The Amsterdam Symposium: An Abuse of Authority?

Source: American Orthodox Institute

By Fr. Johannes L. Jacobse

The recent meeting in Amsterdam by various academics, one bishop, seminary faculty, priests and others (names listed below) to “to reflect on a wide range of matters concerning human sexuality” was ostensibly “not monolithic” in opinions about sexuality according to one participant. No doubt that is true given the range of participants but it is far from informative.

More instructive is that only a few of the participants have any substantive experience or training in pastoral theology. Why is this important? Because many of the ideas most likely bandied about in the symposium have grave pastoral ramifications. Ideas are one thing. The effects that the ideas have once they are adopted are another thing altogether.

So why did they meet? It’s a fair question to ask because some of the participants draw their ideas from the left wing of the dominant political culture rather than Orthodox tradition (more on this below). Secondly, since the participants listed the institutions with which they are affiliated, those institutions lent their authority to the symposium whether they intended to or not.

Academics are free to call any symposium they want to but are they are not free to invoke the imprimatur of the institutions they represent, particularly as an afterthought and especially when they lack expertise in the subjects discussed. They abuse their authority when they do.

Many of the academics are associated with St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVS). They include:

  • Fr. Michael Bakker
  • Fr. John Behr
  • Fr. John Jillions (adjunct, Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America)
  • Fr. Philip LeMasters (adjunct)
  • Gayle Woloschak (adjunct)

This is a strong showing by SVS faculty, some of whom work with organizations that hold views on sexuality inimical to Orthodox moral teaching. Gayle Woloschak for example serves on the advisory board of The Wheel, an online journal populated with homosexual apologists, gay “marriage” activists, and more. Woloschak is free to associate with anyone she pleases and The Wheel is free to publish anything it wants. SVS however, is not free to associate its name and reputation with the the self-styled “reformers” at The Wheel and their social justice activism.

Other participants included Aristotle Papanikolaou who along with George E. Demacopoulos edits Public Orthodoxy, another online journal that publishes occasional articles that undermine Orthodox moral teaching. In a recent issue Public Orthodoxy published “Conjugal Friendship” by defrocked priest and homosexual Peter J. (Giacomo) Sanfilippo that argued that the Orthodox moral tradition implicitly sanctions sanctions homosexual activity and homosexual “marriage.”

Like The Wheel, the editors of Public Orthodoxy are free to publish anything they want. They are not free to represent the journal as Orthodox when it publishes essays such as Sanfilippo’s. St. Vladimir’s Seminary has a close association with Papanikolaou and Democopoulos through the work of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University where both men teach.

Fr. John Jillions’ participation is dicier because even though he is the Chancellor of the OCA, he represented himself as a member of the SVS faculty. He is also on the record as sympathetic to secular political definitions of homosexuality. This is one reason why he failed to anticipate the outcry over Fr. Robert Arida’s essay “Never Changing Gospel, Ever Changing Culture” a few years back on the OCA youth blog that made a (laborious) case for sanctioning sodomy. Reaction was swift especially by priests and the essay was quickly removed but he offered no explanation why it was posted in the first place.

Not all participants at the symposium hold to a secular reading of the homosexual condition of course, but it should be clear to any informed observer that the long-term ramifications of homosexual behavior for both the individual and the Church are more than what The Wheel or Public Orthodoxy think that they are. The folks at The Wheel draw their ideas exclusively from the secular left. They argue using the language of identity politics. The folks at Public Orthodoxy take a different approach. They teach that only the dogma of the Church (theological statements about the nature and character of the Trinity and Jesus Christ) is unchangeable. The moral teachings on the other hand are culturally conditioned and therefore relative.

The homosexual issue arises in Orthodoxy because folks at publications like The Wheel and Public Orthodoxy make it one. They have a very poor grasp of why the the moral tradition prohibits the behaviors in the first place. They lack pastoral training and concrete pastoral experience and either don’t see or refuse to see that homosexuality distorts authentic manhood. Men are not created to engage sexually with other men. Doing so retards the development and can even destroy the masculine self-identity necessary for healthy and mature manhood.

