God Is Working Behind the Scenes in Greece

The dull whine of the motorbike’s engine was the only sound that marred an otherwise pristine setting. Though off-season for the Greek island of Aegina, this October day offered everything the throngs of tourists sought on their holiday only a few months earlier. The sun sparkled off the clear water of the Aegean, the Mediterranean breeze was light and wispy, and the temperature was such that you never noticed it. My friend Jim and I had rented motorbikes from an Albanian man who offered the best price on the island, even if they did sputter a bit. We jumped on the island’s main road that runs along the coast and took in the views. Eventually we began winding up one of the many mountains toward what is said to be the jewel in the crown of Aegina—the Temple of Aphaea. We rounded the final bend, parked the bikes, and climbed up the hill towards the temple.

The temple sits at the peak of a mountain on the northeast point of the island. The panoramic views of the landscape and sea are breathtaking. Most surprising, though, the temple has been remarkably well-preserved. It dates to around 500 B.C. (around the time of the Greco-Persians Wars). While the Parthenon, its much more well-known and heavily-visited cousin, has a tumultuous history of distress and renovation, the Temple of Aphaea has remained virtually untouched for 2,500 years. The result is impressive—stunning even. But standing there at the top of the island with the breeze whipping a bit more strongly now, I couldn’t help but notice that despite the grandeur, the temple felt isolated. Lifeless. Cold.

A massive, rumbling old ferryboat churned in the distance heading northeast. An hour trip on one of these lethargic Behemoths lets you off at the port of Piraeus, the largest Greek seaport and the gateway to the city of Athens. When you arrive, one of the first sites that greets you is an old Greek Orthodox church. The brown facade and red shingles are faded and muted, marking the passing of centuries. This church is only one of countless Orthodox churches throughout the country. Some estimate that 97 percent of Greeks identify with the Orthodox church. For the vast majority, it’s more of a cultural identification than a religious one. Linked closely with the state, most Greeks ignore the church at best, or (in a difficult economic time) resent it at worst. The Orthodox church, like the Temple of Aphaea, is a fading monument. Its grand buildings only mask the lifelessness inside.

Slow, Steady, Powerful

And yet look beyond the “Christian” facade and the statistics that tell you Greece is already “reached,” and you will see a slow, steady, powerful work of the Spirit. The gospel is being proclaimed, people are coming to Christ, and churches are growing. These followers of Jesus are more likely to be found meeting in a dingy, rented corner store in Athens than in a grandiose old building by the sea. They are more likely to be the marginalized than the well-to-do. But they love Christ and the gospel, and you can see it in their faces, hear it in their voices, and see it in their lives.

Many of them are immigrants or refugees. Many of them are former Muslims. Many of them still live under the daily reality of persecution. As a result, this work of God is not flashy, but quiet. Not front and center, but behind the scenes. A brother from Eritrea works long hours at a parking garage and serves as the teaching elder of a thriving Eritrean church. A Sudanese refugee, separated from his wife and children for three years, spends his days doing urban ministry on a staggering scale. A man from Afghanistan meets daily with three other Afghan men to open the Scripture and share Christ with them. Five Iranian men trust Christ one morning, and when they come to a class on Bible interpretation that night are greeted with cheers, singing, and weeping. A Greek evangelical church catches a vision for planting other evangelical churches in Greece. An American pastor leaves a comfortable position in a large church back home to run a refugee center in Athens, and the Spirit uses his ministry in powerful and unique ways. The night before I left the city, the sheer number of testimonies of the Spirit’s work in bringing people to Christ brought me to tears. God is at work in Athens.

Spirit Is Moving

After leaving the Temple of Aphaea, Jim and I drove down the mountain back to the road along the sea. We stopped at a little store to pick up some pistachios grown on the island and struck up a conversation with the college-age girl behind the counter. When we asked her about her faith, she unsurprisingly responded that she was Orthodox. She asked if we were as well. We told her we were evangelical Christians. She had never the term. Protestants? Never heard of that either. It took a bit of labored conversation just to explain that it is possible for “Christian” to mean something other than Orthodox or Catholic before we were able to share gospel with her (which she knew pieces of, but clearly had never put together).

