by St. John Chrysostom
“Nothing is more frigid than a Christian who is indifferent to the salvation of others. Indeed I wonder if such a person can be a true Christian. To become a disciple of Christ is to obey his law of love; and obedience to the law brings joy beyond measure and description. Love means to want the best for others, sharing with them the joy of love. So the Christian feels compelled to speak to others about the law of love, and the joy of obeying this law. Of course, many people are shy about speaking to others; in their case actions motivated by love will be a most eloquent testimony. But those who are not shy will surely want to express their joy at every opportunity. There is no need to use fine words or elegant phrases; even the most uneducated people can convey joyful love by the spirit which accompanies their words. Even slaves have been known to convert their masters and mistresses by the sincerity of their speech.”
– On Living Simply
Ok, so the title was misleading. That was kind of the point, wasn’t it. The next time you hear the kind of drivel (“evangelism in not Orthodox) that passes for “Orthodox” Tradition, remind them that St. John Chrysostom said he would not consider them a true Christian.
I understand well enough the quote by St. John, I think… However, the text following in italicized red is quite murky. What is the “drivel”? What do you mean by that? I could maybe think of a couple of things, but trying to make a connection with the quote is difficult for me. Please forgive me.
Fr. John A. Peck says
I’ve added something to those comments to clarify it. Thanks.
Ah! It was much simpler than I had thought. It always is. Thank you very much!
Great quote. Is this from his homilies?
Fr. John A. Peck says
According to the Amazon description of this book,
Such a wonderful quote from Saint John Chrysostom’s sermon.
I wonder how many Orthodox today can build up the faith and courage to evangelise at the same calibre as the apostles of Christ did. It can be a dangerous thing these days just as it was back then (if not more dangerous) especially since there is less “religious tolerance” between people of different cultures / religions, and more of the “secular mindedness” of the contemporary generations.
I guess thats where martydom plays a big role in the Orthodox Church’s history.
I think some might find that they have other gifts rather than the gift of evangelism, as mentioned in one of the Epistles of St Paul (I can’t remember which one). In that case we’re probably doing good enough to be strengthening our own Christian brothers and sisters to keep their faith strong till the end.
So for those of us who are weaker in preaching, like myself, may God strengthen us to at least have “actions motivated by love” that will serve as a “most eloquent testimony”. Glory be to God!
The title caught my attention, but as Patrick says, “It was much simpler than I had thought. It always is.” Very true because Orthodoxy is the whole counsel of God not simply favoured sections.
I agree with Daniel we all have different gifts in one degree or another. As St Paul said, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” 1 Corinthians 12
The unique gift each has received is not to lead to a minimising of someone elses speciality, so to speak. A person may have the gift of giving and service but they might be timid as the proverbial churchmouse. This is no reason to diminsh the gift of evangelism through preaching or speaking about the truth because these require one to be more outgoing. In both cases love for the recipient is key.
I would be very interested in learning how others summarise the faith when they are speaking to non believers. The NT is full of phrases such as people who heard the word and were converted.
How is the necessity for believing on the Lord Jesus for salvation and deliverance from sin made clear and simple , so that one won’t be criticised for doing what is “non” Orthodox! Incredible as that may sound .
Fr. John A. Peck says
Try here: Journey To Orthodoxy