The activists are captive to the primary moral assertion of identity politics that states if a person has been abused for being homosexual, then we must submit to the claim that homosexual behavior is morally acceptable without any criticism or dissent. The Orthodox moral tradition makes no such claim. No one should be abused for being homosexual but homosexual behavior is nonetheless prohibited because it inflicts harm to the soul of the person engaged in it.

There is also a deeper anthropological shift taking place. Homosexual ideology argues that homosexual desire is innate, part of a person’s created being. Put simply, if a person experiences homosexual desire, that desire ought to considered good and true and given by God. Homosexual desire is seen as part of our human identity, and not as a passion or sinful desire, or an occasion for struggle as all other sinful desires are. If homosexual desire is part of created identity (“God made me gay”), then there is no reason to help the person struggling with same-sex desire and ultimately no rationale by which he can be helped.

On a Church wide level the shift is more ominous. If we sanction homosexual behavior in the Church as normative (as blessed by God), then the Church becomes emasculated. Healthy men don’t want anything to do with it and they will leave. This is why the mainstream Protestant and Episcopalian churches collapsed after they became homosexualized.

Does SVS President Fr. Chad Hatfield understand that when seminary professors lend their credentials to views inimical to the moral tradition that they confer the moral authority of the seminary to those views? Does the SVS Board of Directors? Do Metropolitan ZACHARIAH Mar Nicholovos, or His Grace, The Right Reverend DAVID, or Metropolitan JOSEPH who serve on that board? Certainly they must because they are men of the tradition. Do they want the seminary associated with the kind of social justice activism that The Wheel and Public Orthodoxy promote? Are they aware that the seminary appears to be complicit, even unwittingly, with attempts to drag the American culture wars into American Orthodoxy?

Orthodox polity is conciliar and the locus of conciliarity is the Synod of Bishops. The OCA bishops appear reluctant to address the growing conflict about homosexuality (Fr. Arida for example has never been publicly reprimanded). If they do not assert their leadership, then the issue will be decided for them. The secular juggernaut is powerful and it will swallow emasculated Orthodox men as easily as it swallowed emasculated Protestants and Episcopalians.

Orthodox practice is local and occurs in each parish. Priests are the people who deal with the real problems caused by the deleterious ideas that some participants in the conference hold and promote. Priests who understand the dynamics behind homosexual desire and who comprehend human anthropology as it is handed to us, can instruct and guide a person struggling with same-sex desire. We don’t need or want the fanciful locutions of those who market ideas but have no real experience with the ramifications that their ideas unleash.

Given the consternation and confusion promulgated by the Amsterdam Symposium, several things need to happen.

  1. SVS President Fr. Chad Hatfield needs to clarify if the seminary knew about the meeting and condoned participation in it. Is he aware of the symposium’s content, aims and objectives?
  2. Given Fr. John Behr’s prominence at the seminary and his international reputation, he should publish a record of his participation in the symposium and clarify its purpose and goals.
  3. The SVS Board of Directors should publish a statement to clarify the seminary’s position on Orthodox anthropology and marriage givens the strong representation of SVS faculty at the symposium.
  4. The bishops of the participants attending the symposium should clarify if they gave their blessing to hold and attend the meeting.
  5. Met. Tikhon of the OCA should clarify if the participation of the OCA Chancellor Fr. John Jillions met with his approval and blessing.

When academics swim in waters outside of their specialty, others are enticed to swim with them and the weaker drown. That’s why the Church needs to correct these abuses of authority.