In many ways, this girl behind the counter is a microcosm of her country. She is a Christian, but she doesn’t know the gospel. She identifies with the church, but she has missed the substance of Christ. She belongs to a fading, lifeless facade. And yet the power of the gospel—that good news connected across the storyline of the Bible for her for the first time—that gospel is on the move in Greece. The Spirit is moving wherever he wills, most often in unlikely places and among the most unlikely people. Yet the spark of the Word is being fanned into a flame spreading across Athens. Almost 2,000 years ago some in this city sat in the shadow of the Acropolis and heard the gospel for the first time and believed (Acts 17:34). You may not hear much about it, but the same is happening today.

God is working behind the scenes.

Note: You can read more about Training Leaders International’s ministry in Athens here. 

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  • Clayton

    “The Orthodox church, like the Temple of Aphaea, is a fading monument. Its grand buildings only mask the lifelessness inside.”

    You are wrong in saying this. The Orthodox Church is not fading, nor is it lifeless. Certainly there are many members of the Orthodox Church who do not live in accordance with Gospel that the Orthodox Church teaches, but surely the same can be said of many evangelical protestant churches in America. For you to say that the Orthodox Church is nothing but a “lifeless, fading facade” means you know nothing of the holy men and women raised up in the Orthodox Church since the time of the apostles, as well as the martyrs who have spilled their blood for Christ’s sake – more of them in the 20th century than in any other generation.

  • andrew price

    Very encouraging

  • God_Seeker

    Yeah. The Martyrs of our faith in the early centuries were definitely not protestants. However, there has been a resurgence for biblical theology amongst protestants today that makes it look like Catholics do not have it at all.

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  • Theo K

    Thank tou for this arcticle, it is really encouraging!

    The martyrs of the Christian faith would be utterly ashamed if they were to witness the state of things in the Catholic and the Greek Orthodox Church.
    I will speak as someone who lives in Greece. This article is spot on. The Greek Orthodox Church is indeed a state Church. It is more interested in politics than anything else.
    But the worst thing of all is that most Orthodox priests don’t have a clue about the true Gospel. A lot of modern Greek Orthodox ‘theologians’ reject the doctrine of justifcation by faith, cerntainly they would consider as anathema the doctrine of justification by faith alone (as does Roman Catholisism as well, by the way). So, no, the issue isn’t merely that some members of the Greek Orthodox Church do not live in accordance to the true Gospel. The problem is that this lifeless ‘church’ does NOT preach the true Gosple of grace.

    Oh how grateful we should be to God for the Reformation, when once again the apostolic, genuine Gospel of the Lord Jesus was proclaimed in all its beautly against the heresies of the Catholic ‘church’.

    I admonish you brothers, guard the gospel. Do not compromise, at any cost. For when the Gospel is gone, then ‘churches’ are turned into lifeless corpses. And please pray for Greece, that God through this crisis would draw to Jesus many nationals, along with the mighty work of the Spirit among refugees, described in this arcticle.

  • Clayton

    Theo – I am an Orthodox Christian in America. The Orthodox Church has many problems, no doubt. But, you are wrong that Orthodox theologians reject the doctrine of justification by faith. There are no Orthodox theologians who do not believe in justification by faith. You are correct that the Orthodox Church rejects the doctrine of justification by faith alone, as did the apostle James (James 2:24). Sola Fide is an innovation of the protestant reformation, developed in protest to abuses and heresies in the Roman Catholic Church, but it is not supported by Scriptures or by Church Fathers.

    Again, to say that the Orthodox Church is a corpse is to turn a blind eye to the holy people and martyrs of the Church, both of modern times and of old.

  • God_Seeker

    Theo K,

    If you say that anyone who rejects the doctrine of justification by faith alone is lost and does not know the true gospel, then you are consigning 1500 years of Christian history to hell. Have you not heard the words of Jesus our Lord “Many will come to me on that day and say ‘Lord! Lord! Have we not done many things in your name”? and I will say to them ‘Depart from me! For I never knew you; you who practice wickedness” (Matthew 7:21). The Church Fathers quoted this passage. In fact, St. John Chrysostom quotes this passage and actually asks the question “if faith alone sufficient to save?”, absolute not, he answers.

