Fr. Lawrence Farley, an Orthodox priest, says that those “Christians” who revise the church’s teaching on marriage are preaching another Jesus, not the Jesus of the Bible. He writes:
Groups that preach another Jesus and another Gospel are rightly regarded by us now as heretically non-Christian, and thus the Orthodox Church does not have an official ecumenical dialogue with Mormons (that I know of) or with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Our message to them is simply “Repent and believe”; we do not meet with them for wine and cheese to discuss Christology at conferences or produce scholarly papers at symposia about the thought of Joseph Smith or Charles Taze Russell. In the same way, any church group or denomination which officially commits itself to blessing homosexual activity or gay marriage is preaching another Jesus, and Orthodoxy should also suspend any official ecumenical dialogue with them. We badly misread the homosexual debate if we regard it simply as another moral issue (like abortion), and a debate over whether or not a particular activity is sinful. It is more basic than that. It is not simply a moral issue; it is a Christological one. If we continue ecumenical dialogue with groups that bless homosexuality, at best we are wasting our breath. At worst we are adding credibility to what Paul called “another gospel”.
This is a man who understands what is at stake when churches succumb to false teachers tempting Christians to forsake what God’s word says about sexuality and marriage. We are not disputing about trivialities but about the essence of things. Read the rest here.
I am sometimes asked why we should regard this issue as essential when marriage and sexuality aren’t mentioned in the Apostle’s Creed. If sexual morality is so important, why isn’t it mentioned there? My answer to that question is simply to highlight another apostolic document–the New Testament–which strongly condemns not merely deviations in doctrine but also deviations in sexual morality.
Jude’s epistle is a classic example of this. Jude commands Christians to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Why? Because false teachers had crept into the congregation. These false teachers are under “condemnation” because they “turn the grace of our God into licentiousness” (Jude 4). In other words, these false teachers had introduced a poison into the congregation that appealed to God’s grace as a basis for immorality. In effect, they had denied the Lordship of Jesus Christ, which is the essence of spiritual death.
We are not fighting a mere culture war. Much more is at stake in this conversation, and if the church of the Lord Jesus Christ fails to bear witness to that, then who will?
(HT: Andrew Walker)