The participants included:

Amsterdam Conference

  • Fr. John Behr (St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, ACOT)
  • Brandon Gallaher (University of Exeter)
  • Edith Humphrey (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary)
  • Fr. John Jillions (SVOTS)
  • Pantelis Kalaitzidis, (Volos Academy)
  • Fr. Philip LeMasters (McMurry University, SVOTS)
  • Fr. Joan Lena (ACOT)
  • Fr. Andrew Louth (Emeritus Durham University, ACOT)
  • Fr. Nicolae Mosoiu (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu)
  • Aristotle Papanikolaou (Fordham University)
  • Fr. Vasileios Thermos (University of Athens)
  • Gayle Woloschak (Northwestern University, SVOTS)
  • Comments

    1. Not so long ago olden days. I remember when “Domestic Partners” first came up on the ballot in San Francisco. I wrote .. way back then .. to the SF Examiner arguing something along the lines that I can make my dog a domestic partner, there were loopholes, “domestic partner what?” essentially. They printed it and I thought cool, someone on the muni bus riding with me might read it, anyway, this is San Francisco, and, and, “Domestic Partners” lost. It was close, but it lost. Maybe I may have swayed a vote, maybe, but at that point The City was saying no, we don’t want to give benefits to folks who just register. No one though was talking about “gay marriage.” The idea itself actually did not exist yet. Even most gays back then would likely give you a smirky look and take that to be something outlandish and probably superfluous anyway, Harvey Milk never even suggested it they just wanted of course a level of official recognition of their ‘dp’ status and some legal perks like getting to use sick pay to care for a domestic partner things along those lines. Today, SF City Hall is all lit up in rainbow colors .. a week ahead .. of the parade. And back then I had the occasion to brush aside their event saw sacrilegious stuff, then their Folsom Street event where they advertised it depicting the Last Supper with gays and so forth, Miller Beer had to take their name off however Nancy Pelosi thought it was ok, sex toys not to belabor further yup, at least once The City said no.

    2. Monk James says:

      While most of what Fr Hans writes here is important and true, it seems to me that we have so far failed to make one major point clear, and that is that the Amsterdam meetings had/have no authority over the life of The Church.

      Rather than offer postulations and suppositions now, reasonable as they might be, it would be better to wait for position papers to emerge from those meetings, and then have competent people respond to the issues they raise and bring their reasoned responses to the attention of the bishops.

    3. In addition why is St Vlads promoting a conference in October that is sponsored by a group pushing for Women’s Ordination?

      • Fr. Demetrios says:

        In the past there has been a more active female diaconate in the church until the 12th century. It has just fallen into disuse. The church of Alexandria under the guidance of their Patriarch and Synod has seen fit to revive this ministry. Five women in the Democratic Republic of Congo were ordained making history. They are deaconess’s. This is an important ministry in assisting the cannonically ordain priest to minister to the women of the area. Their role is an important one and there are many examples in the history of the church of the role that they will serve.

        • I get that and it makes sense to rivive a role that served a traditional society for a traditional society today. It makes no sense in the west where it is just a wedge issue. Note that the WO sponsor is pushing for female clergy.

        • Monk James says:

          Fr. Demetrios (June 23, 2017 at 12:36 am) says:

          In the past there has been a more active female diaconate in the church until the 12th century. It has just fallen into disuse. The church of Alexandria under the guidance of their Patriarch and Synod has seen fit to revive this ministry. Five women in the Democratic Republic of Congo were ordained making history. They are deaconess’s. This is an important ministry in assisting the cannonically ordain priest to minister to the women of the area. Their role is an important one and there are many examples in the history of the church of the role that they will serve.
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          Much work awaits these good women as catechists and pastoral liaisons, but not as deaconesses.

          The reports which I saw, including photos, indicated that they had been ‘blessed’ for their tasks in a ceremony apart from the Divine Liturgy. On the other hand, deaconesses were ordained at the same point in the DL as deacons, that is, after the conclusion of the Anaphora.

          So, whatever these women are, they’re not deaconesses.

    4. “Homosexual desire is seen as part of our human identity, and not as a passion or sinful desire, or an occasion for struggle as all other sinful desires are. If homosexual desire is part of created identity (‘God made me gay’), then there is no reason to help the person struggling with same-sex desire and ultimately no rationale by which he can be helped.”

