August 21, 2014

Met. Isaiah speaks out against same-sex marriage

Protocol 09–12
September 24, 2009

The Reverend Clergy, and
The Pious Faithful of the Holy Metropolis of Denver

Beloved in the Lord,

Met. Isaiah of Denver (GOA)

Met. Isaiah of Denver (GOA)


Earlier this year I attended the 25th Anniversary Banquet of one of our parishes, and was invited to offer a few remarks before the final prayer, which I did. As I do at all anniversary celebrations of parishes, I express the hope and the prayer that the parish will continue to exist even to the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In mentioning the glorious return of the Lord, I also allude to the final day events in the world which the Lord states will be like the final days of Sodom and Gomorrah (Luke 17:29,30) and that the people of the Church must try to live according to the teachings of Christ for their salvation.

At this particular parish I did the same thing, using two examples to stress the fact that we are living in the last days before violent events take place. I mentioned the legality of abortion in this country, which has killed tens of millions of unborn infants. I also mentioned the idea of making “same sex marriage” legal in our country. I neither condemned nor did I criticize anyone, because I could not do this.

Unfortunately, one or two persons took offense at my mentioning the legality of “same sex marriage”, and one of them verbally accosted me as I sat down. Since that day I have received two letters condemning me for what I said in regard to “same sex marriage”.

As God is my witness, I have neither criticized nor have I condemned anyone because of their lifestyle. As a clergyman, and especially as a Christian, I have no right to condemn anyone. I have criticized the act, but never the person. In attempting to serve God as faithfully as I can, I have no right to condemn anyone. If God does not condemn a sinner, neither do I have the right to do so.

It is clear from Holy Scripture that, if God were to condemn any person, He would be condemning Himself, as every human being is made in the image of God. However, God does condemn wrongful behavior and sinful lifestyles. We are born into this life to change and not remain the same. Only God remains the same because He is perfect. If we are to say that a particular person is “born” homosexual, then we can also say that a person is born an adulterer or a robber or even a murderer. Moreover, if it were true that we come into the world with certain unchanging tendencies, such as homosexuality, then why would God give to every person intellect and a free will, when one is born into the world, only for a person to remain the same?

Unfortunately, we tend to forget that Satan exists here in this world, with all the fallen angels. They are ever active, attempting to convince us that we are normal, even if our behavior goes contrary to the teachings of the Church. Sadly, many parents and teachers convince children that they are more important and better than they actually are. This false philosophy is called self-esteem. In other words, we esteem ourselves above other people.

In Holy Scripture, we read that we tend to seek our own ways rather than the Lord’s (Phillipians 2:21). In extreme cases, there are some people today who believe that they are female in male bodies, or male in female bodies. These are tricks of Satan in order to confuse their true identity. Satan did the same with Adam and Eve, making them believe that they were something else than what they were.

I write this letter to the parishioners of this Metropolis as a clarification that I neither criticize nor condemn anyone as an individual. Unfortunately, some took my remarks personally at that banquet. The fact that this happened, as well as the two letters written to me, convinces me even more that we are living in the last days. Thirty years ago, no Greek Orthodox Christian would have argued against or dared to be critical of his priest or his bishop in this manner in order to support the “gay” lifestyle.

Yet, I believe our people will continue to love our family members, our relatives and our friends who may be living abnormal lifestyles. Why? Because they recognize they are all members of the human family, under God, as we all are. And I believe that our prayers will continue on their behalf, so that they may come to themselves, and to know that they, and we, are all in the active state of becoming, rather than that of being. This is why the Church, first and foremost, has periods of introspection and repentance and fasting, so that we can change and become more Christlike in our walk through this temporary life. For our one and only purpose is to become heirs of God’s coming Kingdom.

With Paternal Blessings,

Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver

MAY BE PRINTED IN ALL PARISH BULLETINS AND NEWS LETTERS

Comments

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    George Michalopulos says:

    As I’ve said on more than a few occasions, one of the standouts in the GOA.

