Bully Pulpit (and Pen)

A few of you have asked Your’s Truly why he hasn’t waded in on the conversion of Hank Hanegraaff to the Orthodox Church. More specifically, the scabrous essay written by the purveyors of the Pulpit and Pen blog.

But first, a caveat. As you may know by now, I have been very charitable in the past to all Christian confessions. I’ve never viewed it as my job to castigate other denominations, especially when we’ve got enough problems of our own. You know, beam, splinter, eye. I will continue to do so.

Having said that, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see the wreckage that is modern-day American Protestantism. Consider a comparison if you will. As mentioned in an earlier comment, I recently saw The Promise (view trailer on YouTube). One of the characters that stood out was a Protestant pastor who was a missionary in southern Turkey and took it upon himself to feed, clothe and house Armenian orphans. At great expense to himself he tried to get them shipped out of Turkey and moved heaven and earth to do so.

The pastor in question wore a collar and was manly. There was not a bouffant, pompadour or Giorgio Armani suit in sight. I have vague memories of Protestant pastors comporting themselves in this manner. All wore collars if memory serves. The contrast between the pastor in the movie and the pretty boys of today could not be more stark.

I think that this perception is more widespread than we realize. And it is in this spirit that the satirical “apology” was written.
We should probably keep this in mind when reviewing their criticism of Hank.

That being said, the authors are horrified by Hank’s conversion Holy Orthodoxy, what they call a “dead faith”. Hanegraaff, in case you don’t know, is hugely famous in Evangelical circles as “the Bible Answer Man”. He’s heard on several hundred radio stations by millions of ardent followers.

For some of these followers I imagine, Hank’s conversion was a stunning blow. To these authors however, it was an apostasy of the first order. In trying to come to grips with Hank’s decision, they decided to stalk him (after a fashion) by attending the midnight Easter service at his new parish. There minds were pretty much made up and they put out scathing “apology” to Hank. You can read it for yourself here: An Apology to the Eastern Orthodox Community.

Now, I’m not above snark myself. I appreciate good satire but these folks have beclowned themselves in a way that is hurtful –to them. We’re Orthodox, we can take it (and we did in the twentieth century). Their deceit is really beyond the pale. Rather than argue with them point-by-point, I direct you instead to this excellent rebuttal: PULPIT & PEN: WHY ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS SHOULD IGNORE THEM.

My guess is that rather than argue Orthodoxy’s positions, they concentrate on the cartoonish, Jack Chick characterizations of what they believe to be Orthodoxy. You know, pointing out the “dead”, “ritualistic” and “necromantic” aspects of our Faith. In doing so, their aim is that it will scare away any potential converts.

Now, let’s think about this. Why should they care? After all, they’re Calvinists. Excuse me, but isn’t one of the central tenets of Calvinism –indeed, the central tenet of Calvinism–that some people are eternally damned before time itself began? If so, Hank is only fulfilling the destiny which God proclaimed for him from the beginning. If anything, they should be rejoicing.

But they’re not. Why not? My guess is because their faith is not as strong as they let on.

We Orthodox are undergoing some turmoil right now because of political infighting among some of our bishops. We are nowhere near as united and as loving as Christ Himself implored us to be. I myself bear more than a little blame in this matter. But at the end of the day, we are Orthodox and for all our administrative faults, the Holy Spirit has always righted the Ark of Salvation whenever it listed. I firmly believe that it is doing so at present.

If you ask me, I’d say that Hank’s critics fear us. I’d go so far as to say that they themselves have looked around at the chaos that obtains in modern Protestantism and come to the conclusion that doctrinal fluidity and callisthenics dressed up as “praise and worship” are not what Christ was talking about when He was trudging along the Via Dolorosa, bruised, tortured and bleeding while carrying His cross.

I’m just guessing here but for all our faults, for the minor inconsistencies of our liturgical worship as it is found from parish to parish, the purity of Orthodox worship in its essence cannot be denied. This consistency is even truer when we look at our doctrines. I challenge anyone to find variance in dogma between any of the autocephalous Orthodox Churches. That’s not a small thing and the authors can’t make either claim for their confession.

Lex orandi, lex credendi. ‘Nuff said.


  1. Fr John Chagnon says

    For the most part we just need to pray for such folks. It seems they may thrive on the vitriol so I don’t plan on giving them any such kind of nourishment.

    • Alitheia1875 says

      Yes, Pray for them. But only after sending them a copy of the Synodicon of Orthodoxy.

      • Matthew Panchisin says

        Dear Alitheia1875,

        Sadly,the bishops from the meeting in Crete (that willing and actually signed ) read the Synodicon of Orthodoxy differently apparently. How could that happen other than in ignorance or manipulation?

        In Christ,

        Matthew Panchisin

        • Michael Bauman says

          How about lack of real faith? After all that is progress isn’t it?

          In reality it is a manifestation of nihilism. An attempt to shatter all of the “Thou Shalts” just as Nietzche’s vision in Thus Spake Zarathustra–On the Three Metamorphoses of the Spirit.

          Those who signed either imagine themselves great men or are simply weak. Of course the same might possibly said of those who oppose. “The right deed for the wrong reason is surely the greatest treason.” (T. S. Eliot-Murder in the Cathedral)

          “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven….”
          “My Kingdom is not of this world.”

    • Ashley Nevins says

      The Protestant Evangelicals fear you? That’s hilarious. We confront you. Get on our radar and that’s what we do. It’s called protesting you. Get it?

      Walter Martin’s daughter and former employee’s have exposed Hannegraaff. There is a lot on Hank before he ever went into the authoritarian dictatorial and systemically corrupt GOA.

      Do you want to see a good critique of Hanegraaff? See: Dr. James White Alpha and Omega Ministry You Tubes.

      I got a dogma controversy in Orthodoxy, aerial toll houses.

      Excuse me, you got Calvinist doctrine wrong. Dr. James White will show you how you do.

      Hanegraaff does not know the half of it of what he has involved himself into in the GOC, but I do.

      • “I got a dogma controversy in Orthodoxy, aerial toll houses.”

        It’s not controversial among traditional Orthodox believers, only modernists. Yes, we do have a modernist/ecumenist “controversy” brewing in Orthodoxy with the Patriarch of Constantinople before the synod of the Church of Greece on charges of heresy. But that is a deviation from Orthodoxy.

        “Excuse me, you got Calvinist doctrine wrong. Dr. James White will show you how you do.”

        You should be able to explain your heresy for yourself.

        “Hanegraaff does not know the half of it of what he has involved himself into in the GOC, but I do.”

        Glad to hear it. Hannegraaf happens to have chosen a local church of Orthodoxy that is in the midst of a battle for its soul, a battle over heresy. Would not have been my first choice but it was his. As I have suggested here before, he really needs to get with traditional Orthodox believers and get a full idea of what the faith really is so he himself can give an account of the Truth before pestering heretics, if he so chooses.

        But another word for “pestering heretics” is “swine” and we are counseled by Our Lord not to cast our pearls before such creatures.

      • M. Stankovich says

        Ashley Nevins,

        Χριστὸς Aνέστη! Christ is Risen!

        Again, I greet you with a heart full of the joy of the glorious Resurrection of our Lord God and Savior; a time when “we call ‘brother’ even those that hate us, and forgive all by the Resurrection.” My sincere hope is that no one on this site mock or berate you; and that we all pray that this terrible tragedy of the loss of your son be lifted from you; that the Orthodox Church – the very house of the Physician and Healer – not be misperceived as a “den of thieves” (Matt. 21:13), and continue to be a stumbling block “for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:3-4)

        The facts is, Mr. Nevins, a man looking for filth will find it; the prince of this world is a practiced research assistant and scholar, and you are that man. Your lust for “systematic corruption,” “dogmatic controversy,” and heretical doctrine is neither intended to be confrontational nor corrective, but is simply perverse. Get it? Sure, I get, Mr. Nevis. Since the day Scott took his own life, you have been attempting to convince anyone who will listen that the Greek Orthodox Church is responsible for his death. Mr. Michalopulos graciously sponsored volumes of your railings against the Orthodox Church and its teachings, blah, blah, blah. I offered to facilitate referral to the best clinician(s) I could find in your area. Nothing. Nothing but more of the same. So, Mr. Nevis, when you again come here to proclaim you know this and you know that, I have to think to myself, where were you, when in every single Orthodox Church, the Gospel reading for the Liturgy of Pascha concluded with this statement:

        For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
        [ὅτι ὁ νόμος διὰ Μωϋσέως ἐδόθη, ἡ χάρις καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐγένετο.]