      The thing is that everyone can see that genitalia of men and women are complimentary (plug in socket) and designed to produce offspring while the genitalia of men with men or women with women are not complimentary and produce nothing.

      It is not rocket science. Everybody knows that something is wrong with these people at a deep psychological level but the Western World is increasingly becoming divided between those who can face that fact and those who arrogantly chose to proceed in denial of it against all traditional religion and against the witness of primitive nature itself.

      It is simply an act of willful disobedience to Divine Law, much like the Fall which got us into this trouble to begin with.

      The problem that advocates of such twisted perversion face is that the Universe is not programmed to operate in its day to day fabric in accord with their preferred twisted social development.

      “As the prophets beheld, as the Apostles have taught,… as the Church has received… as the teachers have dogmatized,… as the Universe has agreed,… as Grace has shown forth,… as Truth has revealed,… as falsehood has been dissolved,… as Wisdom has presented,… as Christ Awarded,… thus we declare,… thus we assert,… thus we preach Christ our true God, and honor as Saints in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in Holy Icons; on the one hand worshipping and reverencing Christ as God and Lord; and on the other hand honoring as true servants of the same Lord of all and accordingly offering them veneration.

      This is the Faith of the Apostles, this is the Faith of the Fathers, this is the Faith of the Orthodox, this is the Faith which has established the Universe.”

      We do not say that to be dramatic or triumphalist. We say that because the Orthodox phronema is the phronema of God insofar as human beings can experience it. It is theosis and the world is organized based on the theology which has been explicated for us by the saints, including St. Gregory Palamas. We are invited, in a limited way, to think as God thinks, not as man thinks.

      But the way to this understanding is confounded by sin – willful departure from the Plan of God, the Law of God. It obstructs grace. And it needlessly complicates the lives of people who would be better served by leading them to the Pillar and Ground of Truth, the Church and its Tradition, which is the Holy Spirit living within it.

    5. Oh how I wish the OCA was never given autocephaly.

    6. Your clarity on this issue is worth of genuine admiration, especially all the facts spelled out. The apostles on Pentecosts, St. Paul, the 4 major theologians, and all authentic Holy Fathers all acquired the Holy Spirit. Those assembled at this conference, despite their academic credentials, have not acquired the Holy Spirit which is the Divine Authority of the Holy Trinity. As it appears they may well be challenging the dogmas established for the faithful by the Holy Trinity for their salvation, this has to bee the works of the antichrist. We will all have to pick a side. As Christian with children who they love, will vastly side with authentic Church. The sneaky way it was assembled reminds me of the underhanded way they got rid of Met Jonah. Expect more of the same. I have met Bishop Maxim, but was forbidden to speak to him by Fr Gerasim and Protopresbyter Lubliner. He still impressed me. He may will have attended to see what they were up to. I hope so.

    7. It took nearly 14 centuries for The Church (the churches, by that time fractured by splits) to finally accept that our solar system is indeed heliocentric. No matter what early academics, astronomers, even scientist/theologians said, published or proved, The Church would not believe it. It simply defied scripture, they said. Those who propagated a non-geocentric view were called
      “Very dangerous” by Church Cardinals
      “foolish and absurd, heretical” by Inquisitors
      “teachers of false doctrine altogether contrary to the Holy Spirit.” by a Pope
      Those who “would pervert the order of nature.” By Calvin

      And yet, by the 18th century, even The Church had to accept that they had indeed been wrong. Science had finally proven that the Earth did, factually and without doubt, orbit the Sun.

      This is the issue I have with entire Christian denominations, Popes, Metropolitans, Priests, Deacons and Orthodox Laiety claiming to know, without a doubt, that homosexual desire is not innate or inborn. We know that – factually, and without a doubt – there are infants born intersex. At the very least, what are we to say about that? If a child is born intersex, did God not make him/her that way as He is the Creator of all? What is this child to do regarding biology vs. organs possessed vs. who they are attracted to?

