by John Henson
It is interesting how the titular heads of the world’s religions often explain inconsistencies in their teachings by appealing to the constantly changing situations in the world, although they are supposed to represent an immutable and holy God.
In the May 2011 issue of Christianity Today, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, the head of external relations for the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church was asked if wrong choices were made in the Cold War when the patriarchs cooperated with the Soviets.
“Some people say that the church made wrong choices. I don’t think this was the case, because the church had to exist under the conditions that were set without consulting her (the church).”
He said the situation the church found itself with the Soviets was identical to what the early church experienced and “the situation of total control of church life by the Communist regime was a very unhealthy situation. But this was the situation in which the church could live.”
The facts about the early church do not square with the Metropolitan’s statement. Many members of the Lord’s body went to their deaths on the cross in the Roman coliseum rather than deny their Lord. Others were eaten by animals in that same arena while singing praises to God.
God gave his inspired word so that man could follow an objective standard, one given by an immutable and holy God who breathed his word into the apostles (2 Timothy 3:16). Jesus words in Revelation 2:10, “Be thou faithful unto death,” did not end with “only if the situation warrants it.”
The allegations suggested by the interview had to do with the Russian Orthodox Churches’ priests and bishops turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the unmitigated suffering of the Russian people under Communist rule. The Metropolitan’s answer was basically, “that was the situation.”