Boldness or Irrelevance?

John Mark Reynolds at the Scriptorium:

Dr. John Mark Reynolds

Dr. John Mark Reynolds

There is a boldness that should come with the a commitment to Christ. When the Green Patriarch (Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew) goes to a university ridden with the problems of our age and only tells them the parts of the Christian faith with which they are likely to agree, we are troubled by it. We hope he did not wimp out to curry political favor for causes where he is desperate for Western support, but we long for the clarity or boldness of a John Paul the Great in Poland.

We cannot judge for certain, but the Biblical prophetic witness sounds more like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s address to Harvard. There a brave man spoke truth to power . . . not in our modern trivialization of the phrase where it means taking on figures that are unpopular in our own social set. Solzhenitsyn did not take on oil companies to Green Peace or abortionists at Liberty University. He attacked those he admired in other ways or whose admiration he might have valued.

From a letter published on the Touchstone blog by James Kushiner, in a post titled, “Irrelevant & Silent Green Patriarch: on Abortion & Marriage”:


Yes, yes, all he says is good and important. But really now: addressing the three issues of nonviolence, health care and environmentalism–these are all issues that just about everyone at Georgetown agrees on. Or at least, they’re very sexy, politically correct, cool things to talk about today.

And yet what Luther said remains ever true today: “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

What is one of the huge elephants in the room, the huge culture battles that is going on right now all across our country, especially in the Roman Catholic world (which Georgetown represents)? Sexuality and marriage! Yet not a word here about homosexuality, abortion, divorce, sex outside of marriage, gay marriage, etc. Good grief, he could have at *least* thrown out a few choice lines when talking about caring for creation, like, “and let us care for all of God’s creation, including the unborn,” or something like this. But nope, very safe and non-controversial. (He does say, “Just as every human life is a gift from God, to be treated with love and respect,” but does this include the unborn? His listeners could interpret it either way.)


  1. Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

    You can read Solzhenitsyn’s addressed (referenced by Dr. Reynolds) here: A World Split Apart — Commencement Address Delivered At Harvard University, June 8, 1978.

  2. Sidebar.

    The actual Luther quote seems to be:

    (It) does not help that one of you would say: ‘I will gladly confess Christ and His Word on every detail, except that I may keep silent about one or two things which my tyrants may not tolerate, such as the form of the Sacraments and the like.’ For whoever denies Christ in one detail or word has denied the same Christ in that one detail who was denied in all the details, since there is only one Christ in all His words, taken together or individually.

    The quote, as cited in the OP, apparently comes from the Chronicles of the Scoenberg-Cotta Family published in 1864, and in that book it is not Luther speaking. Source:

  3. George Michalopulos :

    It’s times like this that I miss Solzhenitsyn. I pray that the EPs words will be lost in a memory hole. In retrospect, there was little edifying about them or profitable to the Faith. As for the powers that be in the GOA, I can guarantee you that this was just a big shindig to show off their importance to the other jurisdictions. Sad, such game playing on all sides. Lord have mercy.

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