      Whether the Church likes it or not, science is starting to unravel some of the mystery behind why babies are born intersex….which is naturally leading into the study of why, it seems, some infants are born predisposed to “be gay.”

      In this fallen world, more and more children are being born outside the norm. As woman put off having children later and later, Down Syndrome is on the rise. Autism is on the rise. And, for some reason, intersex children and the number children who claim to be gay is also on the rise. Religion yells liberalism & feminism. Liberals yell lack of environmental care, toxins, overpopulation. Science doesn’t yell anything, it just looks for why.

      In the case of intersex infants and children who later identify as gay, there is compelling research that is just in its infancy. (Like 4th century “early astronomers” who theorized that the Earth circled the sun, but just didn’t have quite enough proof to satisfy those shouting “Heretic!”) A recent article links incorrect levels of testosterone in the 4th month of pregnancy with a much higher likelihood of birthing an infant “predisposed” to SSA. Think about the implications if this were to waaaay down the road prove to be true. All of a sudden, SSA wouldn’t be a “personality trait” or a “deviant choice,” it would be a matter of biology (as is with an intersex infant).

      So, if a group of theologians or priests or specific Orthodox lay persons wish to hold a symposium on the subject of SSA (as it appears has happened), I see that as a good thing. And, as an Orthodox priest, if you feel that the group didn’t have enough people present with Real Pastoral Experience, maybe instead of point your finger at their efforts….maybe instead of pointing out the specific people you disagree with….maybe instead of quoting scripture (because that worked so well re:the Earth vs the Sun)… maybe you should join them in prayer and discussion.

      The subject of SSA isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, I predict, it will only become larger and larger as a topic The Church must deal with: not because of screaming liberals, not because of feminists, not because of deviants, but because science moves a whole lot faster in these days, in this century. It’s not going to take them 14 centuries to scientifically prove that being gay is likely not a choice, nor simply a “personality” trait for most people, it’s just a biological fact.

      • Saunca,

        That is the peril in trusting science. It keeps evolving from ignorance into greater erroneous accuracy. God is Alpha and Omega. He alone knows reality’s ultimate nature and where it is going.

        First of all, the Orthodox Church has not had a problem with science. You are referring to the heretical sect known as the “Roman Catholic Church”.

        Secondly, there was the cosmology of Ptolemy, the cosmology of Copernicus, the cosmology of the more modern scientists who know that the entire universe does not revolve around the sun but merely our little solar system, and the cosmology of Einstein. Now, even the cosmology of Einstein is being revised.

        Who knows what science will come up with next? It is nothing in which to base ones faith, merely man’s continuing exploration of the infinite, which he cannot ultimately fathom.

        What came before the Big Bang?

        Crickets chirping.

        Exactly.

        Man is limited by the fact that he lives in God’s universe, created by God, under God’s laws. Orthodox Christianity is the faith which established the universe – the Law of God. Man cannot understand infinite past, infinite future, infinite space. It boggles the mind.

        God alone always has been and always will be, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He has given us the Truth. The Church is the pillar and ground of Truth. Holy Tradition is the life of the Holy Spirit in the Body of Christ, the Church.

        It is that simple, and that complex.

        But that is Reality – the way things actually are. And Western man is just going to have to come to terms with it because God is tired of all the shenanigans. He is winding things up before our very eyes even as we speak.

        You see it in the news every day.

      • Michael Bauman says:

        saunca,

        I would be interested in any Orthodox pronouncements on the non-heliocentric universe if you can find any.

        Science is not at odds with God. Scientism which is what we mostly have today is.

        Even if there are physiological predispositions to all sorts of non-normative sexual desires that says nothing at all about there virtue or need to accept those practices as OK by the Church.

        We are all sexually disordered because of our sinfulness. We are all subject to sexual ascesis.

        The male-female antinomy is as firmly a part of the cosmos as heliocentric solar systems.

