Giving Offense in the Time of Peace and Goodwill

I have (undeserved or not) a general reputation as a kind priest, and merciful, and hope that my postings on this blog will maintain that reputation. God help me if I don’t.

It interests me, that making comments about paganism drew not only an unusual number of views for the weekend (that tells me that lots of pagans use the internet). I also found that the simple title “Mother of God” draws quick comment from Protestants who have failed to honor her in accordance with tradition and have lots of the same reasons I’ve heard for years (certainly nothing new) in defending themselves.

I do not need to hear what I’ve heard so many times (particularly when it was wrong the first time it was stated). Both Martin Luther and John Calvin believed that Mary was Ever-Virgin, that is, that she never had children by St. Joseph. To misread Scripture in this manner (that is to see the brothers and sisters of Jesus as literal flesh-and-blood brothers and sisters) runs counter to virtually the unanimous tradition of the Church and even of the first Reformers.

The descendents of these second-generation reformers sought to destroy stained-glass, outlawed Christmas in England, murdered monastics, stole property from the Church, and participated in a bloodbath that would have made the Roman Catholic attrocities of the inquisition look mild. I do not care to sit idly by, while their offspring, many centuries since think to verbally abuse the tradition as if they do not have the blood of generations on their hands. Read some Church history, for heaven’s sake!

If you have to attack Rome, then go visit a Roman Catholic site, they exist in plenty. I cannot and will not defend Rome, I’m Orthodox.

But as a new comer to the blogosphere I’m learning. Certain buzzwords draw readers like flies.

 I will remind others of our general rules around here. If you want to argue, you’ve come to the wrong site. I don’t like to argue. If you disagree, that is fine. Ask questions. I’ll treat all questions with respect. Attacks will simply be deleted. Don’t waste your energy.

May God bless all of you and give you joy, because no matter what you think, He loved you enough to become one of us, and even to enter into Hell to get us out. Can’t get better than that.

As someone on the rescue list I welcome any who will join me.

Peace on earth and goodwill toward men!

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a retired Archpriest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe, and Face to Face: Knowing God Beyond Our Shame, as well as the Glory to God podcast series on Ancient Faith Radio.





7 responses to “Giving Offense in the Time of Peace and Goodwill”

  1. Lucian Avatar

    “they [the Pagans] had a world-view which included a belief in various supernatural forces and the way one related to the earth, sky, the seasons, etc. But they had no self-consciousness as belonging to a religion.”

    I have nothing really important to say, … just that this description seams awfully resembling the Protestant mind-set (“Real Relationship, not [just] ‘Religion’”).

  2. Lucian Avatar

    … maybe it’s just one of those many, many “pagan corruptions of Protestantism”, that we ‘all know about’, who can tell? 🙂

    By the way, Father, is the page about paganism ‘out of order’? (It seems that the ‘Reply’-window won’t work — or is it just my computer/bad connection to blame?)

  3. NewTrollObserver Avatar


    Part of the interest in the paganism topic might also stem from some of your blog-readers who associate themselves with one Dharmic tradition or another (e.g., Hinduism, or Buddhism). A Hindu, of course, would not self-identify himself as ‘pagan’, but historically many of the Christian critiques against ‘paganism’ have also been applied (inaccurately or not) to the traditions of India. So whenever the topic of paganism and Christianity is addressed, Hindus and Buddhists (or Westerners associated with Hindu or Buddhist praxis and theology) might find it interesting to peak in and listen, out of curiosity, intellectual or otherwise.

  4. fatherstephen Avatar

    I would not draw any comparisons between pagans and protestants. They don’t seem obvious to me. Yes. I turned off the comments and they particular post. It seemed to be a target for things I had little time for.

  5. Catechumen Trevor Avatar

    I didn’t get in on the “Mother of God” comments, but it might be useful (then again, it might not) to point out that Mary as Mother of God was the subject of an Ecumenical Council that most of Protestant theology technically accepts. When I came to Orthodoxy, there were a lot of ideas I had to accept. Some I’d been prepared for by some earlier reading I’d done, others were completely new to me. But the affirmation that Mary is the Mother of God (Theotokos) and that it was heresy to say otherwise I learned years before I ever thought about Orthodoxy, in a Dispensational Evangelical seminary, from a systematic theology prof. who had earned his Th.D. in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary.

    Of course, we recognized at the time that a lot of Protestants were unaware of how appropriate the doctrine is, but I hope the realization that good, Evangelical theologians can affirm this title will at least spur some to investigate further their own tradition.

  6. Steve Avatar

    “But the affirmation that Mary is the Mother of God (Theotokos) and that it was heresy to say otherwise I learned years before I ever thought about Orthodoxy, in a Dispensational Evangelical seminary, from a systematic theology prof. who had earned his Th.D. in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary.”

    There is hope! Thanks, Trevor!

  7. Steve Hayes Avatar

    Thosde who deny that Mary is the Theotokos or Mother of God are, of course, Nestorians.

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