My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND SHALL ALWAYS BE.
THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN MUST BECOME A
CONFESSOR (AN APOLOGIST) OF THE FAITH IN THE 21st
A Christian Confessor or an Apologist (Greek: απολογία) was and still is one who openly defends and explains the faith and one who attempts to present the positive light of Christianity. The Christian apologist addressed those standing in opposition and those yet to form an opinion such as pagan emperors, philosophers, and potential converts. A substantial number of early Saints, Martyrs, Holy Fathers, and Holy Mothers were Confessors even under a great threat to their lives. They taught that Christianity was a non-threatening religion that worshipped the one True God, that the Founder of the Faith was the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ, and although Christians were law-abiding citizens willing to serve and honor the emperor, their belief in a single Divinity prevented them from taking the loyalty oaths that acknowledged the emperor’s divinity and, therefore, could not worship the pagan gods and idols. Needless to say, soon after their confession, they were imprisoned, tortured, and killed.
Countless other Christian apologists were exiled and sent to the mines, remaining always faithful in their confession until the very end of their lives. The title, thus, distinguished them from the holy martyrs, who were so-called because they underwent death for the Faith. The Christian Confessors, as well as the holy martyrs, were crowned by our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Orthodox Christian theology, the term "Apologetics" is used in regards to defending the True faith against atheism, heresy, pagans, and schismatics. This defense of the faith, however, is done always in the spirit of Christian love, patience, dignity, truthfulness, and is non-confrontational, polemical and, of course, uncompromising.
The earliest apologists or confessors were the Holy Fathers of the Church. Their apologies covered a wide range of issues such as Christ’s Nature, Gnosticism, the Theotokos, miracles, Holy Scripture, and numerous heresies that threatened the unity and integrity of the Christian Faith and the Church.
The method adopted by the Church to resolve the vital differences and concerns of opinions on the meaning of the Holy Scripture was the Ecumenical Synods. There were Seven Ecumenical Synods that were representative of the WHOLE Church and formed the key "apologetics" for the Orthodox Church. One such important apologetic work was The Nicene Creed ("The Symbol Faith").
The holy Apostle Peter writes, "…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, being ready to make A DEFENSE to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence" (1 Peter 3:15).
The Holy Apostles and early Christians preached Christ crucified and resurrected as a veritable fact, and were not in need of any scientific and philosophical arguments. Our Lord Jesus Christ said: "You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, AS A TESTIMONY TO THEM AND TO THE GENTILES. When they deliver you up, DO NO WORRY ABOUT HOW OR WHAT YOU SHALL SPEAK, FOR IT WILL BE GIVEN TO YOU IN THAT HOUR WHAT YOU SHOULD SPEAK; FOR IT IS NOT YOU WHO SPEAK, BUT THE SPIRIT OF YOUR FATHER WHO SPEAKS IN YOU" (Matthew 10:19-20). When the Christian bears witness to Christ, the Holy Spirit will speak through him/her and you will not be defeated (Mark 13:11; John 14:26), though you may be persecuted and even martyred for the faith.
Growing and expending Gentile world, Christianity, in defending itself from slanderous and defemendory rumors and attacks, was forced to disclose the delusions of the Gentile religions. It was necessary to prove to the Gentiles that the Christian God is the True God; and to the Jews that Christ is the Messiah promised by the holy Prophets. In defending the Christian faith, as the persecutions became more systematic and severe, the Christians felt it necessary to refute all defamation that was deliberatly spread throughout the Roman empire. To the watching pagan world, the perseverence of the faithful during affliction appears foolish. However, the holy Apostle Peter indicates that faith is precious, bearing greater glory and honor as it continues to stand firm under persecution.
Is the contemporary Orthodox Christian in this 21st century prepared to be and act as an apologist? Is our faith and commitment to Jesus Christ our Savior strong enough? These are questions that need to be answered, as we can clearly see that persecution against the Christian faith continues. Defamation against our Savior Christ and His Teachings continue to spread throughout the world. At the same time, heresies have divided the Christians among themselves and the Gospel message has been distorted by the various denominations and cults. Christians outside the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, are totally confused and disollusioned. The Christian teachings have been so diluted that the Person of Jesus Christ is disfigured and unrecognizable.
It is up to the Orthodox Christian Church and the Orthodox Christians world-wide to restore the true image of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to defend the truth as taught by Him and the Holy Apostles. We need, the world needs, true apologists today. We need Apologists or Confessors who not only know the faith, but practice it, and have the needed knowledge to teach it, to preach it, to declare it, and to spread it throughout. We need apologist like the ones in the early years of Christianity who are willing to be tortured, suffer, and die for Jesus Christ the Son of God and our Redeemer. There are such apologist in every century who continue to defend the authentic Christian faith and who have devoted their whole lives in the service of the Lord. We can find them in our Monasteries. Orthodox Monasticism is flourishing today, monks and nuns practice the angelic life, and we know that they are praying unceasingly for the salvation of all mankind. Thanks be to God!
"Glory Be To GOD