        You are the one arguing for a Ptolomeic sexual system with all of the attendant cycles and epicycles, not the Church.

        Such confusion is without beauty and therefore in conflict with the eternal mind of God and His will.

        A paraphrase of Copernicus intial defense of his model BTW.

      • Lexcaritas says:

        Dear to Christ Saunca, your description of the scientific basis for a heliocentric understanding of the solar system and your depiction of the Church’s view of it is erroneous. Equally shallow is the suggestion that ChristGod makes intersex infants or persons with an inborn, genetically biological or emotional predisposition to engage in sexual activity with persons of the same sex. This is delusion and attributes the effects of sin to God. By the way heliocentricity is as man made ways of understanding as was the more complex Ptolemaic system of egocentricity. Neither is a matter of truth only poor descriptions of it.

        As for the suggestion of a rise in intersexual births and homosexuality (and now transgenderism), if true. Perhaps each a sign and consequence of the cultures rebellion from divine law? As are the rise in breast and cervical cancers linked with the use of pharmaceutical contraception and induced abortions–i.e. The rejection of infants or their secret slaughter.

        Christ is in our midst though He come to His own and His own things reflect Him.

        Lxc+

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Lex, thank you for these comments.

          If I may go on a tangent regarding “intersex” children. Our civilization is at an inflection point in many ways. From a biochemical standpoint, I can honestly say that due to a variety of factors, teratogenesis, breast cancers in women, gynaecomastia in men and homosexuality as well as cuckoldry are on the rise in the West because of increased estrogens in the food/water supply.

          The decrease in testosterone levels in men is remarkable. According to latest information, the average male today has a T-level of only 400ng/dl (nanograms/deciliter) whereas his grandfather back in the 50s had an average testosterone level of 750ng/dl. That’s astounding.

          The ubiquity of soy in the food supply is most probably the culprit but the presence of estrogen in the water table is another. Where does this excess estrogen come from? From being consumed by tens of millions of adolescent girls/young women through their oral contraceptives over half a century now and then being expelled via urination into the sewage system, whereby it is taken up by fish, who are at the bottom of the food chain.

          For an informative summation of this, I would ask all to take 10 minutes to watch this short video, it’s called: “Is Soy Feminizing the West?”: https:/youtube/mduUBJTdXag

      • Centurion says:

        Speaking of scientific evidence…

        Not ‘Born That Way’: New Scientific Analysis Questions ‘LGBT’ Orthodoxies
        JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND
        http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/not-born-that-way-new-scientific-analysis-questions-lgbt-orthodoxies

        A comprehensive new survey about sexuality and gender, undertaken by leading medical experts, concludes that key theories are unsupported by scientific evidence.

        A new report that examines nearly 200 peer-reviewed studies on sexual orientation and gender identity concludes that science hasn’t confirmed key theories about these subjects, including the belief that homosexuals are “born that way.”

        And it rejects surgical and hormonal interventions for children who identify as “transgender,” on the grounds that the large majority of such children outgrow identities that conflict with their biological sex.

        “Examining research from the biological, psychological and social sciences, this report shows that some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence,” reads an introductory note by Adam Keiper, editor of The New Atlantis, a leading journal of science, technology and ethics that published the report, “Sexuality and Gender.”

        “The report has a special focus on the higher rates of mental-health problems among LGBT populations, and it questions the scientific basis of trends in the treatment of children who do not identify with their biological sex,” said Keiper.

        “More effort is called for to provide these people with the understanding, care and support they need to lead healthy, flourishing lives.”

        “Sexuality and Gender” was written by Dr. Lawrence Mayer, scholar in residence in the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University, and Dr. Paul McHugh, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who served for 25 years as psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The study was released Aug. 22.

        The report asserts that scientific evidence does not support the theory that “gender identity is an innate, fixed property of human beings that is independent of biological sex — that a person might be ‘a man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body.’”

        The authors also question the adoption of new interventions for children and teens who do not identify with their biological sex.