    James, the Bishop of Jerusalem, argues that faith alone is not sufficient to save a man, only faith that works with works leads to the path of being justified by God.

    The cross of Christ provides for us the complete remission of sins. This is what Paul is getting at in his treatises on justification (Rom 4:6-8). But he also renews us inside of our souls in the same grounds: Baptismal regeneration. Our baptism does not only justify us in the sense of forgiving us for our sins, but it also renews our persons in the sight of God. Therefore the two-fold grace of remission and renewal constitute the justification of sinners. The tax collector in the synagogue was repentant, which means he turned from his sin, and pleads for God’s mercy in the grace of forgiveness. This is justification.

    The reformed doctrines try to push repentance, works, renewal, new creation into different aspects of salvation. It is a life or death situation in the Calvinistic system to think that justification is both forgiveness and renewal because in the system, inner renewal somehow gains glory for ourselves…..it’s very odd. So what then, do we thank God for the imputation of righteousness and thank ourselves for inward renewal? But then the reformed person will say: “The imputation of righteousness justifies us because it is perfection given to our account! The inward renewal is imperfect and remains such throughout our lives and therefore cannot justify us”. The Catholic responds and says “Our good works are given to us by God himself in the Holy Spirit, therefore they are truly good works and since it is a work of God, you must no degrade it into some women’s menstrual cloth”.

  • Theo K


    Let me be clear. I spoke specifically of the state of the *Greek* Orthodox Church and *Greek* Orthodox theologians. Many of them are utterly liberal in their abandonment of the gospel.
    The *Greek* Orthodox Church is a lifeless corpse because it has abandoned the Gospel. I don’t know how things are in the States.

    But do keep in mind that the practices of Orthodoxy (and Catholicism for that matter) have nothing to do with the apostolic simplicity of the first centuries of the Christian church. If you take the time to study the Fathers that you think are on your side, you will be surprised to find out that they are all for scripture alone, Christ alone, grace alone. In a few words, if the saints of old, the Fathers and the martyrs were here, they would not recogniZe Catholicism or Orthodoxy as valid expressions of the Christian faith. Priesthood, idolatry (images, statues, ‘saints’ and Marian worship – co-redemptrix anyone?). No. Thank God for the Reformation.

    And yes, it is all about the true Gospel. The RCC anathematized the Reformed understanding of the Gospel. What else is left to say?
    You are very wrong in thinking that the 5 solas were invented in the 16th century. Rather, they were *rediscovered*. There is a beautiful strand of genuine believers to the Gospel of grace throughout the centuries, leading up to the Reformation, believers that were again and again slaughtered by the RCC.
    Of course the truth of justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ was *always* known. That is what Paul taught. And even if it wasn’t that explicitly taught at times, the difference is that the early believers trusted Christ alone to save them, and they didn’t despise Him by rejecting the fact that it is only the imputed righteousness of Christ that justifies sinners. Unfortunately that is exactly what Orthodoxy and Catholicism have done.

    I will just mention the following things as evidence, since all I have done so far is to assert my position.
    – James and Paul agree on the gospel. They taught the same gospel, they gave the right hand of fellowship (Gal 2). So your understanding of James is false, if it contradicts the clear teaching of Paul in Romans and Galatians. James says that a faith that doesn’t produce works is dead. Paul agrees. And the Reformers agree as well (‘we are justified by faith alone, but this faith that justifies is never alone’)
    – the letter to Galatians was written to protect the Galatians from the false gospel (a la Acts 15) that said that someone to be saved must believe in Christ and obey the law (any kind of law, as Paul used the example of Abraham, a believer that lived before the law of Moses was given). This is the heresy or RCC. Paul’s anathema in Gal. 1 rests squarely on RCC and on the biggest part of current Orthodoxy.
    – The Pharisee in the synagogue was *thanking* God for all the good that God had enabled him to do. But he perished. Not because he wasn’t doing all the things he said he was doing. But because he was trusting, even partly, in his works, the works that God had enabled him to do
    – The reformers didn’t invent anything, a quick look at Calvin’s Institutes will display the fact that it is filled with patristic references
    – Finally, have a look here:
    One of the earliest Christian letters/treatises in existence speaks of the “sweet exchange”. Our sins for Christ’s imputed righteousness. Are you sure that justification only by an imputed, external righteousness is a doctrine new to the Protestant Reformation?

