Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Who non-Christians think of as a pastor. . .
Worse than embarrassing, this is perhaps the biggest challenge we face in evangelization. Those who are not yet of the Kingdom think they know who Christians are. They are not like the pagans of old who had no conception of the Gospel before St. Paul proclaimed it before the altar tot he unknown God. They are not like the peoples to whom missionaries were sent in places far off. They are not like those who are hearing the Gospel for the first time, they have heard it all before, they think, and they were not impressed by what they heard. For those same folks have the same level of trust as the proverbial snake oil salesmen of old. They are seen as self-important people who are more concerned with themselves than anyone else. They are stars on a stage without credibility and even though they are always on TV, it is the channel nobody wants to watch -- except Christians who have been taken in by their smooth talking and outlandish claims. This is the world orthodox Christianity faces -- a world of people who think they are the best Christians ever but whose Christianity is generally suspect even by those who know nothing of the real and authentic Christian faith. Our work of evangelization must begin by unmasking those who are wolves among the sheep and actors on a stage who view the Scriptures as a tool and who presume to know the secret mind of God.
When orthodox Christianity panders to those outside the Church and mirrors their music, their ethics,, and their culture, those outside the Church hear and see those above named folks and feel absolutely justified in rejecting such hypocrisy. That is why it is more urgent than ever to hold to the Scriptures, to remain firmly within the catholic and apostolic tradition in the doctrine we confess and the practices we do, and why anything we do that looks or acts or sounds like them will be rejected out of hand. Creed and confession, liturgy and piety, sacraments and service must be authentic, born of the Scriptural institution and lived out in continuity with the faithful who went before us -- this is what we are called to do and to be and we can afford no less than the full truth of Christ.