        “Only a minority of children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood,” the report concludes.

        “There is no evidence that all such children should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery.”

        The report takes no position on related public-policy debates and legal questions regarding same-sex “marriage” or new bathroom rules for transgender students. Rather, the authors make clear that people who struggle with a range of sexuality and gender issues need the highest standard of care, and they call for additional research to provide a solid foundation for effective treatment.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          If I may interject something about our slavish devotion to science, I don’t know if y’all are aware but two weeks ago, it was revealed that a proto-hominid was uncovered in southern Bulgaria. It upends the “out of Africa” theory about human evolution. It was named Graecopythecus freyborgi (“El Greco” for short) and it pushes back the break-off between bonobo chimps and hominids by 200,000 before the supposed break-off happened in sub-Saharan Africa.

          This means that man “evolved” in the Balkans, not Africa. At this point, as an Hellene, I can say to all humanity: “You’re welcome!” but I’m more humble than that. Regardless of what this means for Darwinian orthodoxy (i.e. does this mean that modern Homo sapiens evolved separately on different continents from different pithecine ancestor in a type of convergent evolution and thus the races are in fact different sub-species [at least]), what we should take away from this is that science is never “settled” and today’s orthodoxy can be overturned in a nonce.

          That goes for global wa climate change, Darwinism, human sexuality, etc.

          • I mean if you want to be Bulgarian be my guest, but I’ll pass on that theory.

            Only joking btw. I am glad research is starting to disprove the “Out of Africa” theory. There is also research out there that shows the ancient Egyptians were closer to Indo-European peoples (can’t remember if this is proto-IE or modern IE) than to modern Copts.

          • M. Stankovich says:

            Wow. I’m learning so much today. I first heard the word, “nonce” in prison, interchangeable with the word, “diddler,” both referencing (according to the legal jargon) “lewd & lascivious behaviour perpetrated against a child 14-years of age or younger” and generally preceded with the forceful modifier “f*****g” (e.g. “You f******g nonce,” or diddler). You learn something new everyday. An obscure, but interesting choice, Mr. M.

            Yesterday I received my entire genome pre-packaged in a zip file, and with some analysis as the FDA currently allows. I am free to enter any or all my SNP’s into, for example, the Mendelian database of the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man at Johns Hopkins University, a project of the National Center for Biotechnology Information of the National Library of Medicine. This, if you think about it, is absolutely astonishing. But more to the point, it emphasizes the fact there is much in genetics and science that is not “volatile” and unsettled, to be overturned “in a nonce.” In fact, at its core, this underlying genome is fashioned at the very Hand of our Creator, and was shared – in fact and in reality, in form and in substance – by our Lord and Savior to achieve our redemption and salvation. And how would a geneticist see the generations of Jesus of Nazareth as read from Matthew 1 on the Sunday Before the Nativity but as a concise “pedigree” of Him come to save us.

            My point here is simple. Anyone who has read the contemplation of St. Gregory the Theologian as he marveled the order of nature in a forest; shared the Psalmist’s awe of the creation expressed in Ps. 103; or sensed the power of the simple observation of the Genesis writer’s conclusion of the creation – that having finishing all His work, God looked upon it and concluded it was “very good” appreciates those elements of our salvation history that are “scientific” and always true. If there is a seeming “contradiction” with science, unlike others. we simply do not feel “compelled” to provide explanations for what we do not know or understand. We believe the Truth that was revealed to us, and the Truth that will be revealed to us an that day when our God will be all in all (1 Cor. 15:28).

      • Fr Chris Moody says:

        them 14 centuries to scientifically prove that being gay is likely not a choice, nor simply a “personality” trait for most people, it’s just a biological fact.

        That is presumption. The very fact God forbade the behavior settles it. Along with incest and other sexual deviancies. The canard about flat earth is inaccurate for the eastern church, as well. Epigenetics and cultural engineering account for a lot of this craze.
        That is fact, as well.

