Hey, Calvary Fremont –
On Sunday, September 25th, Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, offered a Sunday sermon supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mobilization of 300,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine. In his sermon, Kirill promised that “sacrifice in the course of carrying out your military duty cleanses away all sins.”
Read that again. Kirill promised that “sacrifice in the course of carrying out your military duty cleanses away all sins.”
Yikes! In World Magazine (online) Mark Tooley notes that the sermon echoes Pope Urban II’s infamous sermon 1,000 years ago summoning the Franks to crusade against the “infidels” in the Holy Land, promising: “Set out on this journey and you will obtain the remission of your sins and be sure of the incorruptible glory of the kingdom of heaven.” The Roman Pope and the Russian Patriarch both went to The School of Horrible Theology.
Tooley notes that the Russian church’s senior bishop is part of an ancient tradition in which the Russian church is traditionally subservient to and politically exploited by the state. This tradition included centuries of czars, the Soviet Union, and now Putin. Yet whereas Pope Urban II’s sermon sent Christians against Muslims, Archbishop Kirill’s sermon sent Russian Orthodox believers against Ukrainian Orthodox believers. If a Russian Orthodox believer dies while trying to kill a Ukrainian Orthodox believer – all his sins are washed away.
The Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church is the Archenemy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. This Bad Bishop, this Mad Minister, this Perverted Patriarch puts Russia first and Jesus second. Archfiend Kirill gives to Caesar the things that belong to Caesar – and the things that belong to God? He gives those to Caesar, too.
It is easy to condemn Archbishop Kirill for his theological corruption and departure from the gospel of Christ. But consider what we’ve seen through the COVID years with the Medical Pandemic, the Social Panic, and the Political Pandemonium in the last Presidential election. I think that the Russian Patriarch would feel right at home in American Evangelicalism. Kirill puts Russia first and Jesus second – and many American Christians do the same thing. We have seen those who say –
I declare war on those (even Christians) who don’t put the Republican Party first.
I declare war on those (even Christians) who don’t put the Democratic Party first.
I declare war on those (even Christians) who don’t adhere to my version of Social Justice.
I declare war on those (even Christians) who won’t take COVID vaccinations.
I declare war on those (even Christians) who have taken and who promote vaccinations.
Many have elevated politics above Christ. They have greater loyalty to a party than to Jesus.
Many have elevated ideology above Christ. They have greater loyalty to their version of justice than to Jesus.
How can we condemn Patriarch Kirill when we have been as bad, and mad, and perverted as he? Many have a Kirillian theology and are oblivious to it.
Kirill has elevated his nation above Christ and the Body of Christ.
We have elevated our politics and ideology above Christ and the Body of Christ.
No, we haven’t promised the cleansing of sin to those who follow our politics and champion our causes – not yet, anyway. I heard a pastor say to his church that if they didn’t see social justice issues the way he did, he doesn’t recognize the image of God in them. Yikes! Not only were they not Christians if they disagreed with him – they were sub-human. When your politics and ideology blind you to the glory of Christ in His body, there’s more than a log in your eye.
Yes, I love my nation. Yes, we need to be politically informed and involved. Yes, we must make commitments to see our values carried into social structures. But more important than this is Christ and the Gospel and Salvation and Heaven. When Christ and the Gospel play second fiddle to your politics and ideology, know that a Kirillian log is firmly lodged in your eye. When you despise those in the Body of Christ who don’t politically and ideologically align with you, know that the Kirillian log is firmly lodged in your other eye, too. When you question whether someone is even a Christian if they don’t align with your politics and ideology, know that the Kirillian log has worked its way into your heart and has put you on life support.
Mark Tooley’s article in World magazine (online) is entitled: Russian Orthodox Patriarch Betrays the Gospel. American Evangelicals are on the same road. May God forgive us and turn us around and cleanse us and revive us.
Be blessed and stay healthy and follow Jesus! Pastor Tim