Let There Be Light: God, Not Random Forces, Created Our Universe

Let There Be Light: God, Not Random Forces, Created Our Universeby Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon –
The opening chapter of Genesis has long been a favorite of Christians, and ancient commentators discovered in its lines profound levels of meaning.

In more recent times, on the other hand, some readers of Genesis, distracted by apologetic concerns alien to the deeper interests of the Sacred Text, have failed to discover those depths. For example, even from boyhood I recall that some of my teachers were preoccupied with the length of the six “days” of Creation. Was it really necessary, they asked, to think of those “days” in the sense of having twenty-four hours? Might they not, instead, represent long periods of Natural History?

No, this is certainly not what the biblical author has in mind. The problem with such questions is that they distract the mind from the deeper message of the Sacred Text. [Read more…]

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There is No Love in a Lie

There is no love in a lie. Homosexuality is sinful.by Lisa Moeller –
There is no love in a lie. And the lie of homosexuality is that it comes from a place of love. When in all actuality it comes from a place of brokenness.

Love. I am compelled to address this topic because I have been approached so many times lately by those who feel that “love always wins” and “love will save the day” and “love is the answer” no matter what.

But, what does love actually mean? First of all, we didn’t create love. It was created for us by a God Who understands its genuine definition. Therefore, only He can produce the genuine fruit of love in someone’s soul. [Read more…]

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Scriptures and Christian Saints: Homosexuality is an Abomination

Scriptures and Christian Saints: Homosexuality is an AbominationThe teaching is clear and unchanging. Scriptures, Christian Saints, and Church Fathers warned the faithful that homosexuality is an unrighteous act, a mortal sin, an abomination. There is no lukewarm, duplicitous, ambiguous, or confused language in their preaching.

Leviticus 18:22
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

Romans 1:24-32
“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. [Read more…]

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The Comforting Doctrine of Hell

Jesus Christ Descent Into Hell, Resurrection Salvationby Leon J. Podles –
Modern Christians don’t deny Death, although they don’t like to think about it, and if they believe in an afterlife, they look forward to a pleasant Heaven. However, the other certainty, Judgment, and the other possibility, Hell, have vanished from the minds of Christians.

Surely God is non-judgmental, as non-judgmentalism is one of the few virtues that receive public tribute. And surely no one goes to hell, if it exists. The strong universalist strain in modern Christianity has many variations, ranging from the hope that all will be saved, held by Hans Urs von Balthasar, Richard John Neuhaus, and perhaps by John Paul II (and with which I feel the deepest sympathy), to a total rejection of the doctrine of hell as a patriarchal trick that thwarts self-liberation.

However, the traditional teaching on hell is in fact a sign of the genuineness of Christianity, and it is therefore a cause for hope. Liberal Christianity is largely a human construct; it is what happens to a revealed religion after human beings finish redecorating it to modern tastes.

H. Richard Niebuhr summarized the liberal gospel: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.” [Read more…]

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We Are Far Too Easily Pleased

Jesus Christ King and Lord of All Creation, Second Coming Every Knee Shall Bowby David Mathis –
It’s a beautiful thing when a single sentence reorients a soul for good. When one proposition proves potent enough to be life-changing for the better. Especially when it’s a short one.

For me, it was the spring of 2000 — perhaps you have your own story about being rocked by this shorty from C.S. Lewis. An older student, who was leading a Bible study on my freshman hall, picked Desiring God as our semester focus. I emphatically did not enjoy reading and had made my way through high school and my first year of college leaning heavily on Cliff’s Notes. [Read more…]

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Our Salvation is in the Hands of God

O Plowman of Christ, plow and re-plow your soulSt. Nikolai Velimirovich –
“The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but salvation is in the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31).

We are obligated to prepare ourselves but our success depends on God. All of our preparation is only a proposal to God but the proposal does not decide, but God decides. That is why people wisely say according to their experience: man proposes and God disposes. O Soldier of Christ, prepare your mind as a good horse, arm your heart with virtues, temper your will with mortifications, but know – that “salvation is in the Lord.”

O Merchant of Christ, practice good trade every day, exchanging the material for the spiritual, the earthly for the heavenly and mortality for immortality, but know – that “salvation is in the Lord.”