    Friends, the only way for a sinner to stand before the throne of God is by being clothed with the righteousness of Christ (and this happens when we are united to Him by saving, genuine faith), because God will not accept anything less than absolute perfection. Receive the Lord Jesus and trust in Him alone. He is absolutely sufficient and mighty to save to the uttermost every sinner who goes to the Father through Him.

  • God_Seeker

    Actually, none of the Christians from the first 4 centuries believed in protestant theology. Let’s take a look.

    St. Justin Martyr was born a pagan but converted to Christianity after studying philosophy. He was a prolific writer and many Church scholars consider him the greatest apologist or defender of the faith from the 2nd century. He was beheaded with six of his companions some time between 163 and 167 A.D. Justin Martyr here speaks about the sacrament of holy communion.

    “This food we call the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake except one who believes that the things we teach are true, and has received the washing for forgiveness of sins and for rebirth, and who lives as Christ handed down to us. For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God’s Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.”

    “First Apology”, Ch. 66, inter A.D. 148-155.

    St. Irenaeus succeeded St. Pothinus to become the second bishop of Lyons in 177 A.D. Earlier in his life he studied under St. Polycarp. Considered, one of the greatest theologians of the 2nd century, St. Irenaeus is best known for refuting the Gnostic heresies. Let’s see what he says about the Eucharist:

    “So then, if the mixed cup and the manufactured bread receive the Word of God and become the Eucharist, that is to say, the Blood and Body of Christ, which fortify and build up the substance of our flesh, how can these people claim that the flesh is incapable of receiving God’s gift of eternal life, when it is nourished by Christ’s Blood and Body and is His member? As the blessed apostle says in his letter to the Ephesians, ‘For we are members of His Body, of His flesh and of His bones’ (Eph. 5:30). He is not talking about some kind of ‘spiritual’ and ‘invisible’ man, ‘for a spirit does not have flesh an bones’ (Lk. 24:39). No, he is talking of the organism possessed by a real human being, composed of flesh and nerves and bones. It is this which is nourished by the cup which is His Blood, and is fortified by the bread which is His Body. The stem of the vine takes root in the earth and eventually bears fruit, and ‘the grain of wheat falls into the earth’ (Jn. 12:24), dissolves, rises again, multiplied by the all-containing Spirit of God, and finally after skilled processing, is put to human use. These two then receive the Word of God and become the Eucharist, which is the Body and Blood of Christ.”

    -“Five Books on the Unmasking and Refutation of the Falsely

    Named Gnosis”. Book 5:2, 2-3, circa 180 A.D. “For just as the bread which comes from the earth, having received the invocation of God, is no longer ordinary bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly, so our bodies, having received the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, because they have the hope of the resurrection.”

    -“Five Books on the Unmasking and Refutation of the Falsely named Gnosis”. Book 4:18 4-5, circa 180 A.D.

    St. Athanasius was born in Alexandria ca. 295 A.D. He was ordained a deacon in 319 A.D. He accompanied his bishop, Alexander, to the Council of Nicaea, where he served as his secretary. Eventually he succeeded Alexander as Bishop of Alexandria. He is most known for defending Nicene doctrine against Arian disputes., This is a quote from him concerning the Eucharist.

    “‘The great Athanasius in his sermon to the newly baptized says this:’ You shall see the Levites bringing loaves and a cup of wine, and placing them on the table. So long as the prayers of supplication and entreaties have not been made, there is only bread and wine. But after the great and wonderful prayers have been completed, then the bread is become the Body, and the wine the Blood, of our Lord Jesus Christ. ‘And again:’ Let us approach the celebration of the mysteries. This bread and this wine, so long as the prayers and supplications have not taken place, remain simply what they are. But after the great prayers and holy supplications have been sent forth, the Word comes down into the bread and wine – and thus His Body is confected.”,

    -“Sermon to the Newly Baptized” ante 373 A.D.,

  • God_Seeker

    St. John Chrysostom speaks about sola fide here:

    “He that believes in the Son has everlasting life [John 3:36]… “Is it ENOUGH, then, to BELIEVE in the Son,” someone will say, “in order to have everlasting life?” BY NO MEANS! Listen to Christ declare this Himself when He says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven” [Matt 7:21]; and the blasphemy against the Spirit is alone sufficient to cast him into hell. But why should I speak of a PART of our teaching? For if a man BELIEVE rightly in the Father and in the Son and in the Holy Spirit, but does not LIVE RIGHTLY, his faith will avail him NOTHING TOWARD SALVATION. (Homilies on John 31:1)

    Also more from St. John Chrysostom on the holy sacrifice of the mass:

    “You perhaps say: ‘My bread is usual.’ But the bread is bread before the words of the sacraments; when consecration has been added, from bread it becomes the flesh of Christ. So let us confirm this, how it is possible that what is bread is the body of Christ. By what words, then, is the consecration and by whose expressions? By those of the Lord Jesus. For all the rest that are said in the preceding are said by the priest: praise to God, prayer is offered, there is a petition for the people, for kings, for the rest. When it comes to performing a venerable sacrament, then the priest uses not his own expressions, but he uses the expressions of Christ. Thus the expression of Christ performs this sacrament.”

    -“The Sacraments” Book 4, Ch.4:14.

    “Let us be assured that this is not what nature formed, but what the blessing consecrated, and that greater efficacy resides in the blessing than in nature, for by the blessing nature is changed… . Surely the word of Christ, which could make out of nothing that which did not exist, can change things already in existence into what they were not. For it is no less extraordinary to give things new natures than to change their natures… . Christ is in that Sacrament, because it is the Body of Christ; yet, it is not on that account corporeal food, but spiritual. Whence also His Apostle says of the type: `For our fathers ate spiritual food and drink spiritual drink.’ [1 Cor. 10:2-4] For the body of God is a spiritual body.”

    -“On the Mysteries” 9, 50-52, 58; 391 A.D.:

    “His poverty enriches, the fringe of His garment heals, His hunger satisfies, His death gives life, His burial gives resurrection. Therefore, He is a rich treasure, for His bread is rich. And ‘rich’ is apt for one who has eaten this bread will be unable to feel hunger. He gave it to the Apostles to distribute to a believing people, and today He gives it to us, for He, as a priest, daily consecrates it with His own words. Therefore, this bread has become the food of the saints.”

    -“The Patriarchs” Ch. 9:38

    “Thus, every soul which receives the bread which comes down from heaven is a house of bread, the bread of Christ, being nourished and having its heart strengthened by the support of the heavenly bread which dwells within it.”

    -“Letter to Horontianus” circa 387 A.D.

  • God_Seeker


    “You ought to know what you have received, what you are going to receive, and what you ought to receive daily. That Bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the Body of Christ. The chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the Blood of Christ.”

    -“Sermons”, [227, 21]

    “He who made you men, for your sakes was Himself made man; to ensure your adoption as many sons into an everlasting inheritance, the blood of the Only-Begotten has been shed for you. If in your own reckoning you have held yourselves cheap because of your earthly frailty, now assess yourselves by the price paid for you; meditate, as you should, upon what you eat, what you drink, to what you answer ‘Amen'”.

    -“Second Discourse on Psalm 32″. Ch. 4. circa

    “For the whole Church observes this practice which was handed down by the Fathers: that it prayers for those who have died in the communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, when they are commemorated in their own place in the sacrifice itself; and the sacrifice is offered also in memory of them on their behalf.

    Source: St. Augustine, Sermons 172,2, circa 400 A.D.

    “The fact that our fathers of old offered sacrifices with beasts for victims, which the present-day people of God read about but do not do, is to be understood in no way but this: that those things signified the things that we do in order to draw near to God and to recommend to our neighbor the same purpose. A visible sacrifice, therefore, is the sacrament, that is to say, the sacred sign, of an invisible sacrifice… . Christ is both the Priest, offering Himself, and Himself the Victim. He willed that the sacramental sign of this should be the daily sacrifice of the Church, who, since the Church is His body and He the Head, learns to offer herself through Him.