    8. Joseph Lipper says:

      From the AOI website, listed as a footnote where this article was originally published:

      “Fr. Hans is the founder of the American Orthodox Institute, and is a recognized authority on the impact of ideology and narrative on culture.”

      Who is it that recognizes Fr. Hans as an authority on the impact of ideology and narrative on culture?

      Could it be that this very article by Fr. Hans is an abuse of this said authority?

      The thing about the meeting in Amsterdam is that it does not proclaim itself as authoritative, and it was not even intended to be publicized…whereas Fr. Hans is proclaimed as an authority by the AOI blog that he founded.

      We should be reminded that secret meetings are not always a bad thing. We are admonished to initially confront our brothers of their sin in secret. Let us not forget that going to confession is essentially a secret meeting also.

    9. The church that persecuted accurate science the Catholic church has maintained it’ forced compliance with .war, black ops, and excommunication. Where in Orthodox history does this it prove the Orthodox have interpreted the Holy Fathers the same as the Catholic’s did?.

    10. Will Harrington says:

      Saunca

      RE History. This is nonsense. Galileo Galilei did face the inquisition. The inquisition wanted to find out which side of a fight between astronomers was correct. Galileo argued for a heliocentric solar system. This is true. It was, by Occam’s razor, the simplest solution. His opponents though. had a good argument. If the earth moved around the sun then we should observe parallax in the stars (look it up, I don’t want to type that much). They were right. If the earth circles the sun, then parallax must exist. It does, but they couldn’t detect it at that time. The inquisitions verdict? A heliocentric model is possible but unproven. How is that somehow anti science? Lets just kill that propaganda now. Why did Galileo end up in house arrest? Because he threw a fit (he was by all accounts an unpleasant person), and wrote a screed about the whole affair and insulted the Pope. So, of course the Inquisition pulled him in and demanded he recant what he wrote (remember the insulting the Pope part). He refused and ended up under house arrest. This wasn’t about the Church denying science and it isn’t about that now.

    11. Pat Reardon says:

      Very good, Father Hans!

    12. Djordje says:

      This is a pretty good indication about Bishop Maxim’s thoughts and teachings on this matter: http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2008/10/california-orthodox-bishops-issue-statement-on-proposition-8/

      • Michael Bauman says:

        One would hope Bishop Maxim shared the Church’s perspective and called those who do not to repentance as is his responsibility.

        Why do I think that did not happen? After all we must be tolerant of others opinions must we not?

        Balderdash!.

    13. Michael Bauman says:

      Saunca, since your post is refuted historically, theologically, esthetically and scientifically you might want to reconsider that your ideas are much more anti-Christian ideology than anything resembling the truth.

      Homoerotic acts are deeply sinful. Same sex attraction partakes of a disordered sexuality that stems from sin.

      Acceptance of sin is not what the Church does. Through a life of confession and repentance through the grace of God we overcome our sins and are led into deeper communion with Jesus Christ and each other.

      Part of that communion is bearing one another’s burdens in thanksgiving. Condemnation is not.

      Lack of condemnation is not acceptance though. Acceptance of sin as normative is quackery. It is a recipe for death.

      We are all sinners in the merciful hands of a living God. Why should we fear going to Him for help and healing?
      Only my own shame keeps me from really doing so.

      We are neither Roman Catholic nor Reformed.

      You seem to be a kind person with a compassionate heart. Do not allow that kindness to be missused by the political and ideological lies of the world.

      God forgive me.

    14. Meanwhile, this is the holiest thing that I have ever read:

      http://www.weeklystandard.com/day-of-birth-day-of-mourning/article/2008611

    15. Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says:

      Thank you, Misha, for sharing that weblink. That article by Jeremy Lott in The Weekly Standard is one of the most moving and compelling cases for the pro-life moral rejection of abortion (also taught unanimously–i.e., without a single Church Father dissenting!–by our Orthodox Tradition) that I have ever read.

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