        Anyone who understands this statement, who grasps the power of its intent, is embarrassed for the transparency of your intrusion, Mr. Nevins, and I suspect you are reaching the limits of sympathy as well. My offer to assist is always open. I reiterate my previous contention of the fine line between “critique,” criticism, and irrational and offensive railing. You appear to be walking a tightrope with no net. You are in my prayers.

      • Monk James says

        As usual, bottom feeding evangelicals are making ‘rice Christians’, now taking advantage of the Orthodox in war-torn Syria, helping them only at the price of conversion from the Orthodox Church to their distorted neoprotestant view of Christianity. See the article quoted below.

        ‘Evangelical Christians from the United States and other areas of the world are helping “destroy” the historic Antioch Church in Syria by offering poor, vulnerable orthodox Christians aid and assistance if they “convert” and start worshiping at evangelical house churches, a prominent Syrian priest asserted.’
        Read the full article here:

      • Tell us the true church you belong to, so we may be as enlighten as you. You see Mr. Nevins all religions managed by man with have some form of corruption. All men can be “exposed”, look in the mirror and be honest with yourself, worry more for your own salvation, and like we all should, ask for forgiveness.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Mr. Nevins, if you really want to know the difficulties with James White, you need to visit Orthodox Reformed Bridge.
        At least this missive if yours is well under the 1000 word mark. Shows great restraint.

      • Billy Jack Sunday says

        Hi Mr. Nevins

        I think it’s great that you reject the toll house theory. I reject it too. I don’t even understand how such a belief can survive in Christianity – let alone be associated with the Orthodox Church.

        • The doctrine of the aerial toll houses is not a “theory” but the summation of the teaching of the Church Fathers on the subject. It is a way of explaining the Particular Judgment, what happens to a man when he dies, as opposed to the Last Judgment, what happens to us all in the eschaton after the dead are raised.

          As one trusting in God’s mercy, yet knowing His temporal wrath as visited in history, I would be more concerned about the Particular Judgment than the Last. All one’s remaining misconceptions/sins/errors/amartion must be worked out before one can enter even a paradisical repose. That process is explicated in the doctrine of the aerial toll houses.

          For many, it will not be pleasant.

          • Misha, I view the dialogue between Jesus and the thief on the cross as the summation of the Church’s teaching on judgement. The thief requested, “Lord remember me in your Kingdom” and our Lord responded “tonight you will dine with my Father in Heaven.” There is no mention of after you pass through a few toll houses.

            Additionally, I refer to John 6:47, “Very truly I tell you, the one who believes in me has eternal life.” Misha, by the way, good luck when you get to the toll houses.

          • Billy Jack Sunday says

            Hi Misha

            Yes – I would say it is an incorrect “theory” derived from the incorrect culmination of truly correct doctrines. For instance, take household chemicals. They are important in order to help you keep your house clean. There are chemicals of particular judgement, the chemical of the last judgement, hell/hades, demonic temptations, soul/character cleansing, temptations, spiritual battles for souls, etc. These are important truths in themselves – and they are to help direct us to cleanse and heal. IMO, to make a summation of such concepts by combining them a certain way would be like combining certain household chemicals – some good working alone, some good working sometimes with others, and sometimes potentially deadly if mixed/paired incorrectly. Protestants do the same thing. They take certain truths, match it with other certain truths, and create some sort of dangerous hybrid doctrine.

            To me, the aerial toll house concept has the noxious fumes of gnostic paganism. Should all of us be buried in a yellow track suit with nunchucks (ala Bruce Lee in The Game of Death), in order to battle in ascending order the demons who attempt to destroy our soul’s journey to God after death? Sorry, I do not believe in such ascending celestial booby trap pagodas of demonic evaluations. My godfather does, I do not. To me, it registers right up there with concepts of Gnosticism/aeons, Scientology and the Egyptian book of the dead.

            I do believe the devil is real and wants to tempt/corrupt and steal as many souls as he can try. I do believe it is a fight all the way up to the point of death, and perhaps most heightened just before the moment of death. The judgement of all souls is coming and everyone must prepare. The devil tempts, but he cannot evaluate our souls in any way or any kind of judgement. That alone belongs to Jesus Christ.

            There is a initial/particular judgement, but no one can say what life immediately after death is like. Sure, there are a few very blurry image/concepts, but nothing to make a dogmatic doctrine out of. Exactly what it’s like to be physically dead remains a mystery and needs to remain a mystery.

            Beyond being one of the most terrifying, if not the most terrifying religious concept I have ever heard of, I have a real problem with its potential application. I could totally see an innocent but confused individual believing such a doctrine, and then becoming dependent on someone who uses it in order to control others. We could build the greatest cults, perhaps the greatest of all time, based off of this concept alone. Power, money, wine, women (or men) and song for the leader – terror, psychological damage and all sorts of potential related dangers for a dedicated disciple/follower.

            I am not addressing any particular spiritual leader who teaches this concept as supplemental to spiritual discipline. I don’t really know any personally. However, I remain highly suspect of this teaching and personally don’t want me or my family around anywhere where it is taught as certain gospel truth.

            Orthodoxy would do well to abandon this teaching as well as modern ecumenicism. If I am wrong in any way, may God forgive me. However, this is my best understanding of these things.

  2. I am happy as a lark that this kind of Protestantism still exists. Enough of the limp wristed, sjw ELCA or TEC. Second, I’m glad there’s a group of protestants out there trying to challenge us. This is good, and will only make us stronger.

    • George Michalopulos says

      You got a point there, Vergil. At least these guys have the courage of their convictions and are willing to fight. I have nothing but contempt for mainstream Protestantism (at least its hierarchy). As for the people in the pews of PCUSA, ECUSA, Methodism, etc. I truly feel sorry for what they have to put up with.

      • George I must disagree. I have no respect for such cowards, stalkers, and attention seekers.

        First of all they are confused and terrified why Hank, a man who knows the Bible inside and out, and who has studied and investigated all religions decides to join Orthodoxy.

        Second, they are either completely ignorant and/or most likely their love of money and power has blinded them to the truth. For that they gamble their salvation! Think about it one day someone decides he wants to be a pastor most likely takes part of of another pastor’s congregation and becomes priest, bishop, and archbishop all rolled up in one. The vast majority look to him as the unquestioned authority until some other joker thinks him or herself a better authority, again taking a portion of those members as well. This is why there are thousands of evangelical churches out there. They exist mainly because they hold fast they are right and true and organized religion is that of Satan. Lord have mercy on them and their followers.

        Now my only fear is President Trump. Is he lock step with his Pastor Paula? If the end comes will he see Orthodoxy as part of the devils church and lead our nation down the wrong path?

        Anyway Hank is great addition to our church, I’m positive he will bring many to the true church with him. We must pray for him.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Good questions here Dino. Regarding Trump and his “pastor” Paula, I will say things Pentacostal makes me somewhat queasy. But we Orthodox here in the West have to dine on very thin gruel when it comes to our secular leaders. Think of Obama’s UCC parish in Chicago for example.

          Women pastors, pretty-boy preachers like Joel Osteen, fire-breathing SJW preachers, Mormon prophets are about the best we can expect in modern-day America. How far we have fallen from the days of Billy Graham. (Not that he was perfect.)

        • Michael Bauman says

          Dino, all newly illuminated are a great addition to the Church even the meanest and most ignorant. Actually it would probably be a good idea if he remained silent for awhile on matters of the faith. As good as he is, he has a lot to unlearn. When I listened to him in the past he would be teaching a Biblical precept in a way that was fully congruent with Orthodox understanding and then suddenly veer off into Protestant Biblobabble. Many times I was left banging on the steering wheel of my car wondering why and how he came up with some of that stuff. I had to listen guardedly.

          He has to divest himself of the context of what he knows and it all has to be reordered and recontextualized. Tough to do “on the fly”.

          As Pen and Pulpit shows and the reaction of Bott Radio Network shows it is a rather large difference. Right now the old ways of thought are hard wired in his brain and he is unlikely to discern the difference without direction.

          I hope both he and his pastor/confessor are up to the task and we are not blinded by his celebrity. Lest we forget, Frank Shaffer was greeted in a similar manner also in the GOA and has gone completely off the rails. May God have mercy.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Michael, I know. That is what you say about Frank. What a disaster. Lord have mercy. We should all pray for him. I seriously don’t know what happened.

          • Michael I agree 100%! But then again, just like our salvation our spiritual enlightenment never ends for us as well. We all come from different backgrounds, neither cradle or newbie Orthodox can be put in one box. That said I understand that Hank is undergoing some type of bone marrow testing so we should pray for him for good mind and health.

        • cynthia curran says

          There are two groups of evangelicals on the matter. There is one group more the intellectual that is not as hard on Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodoxy. There is another that attacks even Billy Graham. They are as picky as can be. As for Hank Hangegraff he thought about this over 2 years. Some orthodox that were once protestant wanted Hank to apologized to them since they worked with him several years ago on CRI which was founded by the tough New Yorker Bapist Walter Martin Hank didn’t always get along with his co-workers at CRI..

        • cynthia curran says

          There are two groups of evangelicals on the matter. There is one group more the intellectual that is not as hard on Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodoxy. There is another that attacks even Billy Graham. They are as picky as can be. As for Hank Hangegraff he thought about this over 2 years.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Vergil, I didn’t see this as challenging. I read it as dismissive, condescending and mean-spirited. To them our “rituals are dead” and our theology a “damning heresy.” Why would it make you “happy” that this sort of Protestantism isn’t dead? Many, many people are being misled. There is nothing good about any of this.

      And why on earth do you think we need *them* to make us stronger?! We’re already strong because we stand on the Truth!

      • There’s two versions of the answers you seek. The TL;DR version (I know, it’s sort of self-defeating to put this first) is I’m not a beta, therefore, I’m always up for a good fight or challenge.

        Any group that actually wants to challenge the Orthodox Church and its faith is a welcome sight. Where would the Church be if not for challenges and obstacles? The reason it makes me happy that this sort of Protestantism exists is because I’m tired of the sjw mainline protestant attitude which has no backbone, and only mimics whatever the far-left is doing. Yes, the protestants at Pulpit & Pen are reacting out of fear, but at least they decided to fight back. Ok, ‘fight back’ may be too strong a phrase, maybe trolling is more accurate here. Either way they didn’t take the threat lying down or run to their safe space. Yes, people who follow this group’s Calvanism are being mislead, but that doesn’t really differentiate them from a lot of other protestant groups, so I’m not going to get stuck on that. The fact is there is a lot of opportunity here despite this being a troll…and to be honest I find it hilarious being called a necromancer. I would have preferred paladin, but necromancer will just have to do.

        I’m wondering if you have ever heard the saying from various saints basically saying to pray for your enemies because they are your benefactors? This isn’t a passive statement. We should pray for our enemies and turn the other cheek when necessary, but we shouldn’t follow that up by mimicking ostriches. Argument for the sake of Truth is a normal Western trait, and it can have great outcomes if used by the more mature and seasoned among us. As for your last sentence, I wonder if you realize we aren’t just treading water here till the Second Coming, or that our faith isn’t something tacked up on the wall for show. There has always been controversy, and the Church will always be faced with controversy. I don’t think I need to go over the results here. Admittedly this isn’t a major controversy by any means, and not really one that concerns Orthodoxy around the world; but it is something that Orthodoxy in America should face. This situation still has potential, and we have the guidance of the Spirit; so we should not shy away from this issue with Pulpit & Pen.

  3. Very well said, George!!!

    Americans are looking around at what is happening to the world and the country and asking some hard questions about their faith. “Wars and rumours of wars . . .”, you know. They feel this rectification of human history coming in their own way and can’t put a finger on it because of their dogmantic/ideological blinders. The notion that someone else might have a better answer to what is going on deeply disturbs them. Heresy is like that.

    Calvinists, of all the heresies, will have a very hard time. As things progress which repeatedly, consistently and increasingly don’t fit in their little playbooks, they will be confronted with their own dichotomy of double predestination. They will fiercely defend their faith by any means necessary because not doing so ensures in their minds that they are destined to go to hell.

    That is a truly horrific straightjacket to wear. May God have mercy on their souls.

  4. Because people who worship idols and pray to Mary and saints are, well, doomed to hellfire.

    That’s basically the point of all of this.

  5. Michael Bauman says

    A more constructive response would be to support Hank and his ministry since Bott radio network, the largest distributor of his radio show, has axed him and a number of contributors to CRI have likely stopped contributing.

    Just a thought.

  6. Thank you for writing this, and for the encouragement of linking to my response. The more I read of this group, the more troubled I become. There is an insular, cultish vibe that pits their small group against the world. Orthodoxy is built to withstand stronger stuff than this. We’ll be fine.

  7. Peter Millman says

    Hi George,
    I was reading in some publication that the protestants were complaining about how hard it was for them to proselytize in Greece. Well, I suggest that they could go to a wide open mission field- Saudi Arabia, for starters.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Peter, I hope you don’t mind that I published your comment but it was spot-on!

      The reason these bozos don’t go and evangelize Saudi Arabia is not merely because they’d literally have their heads handed to them but because Pope Hagee believes that anybody who helps Israel is destined for holiness. Saudi Arabia is part of the great Israeli/Sunni/Ziochristian coalition, ergo, they are holy. (In reality, this is a grand Masonic coalition that will fuse into a new syncretistic religion.)

      • The reason that the Pen and Pulpit crowd do not go to Saudi Arabia and evangelize is that the Saudis would decapitate them without hesitation for their efforts. It is the same reason that I would not go to Saudi Arabia to evangelize. No point.

        Some people are so completely committed to Lucifer/Allah that attempting to convert them is suicide. I, for one, am not suicidal. They ban crosses, Christians, bibles and alcohol from their lands there.

        Of all people, they could use a stiff drink.

        Regardless, I show them quarter no more. They are Amalek. Contain, convert, repel and, if that does not work, get rid of them like God ordered done to the enemies of Israel in days of old.

        We have wasted enough blood and treasure on these people. We need not send troops anywhere. Bombs will do. Deport as many of them as possible, hold them at bay, try to convert them if we can, and when, not if, they storm the gates – they are Amalek.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Misha, I am aware of what the Saudis would do to these Crusader wannabes. True enough. Having said that, the absence in their polemic against anything Sunni Islam makes me wonder about their true intentions (and probably their paymasters).

          • George,

            This comment about “true intentions” and “paymasters” reflects (forgive me) an ignorance about them that almost rivals their own ignorance of Orthodoxy. It is unjustified and uncalled for. They are thoroughly steeped in a deluded tradition of solo scriptura that blinds them to the truth, nothing more. If we are to walk in truth, let’s stick with the truth and avoid such calumny. It isn’t helpful to anyone.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Brian, as far as their immediate or reflexive intentions, I believe that they hold them in good faith. This not only goes for their adherence to sola Scriptura but Dispensationalism, Christian Zionism –the whole ball of wax.

              I am referring to their entire Dispensationalist Weltanschauung, a heresy which was pioneered by J N Darby almost two hundred years ago and given biblical sanction with C I Scofield’s annotations in his edition of the Bible. The authors of Pen and Pulpit may well be unaware of the heretical nature which instigated their interpretation of Revelation.

              The thoughts behind these movements were quasi-Arian and manifested itself in heresies such as Anglo-Israelism, Mormonism, Seventh-Day Adventism and the like. The Scofield Reference Bible and its Calvinist devotees are merely the only Trinitarian segment that remains from this movement. In time, and thanks to the influence of Freemasonry, I’m sure that they will likewise become Arian themselves. (They’ve already replaced Israel with Jesus in their ideology so it’s not that great a step to jettison Trinitarianism.)

              There are significant “resources” which are “behind” these outfits. There has to be. We’re talking big bucks. Frank is going from being a big player to a nobody in no time flat. We Orthodox have nothing to compete with them. What monies the Archons raise is siphoned off to keep the Phanar afloat.

              Just look at the slick product, the good pay and the incessant travel to Israel that these Ziochristians undertake. It’s ain’t cheap. Like I said, we Orthodox aren’t even in the same ballpark. Let’s just say that the start-up costs for many mega-churches and ministries are covered by very powerful groups, hidden under many layers of secrecy. Their purposes for propping up the “Warvangelical” movement is self-evident.

              • George,

                You do realize they get their money from listeners; don’t you? And the stations charge them for air time. This is how it works in that world. Get a loyal, supportive audience that believes your message and is willing to make monthly donations large or small, and you make a profit to keep the program on the air (or on the Internet), expand its reach, and/or make yourself a steady income that can sometimes be quite large. This is how Hank Hanegraaff’s Bible Answer Man program works, and it’s how most of Evangelical radio works.

                If their audience is large enough, many of them also sponsor trips to Israel or ‘Bible study’ cruises to various places, charging a little extra to each traveler for their being along for the tour and getting their own expenses paid in the process. Like any business, what you can accomplish is a matter of the size of your loyal customer base and the scale of your operation. And yes, there are sometimes those who in the Greek world would be called ‘archons’ who donate large, but none of these guys would survive without the relative small, individual monthly donations of average listeners.

                It is quite a different world than the one you’re accustomed to. There need be no specific relationship to any given Evangelical denomination; and if there is one, it is merely incidental. Each program is ‘on its own,’ and each one prospers by gaining the largest possible listener donation base.

                I’m not saying any of this is good. Nor am I saying that what many of these guys teach doesn’t lead to very bad things. All I’m saying is your comment about “paymasters” and possibly being in bed with Sunni Islam was unnecessary, untrue, and therefore not at all helpful to the cause of truth. They would laugh at it (and rightfully so) every bit as much as we laugh at their caricatures of our Orthodox faith. We will never get anywhere with them in terms of the truth by making assumptions about them that they themselves know to be false.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Brian, having grown up in the Buckle of the Bible Belt I am more than aware that Evangelicals throw massive sums at their various ministers and their ministries like there is no tomorrow. The shame I feel at the fact that we Orthodox have our children dance like monkeys on tables for chump-change in order to fund our parishes is acute and amplified by the knowledge of Evangelical fund-raising prowess. (I’m sure we’d have our wives and daughters do belly-dances except for the fact that the GOA has put out a specific ban on that practice.)

                  Having said that, the fact remains that there are deep layers of funds and resources that allow these preachers (and laymen) to travel hither and yon without so much as worrying about a visa. Their access to the upper reaches —all over the world no less–of political power is staggering to the imagination. Doors for them are opened even in the most hostile, anti-American states.

                  Simply put, they are another cog in the wheel of international finance. Their primary purpose is to lull the Red-state masses into going along with the usurious system which sustains the present world economy.

                  • George! “Our children dance like monkeys for chump change” That’s really not a nice thing to say George, especially from a fellow Greek.
                    Yes the GOA has issues, but come on George, belly dancing wives, and daughters. You don’t need to go that low to make a point that we are poor compared to Evangelicals that outnumber us by about 50 million members, and use methods on television to rob little old ladies, trying to buy salvation! Eat a Snicker Bar, it might help Yiorgo.

                    • George,

                      The comment from the “Brian” above is not mine, FYI. Someone has chosen to use my name. Perhaps this “Brian” would be willing to choose another handle.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Brian, correct. We need to counter with the Gospel in its fullness.

              My response to them(not immediate unfortunately) would be forgive me for being such a poor Christian that you cannot see the truth.

              The critique while wrong on every level has some truth to it. Just a smidgeon but truth nonetheless.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Misha, there are quiet a few stories of faithful Muslims being visited by Jesus in dreams and converting. Then there is the Coptic priest Fr. Zakaria Boutros.

          A little too early to give up perhaps?

        • Misha – Saudi Arabia does not ban Christians. Tens of thousands of Christians continue to live and work there, many worshipping in secret. On some of the compounds for foreigners there are priests and ministers who are legally there as “teachers” but everyone knows what’s up.

          Most Gulf countries have very large Christian communities that worship openly in large churches in urban centers. In Kuwait there is a huge Coptic cathedral. Most other Muslim countries do not ban alcohol (only Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Kuwait do, to my knowledge, and the bans are easily circumvented). Bibles and crosses are not at all banned except in Saudi Arabia, but the authorities rarely check.

          Proselytization towards Muslims, on the other hand, is banned everywhere. Even though there have been Protestant missionaries in the Gulf for over a century, most of their efforts are aimed at their fellow Christians. There is a big missionary hospital in the UAE and another in Bahrain, and the one in the UAE openly displays Arabic-language Bibles.

          • Matt,

            They go out of their way to minimize the number of Christians, bibles, crosses, etc. that are allowed in the territory they control, the Saudis being major practitioners of this anti-Christian activity.

            Christians in some places are getting wise to the war by demographic attrition. Trump in the US is doing what he can to limit Muslim immigration and expel whomever he can. This should be a high priority for any Christian governmental leaders in predominantly Christian countries.

            Muslims know that if Christianity is true, Islam is false and if Islam is true, Christianity is false. Christians do not wish to face this obvious yet uncomfortable reality. Thus, Christians are slow to realizing all of the strategic and tactical necessities that flow from the situation of having a diabolical ideology in perpetual existential conflict with Christianity as an accepted “neighbor”.

            In the end, the planet is not big enough for Christians and Muslims to coexist indefinitely. They already know it, we are just realizing it.

            Some Central European Orthodox are very aware of this verity – notably, the Serbs. One can say that the Russo-Ukrainians are also becoming quite aware of it as well since the Phanar/Rome/Islam contingent is becoming aligned against them.

            America is still in play. Alas, most of Western Europe is probably lost. I take it that the last rally of the evil one prophesied in the Apocalypse of St. John probably occurred from the demise of the last Orthodox Christian monarch, Nikolai II to the ascension of Donald Trump to the office of President. That is a hundred year period (1917-2017) and God is fond of round numbers for some reason.

            I take it that these are the early stages of the Tribulation. God seems to have sent a wave of the Holy Spirit to try to awaken America to fight with Holy Russia against Satan’s ideology (Islam).

            But Americans, Trump included, have free will. So who can say? Trump might be a Saul, insufficiently fierce in his resolve against God’s enemies. Or he might be a David who, “kills his tens of thousands”.

            Six to five and you pick em.

      • Billy Jack Sunday says

        George, that fusion is exactly what they are trying to make happen. I am so glad to see that I’m not alone in my my perception and observations of who and what is behind all this. Most people do not see it, and it is happening right before us.

        • John Nixon says

          George and Billy Jack, please expand on the absence of crusader wannabes’ critique of Sunni Islam, the fusion, and the “they” who are trying to make (what exactly?) happen. I’m clue-free on this.

        • John Nixon says

          George and Billy Jack, please elaborate on the crusader wannabes’ absence of critique toward Sunni Islam, and who/what is behind what sort of fusion exactly? I am truly clue-free on this.

        • John Nixon says

          George and Billy Jack, please expand on your thoughts regarding the lack of crusader wannabes’ critique of Sunni Islam, and who/what is behind what fusion exactly? I’m truly clue-free on this.

  8. Peter Millman says

    Hi George,
    Great article and great news. We really need to pray for Hank; he will be like a voice crying in the wilderness.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thank you, Peter.

    • Matthew Panchisin says

      Dear Peter and George,

      Christ is Risen!

      Hank sure seems like a very nice man, having said that he has conveyed messages of the wheel with spokes or branch theory to maintain his audience. His listeners are so far removed from us that it is difficult to comprehend i.e. baptist that don’t believe in baptism and methodists that like the methodology of lesbian so-called “bishops”, that was difficult to even write!

      Here is his (Hanks) quote of the day from Russell Moore.

