Correcting One Another IV: Damned with “Faith” Alone?

From a transcribed interview between Fr. Thomas Hopko and host Kevin Allen from The Illumined Heart podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, 30 September 2007:

Fr. Thomas Hopko: “But let’s make another scenario. Suppose you have a friend who has never been baptized, and he says, “Please baptize me.” And you say, “Okay, I’m going to run and get some water.” While you are gone the guy dies. Is it too late? Does he go to hell? Some people would say, “Yes, God arranged for him never to get baptized so he could send him to hell because he is among the damned.” That would not be the Orthodox teaching.

“St. Gregory the Theologian said a long time ago that desire would count before God as the baptism, itself. He spoke about the baptism of desire, the baptism of fire. In other words, God is not an ogre, and He is not a machine, pagan-type God, saying, “Not baptized; go to hell.” You could be baptized, chrismated, and serve the Divine Liturgy and go to hell. John Chrysostom said hell would probably be filled with guys wearing porphyria [purple], the stole—pastors. Continue reading

A Church Without Schism VI- Where Harmony Is Not Secured

The Apostle Paul, writing to the Church in Corinth:

“For as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For also by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, even all were made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  If all the body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If all hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body as it has pleased Him. And if they were all one member, where would be the body? But now indeed many are the members, yet only one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. But much rather the members of the body seeming to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we put more abundant honor around them. And our unpresentable members have more abundant propriety. For our presentable members have no need, but God tempered the body together, giving more abundant honor to the member having need; that there not be division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is glorified, all the members rejoice with it. And you are the body of Christ, and members in part.        – 1 Co 12:12-27 (MKJV)

St. Basil the Great (4th century), from On the Judgment of God :

“With those among whom harmony is not secured, however, the bond of peace is not preserved, mildness of spirit is not maintained, but there is dissension, strife, and rivalry. It would be a great piece of audacity to call such persons “members of Christ” or to say that they are ruled by him. The Final JudgementIt would be the expression of an honest mind to say openly that the wisdom of the flesh is master there.”

The prayer of a servant:

My Lord God, I love the beauty of Your house. I confess the real presence of the body and blood of Your Son in the Eucharist. I insist on the oneness of Your saving message. I work to reveal Your Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. And yet I fall far short of the perfection my Jesus says I can attain.

Lord, grant me your grace and help me maintain the strength and discipline to cooperate with it. Help me root out of my flesh anything dark and not pleasing to you. Graft me to Your root, so that when I stand before the awesome judgment seat of Christ in the New Jerusalem, You will recognize me as belonging to You. May you find me worthy of Your mercy and welcome among the saints.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner. Amen.