“We Are Only Witnesses”

Each day this week, we will publish a different response to the question posed to Russian priests: How should we preach Christ in modern society? Enjoy!

by Archpriest George Breyev

St. Theophan the Recluse once said:

“The time will come when there will be so many men, so many faiths.”

The Lord didn’t create us like products which are churned out using a template. We are not the same, neither are our lives. The Almighty created us in His image and likeness, and this involves freedom, conscience, and the ability to think.

If someone chooses the missionary path, his criterion will always be the Word of God, the Holy Scripture. On its pages we see the unfading image of the Savior, we contemplate how God revealed Himself to us in the Persons of the Holy Trinity; we see how the apostles received the grace of preaching… All has been said, we don’t have to add any other details of our own invention.

Whether it is nowadays, or in more adverse or more favorable circumstances, all we can do is preach God. For God is unchangeable, and His laws are unalterable. The Lord says: 

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away (Mt. 24:35).

What will we preach then? What was given to all of us. The law, saving grace, the image that Christ revealed to us when He revealed Himself and (through Himself) the Heavenly Father to humanity—this is the essence of our preaching. Everybody is called to heed Divine revelation, from the first to the last man in the world.

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We are only witnesses. We testify that this is our faith. And we cannot change a single word. The subject of our preaching is God and His saving power working in the world; His love for the human race; and the laws that God laid down not only in human nature but also in the whole universe. In every natural phenomenon we find one or another law of life given by the Creator; and we cannot avoid these visible laws in our preaching.

But if we just say whatever comes into our heads, it will be superficial compared to what the Lord Himself revealed to us and charged us with, blessing us to preach (cf. Mt. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:15, etc.).

About Fr. John A. Peck

Director of the Preachers Institute, priest in the Orthodox Church in America, award-winning graphic designer and media consultant, and non-profit administrator.
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