      “The Body of Christ is wide and broad and deep, and each tradition brings with it some aspects that bless the others, and the wider world, even when we disagree on much else. I am not a Roman Catholic, but I wouldn’t for a moment want to be without Augustine’s City of God or the apologetics of Thomas Aquinas or G.K. Chesterton. I’m not Eastern Orthodox, but my life every day is shaped by the Nicene Creed, by the teachings of Athanasius and Irenaeus. I’m not Anglican, but I would be impoverished without the Book of Common Prayer and the writings of C.S. Lewis. I’m not Lutheran or Presbyterian, but Martin Luther and John Calvin speak to all of us, not just those who agree with them right down to the details. The Pentecostals are teaching us all, at the moment, about serving the poor, about holding to a supernatural religion, about being a truly global church. And the list goes on. When it comes to my own tradition—the Baptists—I think there is a model for the future that contributes even to those who’ll never know their way around a baptistery ”

      In Christ,

      Matthew Panchisin

      • Michael Bauman says

        Indeed. I wonder if Hank’s approach to “unity in essentials” fits right in to the EP’s approach.

        Who decides what is essential? Is there anything in the life of the Church which is inessential: icons, Mary, sacraments?

        • Matthew Panchisin says

          Dear Michael,

          I thought the same thing, that it fits right into the EP’s approaches.

          Dear Billy Jack,

          The statement I presented by Hank was very recent, like a week or so ago.

          In Christ,

          Matthew Panchisin

          • Michael Bauman says

            His reply to his critics is that his faith has not changed. Well, something better darn well change because the explication of his faith to this point lacks a great deal. His recent explanation of Theosis was good, but I have heard him many times in the past veer off into na-na land.

            His “unity in essentials” bothers me.

            The Orthodox understanding of the Theotokos is absolutely essential to the Church’s Christology and soterology. Yet there are many of Hank’s old constituency for whom our understanding is blasphemy.

            Which side does one take a stand–unity or essentials?

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Well, Micahel, he may know Scripture backward and forward from a Protestant POV, but he doesn’t know the Church. He’s still new. It can take years to untrain the mind and open the heart. – If he’s following the EP, he’ll go off the cliff with the rest of them.

            • Matthew Panchisin says

              Dear Michael,

              I think you are right, I’m personally very fond of him because of his sincerity I think. I’ve been listening to his broadcasts for the last week or so, and they are broadcasts indeed in terms of the branch theory etc. Don’t let his “unity in essentials” bother you for he does not know what he is saying (yet) which is a concern that he will have to come to address at some point in time. At this time, he can’t mention many things within the blessed patristic traditions of holy Orthodox Church and faith (lest he should loose his audience) like Saint Cyril of Jerusalem in his catechetical commentary on the creed saying,

              “The Holy Catholic Church Paul writes to Timothy, That you may know how one ought to be conducting oneself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, pillar and ground of the truth. But since the word ‘church’ or ‘assembly’ is applied to different things…and since one might properly and truly ἐκκλησία from ‘ἐκ καλέω’ – ‘to call out.’ say that there is a church of the evil doers, I mean the meetings of the heretics…the faith has delivered to you by way of security the article, ‘And in One, Holy, Catholic Church;’ that you may avoid their wretched meetings, and ever abide with the Holy Church Catholic in which you were regenerated. And if you ever come to any city, inquire not simply where the ‘Lord’s House’ is, (for the sects of the profane also make an attempt to call their own dens, the houses of the Lord,) nor merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the peculiar name of this Holy Body, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only begotten Son of God.”

              He would upset the heretics (most of his audience might think they are dammed) too much so that he can’t say unto them “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.

              Anyway I can’t help these days but to think, so much for Orthodox ethos with the E.P. via his meetings with others in the Crete meeting farce, to him better to be in the world for the sake of the worlds natural environment which according to him, “The natural environment unites us in ways that transcend doctrinal differences. Pardon my observation but, my how loving for the natural environment and the planet. I think I’m getting older.

              Anyway Micheal, I think there are many very sincere and good people within the protestant communities, and we should embrace and love them wholeheartedly should they seek comfort and peace and rest of soul from within the loving embrace of Christ’s One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

              In Christ,

              Matthew Panchisin

            • Hank is in an unenviable spot, as are many of us:


              “I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other. So because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of My mouth!” – Apocalypse of St John, 3:15-16

              • Matthew Panchisin says

                Dear Misha,

                There is actually nothing we can do about it, God allows it to happen.

                In Christ,

                Matthew Panchisin

            • “His reply to his critics is that his faith has not changed.”

              This statement can be confusing to anyone who hasn’t converted from a heterodox tradition. I do not know exactly how Hank meant it, nor can I speak to anything he may have said about “unity in essentials.” But as a convert from a heterodox tradition some decades ago myself I do know this:
              When I converted, the One in whom my faith had always been did not change. What changed was my distorted perception of Him – distortions created not by my own actual personal experience of God, but by the false teachings I thought I was required to believe about Him. When I was exposed to the fullness of Orthodox Christian Faith, my response was, “This is the God I have known all my life – not by doctrine, but by experience.” In this sense (and because our God is Personal and not merely a set of doctrines), I can truly say that my faith has not changed, although everything else has changed radically – into a fullness previously unimaginable.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Brian, I was received into the Church from an heretical syncretistic group. While I had had an undeniable experience of Jesus prior to that and found Him welcoming me when I finally found my way to the Church 30 years ago–everything about my faith had to change.

                I had to work to reorient myself, heart, mind and soul (cooperating with the Holy Spirit) to the Truth even though I had found what I was looking for all along. Even though the experience did not change, only deepened.

                I am not doubting in any way Hank’s faith or his sincerity. It took St. Paul a year in the desert. It took me about 14 years. Change will happen, it must happen.

      • Billy Jack Sunday says

        Depends on when he made those statements. If it’s been a while, those statements may just reflect the particular view he had at a particular time while slowly beginning to understand the faith picture better. I held a lot of Orthodox beliefs along side heterodox beliefs for quite a while until grasping the Orthodox faith enough to be able to let go of the other stuff. Or perhaps he is indeed a branch theory guy. Like you, I sure hope not.

  9. John Windsor says

    Like many Orthodox, I did take a look at Pulpit & Pen’s article after I learned of it. I wouldn’t say that I’m angry over it; to be honest, I find it both laughable and pathetic. What concerns me is that many ignorant and naive people may take it as an accurate description of our faith, and have their minds and hearts poisoned against the Orthodox Church because of it, without being willing to examine the issues further.

    Like many who are now Orthodox, I was once a Calvinist myself, and have experienced all the joys of being associated with that particular movement. I was initially drawn to it because, unlike my shallow, superficial Southern Baptist upbringing, Calvinism seemed to at least want to deal with many of the intellectual questions I had at the time; and, to be honest, it did prove intellectually satisfying for a while. However, it was not long before I became introduced to the witch trials and heresy hunts that characterize the movement, and even became part of some of them myself: Law vs. Gospel, Four-Point Calvinism vs. TULIP, “progressive” sanctification vs. positional sanctification, sublapsarianiam vs. infralapsarianism vs. supralapsarianism, sabbatarianism vs. nonsabbatarianism, “Sovereign Grace” vs. Reformed. In the end, like many other disillusioned souls, I left. I don’t regret it.

    In light of my own experience, I find it highly ironic that Jeff Maples and his colleagues at Pulpit & Pen have criticized Orthodoxy and the Divine Liturgy for being “dead.” I can’t think of anything more dead than some Calvinist services, particularly those of one small Baptist denomination. The Divine Liturgy is absolutely exhilarating by comparison.

    No, we Orthodox have nothing to fear from Pulpit & Pen. For one of the most knowledgeable biblical scholars in the world to be received into the Orthodox Church is a testimony to the true unity that exists between the Holy Scriptures and other parts of the Holy Tradition. I hope that the many readers of the Pulpit & Pen piece can also recognize that.

    • “For one of the most knowledgeable biblical scholars in the world ”

      I would modify that to “…one of the most famous Protestant radio personalities in the world”.

      Most knowledgeable biblical scholars converting to Orthodoxy award has to go to Jarulsav Pelikan.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Alec, quite right but Mr. Pelican is no longer in this world and he had rather a smaller gap to bridge. Hank is a bit older than Mr. Pelican was too.

