Cherry-Picking the Church Fathers

No one can show where Orthodox Saints supported interfaith marriage, egalitarian marriage, birth control, or usury. Such quotes are never provided, because such quotes do not exist.

When the Holy Spirit speaks the Truth to two different people, He does not send contradictory messages. This is why we can trust the consensus of the Saints. Over the past 2000 years, the Saints of the Orthodox Church have consistently taught the same things about the deity of Christ, the doctrine of the Trinity, baptism, communion, the importance of prayer, and a whole host of Orthodox Christian teachings.

Unfortunately, there are some people in the Church who don't want to obey the teachings of the Saints. They like hanging out with their friends during liturgy, and they like the smell of incense, but their faith doesn't go much deeper than that. And they become very irritated when you remind them what the Saints actually taught. To actually be Orthodox, you need to be obedient, and this is terribly annoying to a lot of people who call themselves Orthodox Christians.

In many cases, their first line of defense is to deflect. If you tell them what the Orthodox Saints have said about marriage, sex, or money, your opponents will accuse you of "cherry picking the Fathers". They will claim that most Orthodox Saints agree with modern liberal views, and that only a tiny minority of Church Father quotes lend credence to a traditionalist, conservative view.

There is an easy way to call their bluff. Just ask them to provide quotations from Saints who support their point of view. They won't be able to do it.

  • How many Orthodox Saints have said it is OK for an Orthodox Christian to marry someone who is not Orthodox? Zero.
  • How many Orthodox Saints have said that contraception is sometimes acceptable? Zero.
  • How many Orthodox Saints have said that it's OK to charge interest on a loan? Zero.
  • Within marriage, how many Orthodox Saints have opposed Patriarchy? Zero.

If we were merely "cherry-picking the Fathers" to lend support to traditionalist views, then it should be easy for liberals to prove us wrong. They should be able to provide numerous quotes from Orthodox Saints, supporting interfaith marriage, egalitarian marriage, birth control, and usury. 

But they are never able to provide such quotes, because such quotes do not exist.

For 2000 years, the Orthodox Church has opposed these things. Among Orthodox Saints, there has not been any diversity of opinion on these issues. On these points, the Saints have spoken unanimously.

If you are an Orthodox Christian, then you must be careful to only marry someone who is an Orthodox Christian. Within marriage, a wife must be obedient to her husband. A married couple must never use birth control. And when making a loan, you must not charge interest.

As far as the Saints are concerned, these are things which have been taught "by everyone, everywhere, and at all times," as St. Vincent's wise saying indicates. 

We are not cherry-picking the Fathers. We are just quoting them. And nominal Christians don't like it.

Want to see more articles like this? Please help us, and do what you can to keep the Russian Faith website alive.

It takes a full time staff to sustain this website, and our workers need to feed their families. We have not yet met our fundraising goal, and we need your help. A recurring donation of even $5 or $10 per month would be a blessing, and will help keep us going.

For more great memes like this one, follow Global Orthodox News on Telegram: