There is much discussion in the Orthodox world about the need for people in the West to be converted, for more services in English, for overcoming ethnicism in the Church. This positive missionary fervor is a very good sign (except, of course, when negative comments are made). In fact, as Archimandrite Constantine (of Jordanville) often said, the best time for missionary activity is right now, because the less Christian America becomes, the more the Orthodox mission increases. Our positive missionary fervor, however, must be guided by an awareness of the times in which we live, so that we will know how to save our souls and save others.

It is natural for those who are in the Church of Christ, realizing what it means to be Orthodox, not to be satisfied with just having it for themselves. Knowing that Orthodoxy is the Truth for all peoples, they want it for others: for their own friends and relatives, and for whoever may have their heart open to it. Yet, as we look about us today, we see the Orthodox Church so hemmed in by Communist persecution in one place and by worldliness in another. The situation is, of course, worse in the West, which is occupied by worldliness. Under Communism, one can suffer for Christ and at least bring something good out of that; whereas, under the influence of worldliness, Orthodox Christianity loses its savor and the believers become just like anybody else. In the latter case, many Protestants put many Orthodox to shame, since they have fervor and love for Christ without even knowing what is the Church of Christ.

 

These situations, however, should not cause the slightest difference in our missionary fervor (And the same may be said for the situation, faced by many English-speaking converts, of having to attend services in a foreign language). We must remember that Christ expects from us not missionary fervor, but a changed life and a warm heart.

 

 

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