Spiritual Authority Helps

How should the Church be governed? Should the patriarchs act like emperors, issuing decrees which all believers must obey? Should bishops see themselves as local governors, demanding unquestioning submission of the people? Should the clergy be a kind of spiritual army, enforcing the will of the patriarchs and bishops, and meting out punishment on sinners? The first consideration for the Church is not how to punish sins, but how to prevent sins from being committed. And when a sin has been committed, the task of the Church is to encourage the sinner to confess the sin and make amends-so that no punishment is required. This is a quite different attitude to wrongdoing from that which the state adopts, and so requires a quite different style of government. Moreover, each individual is answerable not to be a priest, bishop, or patriarch, but to God. So the primary of authority of those within the Church is not to issue decrees, but to stir the souls and enliven the consciences of believers, so that by their own volition they will obey the laws of God. In short those in authority within the Church should see themselves not as rulers, but as preachers and pastors.

On Living Simply – St. John Chrysostom

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2 thoughts on “Spiritual Authority Helps

  1. I’m impressed… Chesterton is my favorite though! Spurgeon is also good…

    “Love thy neighbor, too, albeit that he be of a different religion. Thou thinkest thyself to be of that sect which is the nearest to the truth, and thou hast hope that thou and thy compeers who think so well, shall certainly be saved. Thy neighbor thinketh differently. His religion thou sayest is unsound and untrue; love him, for all that. Let not thy differences separate him from thee. Perhaps he may be right, or he may be wrong; he shall be the rightest in practice, who loves the most. Possibly he has no religion at all. He disregards thy God; he breaks the Sabbath; he is confessedly an atheist; love him still. Hard words will not convert him, hard deeds will not make him a Christian. Love him straight on; his sin is not against thee, but against thy God. Thy God takes vengeance for sins committed against himself, and leave thou him in God’s hands. But if thou canst do him a kind turn, if thou canst find aught whereby thou canst serve him, do it, be it day or night. And if thou makest any distinction, make it thus: Because thou art not of my religion, I will serve thee the more, that thou mayest be converted to the right; whereas thou art a heretic Samaritan, and I an orthodox Jew, thou art still my neighbor, and I will love thee with the hope that thou mayest give up thy temple in Gerizim, and come to bow in the temple of God in Jerusalem. Love thy neighbor, despite differences in religion.” (Love Thy Neighbor- Aug. 9th, 1857)

    tim kurek
    http://TheEvolutionofGod.wordpress.com

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