Thursday, August 4, 2016

Problems in Contemporary Antichristology

By Protopresbyter Fr. Thomas Bambinis

The Schengen Treaty, electronic identities and sermons on the Antichrist, whose number is said to be in the barcode system, constitute a powerful temptation for the members of the Church. The Orthodox people are choked with terror about future suffering and the risk of losing the gift of Chrismation. Two possibilities are put before them: either receive the mark of the Antichrist which results in eternal damnation, or not accept it which results in suffering, because then you can neither buy nor sell. Naturally this dilemma is stressful and creates anxiety and concern for the future. In some cases this anxiety takes the form of panic or even leads to financial planning for the future in order to overcome the difficult years of the Antichrist. Under these conditions, people's reactions take political overtones. Thus, the struggle is oriented towards pressing the government to not create favorable conditions for the rule of the Antichrist.

The protection of people from any outside scheming, either military or economic or spiritual, is the duty of every responsible political power. Particularly, when the vast majority of the people are Orthodox Christians, should the state be tuned to the sensitivities and faith of the people. It should however be noted - since most of what is spoken about revolves around the seal of the Antichrist - that its refusal or acceptance is not a matter of national policy. Political power cannot replace the responsibility of the person. Moreover, the modern Greek State, as a member of a united Europe, led to a gradual elimination of borders, and they should not hope to close them for the Antichrist. The acceptance or rejection of the Antichrist is a matter of personal choice and responsibility, and ownership of Christ is not offered by any state or even ecclesiastical leadership without the personal and free struggle of the faithful. Christ does not save by necessity, which is why the Antichrist cannot overrun us unless we give him the opportunity. Favorable external conditions cannot make us faithful Christians, like most unfavorable ones cannot make us subservient to the Antichrist. It is enough to not deny our faith in the incarnate God and cut ourselves off, by our way of life, from His Grace. Our Christ wants us infinitely more than the Antichrist.

The antichristology of our days raises numerous problems that require responsible, scientific, and theological answers. A scientific issue to verify is whether or not, in fact, the number 666 is at the basis of the barcode system, because conflicting opinions are heard. A subject of theological opinion is whether the number of the name of the Antichrist is dangerous before the name and face of the Antichrist are revealed. Also, whether the acceptance of an ID number is based on the 666 and if it will comprise of the seal of the Antichrist, although its acceptance does not require a denial of Christ and worship of the Antichrist.

It is known that the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece has established a committee of bishops and professors of Theological Schools, which examines with theological pastoral sensitivity and responsibility all aspects and details of the issues involved. They will issue findings and on this basis will the Church inform and guide the people. The people must have confidence in the Church and her Pastors and to live "a calm and quiet life in all piety and modesty." Agitation is incompatible with faith in the omnipotence of the incarnate God of love, who will "consume" the lawless "by the spirit of His mouth."

Source: Ekklesiastiki Paremvasi, "Προβλήματα Σύγχρονης Ἁντιχριστολογίας", October 1997. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.