What do underground homosexual communities and Protestant Evangelicals have to do with each other?
That was the question I asked while pursuing the back cover of a book called “Putin’s Russia.” Reading that the author, Anne Garrels, was an NPR correspondent, I knew that the book would have one once of reality for every pound of propaganda. NPR has such a clearly liberal agenda.
The phrase on the back cover that got my attention was this:
“We discover surprising subcultures, like a vibrant underground gay community and a circle of determined Protestant Evangelicals ….”
This is a curious combination.
In America, for what is called the “liberal left,” Protestant Evangelicals are generally treated like bad guys. They are portrayed as narrow-minded “bigots” who oppose abortions and “sexual rights” (homosexualism). Yet, in the above phrase the reader is clearly intended to pity two conflicting groups.
So why would a liberal reporter want me to pity Protestant Evangelicals?
Rather than simply trusting the small phrase quoted on the back of the book, I decided to read more. In the book, I read a chapter titled, “The Believers”. Presently, my goal not to refute the chapter itself. Rather, I want to point out a very important principle.
The chapter promoted a typical Western view. Evil forces of government and religion — in this case the Orthodox Church — are banding together to oppress small groups of various Protestants. The author’s view of Orthodoxy is painfully superficial.
My principle point is reflected in the paradox that, from the liberal view, Protestant Evangelicals are bad in America, and yet in Russia they are victimized groups to be pitied. The reader will understand by the end, I hope, that this is indeed not a paradox.
Protestantism is one of the beginning stages of relativism. (Once relativism morphs out of its beginning stages it no longer needs Protestantism, and then it turns upon it as an enemy.)
Before I proceed, I will first say: I was a Protestant. I spent time in the 90’s in the former Soviet Union as a “missionary.” I have some personal experience to draw upon. Second, I recognize that there are numerous good and warmhearted Protestant persons, some who work very zealously. Third, clearly Protestants get some things right. Yet as St. Ignatius of Antioch points out, even just a drop of poison in honey will kill you.
I am seeking to address a system, one that claims to be Christian, but in reality it is simply the early stages of Western European “rationalism,” “emotionalism,” “relativism,” and such, dressed up in Christian clothing. This is why a majority of Protestants are resistant to the True manifestation of Christianity in the Orthodox Church. Orthodoxy is not a product of “late-medieval” to present Western European worldviews, as is Protestantism.
Relativism is basically a rejection of ultimate objective Truth. My Protestant friends will say, “Wait! We do not reject Truth! We believe in Jesus and the Bible!” Let’s see what that belief is founded upon.
To clear the way for relativism, first must come subjective individualism, which may be called Subjectivism. Subjectivism is soft relativism. Moreso than its mother Rome, Protestantism subjectivized the Truths of Christianity. (I believe the argument could be made that Rome first “individualized” truth in the person of the Pope, and thus Protestantism is simply a multiplication of this original error of Rome, but that is beyond the scope of this article at this point.)
In a very interesting book called “The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society,” the author, Brad S. Gregory, observes,
Christian truth claims vary greatly across different individuals, congregations, churches, and traditions. In countless ways they conflict with one another. As the doctrine analogue to the institutional variety apparent under the entry “Churches” in the yellow pages of American telephone books, Christian truth claims exhibit an extremely wide, open-ended range in terms of their content and status and importance among their respective proponents. What Christians believe about Bible, God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, church(es), collective worship, prayer, morality, social justice, ecumenism, the importance of theological doctrines, the significance of scholarships of faith, or believers’ relationship to the wider society, for example varies enormously. Somewhere, at some time, by some congregation or individual, almost anything has gone or still goes under the adjective “Christian.” Combined with this vast pluralism is the widespread (but not unanimous) view that whatever its particular content, religious conviction is a highly personal, individual matter, such that only each person can determine what is right and best for him or her. In matters of religious truth claims, each person is widely thought to be his or her own sovereign authority; this is in effect what freedom of religion means. Certainly it is what the laws of Western states protect.
