No salvation outside of (which?) church

People think I make this stuff up.  Now if someone says, “You aren’t reading the context,”  fair enough.  But if we have to qualify it with “context,” then we need to stop making blanket condemnations of Protestants.

“Whoever denies Orthodox hesychasm is excommunicated by this Council (of St. Gregory Palamas), and whoever cannot understand the hesychastic life shows that he does not have the mind-set of the Church.” Eminence Hierotheos Vlachos, Metropolitan of Nafpaktos

Concerning the necessity of not permitting heretics to come into the house of God, so long as they persist in their heresy. (Canon 6 of the Council of Laodicea)

Do not err, my brethren: if anyone follow a schismatic, he will not inherit the Kingdom of God. St. Ignatius Of Antioch, Epistle to the Philadelphians, 3:2-4:1

He that saith not ‘Anathema’ to those in heresy, let him be anathema. (Seventh Ecumenical Council) [I can agree with this statement depending on who means what by heresy]

Neither the Papist nor the Protestant church can be considered as the True church of Christ. The first was altered by a number of innovations and the accursed despotism (Primacy) due to which resulted the schism from the Orthodox. The same goes for the Protestants whose innumerable innovations lead to total anarchy and chaos. Only the Orthodox church maintained the teachings of Christ flawlessly without a single innovation (St. Nektarios of Aegina)

Those that are not reborn by the divine grace in the only One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, they do not consist of (comprise) any church, neither visible nor invisible. (St. Nektarios of Aegina)




9 comments on “No salvation outside of (which?) church

  1. John says:


    I wanted to ask you a question on Robert’s blog but I assumed he wouldn’t post it as it isn’t relevant to the topic. You talk about chain of being ontology quite a bit and I was wondering if you had a post (or could recommend a book/essay/etc.) on the topic.


  2. Van Til deals with it in detail, but you probably don’t want to read that!

  3. From a little obscure book I have by a Hesychast. I say Hesychast simply because it is from a monk and they all search for the “prayer of the heart”. Which is simply in contrast to the prayer of the mind.

    “It is our task to work for every virtue, but success depends upon the grace of God, and God awards His grace not for work but for humility. In so far as a person humbles himself, he is visited by grace.” -“Christ is In Our Midst: Letters from a Russian monk. By Father John

    Humility is the aim. True humility. The humble heart is opened to the gifts God gives by grace to those who work on it, but it does take work. I mean, what are we doing here (in our bibles, in prayer, at church, at the soup kitchen, on this thread) if not work? Certainly this is compatible with everything you have been taught.

  4. Karen says:

    Re: Chain of being ontology, I found some Internet listings referring to a Renaissance doctrine involving a hierarchy of being with clergy being superior to laity, etc. on this “chain of being.” Is this the “magical” chain of being to which you object?

    What I read about St. Maximus has to do with meaning, not magic. It simply says the “Logos” (Christ) is the End/Telos to which all created things are called (the dynamic by which, through the creative act of God “ex Nihilo”, they are becoming what they are/are to be), and the full revelation by which we discern the meaning of the existence of all things (their “logoi”). The Church becomes the connection between all of creation and the triune God when she enters into communion with Christ in the Eucharist. The full realization of the Church of its communion with Christ is the means by which all of creation is to be restored to its proper order, and through which all things will be rightly related to one another, such that everything will be “summed up” in Christ, and Christ will be “all in all.”

  5. John says:


    I think he’s speaking of a platonic idea that beings from the lowest life form to God (god, for the Greeks) are arranged on a scale. So the scale begins with lower forms, like various types of animals, man in somewhere in the middle, and the hierarchy of angels above man, and God at the top. Apparently, this chain-of-being blurs the creature/creator distinction. I can see why. Additionally, man himself can be put on this scale in segments (and can be seen in the movement from animals to angels), where the human body is less important, thus lower on the scale, and the human soul is most important, thus higher on the scale.

    Jacob, if anything above I’ve said is in error, please correct me. Now, if what I have said is correct, I see that there are issues with it being pulled straight from Platonic thought into Christianity. For example, it is laughable that God would even be on the scale at all. It has been said that if God exists, than everything else does not exist, and vice versa. Existence, when speaking of God does not have the same meaning when speaking about the creation, and the opposite is also true. Additionally, the Orthodox view of the material world is arguably more developed than the Reformed. Jacob even stressed at one point that a category of “the common” was reintroduced by the Reformers. If this is so, it seems to me that the Reformed are contributing to the chain-of-being by putting matter below that of “spiritual” realities, whereas the Orthodox, in light of the incarnation, totally destroy any idea of gradation where matter is below all things “spiritual”. God himself has become matter and therefore exults matter (and man, both body [matter] and soul) even above the hierarchy of the angels.

    I’m thinking off the cuff here and am over my head. I’ve not spent a lot of time thinking about this but these are my initial thoughts on the subject.

  6. Karen,

    Sorry I didn’t get back to you. The Renaissance was basically black magic and occultism. It had some affinities with chain of being, but it was a different creature.

    Most of what JOhn says is correct. A few remarks:

    *** If this is so, it seems to me that the Reformed are contributing to the chain-of-being by putting matter below that of “spiritual” realities, ***

    That would be chain of being if the Reformers were speaking ontologically. They weren’t. They were speaking ethically.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks, Jacob (and John).

      I don’t recognize this Platonic form of “chain of being” as being Orthodox at all–it seems more related to Gnostic ideas of creation as a series of “emanations” beginning with demi-gods and moving farther and farther away from “God” and where the material is considered inherently inferior to the “spiritual.” The Platonic and Gnostic notions are the antithesis of Orthodox teaching. I don’t see any real connection between these and the summarization of the gist of St. Maximus’ teaching I presented in my comment above.

      Further in St. Maximus’ thought is the notion that man, being both body and spirit, is the connection between the material and spiritual creation and also with God. Obviously, this human (priestly and kingly) calling and potential is ultimately realized only because God became a Man and took flesh in Jesus Christ–something the Greek Fathers taught He would have done even if Adam and Eve had never sinned in order to unite humanity with Himself and fulfill His purpose for mankind’s creation. The Orthodox understanding is that union with God is necessary for life, even where a need for the forgiveness of sin is not in the picture. When personal will is exercised in rebellion against God (and from St. Maximus’ Orthodox perspective, against the “natural” God-given human will which is oriented towards God), it introduces the dynamic of sin into the world with a ripple effect affecting not only the sinning individual, but also ultimately the whole of creation. This dynamic is a movement toward “non-being” in ontological terms, though as Fr. Stephen Freeman explains, in His mercy and goodness, God doesn’t allow this dynamic to reach its completion but maintains even the most rebellious human beings in existence–even though it is not the fullness of existence/life in Christ, but rather a corrupted, diseased and disordered existence.


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