June 20, 2013

A Statement on the Jehovah's Witnesses in Greece

The following statement was issued on June 16, 2013 by the Holy Metropolis of Kifisia regarding an event planned by the Watchtower Society in that Metropolis for June 21, 2013:

The Watchtower Society (an organization of so-called "Christians" also known as Jehovah's Witnesses), which operates even within our Holy Metropolis, these past days have issued invitations to the entire Christian congregation of our Holy Metropolis to attend an event on 06/21/2013, with the theme: "Truth: Where Can You Find It? How Can It Benefit You and Your Family?"

Our local Church, under our pastoral care and for the care of the faithful people, must be informed of the issue of our salvation as it is taught in Holy Scripture and in our Orthodox Church, highlighting the following:

First, truth exists and is found only in the God-man and singular Person of Jesus Christ. Only through Christ was truth revealed to the world and only through Him can man know God and be saved.

Second, Christ with His Incarnation, His Death on the Cross, and His Resurrection founded the Church, of which He is the Head and She His Body, according to the teaching of the Apostle Paul (Eph. 1:23; 5:23). The Apostle of the Nations characterizes the Church as "the pillar and the ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15). In contrast to the above, Holy Scripture emphasizes that certain people or groups of people will leave the Church, and will deny Her salvific truth which amounts to a denial of Christ Himself. Thus they are led into error and are lost, which is why the Apostle Peter describes them as false prophets and false teachers (2 Pet. 2:1). The truth, therefore, belongs and exists only within the Body of the Church, which is the Body of Christ, and not with individuals or heretical groups such as the Jehovah's Witnesses.

The official teaching of the Society has been condemned synodically (although the Society was established much later) as early as 325 AD by the First Ecumenical Synod and in particular through the extreme unscriptural false teaching fanatically supported by Arius, that Christ is not the God-man, but simply a man, though the best creation of God the Father.

Third, the uncovered truth, which the Church received from Her same Founder, Christ, as well as the Apostles, is not an abstract philosophical truth delivered by a man, but the salvific teaching which in order to be revealed the Almighty Son of God had to be slaughtered on the Cross. For this reason, salvific truth is revealed in the Church, according to the complete biblical teaching (Jude 3), that is, once for all in a unique way and indestructible. In the same way the Church, according to Matthew the Evangelist, is established on the rock of Truth and even the gates of Hades will not be able to overcome it (Matt. 16:18). Here the true biblical teaching is in stark contrast to the Jehovah's Witnesses, but also the religious beliefs of other heretical groups who proclaim that the Church has lost the truth, and after many centuries they found it on their own behalf.

Fourth, truth, according to the teachings of Holy Scripture which is authentically and inviolably in our Orthodox Church, apart from the above, is constant and unchangeable, because it does not change or modify the faith once delivered, which empirically it lives as a Body from one age to another. That which the Church received from Christ and the Apostles, this it strongly follows with suffering and agony, in full consciousness that the slightest change, alteration or modification of the Orthodox Faith will have dire consequences for Her people.

This is what the Brother of God James means when he says: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (James 1:17), that is, every good thing which is given to humanity and every perfect gift comes from heaven, coming down from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation or change of shadow.

In contrast, those who hold to truths of the Watchtower Society do alter and modify, presenting their various interpretations inconsistently to its followers - the victims of this organization - as it considers appropriate to serve the respective interests of the organization.

Taking serious heed of the above, and with a high sense of responsibility in Christ as well as pastoral responsibility towards the honorable and pious members of the ecclesiastical body of this local area, we present this information in order to define the teachings of Christ's Church from the threat of heresy, so that everyone remains constant and steady lovers of God, with faith in the God-man, without endangering their salvation.

Therefore, our local Church, with love for mankind, prohibits her entire Christian congregation from any participation in the aforementioned meeting of the so-called "Christian" Jehovah's Witnesses. At the same time, it urges people to study the word of God, Holy Scripture, with prayer, diligence, a spirit of humility and patience, and above all participation in the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church. These build Christians in their Orthodox Faith, and protect them from the risk of turning away from the truth and being trapped and made captive in the space of delusion and bondage.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos