Archimandrite Varnavas Lambropoulos
A superficial reading of today’s epistle gives the impression of dry moralism. Saint Paul twice urges the faithful to devote themselves to good works, considering these to be evidence of the fruits of the spirit. And he recommends them to avoid heretics [‘divisive people’] ‘after a first and second admonition’.
True or merely useful?
The obvious question often arises: ‘Why should I be a Christian, especially an Orthodox one, if I have to avoid heretics, when I can still be a good person without being a member of the Church? Aren’t there any good heterodox people, those of other religions or none, who have performed a great many good works?’. Clearly, if someone asks this question, it’s like saying: ‘I’m not interested in whether Christianity’s true or not. All I care about is how it helps me to be a good person. My criterion isn’t its truth but its usefulness’. But the value of Christianity isn’t restricted to its…