St. John Chrysostom vs. Communism

St. John Chrysostom vs. Communism by Chris Banescu –
This amazing quote was written by St. John Chrysostom. Those strong warnings regarding core principles that form the foundation of socialist/communist ideologies should have been heeded by the Church and taught to the people.

St. John Chrysostom:

“Should we look to kings and princes to put right the inequalities between rich and poor? Should we require soldiers to come and seize the rich person’s gold and distribute it among his destitute neighbors? Should we beg the emperor to impose a tax on the rich so great that it reduces them to the level of the poor and then to share the proceeds of that tax among everyone? Equality imposed by force would achieve nothing, and do much harm. Those who combined both cruel hearts and sharp minds would soon find ways of making themselves rich again.

Worse still, the rich whose gold was taken away would feel bitter and resentful; while the poor who received the gold from the hands of soldiers would feel no gratitude, because no generosity would have prompted the gift. Far from bringing moral benefit to society, it would actually do moral harm. Material justice cannot be accomplished by compulsion, a change of heart will not follow. The only way to achieve true justice is to change people’s hearts first—and then they will joyfully share their wealth.” – St. John Chrysostom on the poor from On Living Simply XLIII

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Civil Unions, Stepping Stones That Undermine Marriage

Marriage Traditional Family by Chris Banescu
Some Orthodox leaders and scholars have argued that same-sex civil unions, while not recognized and blessed by the Orthodox Church, should nevertheless be accepted and protected by the state in the spirit of democracy. In a 2005 interview regarding debates about gay couples being able to marry, Metropolitan Gerasimos of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, expressed his views on this matter:

“They [homosexuals] should have the benefits and civil rights of the state, but this is not a sacramental union our church will ever sanctify,” he said. “But civil marriage, in the spirit of American democracy, they have the right to ask for that.”

These positions seem to present a fair and reasonable perspective that maintains a balance between the Orthodox Church’s unwavering support for traditional marriage and her absolute rejection of all homosexual unions, and the secular and democratic society we live in. [Read more…]

Forgiveness Without Repentance?

by Chris Banescu

In the midst of the ongoing OCA moral crisis we hear calls, especially from some clergy and many of our hierarchs, to forgive all those in the OCA leadership and administration who have for years, either through malfeasance or incompetence enabled the abuses, fraud, misconduct, and pillaging of God’s house. We are constantly reminded that our duty as Christians is to quickly and unconditionally forgive those who have mistreated others, lied, appropriated Church funds for personal luxury, stole money intended for widows, orphans, and the poor, covered up their misdeeds, and conducted themselves in an ethically reprehensible manner without a hint of remorse, repentance, and accountability. Before the people have had a chance to understand and find out what exactly has happened, who was really responsible, how much was wasted and stolen, how long this went on, who was hurt, who benefited, who lied, and who covered up their crimes, we are being told to forgive unconditionally and move on, “for the good of the Church.”

Is this call for forgiveness without truth, without repentance, without personal accountability, and without real contrition truly the Christian approach as reflected in the Scriptures and the Orthodox Moral Tradition? Are we being fooled into accepting a watered down version of forgiveness that distorts the fullness of the teaching of Christ regarding those who trespass and neither admit their culpability nor repent of their crimes? [Read more…]

Mere Christianity, Essential Precepts of the Christian Faith

Book Review by Chris Banescu

C.S. Lewis is one of the most influential Christian writers of the 20th century and probably the most down to earth theologian that Western civilization has produced. His eloquent and reasoned defense of the core beliefs and truths of the Christian faith are truly awe-inspiring and timeless. Lewis is indeed an expert at making complex theological issues accessible and understandable by everyone, believers and non-believers alike. The profound and life-changing effects his writings have had on many generations is indeed a witness to the clarity of thought, grace and wisdom this author has bestowed upon his audience.

A master at appealing to logic and presenting issues in a whole new light, Lewis is not afraid to boldly and bluntly proclaim the obvious. An agnostic in his younger years, Lewis understood the objections of non-believers and dealt with their arguments head on. Perhaps one of his most well-known observations, recorded in the pages of Mere Christianity, concerns the “foolish” ideas people hold regarding Christ: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” [Read more…]

Sinful Silence – When Christians Neglect Their Civil Duty

Book Review by Chris Banescu

In the book “ Sinful Silence: When Christians Neglect Civic Duty” authors Ken Connor and John Revell make a strong case that Christians have a sacred responsibility to apply and uphold God’s laws and biblical principles in all areas of civil government. They correctly point out that “we as citizens are liable for the decisions of our elected representative leaders, even if we are not directly involved in their activities.” Christians living in a secular world cannot neglect their civil duties and ignore their responsibilities to choose moral, just, and God-fearing leaders.

Relying heavily on the book of Isaiah, which calls on the faithful to “Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow,” the authors encourage Christians to stay active and involved in all areas of civil life in order to positively and appropriately influence the culture and civil organizations in America. [Read more…]

A Hard Lesson on Home Schools

by Chris Banescu
This June, my wife and I had the privilege of attending the high school graduation ceremonies of several home-schooled youngsters. These events not only impressed us with references to Christian traditions, family values, and heavenly music; they opened our eyes and hearts to the possibility of home schooling. Student after student spoke with such eloquence, maturity, and depth of spirit, that many times tears flowed freely both on stage and in the audience.

Like most parents, my wife and I want to provide our daughter with the best possible education. So despite the fact that she is still too young for elementary school, we have given considerable thought to the various choices. While originally home schooling was not our favored option, the graduation ceremonies piqued our interest. [Read more…]

The Haves and The Have Nots

by Chris Banescu

“The Haves and the Have Nots” is a very common phrase used often in the mainstream of American society and in the social and political discourse; many times by Christians trying to equate its meaning with the Christian principles of charity and caring for the poor. You hear it being used constantly in newspaper and magazine articles, on television and cable news shows, in university lecture halls, in congressional, presidential and other political debates, and even in many religious circles. Yet few people realize and understand that this very same phrase and its implications come from a different time and place. The origins of this seemingly benign comment come from an ideological past rife with violence, murder, terror, and mayhem.

The birthplace of this phrase is a past drenched with the blood of countless innocents tortured, enslaved, imprisoned, and sacrificed in the pursuit of punishing the “haves” at the hands of the “have nots” and allegedly trying to even out the imbalance between the rich and the poor. The expression was used and continues to be used by communist revolutionaries as they sought and many still seek to sow the seeds of envy among their people, stoke the fires of revolution, and incite civil wars based on jealousy and resentment between economic and social classes. [Read more…]