O Plowman of Christ, plow and re-plow your soul, sow the good evangelical seed on it every day, weed out the field of your soul from weeds, watch over it, but know that “salvation is in the Lord.” [Read more…]

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The Bible and the Poor: Jesus Did Not Preach Communism

The Bible Jesus Christ and the Poorby Robert Klein Engler –

In light of the continuing misunderstanding of Pope Francis by the progressive media, it’s time to reconsider the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark 14:7, “For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always.”

This verse is echoed by verse 15:11 in Deuteronomy, “For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’”

What on earth does this mean? The poor you will always have with you. How can that fact stated by Jesus be, when the progressive ideology and the advocates of social justice argue that it’s government’s job to abolish poverty and further income equality?

Maybe Jesus was referring to the “poor in spirit?” They could always be with us and that would not argue against a government from taxing and redistributing wealth. We know income equality may not bring happiness. You could make as much on your job as your neighbor, and still be poor in spirit. [Read more…]

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Jesus Calms the Storms of Life

Jesus Calms the Storms of LifeWhen one forgets that our lives are in the hands of the Lord we tend to presume a certain “exemption” from life’s trials. It is then difficult to be able to live through difficult experiences and to view them as an opportunity to express our faith and our faithful trust in the Lord who never leaves us without consolation.

Last Sunday’s liturgy spoke of the mustard seed that was seemingly unimportant, but grew to become a tree in which the birds of the air found rest. Similarly, in this week’s liturgy, a man’s faith, whilst seeming “small” or weak, is able to recognise God’s power over evil and generate hope and consolation in our turbulent lives. This hope and consolation comes from Christ’s presence in history!

Today’s liturgy is dominated by the account of the calming of the sea. St Mark’s account seems to be the ideal companion for the first reading. Job’s outburst calls to God for an explanation of his suffering to which God responds by reminding him of His omnipotence which dominates everything, even the forces of nature. “Who pent up the sea behind closed doors?” (Job 38:8) [Read more…]

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Was Christ Really Born on December 25?

Christ Really Born on December 25by Archpriest Panayiotis Papageorgiou, Ph.D. –

The issue of the time of the birth of Christ has been addressed by many people in the past, both scholars and theologians, so what I intend to do here is present an overview trying to bring some clarity to the topic for those who are really concerned that the 25th of December may not be the correct time to celebrate Christmas.

Let me start by saying that there are two pieces of evidence, which people present in support of the position that Christ was not born in December:

The first one is the verse from the Gospel of Luke, “And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” (Luke 2:8) The argument from this is that December is too cold for shepherds to be in the field watching over their flocks! Hence, the proponents of this theory claim that Jesus had to be born in the spring. I read recently on an online website a second claim based on the same reason, which suggests that Jesus was probably born in the fall, before it got cold. I am sure that someone out there must have also claimed that Jesus was born in the summer, instead! [Read more…]

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An Orthodox Perspective on Tolerance

Orthodox Perspective on Tolerance by Rdr. Daniel Manzuk –
We are bombarded with the message that we are to be tolerant of the beliefs and practices of others. “Tolerant,” however, has come to mean “accept and condone without question or reservation”; failure to practice this form of tolerance makes one intolerant and a hater. These assertions are addressed especially to those from traditional Christian backgrounds who acknowledge that the truths in Scripture are absolute, not relative, as secular and liberal society views them.

It must be noted, too, that when entirely secularized people refuse to be tolerant of “traditional values,” they are called progressive, open-minded and enlightened, anything but intolerant; while traditional Christians are considered deluded, superstitious, brain-washed, and ignorant. (This is so despite the fact that – in all ages – living a Christian life requires a concerted effort and personal dedication –a clear choice. Just ask the Virgin Mary and the Martyrs.) [Read more…]

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Who Will Rescue the Lost Sheep of the Lonely Revolution?

Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd Helps the Lost Sheepby Anthony Esolen –
We do not have Pharisees who preen themselves for having followed the letter of the law and missed its soul. We have Pharisees who preen themselves for disobeying the law, even the most serious admonitions of the law, even your own clear words on marriage and divorce, while presuming to have discovered a soul-of-the-law whose existence has eluded two thousand years of martyrs, saints, popes, bishops, and theologians.

