Friday, December 4, 2015

If We Won’t Listen to the Church, Then Who?

When our Lord returned to His Throne in Heaven He commanded His Disciples, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28.18-20) Since that very moment the Church, guided into all Truth by the Holy Spirit (John 16.13), and the authority given to them by Jesus, has been responsible to God for our spiritual growth.

But most of us refuse to listen to the Church. This is why Saint Paul said, “Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account.” (Hebrews 13.17) It isn’t only authority the Church received by God. The Church also received grace from the Holy Spirit to teach us to observe all that God had commanded us. The Holy Apostles were the protectors of that way of life, and the Church down through the centuries has continued as protector and teacher of truth. This is why the Church REQUIRES that every teaching remain unchanged from the Holy Apostles.

The Holy Fathers, the bishops, archbishops, metropolitans and patriarchs of the Church, always loyal to the teachings of the Holy Apostles, are today’s protectors and teachers of the truth. This is why during the Divine Liturgy we pray, “Among the first remember, O Lord, our Archbishop Alexios, whom You have granted to serve Your holy churches in peace; keep him safe, honorable, and healthy with length of days, rightly teaching the word of Your truth.” Between the Holy Spirit guiding the Apostles into all truth, the Holy Fathers protecting the truth over the centuries, and the Bishops today protecting and teaching the word of God’s truth, why wouldn’t we obey our leaders? If we won’t listen to the Church with all the grace the Church has received from the Holy Spirit, who will we listen to? 

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