Above, Mr. Gregory sums up the visible fruit of the ethos of Protestantism today. What he describes in basic is subjectivism, for when “truth” is predicated on limited and fallible individual feelings and experiences it becomes completely subjective (it also becomes something completely sourced from mere men). In fact, truth itself becomes obsolete and the subjective individual becomes the real standard and foundation of supposed “truth claims.” Ultimately in such a paradigm truth becomes meaningless. Ultimately, there is no objective (outside of the individual) Truth. The standard of Revealed Christian Truth is swept away in the tyranny of the individual. Protestantism is the quintessential religion of the individual.
How many times have I heard from Protestants, “No one has a corner on truth!” Well, then why Christianity?! If there is no corner on truth and whatever an individual believes is “true” to him, then religions are just man-made structures, all of them — including Christianity itself! This is the clear and right conclusion that the modern world has come to based upon Protestantism’s relativizing of truth.
Or, mostly in Charismatic Evangelical circles, one may hear the phrase, “Well, that’s not what the Spirit is saying to me!” Again the point of reference is the subjective individual – individualism – not actual Spirit or Truth. The “Spirit” or “Bible” is simply used to shore up the individual’s own self-chosen and desired subjective “truth-claim.”
Orthodoxy does not claim that one individual has a corner on Truth. It claims that the Body of Christ — the Church — does (cf. 1 Tim. 3:15). It also clearly claims and substantiates that this Revelation is directly from God. Thus, it is never predicated on “mere men.” This is an objective, real, and actual standard by which all persons, in all times, may equally and clearly gauge their “Christian-ness”.
Protestantism stripped Christianity of its objectivity.
A very interesting philosopher of the 20th century by the name of Rene Guenon in his book “The Crises of the Modern World,” critiques Protestantism’s role in crises in these terms:
It is therefore in the realm of religion that we shall have to consider the revolt against the traditional outlook, a revolt which, when it had acquired a definite form, became known as Protestantism; it is not difficult to see that this is a manifestation of individualism; indeed one could call it individualism as applied to religion. Protestantism, like the modern world, is built upon a mere negation, the same negation of principles that is the essence of individualism … Consequently the modern outlook was bound to reject all spiritual authority in the true sense of the word, namely authority that is based upon the supra-human order, as well as any traditional organization … Protestantism denied the authority of organization … and in its place claimed to set up ‘free criticism’, that is to say any interpretations resulting from private judgment, even that of the ignorant and incompetent, and based exclusively on the exercise of human reason … the door was left open to all manner of discussions, divergencies, and deviations; and the result could not but be dispersion in an ever-growing multitude of sects, each of which represents no more than the private opinion of certain individuals.
Guenon continues with these strong but pertinent words:
Nothing and nobody is any longer in the right place; men no longer recognize any effective authority in the spiritual order or any legitimate power in the temporal; the ‘profane’ presume to discuss what is sacred, and to contest its character and even its existence; the inferior judges the superior, ignorance sets the bounds of its own wisdom, error prevails over truth, the human is substituted for the Divine, earth has priority over Heaven, the individual sets the measure for all things and claims to dictate to the universe laws drawn entirely from his own relative and fallible reason. ‘Woe unto you, ye blind guides,’ the Gospel says; and indeed everywhere today one sees nothing but blind leaders of the blind, who, unless, restrained by some timely check, will inevitably lead them into the abyss, there to perish with them.
Mr. Geunon rightly deduces that Protestantism is the spiritual foundation of the modern secular world.
Protestantism birthed a “new christianity” one that is firmly based in anthropocentricity rather than theocentricity. Elucidating points about the development of the Western mind, Alexander Solzhenitsyn makes these point which are also equally applicable to Protestantism:
Rationalistic humanism or humanistic autonomy: the proclaimed and enforced autonomy of man from any higher force above him. It could be called anthropocentricity, with man seen as the center of everything that exists.
To justify its own fragmented, individualized, and divided existence Protestantism rather than repenting of its un-Christian ethos, adds insult to injury by rejecting any Christian claim to full and ultimate Truth. This is the basis of the bad ecclesiology of Protestantism manifested in ideas such as “the invisible church” or “the branch theory.” Since no one group, it claims, has the “fullness” (again absurd in the view of True Christianity), all of the countervailing opinions are brought together and mixed into an unintelligible cocktail, which will unite all (?!). Anti-unity becomes its basis of unity.
Thus, in history Protestantism is one of the first great attacks against Ultimate Christian Truth and Revelation.
If Christianity cannot give a person full and complete ultimate Truth it is worthless.
