The Church, the Authentic Interpreter of the Scriptures
Writing about the Biblical texts, Elder Sophrony Sakharov, one of our leading modern theologians, says that even if they were to be lost in some way, we would be able to re-write them, not in precisely the same words, but certainly in the same spirit. It is quite clear from this that there is no question of making the actual letter and text of the Scriptures into objects of worship in themselves. It is obvious and well enough known, in any case, that the Church preceded the Scriptures, since it already existed, living in its own Tradition, when it established the canonical books, with all that involves. What, then, are the Scriptures? To put it simply, a written part of the total God-inspired Tradition of the Church.
The Orthodoxy of the Church and the Saints has the fragrance of freedom and genuine communion with God. Alas, those heretical Christians who are of all kinds and of every provenance, have narrowed down the Gospel message to a great extent, chopping it up into infinite and unlikely fables, behind which lurk demonic suggestions. The Church, however, preaches only Christ Crucified and Risen, One and the Same, yesterday, today and unto the ages, the sole Truth, Love personified, on Whom hang all the Law and the Prophets. That is enough and more than enough. The rest, the disordered, the strange, the sick, the poisonous are all from the devil and from heresies, to which confused people have recourse, as Saint Porfyrios so aptly remarks. They are, unfortunately led far from God, with all that means and involves. We Orthodox, however, keep the Gospel at the center of our lives and worship, since, according to our Tradition, the Gospel is Christ Himself.
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