10 November 2013
Dogma of Redemption
Regarding the controversy
Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky was the beloved first chief hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad 1920–1936. His faulty theologizing put forth the idea our salvation comes through Christ's suffering in Gethsemane more than His suffering on the Cross. Fr. Seraphim always avoided controversy, as it is a distraction from the "one thing needful", but at the same time Fr. Seraphim never failed to defend the truth. With all Christian charity and honor due to his Church father, Fr. Seraphim condemned the false teaching while at the same time fully defending the man. St. John S&SF was his guide. Who knows better than St. John?
Below are some words I extracted from a private correspondence with a brother older in the Faith. I have adopted this as my basic policy on the subject of Metr. Anthony's controversial Dogma of Redemption. These few simple words are a solid ground on which to stand when facing the temptation to enter into the controversy:
Metropolitan Anthony's views on redemption were the source of some controversy in the first half of the 20th century. But it must be stressed that these were his personal views, and that they fall under the category of theologoumenon, which is defined as a "theological statement which is of individual opinion and not doctrine". Metropolitan Anthony's opponents accused him of heresy; but this seems unwarranted. What is more likely is that he was trying to combat Latin (scholastic) teachings about redemption that were commonly being taught in his day and also to provide some new insights into the whole topic of redemption, especially the moral dimensions which were something of great interest to him.
Much has been said in general over the centuries about redemption and how it should be understood. But in the final analysis it is a great mystery which cannot be adequately expressed by human reasoning. That is why there are many ideas about it – including those of Metropolitan Anthony.
Those who are concerned about Metropolitan Anthony's views on redemption generally are interested only in them insofar as they can be used to discredit the Metropolitan's authority and along with that authority the Church Abroad, of which he was one of the founders and early leaders.