The whole claim of true Christianity is that it is the full Revelation of ultimate Truth, in as much as we can bear it.
Picture a bunch of people all claiming to believe in mathematics but simultaneously claiming that no one can ever really get the right answers and that all answers have equal value! For some 2+2 equals 6, for others 8, for some 1,338,245; and for others it equals -10. The nominal claim to believe in mathematics is refuted by the refusal to apply the objective standards thereof.
As objective standards are vital to true math working properly, so they are to true Christianity. If wrong mathematical equations in the engineering field could result in the physical death of people (thus the great importance of doing math correctly according to the proven objective standards), how much more will the misuse of Christian truth result in the spiritual death of people?
Subjective individualism is a vital foundation of secularism. It is the ground upon which it grows. Protestantism is religious subjective individualism.
There is an old saying, “Boil the frog slowly.” The move of the “Western” world from its clearly ancient Christian roots to its current “secular” state is a process that has taken hundreds of years. Anti-Christian secularism could not just be born in a flash. First, its “new” mindset and ideas had to have a religious context (for the world of that time was inevitably religious), and Protestantism provided that context. It is nascent secularism.
One example of the kindred relationship between Protestantism and Secularism, which I’ve pointed out before, is found in Elite American families such as the Rockefellers. They understood that Protestant mission work orientated nations toward America and “Western values.” Once this happened it became easier for Western influence to take hold. The Rockefellers therefore supported various Protestant missions because they were the ice breakers, so to speak. They broke a path in which the Western secular market and influences could more easily follow (all this is spoken about in the official biography, The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty. Peter Collier & David Horowitz).
I noticed this very principle a bit when I was a Protestant missionary. As we “turned people to Christ” we inevitably turned them to American authority and influence (needless to say most of the “leaders” were Americans). The center of influence for them inevitably became “Western” and fragmented.
I hope it is clear now why the liberal left in the first-mentioned book is so concerned with Protestant Evangelicals in Russia.
They know that Protestantism will dutifully and zealously fulfill its role as a disintegrator of Ultimate Truth, albeit possibly unwittingly. Once Christianity can be relativized it stands no chance against the aggressive force of final secular and godless relativism. Protestantism is relativism with Christian clothing, thus it is easier to sell to more “traditional” cultures. Thus, Protestant missions play a vital role in the initial preparation of a culture to receive a full dose of “Western values.”
This is why the West at first fights zealously for “religious rights”, which it will later seek to revoke, as it is doing in America and elsewhere.
This is why the West always sees true Orthodoxy as the enemy — because the Orthodox Church refuses to recant her God-given gift of Ultimate Revealed Truth. This is also why both the liberals and Protestants think that Orthodox are arrogant. — “You think you are the only right ones!” — See how the Protestant and liberal mindsets coincide to a certain extent. This is why, in the first quote provided above, the liberal author is so sympathetic to Protestants and hostile toward the Orthodox. Orthodoxy has nothing of secularism, whereas Protestantism is of the same cloth.
On one stage (in “non-western” cultures) Protestantism must be cultivated so that it may fragment and deconstruct Christian Revelation and Truth and local culture, and then on another stage (such as in America), once it has served its purpose, it will be turned upon to be destroyed because it refuses (mostly) to progress and extend the theory of relativism past the boundaries of “Jesus.” And by this point, this compromised version of Christianity is too fragmented to successfully resist.
For the end result of “freedom from Truth” and the festivity of amorality and immorality, Secularism patiently endures and even nurtures its beginning stage, which is Protestantism.
Without any intention of doing so, my dear Protestant friends are paving the way for those underground homosexual clubs to come out into broad daylight, to be celebrated and lauded. And any who oppose will be told, “How dare you think you have a corner on truth!” That’s why two seemingly contrary groups can sometimes be lumped together in the same sentence, and it makes complete sense.
Why hold on to the errors which men such as Luther and Calvin set into motion? Why continue in a system limited by paradigms born in an already-falling West? There is a home for all in true Christianity — the Orthodox Church. I think the devil fears what would happen if all who claimed to be Christian truly repented and came home to the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you desire to save the West, there is no way to do it without the Orthodox Church. A reset to Protestantism will only restart the inevitable process of godless secularization.
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