Certain Merits of Protestants

It is, for the most part, Protestants who brought forth the scientific teachings that affirm the literal truth of Holy Scripture. While Protestants may tend to take literalism beyond proper bounds, there are many old[1] time Protestant preachers who weaved Holy Scripture together just like the Church Fathers of old. Often, these preachers were very familiar with the Kione[2] Greek, some of them in early America having received direct heavenly aid in learning the exact Scriptures, a thousand miles from any Greek Orthodox Church.

And this form of Protestantism, which came from men and women called to poverty, to prayer, to charity and to fasting as well as Apostolic preaching, while rare, is something that produced great fruits in this author’s native land of America. It may have been lost of late to rich glitzy Christ mongers who prey on the poor for money, for power, or for vainglory, but itinerate backwoods preachers were very real and very mighty in faith.

Spiritual Rahab[3] is/was not without Christ. It may be forever divided against itself, but it is not without grace. There is a difference between graceless and less grace, at least by implication in English. For graceless is sinful not even aiming at the mark, while less grace is missing the bullseye but may come close enough for the Lord is filled with mercy, and He justified sinners while sending away pharisees.

When first this present author read Saint Athanasius, Saint Polycarp and the oldest Saints of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church as a Protestant Anglican, he read old friends. One believed them and knew oneself utterly deficient as a sinner. Reading and hearing from the best of old Protestant preachers was remarkably consistent with the ancient Church Father teachings. Grace abounds and God goes where He wills. Jesus builds HIS Church and the mouth of those who speaks lies shall be stopped.

Where there is/was heresy, gentle love and correction and understanding are needed. For instance, why, when the European Protestants first began their rampage against the Holy Images, where they not taught that the Holy images are picture Bibles? The greatest defender of the Holy Images in the history of the Church, Saint Gregory the Great, taught exactly that way[4]. He pointed out that not everyone could read, and that the Holy images are for the poor and illiterate and everyone has access to the beauty of the Saints of God through the Holy images and the logos for the mind in Iconography. That is simple truth. Picture Bibles and picture history. For Acts is continued in the Saints who shall come again by ten thousands.[5]

In the age of the printing press that truth was nearly lost, but how easily could the rudder of Protestantism have been turned away from gross error in iconoclasm by pointing out simple truth. The truth is authorities did not care enough to communicate simple truth to others learning the local language. Because the authority said so, that was supposed to be good enough. That is the authority of vain-glory, and the Church is and was infested with it; “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

What a gentle, true, wise and simple teaching Saint Gregory the Great brought forth! Why wasn’t it given to the Protestants in his humble way? Showing Protestants where and how the Icons teach the things of God and fulfill the Scriptures cares enough for the Protestant method to use it for good. For the Protestant method of recourse to the Holy Scriptures is very much in line with the ancient method of Saint Paul and Saint Polycarp and Saint Athanasius and all the Church Fathers, especially Saint John Chrysostom. The arrogation of proper interpretation to oneself is the issue, not the veracity of Holy Scripture.

Protestants generally give more of their material substance to the poor, many pray continuously, some fast rigorously and there are those who keep prayerful watch as laymen. They read the Holy Gospels and actually do them. 

Jesus Christ is the Pope of the Protestants, and through the Holy Images, Protestants can be converted and it is not a bad thing to listen to some Protestants, as they have graces in Holy Scripture that come from the Holy Spirit.

These graces in Orthodoxy and Catholicism seem buried of late by the “academy”, by the monastery in a sort of exaltation, and even by the beauty of real miracles in the danger of vainglory.  For a man can walk on water and lose his soul if he exalts himself and does not humble himself.

[1] Old time in the sense that these preachers have a beautiful literal view of the Holy Bible, of the old world, and of the ages in respectful timeless prayer. Such as these are firmly Orthodox though they never encountered a member of the Orthodox Church. Glory to Jesus Christ who builds HIS Church now and forever!

[2] Common or shared Greek as spoken from the 4th Century AD when most copies of the Bible that remain were found. It has very precise meanings. 

[3] A habitation in Egypt constantly divided against itself by the Lord. For example Isaiah 51:9

[4] For example, Epistle XIII, Gregory to Serenus, Bishop of Massilia, “For indeed it had been reported to us that, inflamed with inconsiderate zeal, you have broken images of saints, as though under the plea that they ought not to be adored.  And indeed in that you forbade them to be adored, we altogether praise you; but we blame you for having broken them.  Say, brother, what priest has ever been heard of as doing what you have done?  If nothing else, should not even this thought have restrained you, so as not to despise other brethren, supposing yourself only to be holy and wise?  For to adore a picture is one thing, but to learn through the story of a picture what is to be adored is another.  For what writing presents to readers, this a picture presents to the unlearned who behold, since in it even the ignorant see what they ought to follow; in it the illiterate read.

[5] Jude 1:14

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