        It will be a battle going forward. May the grace of God always guide and strengthen him.

  10. Fr. Philip (Speranza) says

    Here, I would submit, is one Orthodox Christian’s answer to the irresponsibly false witness borne against us by Pulpit and Pen.

    “By grace are ye saved…”

    by St. Nikolai Velimirovich

    “By grace ye are saved” (Ephesians 2:5, 8).

    Who can comprehend and acknowledge that we are saved by grace – that we are saved by God’s grace, and not by our merits and works? Who can comprehend and acknowledge that? Only he who has comprehended and seen the bottomless pit of death and corruption in which man is engulfed by sin, and has also comprehended and seen the height of honor and glory to which man is raised in the Heavenly Kingdom, in the realm of immortality, in the house of the Living God-only such a one can comprehend and acknowledge that we are saved by grace.

    A child was traveling by night. He stumbled and fell into hole after hole and pit after pit, until he finally fell into a very deep pit from which he could in no way escape by his own power. When the child gave himself over to the hands of fate and thought his end was near, there was suddenly someone standing over the pit, lowering a rope to him and telling him to grab the rope and hold firmly to it. This was the king’s son, who then took the child home, bathed him, clothed him and brought him to his court and set him beside himself. Was this child saved by his own deed? By no means. All he did was to grab the end of the rope, and hold on. By what, then, was the child saved? By the mercy of the king’s son. In God’s relationship with men, this mercy is called grace.

    “By grace ye are saved.” The Apostle Paul repeats these words twice in a short span, that the faithful might recognize and remember them.

    Brethren, let us comprehend and remember that we are saved through grace by the Lord Jesus Christ. We were in the jaws of death, but have been given life in the courts of our God.

    O Lord Jesus Christ our Savior, by Thee are we saved. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

  11. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    It was only a matter of time. Dr. Bananas Powell said it correct. Wherever the Orthodox Church went as a missionary church to evangelize the people the people and their whole country were converted to The One True Faith and The One True Church – The Orthodox Church.

    Now that the so-called ethnic component has left or leaving the Church The Church is becoming free to truly evangelize in America. Now is the time to go full stram ahead and bring in the harvest.

    Glory to Jesus Christ.


    • Orthodoxy may very well spread like wildfire in America but it will not be until the Orthodox purify themselves of the pan-heresy of ecumenism. It has ravaged the Church in various ways throughout the twentieth and early twenty first centuries – from even before the time of Patriarch Meletios IV til today.

      That was the devil exposed at Crete that needs to be exorcised for the Church to regain her footing.

  12. How interesting says

    I find it interesting that virtually all of the time, people who fancy themselves as “movers and shakers” in the Protestant movement in America completely ignore Orthodox Christianity, except at times like this when they are threatened and then they deign to acknowledge us. This ridiculous piece on the “Pulpit” website is too good of a caricature of a Proud Protestant Manifesting His Lack of Knowledge about Christ and His Church — you couldn’t make this stuff up.

    Among the “complaints”:
    –Holy Saturday liturgy was long. Um, yes, it is, any Orthodox Christian knows that. Christ has descended into Hades and is breaking the bonds of death. But I’m fairly certain that Calvin, Knox, Zwingli, etc. entirely disagreed with the claim that Christ descended into Hades at all, as they were developing their new “church,” which is now thousands of denominations strong. Regardless, eternity is a long time. The long liturgies and services prepare man for worshipping God in eternity. We had better get used to it.

    –They say there was scripture reading, yes; teaching, no. Are they not paying attention? The verses, litanies, hymns, etc., sung/chanted at vespers and Liturgy teach us theology. What they are really saying is “there is no long lecture/sermon that teaches us as if church is a lecture hall.”

    –“The facility was adorned, literally, wall to wall, floor to ceiling in graven images of the saints. The images were painted in such a way that the expressions on their faces were devoid of any emotion.” This one is a hoot. Basically saying that 21st century emotionalism is the only way to demonstrate a connection to God. Completely no idea of the theology of icon painting, of how icons are not supposed to look realistic but to be transcendent.

    –“The Greek and Eastern Orthodox church is clearly a lifeless church. There was absolutely no gospel in this service. A lost person could not walk into this church and walk out a changed man.” No idea where to even begin with this one. Not only are the Holy Scriptures read constantly during the Holy Saturday service, but the authors are essentially saying that if a church does not abide by their protestantized format of what a church is, it is not a church. No concept of the countless saints (both named and unnamed) whose lives have been transformed through the sacramental life of Christ’s Church.

    I’ve never understood Protestants like this who seem to take a “Bible-only” view of the Church (as they interpret the Bible, mind you; not to mention that sola scriptura is not even Biblical; ref. also: the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts clearly states that he needed someone to guide him in scripture reading), but they completely ignore the Church that compiled and gave us the Bible. They act as if God “dropped the Bible out of the sky” to us, very similarly to how Muslims believe God gave them the Quran. As it’s been said, Protestants and Muslims have much more in common than they like to admit.

    For interested readers, Fr Josiah Trenham’s book “Rock and Sand” is a fantastic overview of the origins and growth of the Protestant heresies, of its founders (John Calvin, Zwingli, etc.), and of how those heresies have transformed and continued through today.

    If anything, these “Pulpit” articles clearly confirm beyond any doubt that some self-appointed “leaders” of American Protestantism have no idea what they are talking about with respect to Christ and His Church. I applaud them for getting this fact out on the table!

    For folks like this, “ecumenical dialogue” is pointless. We are not even speaking the same language. Of course, our churches are always there for these types of Calvinist protestants to “come and see,” but any sort of “dialogue” is pointless when there is so little common ground, if any.

    Hank Hanegraaff, I have never heard of you before, but Welcome Home!

    • I’m going to give you a slightly paraphrased quote by a couple of HCHC professors. What you do with it is entirely up to you.

      Who did the Protestants split from? They split from a group that was already separated from the Orthodox Church. So calling them heretics may not be accurate.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Could not walk into an Orthodox Church and walk out a changed man? Utter and completely false. I know many including myself.

  13. Can anyone help me with the confusion this article from Pulpit and Pen has caused me?
    I have been Orthodox only from 2013, coming from a Reformed/Baptist background and the article, actually the “apology” article, has caused me some concern where they state that Orthodoxy engages in “witchcraft” & “necromancy”. Further on it is stated that just because Orthodoxy is “old” doesn’t me it is right or correct because many other belief systems are older and they are not the Truth, including paganism, etc.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Anna, they believe that our prayers with and to the saints are necromancy and witchcraft. We are trying to call back their spirits from the dead.

      It is not because it is old that it is true. But as our new brother Hank Hannagraft says, the Christian faith is historic and evidential.

      We have loads of evidence(especially the lives of the saints) they have none. PSA is nowhere in the Bible despite their fervent attempts to read it into the Bible.

      Don’t let your heart be troubled. Ask questions in the spirit of humility and the answers will come.

      Jesus Christ reveals Himself in the services of the Church always and in the lives of His saints. The only thing dead in the Church is me and I am only half dead+.

      The Calvinist doctrine and ideology was examined in depth by the Church and declared an official heresy in the 17th century I believe I’m 1638.

      The written refutation is on the internet. But it may not be of much help as there have been so metastasizes of this particular hersey. They have changed far more than our minor adaptations.

      That is the nature of all lies, the story keeps changing. The story revealed in the Church is ever the same but it is so deep that nuances are always popping up.

      • Michael: Thank you for your encouraging post. Also, I didn’t know that the Church examined Calvinist doctrine/ideology. I’m going to try find that and educate myself on that important topic.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Anna, it is important to understand that the practices of the Church are not knew nor innovative. Isaiah Chapter 6 describes heavenly worship and is the pattern for the Temple worship of the Hebrews and our own.

          The Protestant idea that what we do is all fluff and feathers made up for show is the opposite of the truth. Certainly, there are elements added during the Imperial period which lasted over 1000 years but the structure, meaning and intent are in continuity with the revealed truth of how worship is supposed to be.

          Calvinists do not have a heavenly mind. That is why they are anti-sacramental. The Clavinist ideology denies the fundamental experience of the Christian faith. Most significantly they grossly miss state the nature and character of God.

