"I will establish my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it"

Thoughts of Archbishop Averky on the church and apostasy of our Age.

Christ our Savior said clearly, "I will establish my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt., 16:18).

Consequently, He created one Church, not many different churches, for in that case He would have spoken in the plural: "churches." This is why it is odd to hear the speeches, which claim to be authoritative, of some modern leaders of the [ecumenical] movement who call themselves "Christians" to the effect that the existence within Christianity of various "churches" (the Roman Catholic, the Protestant ones, etc.) is a positive phenomenon, since each person can select his own "church" according to his own taste, selecting whichever one he likes best, whichever one suits him best.

It was even stranger for us to hear the words of a certain liberal, progressive professor who eloquently developed the idea that Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Protestantism are all the same Christianity, just from "different viewpoints." "It is as if," he continued in this comparison, "an airplane is flying over a city: from various points during its flight it sees the city in its various parts, and therefore the city seems different to it, depending on the point from which one is looking at it."

Of course, such an idea is fundamentally opposed to the Word of God, which clearly teaches:

  • "That they may be one" (John 17:11);
  • "One Lord, one faith" (Eph. 4:5);
  • "Be like-minded one toward another" (Rom. 15:5);
  • "Be of one accord, of one mind" (Phil. 2:2);
  • "Be ye all of one mind" (I Peter 3:8);
  • "Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things... Be not wise in your own conceits" (Rom. 12:16).

Wherever the inherited spiritual link of grace going back to the holy Apostles and their successors the Apostolic Men and Holy Fathers has been broken, wherever various innovations have been introduced in faith and morals with the aim of "keeping in step with the times," of "progressing," of not getting out of date and of adapting to the demands and fashions of this world lying in evil there can be no talk of the true Church.

Where one finds the dogmas shaken and the moral teachings of the Gospel and the canonical structure of the Church founded on them undermined, this is clearly the work of servants of the coming Antichrist, no matter what they might call themselves and no matter how they are dressed.

The "gates of hell" will riot prevail against the Church, but they have and certainly can prevail against many who consider themselves pillars of the Church, as is shown by Church history; this happens when they are full of their own conceits, abandon the one mind and one spirit of the whole One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, and rely on their own conjectures and imaginings which contradict the teachings of the Gospel, the Holy Apostles, and the Fathers of the Church.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas