Sunday, August 31, 2014

How To Prove You Are A True Orthodox Church

The best way to prove you are a true Orthodox Church is not by offering public apologetics, historical ecclesiastical tracking, and attempting to discern the heart and intent of the actions of jurisdictional Bishops at a moment in time, so that you might compare yourself to them, saying, 

"I thank thee, oh God, that we are not like that Jurisdiction over there!" 

Rather, the best way to show you are a true Orthodox Church is to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God thus exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit and the dunamis power of ministry. 

"By their fruits you shall know them."  

In this way the presence of God among you will be noised abroad.

The lack of such demonstration is to

"Have a form of Godliness but deny the power thereof," 

thus proving you are not a true Orthodox Church.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Yes! A Quality Feature Film! Orthodox Subject!

As a film producer, I am thrilled to see such quality work. No subtitles available on this clip and no other information as to the producers, but the fact that a film based on the life of a Russian Orthodox Saint has been made, is VERY encouraging. 

If you have a desire to see these types of films produced and have the means to financially invest in projects with Orthodox subjects, please go to My company, Rocky Top Pictures, is entering the investment phase. 

Where are all the Film Investors?

UPDATE: Note: Films, such as those produced by Rocky Top Pictures LLC. including Moses The Black are NOT financed through donations. Only qualified investors who are able to show their fiscal viability are legally allowed to invest and that under contract. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

JAILBIRD - A Riveting New Novel By The Sister Of JTO Author- UPDATE

UPDATE: Doing brisk sales! Order yours today...

What do John GottiTimothy McVeighKarla Faye Tucker and Omar Abdel-Rahman (also known as the Blind Sheik) have in common? My sister, Rebecca Lewis, was their chaplain. Read this riveting novel from this 30-year veteran of the county and federal prison systems. Available now on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Five Reasons Demons Attack

"It is said that God allows the demons to attack us for five reasons.

The FIRST is that, through being attacked and fighting back, we should learn to distinguish virtue from sin.
The SECOND is that, having acquired virtue by struggle and labor, we should keep it firm and unalterable.
The THIRD, that progressing in virtue we should not think highly of ourselves, but should learn humility.
The FOURTH, that having experienced in practice, the wickedness of sin, we should hate it with a perfect hatred.
Finally, the FIFTH and most important is that having been freed from passion we should not forget our weakness and the strength of Him Who has helped us."

St Maximos the Confessor. Second Century on Love, Text #67. B#9.

Monday, August 25, 2014

What Does The Koran Say About Jesus?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

How to Treat One Another

One should reflect first what one is going to say, and then give it utterance; be courteous when addressed, amiable in social intercourse, not aiming to be pleasant by facetiousness, but cultivating gentleness in kind admonitions. Harshness is ever to be put aside, even in censuring. -St. Basil the Great, PG, Vol 32, Epistolae, II

Or how canst thou say to thy brother: Brother, let me pull the mote out of thy eye, when thou thyself seest not the beam in thy own eye? Hypocrite, cast first the beam out of thy own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to take out the mote from thy brother's eye. -St Luke 6:42

Thanks to Father Joseph Gagliano of Saint Lawerence Mission - from his Sunday bulletin.

Monday, August 18, 2014

One Reason Why Rocky Top Pictures Exists

This is one of the main reasons why my Rocky Top Pictures exists. I loathe "Christian Films." By the way, Protestants still think they are the core of Christianity. They really need to get out more. 

Has anyone heard of Orthodox Christianity? It is the original Christian Church founded by Christ and His Disciples. It is still here. My apologies to Hollywood for the junk some have been presenting in the name of Christianity and for a pseudo-Christianity that is far removed the original in doctrine and practice. Rest assured, help is on the way!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Right Attitude Toward Those In The "Charismatic Movement"

"As for those caught in the web of the charismatic movement, 

under no circumstances are we justified if we condemn them. 

Those who imagine themselves saved by all of this are victims of a demonic arrogance which blinds them to true evangelical humility, which often serves certain personality deficits, and which, more often than not, convinces them inwardly of their own salvation—indeed, a dangerous thing. 

We must reach out to these people with charitable words, 

constantly assuring them that the Orthodox Church has a fullness which is not yet realized in America. Within that fullness, we must tell them, rests a true spiritual treasure, not a dull stone glimmering with the polish of deceit and emotionalism. And then, to be sure, 

we must set about restoring the fullness of the Church's traditions, admitting readily that WE, not the Church, have lacked fullness!"

From Orthodox Tradition, Vol. I, Nos. 4&5, pp. 29-32.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Were Saint Symeon the New Theologian and Saint John of Kronstadt Charismatics?

Both saints moved in the charisms. prophecies of the future, words of knowledge, visions and dreams, seers into the heavens, purveyors of the direct mysteries of God for specific current situations to individuals and churches. They are only two of the saints of God who did so. Were they charismatics? Is Christianity charismatic? The word charism is a greek word meaning "grace". "Mata" means "gifts", i.e., chrismata means "grace gifts." Does God gift his church with gifts that are beyond the natural realm? Is the church supernatural? Is the Holy Spirit limited to only the natural? Is the church? Is not all of the body Christ gifted with charisms? If not, then is Christianity just like any other idealistic philosophical belief system?

