by Abbot Tryphon
The Bible can only be understood through the Church, for the Holy Scriptures came forth from the Church. The reformers dumped the papacy only to replace that institution with themselves as the ultimate authority. Since reason and logic ruled, there was no room for the intuitive, noetic nature of the heart. Thus the interpretation of the Bible became a debatable subject between believers, ending in new denominations proliferating like rabbits.
The Bible is the written account of the first Christians experience with God and was a living, oral tradition inspired by the Holy Spirit, and put down in written form. To think that it is therefore open to personal interpretation, apart from the Church from which it sprang, is the cause of over thirty-five thousand different denominations today!
The Orthodox Church has kept the early teachings and liturgical traditions precisely because she has refused to interpret Scripture apart from that which was always taught. Her Divine services connect us to the early Church precisely because they are the same liturgical services used by the early Church.
Orthodoxy is increasingly becoming known in the West, and more and more people are being drawn to her. But we don’t convert people to Orthodoxy by words and debate, but by the example of our lives. Judging others can not be a part of our witness to the truth of Orthodoxy. Giving witness to the transformational power of the Church is what convicts others of the truth of our faith.
We must pray for our friends and loved ones who do not yet know Orthodoxy, yet we should also give thanks for those who know Jesus Christ. It is a joy to have God as our Father and an extra benefit to have the Church as our Mother. But lest we forget, it is of no value whatsoever to be Orthodox if we do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.