Forgive me, Lord, if I use your words for an admonitory parable. You said to the Pharisees, “What man among you, having a hundred sheep, and learning that one of them has wandered into the wilderness, will not leave the ninety nine and go after the lost sheep? And when he has found it, will he not call his friends and say, Rejoice with me, for I have found the sheep that was lost?”

That is why you came among us, to call sinners back to the fold. [Read more…]

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Christians Must Reject a Worldly Mindset

Christians Must Reject a Worldly Mindset by Mike Willis –
We must ever be on our guard to keep our mindset different from that of the world in which we live. As we see our age becoming more secular and its morals changing, Christians will need to be reminded that we have really never lived in a Christian society and be willing to be different from those about us.

Every generation of men has its own “worldly mindset.” What is esteemed in one age differs from what is esteemed in another. The kinds of sin that become most predominant from one age to another may shift. Consequently, Christians must be aware of those things that are esteemed by the world, lest he conform in his mind to the spirit of the age in which he lives.

John wrote, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17). [Read more…]

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Priest vs. Priest on Homosexual Orientation

St George Slays Dragon by Editors –

In an online exchange on the popular Monomakhos Blog, the topic of discussion focused on the views on homosexuality expressed by Fr. Alexis Vinogradov a priest in the OCA, rector of St. Gregory the Theologian Church in Wappingers Falls, NY.

Fr. Hans Jacobse, a priest in the AOCA, rector of St. Peter Orthodox Mission in Naples, FL, challenged the presumptive opinions of Fr. Alexis and presented the truth from a proper Orthodox Christian understanding.

Fr. Alexis Vinogradov’s views were originally published in 2011 in an article titled New beginnings in community Gender issues and the Church on ocanews.org. Here’s the relevant excerpt that Fr. Hans responded to in the comments section of Monomakhos Blog:

“Homosexual persons did not decide to become homosexual. It was not the fruit of their supposed depravity or sin. That much we know today. There can only be a continuing conversation if we can cross that hurdle of blatant intransigence by those who refuse to acknowledge this fact. But homosexual persons, just as much as heterosexual ones, need to feel the warmth and love and nurture of other persons. God created them for that love, that love is the substance of our humanity; it is what constitutes all of us in bearing his image within us.” ~ Fr. Alexis Vinogradov

[Read more…]

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The Heart of Worship is Surrender to God

Heart of Worship is Surrender to God by Rick Warren –
The heart of worship is surrender. Surrender is an unpopular word, especially in the American culture. Surrender means, to many, defeat. We love winning so surrender is unthinkable. But surrendering to God is the heart of worship. It is the natural response to God’s amazing love and mercy. We give ourselves to Him, not out of fear or duty, but in love, 1 John 4:9:10, 19. Paul urges us to fully surrender our lives to God in worship, Romans 12:1. There are three barriers that block our total surrender to God: fear, pride and confusion. We want to control our own lives so we misunderstand the meaning of surrender.

1. Can I trust God? Trust is essential to surrender. I won’t surrender to God unless I trust Him, but I can’t trust Him until I know Him better. Fear keeps me from surrendering, but love casts out all fear. The more I realize how much God loves me, the easier surrender becomes. How do I know God loves me? God says He loves me, Psalms 145:9. I’m never out of His sight, Psalms 139:3. He cares about every detail of my life – Matthew 10:30. [Read more…]

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I Can Do All Things Through Christ, Who Strengthens Me

St. Isaac the Syrianby Fr. Matthew Jackson –
There is an article (a few of them, actually) making the rounds on social media right now which tries to make the point that the phrase “God will not give you more than you can handle” is not an accurate thing to say. Unfortunately, these articles themselves don’t quite have things right.

They refer back to the quote from 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able.” (This is where the quote ‘God will not give you more than you can handle’ originates). The point is then attempted: this verse doesn’t mean you won’t be given things that can’t be handled, only that God will not allow a temptation you can’t bear – that the verse doesn’t say anything about other experiences you may have within life. Pointing out difficult situations – Auschwitz, cancer, rape, etc. – the authors then say that these things crush people and are more than can be borne (cf. 2 Cor. 1:8-9 for their Biblical example – where Paul says they are at the *point* of breaking in order to learn to trust in God, Who then enabled them to handle their temptations). [Read more…]

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