          In the place of a God of creation, mercy and kenotic sacrifice they have substituted a God of death, judgement and torture. Darkness for Light. Believe nothing that comes from that world for even the elements of truth it contains are blackened by the soot of evil.

          Penal Substitutionary Atonement is a viscious lie that has done enormous harm to particular people and the culrure’s ability to acknowledge the actual God.

          I highly recommend the blog “Glory to God For All Things”.

          This blog is for contentious folk. It is not a good place for anyone else. It is, I think, quite male. Almost the full spectrum of maleness both redeemed and unredeemed.

          One aspect of men that I have always enjoyed (and even the smartest women never seen to get) is our capacity to go full bore at each other even literally tough and nail, then relax a bit and go out and have a beer, laughing at each other’s bad jokes.

          It does not always work it can and does get twisted but when it does work it is bloody marvelous but not very civilized. Nevertheless it is an essential part of being male.

          Glory To God For All Things is simply higher.

          • Michael: Thanks for pointing me to “Glory To God for All Things”, it looks really good.

            I think that the saying about “Steel Sharpening Steel” is what will help Orthodox people grow and I think that is what you mean by being contentious. I think that is great and basically it’s what we need to do rather than cower in a corner.

            Thanks for your post.

            Christos anesti! Alithos anesti!

            • Michael Bauman says

              Anna, Orthodox have always been contentious. Sometimes that is good–contending for our faith in the midst of hatred. Often not so good as in the litany I heard when first coming into the Church: the Greeks are crazy, the Slavs are morose and the Antiochians are worldly. Lately has been added the disparaging “anyone who actually believes the historic teachings of the faith is an anachronistic fundamentalist.

              While the contention cannot be avoided entirely I am not sure it is such a good thing for most folk who are getting their feet wet.

              Unfortunately you will see me running my mouth on Fr. Stephen’s blog. Still a lot to consider there.

          • Fr. Stephen has an interesting take on the wrath of God which I personally cannot share. And I have read something of his on “healthy shame” which seems quite odd in a “Who told you that you were naked?” sort of way. However, I have met him and he seems to be a pious fellow committed to Christ.

            The OCA is likely feeling the sifting of wheat and chafe quiet acutely these days. Historically/spiritually it is a bit like the Ukraine, on the razor’s edge.

    • Have you seen anything that looks like witchcraft & necromancy? If you think you have it’s ok to let people know what you saw. It could be any number of things including a misunderstanding. However, what the article referred to as ‘witchcraft & necromancy” is nothing more than the imaginations of people (the writers) who play too many RPGs, and this is coming from someone who plays an absurd amount of RPGs. There is no hidden canon or book of the Church telling us how to perform necromancy.

      • Vergil: Thank you for pointing out that these people may be misunderstanding what is done and furthermore, it seems that they are making a judgement on just visiting one time or reading a few things written by other Protestants.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Yes, Anna, there are a great many misunderstandings about things Orthodox among some Protestants. One time a Protestant looked with open horror at the bead and yarn cross tassel on my prayer rope. He believed it was actually some kind of pagan/voodoo goddess symbol! He was visibly relieved when he learned it was really just a cross with a tassel.

          May God bless you on your journey towards a deeper understanding of Orthodox Christianity. Christ is risen!

        • That’s exactly what they are doing plus they are well versed in their own theology, so in a sense their minds are already made up. I’ll throw them a bone and say that I had no clue what was going on the first I stepped foot into an Orthodox church in fact I found some of it off putting, so I can only imagine what these guys were feeling.

    • Anna,

      Are you, in fact, confused? Or are you being facetious? If your confusion is real and you actually are concerned about their accusations, let me know. I believe there are many here who can tell you where these crazy ideas/misperceptions Protestants have of Orthodox practice come from.

      • Brian: I am truly inquiring and am very serious. I appreciate all the posts on this blog. They help me to understand a lot. The fullness of Christianity is found in the Orthodox Church and therefore there is a lot to process and remember. Thank you.

    • Fr. Harry Linsinbigler says

      Hi Anna. I think I can help. They are calling Communion and the sacraments “witchcraft”, and are calling the prayer for the dead and veneration of saints (including relics) “necromancy”. They are not looking to be accurate, they are mad and they are looking to hit hard. While it is true that just because Orthodoxy is old does not make it true, the fact that Orthodoxy is the only continuity of the Church from the beginning that has been continuing all these practices (what they call “witchcraft” and “necromancy”) as handed down by Christ from the time of the Apostles, reported in Scripture and the Apostolic Fathers, continuing down from our day. They are hard pressed to explain why Orthodoxy is the native church of every single local church mentioned in the Bible, and, instead, throw out a red herring fallacy or two to try and divert attention from their shaky ground. For more thought on the matter see this: http://frbenedictsmusings.blogspot.com/2017/04/a-response-to-apology-to-eastern.html?spref=fb

      • Fr. Linsinbigler: Thank you for that link to the article, it was very helpful. Being relatively new to Orthodoxy I am still trying to process everything one needs to know and do not always have a firm grasp on what I need to.

      • Pardon me for a technicality, but Orthodoxy (that is, the Faith of Christ) is, in fact, older – older than the earth itself – and far older than paganism or religion itself. It is not only older, it is the meaning of all things and contains all things that are.

        He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
        -1 Peter 1:20

        … whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
        -Revelation 13:8

        ...just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…
        -Ephesians 1:4

        • Fr. Harry Linsinbigler says

          Brian, who said that it wasn’t? No one said that it wasn’t from the beginning. What was said (please, do read exactly what was said, especially if you are prone to be “corrective”, don’t “interpret”), that the faith was handed down by Christ from the time of the Apostles. That’s just a fact. The faith existed from the beginning, but it was distributed to the world only as the result of the Incarnate Lord distributing it Apostolically. Do you think St. Mark was lying when He said “the BEGINNING of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”? Believe me, I have preached and written many a time on the fact that the Church itself began from the creation. However, it did not become the Body of Christ nor did it transmit the full paradosis of the Son of God until He died, rose, ascended, and sent for the Holy Spirit.

          • Forgive me, Father. That comment was intended for Anna’s benefit and was not a criticism. BTW, thanks for that link you provided.

    • Anna Gribowsky says


      I would take comfort in the fact that you have returned to the source of Christianity, the wellspring, which predates all the confusion and cacophony that came afterward. All this medieval crap about witchcraft and necromancy arises out of the tortured minds of Christians who lost the theology of the God-man, Jesus Christ. They trot out demons of their own construction because they cannot find their way to God in the theology they practice.

      Worry not, have faith.

      We have seen the true Light, we have received the heavenly Spirit; we have found the true faith, worshipping the undivided Trinity, for the Trinity has saved us.

      • Dear Anna: Thank you for your encouragement. They seem to be very good at pointing fingers at Orthodoxy but never seem to honestly assess their various practices which is something I got feed up with and starting reading to find out where the Church of the Bible was.

        We have Protestant churches in my area that actually have used smoke machines along with a whole ensemble of musicians to create an “affect” during praise songs.

        I don’t think I have read about that type of “worship” in the Bible, but maybe I missed something.

  14. Billy Jack Sunday says

    Finally a scathing report from “The Bro’s Reformed Theological Society!” I really enjoyed the apology letter from the Pulpit and Pen blog. Neo-Reformists are notorious egotistical beer drinking MMA worshiping chauvinistic jerk faces. They are the hardly retrained bully smarty pants of all theological camps. I love it! I just wish we could turn it into a rap battle. No spot for a comment section there. How safe of them

    I kinda wish the Orthodox Church would get more of these unsavory attacks. At least we would get notoriety – and maybe draw some interest. After all, we have convinced ourselves that the one true faith should not be shared. We should not be surprised when we see people who are not at all prepared for the spiritual culture shock that is the Orthodox faith in the Western world to respond this way. It’s really a reflection of our failure of evangelism and care.

    The Orthodox Church is the body of Jesus Christ and these guys just shouted, “Crucify!”