    Source: St. Augustine, The City of God, 10, 5; 10,20, c. 426:

  • God_Seeker

    Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, Chapter 6, 110 A.D.:
    Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God … They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes.

    St. Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, 8:1, 110 A.D.:
    Let that Eucharist be held valid which is offered by the bishop or by the one to whom the bishop has committed this charge. Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.

    St. Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Romans, 7, 110 A.D.:
    I desire the Bread of God, the heavenly Bread, the Bread of Life, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became afterwards of the seed of David and Abraham; I wish the drink of God, namely His blood, which is incorruptible love and eternal life.

    St. Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Philadephians, 4:1, 110 A.D.:
    Be ye careful therefore to observe one eucharist (for there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ and one cup unto union in His blood; there is one altar, as there is one bishop, together with the presbytery and the deacons my fellow-servants), that whatsoever ye do, ye may do it after God.

  • God_Seeker

    There are many places in the early fathers which speak about the justification of sinners in terms of believing in the gospel, baptism, the sacrificial death of our Lord, the resurrection of our Lord, God’s grace, God’s love, etc,etc.

    Primarily, the Fathers understood “justification” as occurring through the sacramental waters of baptismal regeneration. Therefore, what they understand as justification is primarily the remission of sins and the purification of the soul.

    I would like for you to provide one quote from the fathers where they reject the doctrine of baptismal regeneration in the sacrament of holy water, the sacrifice of the Eucharist as the real flesh and blood of Jesus, that good works and endurance are required for eternal life, that there is a purgatory.

    The fact of the matter is, they all believed in these doctrines.

    For starters, you should read St. Ignatius, St. Clement, and Tertullian. These are very early writings and protestants would be SHOCKED at what they believed. Apostolic Succession, Holy Communion, Prayers for the Dead, Baptismal Regeneration, etc,etc.

    I am really not sure where you are getting your information from.

  • God_Seeker

    Jesus said he would only allow into the kingdom of God those who practiced righteousness, who did the will of the Father, who abstained from sin, who left all things worldly to follow the narrow road, etc,etc,etc.

    That sounds like he expects much more from us than just “I believe!!!!”

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  • Theo K


    I will try to be as brief as possible (not an easy task, you mentioned so many different topics).

    I am sure you agree that the first theologians of the church were not infallible. We know this as they often contradict one another, and many times hold to contradictory doctrines themselves (don’t we all at times?) So they are to be read under the light of scripture and the good parts be kept, the ones that do not agree with scripture rejected. Yes, every believer is responsible to judge everything against scripture. And here is the source of all of our differences. You must immediately accept without a second thought what your Pope says is true. My conscience is captive to the Word of God.

    So let make this point, before we even start analyzing the fathers: I reject, on historical and scriptural grounds, the authority of the Pope. It is a well established historical fact that the primacy of the Papacy (aka infallibility) was nowhere to be found in the first few centuries of the church. Councils were formed for many centuries to decide on important matters of doctrine, no one considered the opinion of the bishop of Rome to be decisive. So I would encourage you to read into early church history. It is rather clear that the doctrine of the papal infallibility is quite a theological novelty. The fathers themselves would always argue from scripture. So you have a major problem, you submit to a man claiming to be the vicar of Christ and the infallible authority of the church, something that directly contradicts scripture and is a view that is nowhere to be found in the history of the early church.

    To your points concerning the teachings of the fathers:

    I am not prepared to discuss the sacraments. I don’t consider this matter to be of first importance, to be honest. I will only point out that in the reference of Augustine, The city of God, it seems to me that Augustine speaks about the living sacrifice (Rom 12:1-2) of the members of the church as a response to the perfect sacrifice of Christ. Nothing to do with the Eucharist.

    Concerning the belief of a purgatory I would point you here:
    http://vintage.aomin.org/ChanDeb1.html (more generally, if you really are a God seeker, as your nick says, I would encourage you to study the materials found on http://www.aomin.org you may be quite surprised)
    The purgatory is quite an important topic, as this false teaching makes quite clear that Catholicism has a wrong view of the Cross. the Cross of Christ isn’t only necessary, the sacrifice of Christ is absolutely sufficient to save to the uttermost from all sins, past, present and future all those sinners who trust in Christ alone to save them. Friend, think of this, how many of your sins were in the future when Jesus was crucified? All of them. Do you see?