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    Chrys says:

    It is an unfortunate sign of our times (as noted in the initial address to which the letter refers) that His Eminence must spend most of the letter defending his position primarily by noting that he is not condemning anyone in particular. He has also gently, but clearly, noted the worldly contamination that is spreading throughout the Church:

    Thirty years ago, no Greek Orthodox Christian would have argued against or dared to be critical of his priest or his bishop in this manner in order to support the “gay” lifestyle.

    Now, however, folks in the pews (presumably faithful, since they were willing to attend a Church event) express positions formed primarily by current mores than by the Tradition of the Church.

    Yet, sandwiched between his clear, humble and very Patristic insistence that he condemns no one, lies a firm confrontation with a false (versus true) way of life. (It is important to note that a true Shepherd must do both in order to faithfully uphold the full truth and do so in love; so many today do choose only one or the other – either “love” or “truth” – and the result is that both suffer since both must always stand together.) This forms – both structurally and theologically – the heart of his argument: the position expressed by his “assailants” is not “enlighted” (certainly not by the True Light), but is rather consistent with and evidence of Satanic influence.

    The result is a gentle and humble, but firm, expression of faithful living in the context of a contentious issue. May God bless, keep and support His Eminence!

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    Taras says:

    Wonderful letter, Metropolitan Isaiah! We do live in the times when political correctness has plagued the minds of the majority of people who have literally stopped showing any effort in decerning Satan’s temptations. Many of them do not believe in him. It is unfortunate that such a thing has become a norm in the soceity. However, we as Christians must not be politically correct! We must expose Satan’s acts as they are without being afraid of persecution.

    Axios, Metropolitan Isaiah!

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Chyrs, one of the sad things about this encyclical is the spirit which caused it to come forth. In other words, many parishes and dioceses have become so worldly that the priests and bishops are now fighting a rear-guard action. This is necessary and they’re called to do it (and will be held to account if they don’t), but wouldn’t it have been far easier if it had never gotten to this point? How can such a priest/bishop effectively proclaim the Gospel to non-Orthodox if those already in the Faith don’t uphold the traditions of the Church?

    This reminds me of long epistle Rod Drehe wrote 2 yrs ago, about why he left the Catholic Church for Orthodoxy. His reasons can be boiled down to one searing sentence: basically, whenever he and his wife went into a parish, they were always on “war-footing.” That is having to defend traditional Catholic orthodoxy which more often than not, was in abeyance in the parishes in question. We’re talking not just priests here, but laymen and often the most eminent laymen in the congregtation. Being called a “homophobe,” “bigot,” “racist,” etc. The way this works is that if you’re against gay “marriage” you must also be against mixed marriages as well, therefore probably a racist. yada, yada, yada

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      Chrys says:

      Sadly I saw the same thing when I considered returning to Catholicism from a decade long journey through Protestant circles. I recognize that betrayal is often an “inside job” (e.g., Judas). Yet, one should expect that to be the exception, not the rule. You can’t fight the enemy well when they are in the same foxhole. The situation reminds me of a saying I had often heard during that journey when discussing the Church: A ship is made to be in the sea; when the sea is in the ship, however, you’ve got serious trouble. Which reminds me of another saying – the name we had for folks who don’t recognize the necessity for complete conversion: visitors.

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      Michael Bauman says:

      George, there will always be those within the Church who are their to sabotage her work. However, if the faithful remain faithful, the Holy Spirit may convert those as well.

      As to being on ‘war-footing’: well, we should always expect to be that way and be prepared to give an answer in love and respect for what we believe. Of course, one cannot live successfully in the enemies’ camp either. When people accept the teaching of the world and deny the teaching of the Church it is the first step to apostasy.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Chrys, visitors! I like it! Come all you want, but if you don’t believe and don’t participate in the sacraments, then you’re a visitor. Don’t expect to serve on the parish council or speak during all-parish assemblies.

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