    • George Michalopulos says

      Billy Jack, their diatribe is a form of persecution I concur. And that’s a good thing. That’s one reason I didn’t comment on it for several days, the fact is it really didn’t bother me. It was along the lines of nerdy teenage boys criticizing the looks of a beautiful adult woman that they had no chance of ever having.

      • Matthew Panchisin says

        Dear George,

        I’m Orthodox from the cradle as such I can not help to think these days that we have to help these people. Obviously, what they wrote was a dark and rotten fruit of the heterodox.

        I don’t think it is a good thing in any way, shape or form, not for us and certainly not for the authors as what they have written is certainly not pleasing to the Lord God. Do keep in mind that Saint Nicholas actually slapped Arius.

        Like other Orthodox Christians, when I read it I just thought well this is the barking of dogs, not the people, but the demons of heresy they gave or give voice to. The constantly giving voice to is the problem. God help them.

        In Christ,

        Matthew Panchisin

  15. The Protestants appear to be painfully incurious about the first 1000 years of the church.

    I recall listening to R.C. Sproul on the radio describing a visit to an Eastern Orthodox Church in the Mideast and disparaging it because the liturgical chant was an incomprehensible, heathen mess to him. I didn’t have the heart to contact him and tell him that the liturgy was composed almost entirely of verbatim passages from the Bible. But he should have known better.

  16. Great assessment! I came to similar conclusions. I practically exploded with joy when I heard Hank became Orthodox. The Pulpit and Pen are swimming in feelings of rejection and fear of other Protestants leaving, which will happen. I imagine in the middle of the night they wake up and wonder why Hank left Protestantism and begin to have doubts too. They then shake it off and decide to attack the Church. Maybe they have to or risk those doubts growing. What would happen if they entertained those doubts? Lose friends, family, community, there whole way of life. Hank did all that….much easier that I was RC then an atheist before becoming Orthodox. I left nothing and came to everything.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Beautiful Magda!

      If I may: I think that more of us need to “lose everything” in order to come to Christ. Not only converts to Orthodoxy but Orthodox themselves who are already in the Faith. I’m afraid because of the growth of ecumenism in certain patriarchates, a great winnowing is coming down the pike very soon. Those individual Orthodox Christians who have already begun the process of shedding the externalities of their life will be in a better position to make the transition I believe.

  17. Peter Millman says

    Protestantism is headed for the ash heap of history for one devastating reason; they don’t have the body and blood of our Lord and Saviour in the Holy Eucharist. The Orthodox Church also produces real honest to goodness saints, the protestant churches don’t. The protestant notion of saying the sinner’s prayer and you’re saved brother simply doesn’t cut it. Protestantism doesn’t produce deep roots, especially with everyone being their own pope.Yes, they have everything to fear in Orthodoxy.

  18. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Roman Catholic: Sola Ecclessia

    Protestant: Sola Scriptora

    Orthodoxy: The Totality of the Faith!

    Live it, love it and learn it.


    • Pat Reardon says

      Roman Catholic: Sola Ecclessia

      Comments like this are so disheartening.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Father, reductionist yes but disheartening? Why. Personally, I want nothing to do with the RCC as an institution. To me they are going down the tubes along with the EP who seems to be suffering from PDS- papal derangement syndrome.

        That increases my empathy for the many faithful Roman Catholics who simply want to follow Christ in their daily lives.

        If, like my boss, they simply ignore the current Pope, what do they have? The sacramentally reality in the RCC is quite weak. They have been told all of their lives that the Pope defines the Church. Obedience to the Pope defines their faith. That is not my supposition but their words. Is that not Sola Ecclesia?

        • Pat Reardon says

          My sole objection to Peter’s description—Roman Catholic: Sola Ecclessia—is its inaccuracy.

          Vatican II, in its document Dei Verbum, states explicitly that the Church stands under the Word of God.

          We are correct in pointing out the ways in which the Roman Catholic Church is different from ours.

          We are not justified in bearing false witness. That is what I found disheartening.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Hence my pulling back. I am obedient to correction.

          • The RCC reserves the sole right to interpret the Word of God through its magesterium; i.e., the Word of God means what the RCC says it means which means that it means what the pope at any given time says that it means:

            880 When Christ instituted the Twelve, “he constituted [them] in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from among them.”398 Just as “by the Lord’s institution, St. Peter and the rest of the apostles constitute a single apostolic college, so in like fashion the Roman Pontiff, Peter’s successor, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are related with and united to one another.”399

            881 The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the “rock” of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock.400 “The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head.”401 This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church’s very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.

            882 The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter’s successor, “is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful.”402 “For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.”403

            883 “The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter’s successor, as its head.” As such, this college has “supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power cannot be exercised without the agreement of the Roman Pontiff.”404

            884 “The college of bishops exercises power over the universal Church in a solemn manner in an ecumenical council.”405 But “there never is an ecumenical council which is not confirmed or at least recognized as such by Peter’s successor.”406 ”


            If one understands Scripture as the Word of God, then it does not interpret itself. If one understands Christ as the Word of God, then the RCC claims that the pope is His vicar (which he most certainly is not).

            It is important to squarely face the sheer depth of the heretical delusion presented in the RCC.

            And this is timely:


      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Ok. Lesseon learned. Pulling back.

      • Monk James says

        Especially when misspelled!

        But Peter Papoutsis may be onto something here.

        In the Latin translation of the Symbol of the Faith (Credo in unum Deum…et in unum Dominum….’I believe in one God…and in one Lord….’), the grammar of the profession of faith shifts when it comes to The Church. Then, instead of saying ‘(I believe) in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church’, the Latin redaction has et (credo) unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam — ‘(I believe) one… Church.’

        But here, the original Greek clearly has us say ‘(I believe) IN one… Church.’

        Understand the difference? Feel its implications?

        Christ is risen, truly risen!

      • This came to mind this morning in another context. It was written a couple of decades ago but is quite relevant for us post-Crete:


  19. https://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/christian-martyrdom/

    Srdja Trifkovic knows whereof he speaks. Let those who have eyes to see be illumined.

    And . . . Rome . . . fiddles . . .


    What if the Muslims are interconnected and organized? They are hip deep in Western Europe and some sizeable presence here in the US. How quickly would it transpire?

    Is it too late?

    The learning curve on this kind of thing is . . . harsh:


  20. I have to admit that Trump is as wild as a crack house rat and God alone knows what he will do next. Hopefully, God is his co-pilot and can smooth the mf out into something that doesn’t cause a massive thermonuclear trainwreck.

    Good, well, got that out of my system.

    I have faith and you should too. Any doubt as to whether the last act has commenced are no longer tenable.

    Don’t you long for the good old days when we were always just 20 minutes away from The Day After? No, I don’t either. Couldn’t cut the tension with a chainsaw.

    Be filled with grace. God is in charge. It is true that America has grievously sinned and has been called to a repentance which is causing many to bristle and chomp at the bit. Trump is being Trump. That’s why God picked him for this role. Archie Bunker on steroids with a nuclear arsenal and the 7th fleet . . . well, actually a savvy, smart, crass, boorish, egoist of a businessman – pure, unfiltered American – 200 proof. And Daddy gonna make it all better and get the deal done. Could be tough. North Korea, missiles, launchers, negotiations, . . . don’t know whether they’re rational or not but have to work this through . . . business.

    Business. It’s what daddy does at the office. Away from home. Home, where it is safe to be an American.

    Bless his heart.

    Everything he does is geared toward making those Americans whose calls must be answered feel like he’s on top of it and working through it. Eases tensions. Smooths over the rough spots.

    America in transition. From a secular humanist progressive liberal playground, plus fly over country, to a more traditional Christian dominant party, reciprocal trade oriented power, with an outpouring of the Spirit to turn up the gain, so to speak. Takes time to morph. Like the transformers, it may surprise you as to what develops first.

    The Russians don’t know what to do with him. If the Syria thing was maskirovka, everyone is keeping quite the straight face.

    More likely he just feels like he has room to work. Good to be the king. America, intersection of overwhelming economic and military power.

    All that being said, let not the message be lost on you. We have warned about Amalek. That threat is real. Better to get a grip on it sooner rather than later.

  21. Joseph Lipper says


    Any sin that is not repented of…is Amalek.