Two Christianities (and Islam)

Constantine the Great

From The Edict of Milan (February 313 AD): “Perceiving long ago that religious liberty ought not to be denied, but that it ought to be granted to the judgment and desire of each individual to perform his religious duties according to his own choice, we had given orders that every man, Christians as well as others, should preserve the faith of his own sect and religion.

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The Religion of Adam

What we now call the Christian religion existed amongst the ancients, and was from the beginning of the human race, until Christ Himself came in the flesh; from which time the already existing true religion began to be styled Christian.

— Saint Augustine, Retractationes, I, xiii, 3

Most modern historians of religion disagree with Augustine. The very title of Religion in Human Evolution, the recent magisterial magnum opus of that archon of latter day sociology of religion, the late Robert N. Bellah, aptly indicates their perfectly contrary hypothesis: that monotheism is a late development in a long process of evolution from early and metaphysically confused animism, nature worship, magic, ancestor worship, or the like. Their presumption seems to be that early man was rather dim, compared to themselves, and that any abstract notion he had not derived rather immediately from the rudimentary components of his everyday life was quite beyond him.

But this is of course only a prejudice. As Paul Radin pointed out in Primitive Man as Philosopher, we have on the contrary good reason to think that our earliest ancestors were just as intelligent and percipient as we are.

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Wm. Lewis on Lawrence Auster on Christian Vulnerability to Liberalism

In a comment here at the Orthosphere, Wm. Lewis quotes Lawrence Auster to great effect in responding to the claim made by some that Protestantism is the mother of Liberalism:


Some commenters have observed, correctly, that formerly Protestant countries are in the vanguard of liberalism and its destruction of the West. This is due not to some defect within Protestantism; formerly Roman Catholic countries are also being destroyed by liberalism. We also see leaders within the Roman Catholic Church advancing liberal destruction (e.g., American bishops advocating open borders), so vulnerability to liberalism is unique neither to Protestantism nor to Roman Catholicism.

Whence this weakness to liberalism? Any number of factors could be cited, but one of the most important is the inherent risk, as Lawrence Auster put it, of Christian society: Continue reading

An Open Letter to Pope Francis

A guest post by Mark Citadel:

Your Holiness:

I write to you as an outsider. A sincere Roman Catholic might not write such a letter out of his admirable respect for the Papacy, and a letter written by a non-Christian might mean little to you. And so it falls to me to say what must be said. I want to start by saying that we of the Eastern Orthodox tradition consider ourselves to practice our faith in the character of the earliest Christians, and though it might seem arrogant, we hold that through tired eyes Orthodoxy has witnessed many great tragedies; the Diocletian Persecutions, the fall of Constantinople, the abduction of thousands of Serb boys and Greek girls to serve as Janissaries and courtesans, and of course the scourge of Bolshevism that cloaked the entire East in poverty and despair for almost a century. Though you consider us schismatics, I would hope that you do not think us fools, and your cordial relations with His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I, as well as your historic meeting with His Beatitude Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Rus, leaves me with hope that you will consider this carefully.

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Roebuck’s Standard Orthosphere Disclaimer

I don’t like drawing attention to myself but sometimes it’s necessary.

As (I think) the sole Protestant writer at the Orthosphere, I find myself in a bit of a tricky situation. On the one hand I don’t want to be unnecessarily provocative. On the other hand I blog mainly to teach important truths, especially to my son and other young people. And the most important type of truth is Christianity.

And teaching this truth often requires that I teach what is known as Protestant doctrine. (It’s actually biblical doctrine.) I’m not looking to pick a fight with Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. I’m just teaching. But sometimes non-Protestant commenters call my teaching heresy. Continue reading

More about the Proposed Christian Pact

In the post proposing the Pact, I wrote

The pact would start with members of the three varieties of Christianity affirming their right to disagree with one another, both in the sense of holding different convictions and of speaking publicly against the errors of the other parties.

This point needs clarification. Here are some situations I had in mind when writing these words: Continue reading

A Pact between Factions of Christendom?

Protestants, Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox might regard each other as different religions (then again, they might not), but our enemies certainly don’t. For liberals, Moslems, homosexualists, feminists, radical environmentalists, et al, the three versions of Christianity are just slightly different flavors of the same poison. Or, to switch metaphors, our common enemies see Christians of all sorts as essentially the same pack of rats who deserve to be exterminated. Continue reading

How much do you want a Christian revival in the West? What would count as one?

While the situation of Christianity in The West is dire, whichever way you look at it, there are places in Africa, Asia (especially China) and in some Arabian countries where Christianity is growing fast and Christians are active, devout, energetic – to the point that the numerical decline of The West is approximately balanced by expansion elsewhere.

This is a litmus test issue, because of the nature of the churches that are growing – on the whole this massive growth is among what is termed ‘Renewalist’ churches – that it to say Pentecostal and Charismatic churches…

Is this growth of Christianity something to be celebrated by Western Christians, despite that it is happening among churches and people who – if they were located in the West – would be regarded with dismay, and indeed strongly disapproved of, by most Christian commentators from most of the major Western denominations?

In a phrase: is the actual worldwide growth of Christianity A Good Thing, or not? …

My impression is that people distinguish between a type of Christianity that is appropriate for African or Chinese in their own nations – and what is appropriate for the West, so they can celebrate growth of types of Christianity in other places that they would argue vehemently against in the West. But with unprecedented world population movements this attitude may not be viable – aside from the fact that it seems evasive to the point of dishonesty.

The question Western Christians need to ask themselves – from their perspective as devout and serious Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, Anglicans, Orthodox, or from being a Jehovah’s Witness, a Mormon or whatever – is whether they personally would approve of a Western Christian revival IF it was of the same type as actual recent and current Christian growth in other parts of the world?

If Pentecostal and Charismatic churches of many shapes and sizes began to spring up in The West with a focus on personal supernatural experiences – if these churches changed people’s lives, lent them enthusiasm, courage, energy… would you be pleased, or dismayed?

Because such a phenomenon could not be a matter of indifference. Sooner or later you, like everyone, would need to take sides and decide: Are such Christian churches to be encouraged, or suppressed?

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