    But the most important things to me are (1) the gospel, and (2) RCC idolatry.

    concerning the second: images, statues, saints and Marian worship are clearly idolatrous, and not supported by the early church. Before complaining about Catholics not worshiping Mary, I will remind you of all the extra-biblical doctrines that your Popes have officially taught during the last couple of centuries. And I would encourage you to look into the teachings presenting Mary as co-redemptrix and co-mediatrix. Now if you already accept these teachings, what can I say but that for me Christ is enough. Finally, as a protestant, I would consider the office of the papacy to be idolatrous itself.

    Concerning the Gospel and justification be faith alone, the issue is of first importance. As I said, the first theologians weren’t monolithic. But I will offer this link with 30 quotations that display clearly that the fathers (or at least some of them) taught justification by faith alone and that they understood (even if not consistently) justification to be a divine declaration of the sinner who believes in Jesus as just (righteous).


    As I said, I don’t consider the early fathers to be an infallible authority. My only point is to display the fact that justification by faith alone (which really means by Christ alone) is not a novel doctrine. You will notice that the list contains clear quotations from Clement, John Chrysostom and Augustine. Quite interesting, isn’t?
    Now, why at times they make careless mistakes? Some good thoughts on this can be found here:

    And even though for me scripture is sufficient (since it is the only God-breathed and infallible word), as I see in there the Gospel very clearly, you on the other hand may benefit from books like this:

    So, friend, here is the crux of it all: the Lord Jesus Christ has saved me, is saving me, and will save me to the end, only because of and by His grace alone. Aren’t these the best news in the world? I am clothed with Christ’s perfect righteousness. Glory to God! He regenerated me. His spirit indwells me and leads me to walk in the good works that He has prepared for me beforehand. And one day, as He has promised, He will take me to be with Him for ever. Why on earth would I ever want to exchange these amazingly good news (the Gospel) with the false gospel of Rome that saves no one?

    The false gospel of Rome is exactly the one the Pharisee in the synagogue believed (nothing is new under the Sun). The Pharisee believed in God, lived a righteous life and he even accredited all his good works to God. He thanked God recognizing that it was God who enabled him to do all that he did. And yet he perished. Because, like you do, he didn’t trust in Christ alone. He trusted, even partly, in his works in order to be justified before God. And this will not do. Because it is either Christ alone, or nothing.

    And now I must call you to stop despising the Savior by believing that you have to add your good works to His work on the cross in order to be saved, and to do as the tax-collector did: trust in Christ alone to save you. Be united with Him by receiving Him, by faith alone, as your righteousness. You have no other hope, because the only way for a sinner to stand before the throne of the holy God is by being clothed with the absolutely perfect righteousness of Christ.

  • God Seeker

    Your characterization of Roman Catholicism is extremely fallacious. You have not spent years studying the doctrines from Catholics. You have been studying protestants who are attacking roman catholicism.

    As far as justification is concerned, even protestant scholars are recognizing that for Paul, he maintained the Jewish concept of a final judgement by works, as does the apostle James. You are magnifying Paul in a way he never meant to be magnified.

    Jesus explicitly spoke about the condition of obedience to enter into the kingdom of heaven on the final day of judgement. Not matter how much you cry out “Sola Fide”, the Savior’s words remain true and are still heard by protestants. What protestants have to do is understand this as the objective evidence of faith, but either way, practically, both are conditions, faith and obedience.

    With regard to Augustine, you dare not quote him, for he was a Catholic. He believed in purgatory, the sacrifice of the mass, the Eucharist as the body and blood of Christ, the sacrament of confession, etc,etc

    All of protestants who excommunicate Catholics would have to excommunicate all the early church fathers as well, and they even excommunicate Martin Luther for believing in baptismal regeneration in infants and adults. Heck, John calvin excommunicates baptists and non-presbyterians.

    You really need to open you own eyes to see how your denomination sprung late in the history of Christ’s Church on earth. Failure to look into this will only keep you shoved in your own interpretation of Scripture and your confident intelligence.