fight someone etc. Even repression against "heretics" in the middle ages were more human, as compared to persecutions of the faithful in communist countries.
This is why even the ancient philosophers were against atheism. Plato considered atheism fatal and an annihilator of moral. St. Augustine said that atheism, in fact, undermined any government: "A government, that is not based on the Lord’s Comandments — is nothing else but a temporary hell on earth." Many years of atheistic rule in Russia proved this statement.
Taking Superstition Seriously.
(Fom "First Things," Nov. 97 and is reprinted with permission).
"Spontaneous combustion" is the term used to describe the growth of "autochthonous" Protestant churches in Latin America. These are groups that are radically indigenous, having no connection with evangelical missionary efforts from North America or elsewhere. Writing in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research, two veteran observers report: "Latin American Protestants traditionally, have been accused of subverting Latin America's unity by introducing religious forms that run counter to Latin culture. Traditional Protestants may well stand accused of such foreignness. But the autochthonous churches — with their rhythms, charismatic leaders, passion, personal sacrifice, and openness to the miraculous — are not only highly contextualized but, according to some, may be more attuned to the region's culture than traditional Roman Catholicism." While "enculturation" is much discussed by Roman Catholics, the authors suggest that these new movements may be taking the lead.
"In recent years, Catholic folk religion — religiosidad popular ("popular religiosity," as it is known in Latin America) — has received much attention and analysis. Far from the lofty philosophical and theological heights of official Catholicism, and equally far from the politically radical views of liberation theology, the down-to-earth practice of Latin America's masses revolves around tangible practices and objects such as pilgrimages to shrines, religious fiestas, water from sacred springs, and objects with curative powers. Some look with disdain upon this popular religion. Others countenance religiosidad popular and hold in prospect the possibility of building upon it, to lift the masses to a higher and more spiritual faith.
"It has not escaped the attention of many that Latin America's autochthonous Pentecostalism, with its emphasis on cures and material blessings, may be a Protestant equivalent of Catholic popular religiosity. Observers share the same contrasting perspectives, disdain or appreciation. Some see only the crude manifestations of Protestant 'popular religiosity'; others, thanking God that the masses are being reached, anticipate a growing maturity in these movements.
"The charges that Protestant autochthonous movements are susceptible to syncretistic influence is countered by some autochthonous leaders who draw attention to syncretistic 'Romish' influences in the historic Protestant churches. Such leaders also point out that historic churches in Latin America pay little attention to the demonic and may easily overlook the persistent superstitious or even occult practices of their members. Autochthonous groups, in contrast, recognize the existence of the spirit world and demand that new converts renounce all non-Christian practices."
It may be the case, we are told, that not all Christians must go through what Marx called, the fiery brook" of Feuerbach's Enlightenment, the deconstruction of religion. "The real issue is whether mission-related churches can understand and adopt the best of a pre-Enlightenment world view, that is common to the masses in Latin America. This is a view that is open to the miraculous, to God's intervention in daily experience, to biblical confrontation with the demonic, and to a focus in worship that emphasizes reveling in God's presence, rather than passive participation in a cerebrally oriented service." The relationship between Catholics and non-Catholic movements in Latin America is very much on the agenda of the initiative known as "Evangelicals and Catholics Together." And, one may hope, it will be very much on the agenda of the forthcoming Roman synod for America (meaning both North and South) that begins in November.
In this short abstract, we have tried to provide very basic information about existing Christian denominations and other religions. The most honorable of all religions, most high spirited is Christianity with its teaching about One God and worship of the Holy Trinity who created the universe and looks after its people; about the Son of God, who came into this world to save people from their sins, about eternal life and about love for all, including one’s enemies.
Unfortunately, in the middle of the 11th Century the Roman Catholic Church fell away from the One Christian Church. The reason was due to the desire of the bishop of Rome to be head of the church with his infallibility. As time went by the Roman Catholic Church added more of its own dogmas (Filioque, purgatory, etc…) and therefore moved away further from pure Christian teaching. Misuse of indulgences and a desire for power of the Popes of Rome, created in Europe Protestant movements, from which contemporary sects, such as Lutheran, Baptist, Quaker, Mormon, Pentecost, Adventist and others, had begun.
The religious chaos created by these sects brought the foundation for contemporary cults of all kind, which have clearly non-Christian bases. The appearance of a multitude of pseudo-prophets before the end of the world, of which the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostle were foretold. (See our pamphlet "The Teaching of Holy Scripture about the Church").
A non-biased person, by acquainting himself with the history of Christianity has to come to the conclusion, that only the Orthodox Church has uninterrupted roots to the Church of the First century. This is the Church that kept pure, unchanged teaching and has the grace of the Apostolic succession. To His Church, the Lord commanded not to invent new teachings for the convenience of world customs, but to save people with Grace and truth. To pass these didactics to future generations is the main aim of the Church.
Until the Russian Revolution of 1917-18, the Russian Orthodox Church was part of One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, it had many members and was strong. However, to the monolith of one Russian Country (Russian Empire) and its Church was given a big blow by various sects, nihilism, western revolutionary ideas and finally militaristic atheism. Now is the time to recuperate and to heal. Orthodoxy teaches us, that life has to be built on the principal of Christ’s love. "Then all will know that you are my disciples." In everyday life, the Orthodox Church calls on man to restrain from sin and live according to God’s commandments and moral perfection.
Our faith in God cannot be abstract, or theoretical, because "faith without a deed — is dead." We recognize the power of prayers, and they have a main place in our lives. We have to pray fervently (arduously), to our Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, to the Most Holy Theotokos and all the saints who are our helpers and interceders before God. The Church calls us to take care of our families and our countries, strive to develop our God given ability and raise ourselves in humbleness, non-acquisition and compassion, forgiveness for all, and to judge no-one. To strive for eternity.
In its earthly history, the Church of Christ sometimes was large in numbers, sometimes it decreased in numbers. There was a time when Church enemies were in glory — thinking, that the Church will totally disappear. However, with the power of Christ, the Church resurrected from ashes and its enemies disappeared. Christ promised to His Church, that it will never be conquered until the end of existence of the universe. We have to remember, that we, being the children of the Church, are members of a great universal organization. The fact is, that there is no society or government larger then the Church, because its members are not only the ones on this earth, but also all venerable and just ones, who are in the world beyond. Really, the Church in its heavenly-earth membership grows constantly and is getting stronger. Being in the Church we, like passengers of a great ship, will not drown in waves of ocean life.
We are strong in our faith in God the Creator, omnipresent, omnipotent, all knowing, all wise and most merciful Heavenly Father. His will is our law, that shows us how to live, and how to develop our ability. Our aim — is an eternal and happy life in the Kingdom of unending Life.
Missionary Leaflet # E44
Copyright © 2000 Holy Trinity Orthodox Mission
466 Foothill Blvd, Box 397, La Canada, Ca 901011
Editor: Bishop Alexander (Mileant)
Edited by Donald Shufran