March 25, 2010 3 Comments
A strange title for an article, indeed, but they told us in high school to make your opening line catchy, so hopefully that will bring sweat to the brow of some Calvinist. It’s quite surprising to see that many biblical theologians refuse to admit the existence of the angelic realm, given that it’s so prominent in Sacred Scripture, both in the New and Old Testaments. But this is to be expected since higher criticism is the norm. We will examine below the prominence in Scripture of both sides of the angelic: the holy and the demonic, and see from many scholars of various Christian traditions that the correct biblical and historical view of the hierarchies is quite a diverse realm.
I hope for this to be eye opening to many Protestants who for whatever reasons have failed to understand the biblical and historical case for this legitimate area of theology. I know from my own experience that Calvinist circles tend to be completely unaware in practice, at least, of the influence and action of secondary angelic agents, such as angels or demons. This is because Calvinism thrusts all of its theological focus on the divine will, and usually upon the immediate causality of the divine will, even if mediate, secondary causes are professed intellectually. For proof of this, I challenge the reader to name one Calvinistic exorcist. Case closed. Thus we find this to be an area of radical difference in both Orthodoxy and traditional Catholic teaching when compared with Protestant theology, even of its more conservative stripes. It’s also very telling to me that it’s generally the Churches with Apostolic Succession that actually do exorcisms.
Upon exploring Liturgical worship in the Eastern and the Latin Rites, one very prominent is that of the angelic participation in the Liturgy. This arises from the St. Paul’s conception of the Church on earth as one with the Church in heaven (Col. 1:13-20, Eph. 1: 21-23, 2:6, 3:10, Heb. 12:22-23). Protestantism rarely places these key texts in their proper liturgical context, and thereby loses sight of the fact that the worship on earth should be quite colorful and engage the entire man, both mentally and bodily, as St. John describes the liturgical worship in heaven in the Apocalypse.
St. Paul makes this connection clear when he charges St. Timothy before the “elect angels” (1 Tim. 5:21) to do nothing with partiality, all within the context of a liturgically-focused section. This is because, as Fr. Casmir Kucharek writes in his The Byzantine-Slav Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom:
Phrases like…”that I may stand blamelessly before your dread altar” are not verbalisms, but authentic Byzantine tradition, to be taken quite literally. Even angelic purity is demanded of one offering the sacrifice: Read more of this post