The word, charismatic, has been usurped by the modern Montanist-influenced movement predominately seen in the protestant world.  Unfortunately, some Orthodox believers fail to understand that the word belongs to the church. It is scriptural. It is Orthodox. To be charismatic does not mean that one is part of the Charismatic Movement, which inlcludes spiritualism, demonic influence, false prophets, satanic visions and manifestations, and false doctrines, promoted by men and women who are not under the authority or umbrella of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. To be charismatic means that the orthodox church is infused with the Holy Spirit and operates in the heavenly realms. In this way, and in this way only, will "the gates of hell not prevail against it."

First and foremost, salvation, being born again of spirit and of water, is charismatic. Indeed, all of the sacraments are charismatic. "The holy mysteries or sacraments in the Orthodox Church are vessels of the mystical participation in divine grace of mankind. In a general sense, the Orthodox Church considers everything which is in and of the Church as sacramental or mystical." 

So, too, the church, through it's individual members, operates in the charismatic gifts of ministry.

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines."

"For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness."

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:"

Were any of these charisms temporary? Are any of these gifts void today? Only if the following has been accomplished...

"...Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"

Some Orthodox believers, do wrongfully use the word, charismatic, as a curse word to indict other Orthodox Christians. They are uniformed and deceived, when they assume that because an Orthodox person is graced with one of the more demonstratively supernatural ministry gifts, that they must be part of the satanic Charismatic Movement, or are in prelest and deception. They unwisely resist and even attribute such works to the devil. Such knee-jerk reaction is a perilous thing akin to blaspheming the Holy Spirit Himself. Safeguards are given to the church through it's Bishops and those with the charism of Discernment of Spirits, to root out false gifts, but individuals who, out of ignorance, pride, or other such fleshly persuasion, speak such judgement, are in danger themselves of judgement. Saint Symeon and Saint John were subject to such attacks as were other saints. Even Christ was accused: 

"This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.”

He replied with this warning:

“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come."

If you are an Orthodox Christian, then, yes! You are charismatic, though it is advisable in the Western culture not to preface it with "I am a", lest the uniformed misunderstand. Rather, acknowledge that the Holy Spirit resides in you and it is through His charisms, indeed, in Him alone, that you live and move and have your being.

I am not permitted, nor do I desire to be identified with a specific ministry gift with which I am graced. I am satisfied, and so should you be, to know that He is the gift and all that He is is in you, and He has promised that "Greater things will you do than I have done."  I am also ever aware that I am a sinner and my soul is in constant need of redemption, healing and forgiveness. In my early days as an Orthodox Christian, I was ignorant of the ethos and culture which includes specific verbiage and semantics. I was surprised to learn that the words such as "Clairvoyant" and "Seer" were acceptable words when referring to related gifts, but the word "prophet", though it is as Orthodox a word as the former, carried with it connotations and provoked much misunderstanding. I was also unaware that such gifts are deemed by some to be rare. The rarity of these gifts may or may not be true. It is more likely that they are instead, rarely talked about by those who are thus gifted, because of contrition or fear of rejection. In any case, some have relegated these charisms to only cloistered monks and saints of old, and this is not true. My mistake came in creating a blog called Orthodox Prophets, as an outlet for those with such gifts to speak to the world. Rather than accomplish the intended purpose, the blog was perceived by some as a self-promotion. No one, bishop, priest, or laymen, friend or critic, ever spoke to the content of the posts because they could not see through the fact of the very existence of the blog. Out of deference to those to whom the blog was a stumbling block, I removed it from public view. God does not need me. He does not need you. He does not desire sacrifice, but a broken and contrite spirit, he will not despise. None of us are the saviors of the world. Salvation has already come and He is Christ Jesus. It is amazing, it is glorious, that He takes these mortal vessels, cleanses them, fills them with Himself, then pours out His ministry to the world. We have become partakers of His mysteries, His charisms, His charismata, for indeed, without his unmerited favor, none of us would subsist.

Oh... and yes, Saint Symeon and Saint John were charismatics!

Related Articles

The Unfortunate Focus Of Some Orthodox Blogs

Qualifier... This is not to say that those who adhere to a Bishop who denies the doctrines and practices of the Faith of our Fathers or who pursues unity with the Romans and others through the heresy of Ecumenism are Orthodox and don't need to be confronted. Nor is it to say that doctrinal heresies, wherever they may be found, should not be exposed. But, have you noticed even Old Calender blogs, who focus on publicly tearing down other Old Calender groups over jurisdictional questions? What do you think about this? Tell us of your experience below in the Comment section.

Addendum... Orthodoxy is Christianity. Substitute the word Christian for Orthodox in the picture. If wasn't abhorrent enough...