St. Basil and the vileness that is Oneness Pentecostalism

Icon of Basil of Caesarea. Василий Великий, икона
Icon of Basil of Caesarea. Василий Великий, икона (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A subversion of faith is being contemplated among you, hostile to both apostolic and evangelical doctrines, and hostile to the tradition of the truly great Gregory and of those who followed after him up to the blessed Musonius, whose teachings are of course still fresh in your minds even now. For the evil of Sabellius, long ago stirred up, but extinguished by the tradition of that great man, these men are attempting to revive, who from fear of exposure are now fashioning those dreams against us. But do you, bidding farewell to those heads heavy with wine, which the vapour rising and swirling from their drunken debauch reveals, hear of the harm being done to you from us who have awakened and who cannot be quiet because of the fear of God.

Sabellianism is…imported under the appearance of Christianity into the preaching of the Gospel. For he who calls Father, Son, and Holy Spirit one thing under many appearances, and makes one person out of three, what else does he do but deny the existence from eternity of the Only-begotten? And he denies also His dispensatory sojourn among men, His descent into hell, His resurrection, the judgment; and he denies also the special activities of the Spirit. — Letter CCX1

For I have been delivered from such a stance…

Also, I usually don’t like St. Basil.

Rosemary is more my flavor.

  1. Basil of Caesarea, Saint Basil: The Letters (ed. E. Capps et al.; trans. Roy J. Deferrari and Martin R. P. McGuire; vol. 3; The Loeb Classical Library; London; New York; Cambridge, MA: William Heinemann; G. P. Putnam’s Sons; Harvard University Press, 1926–1934), 201–203.

Basil’s Homily on Thanksgiving

May each of you have a blessed day:

From Basil –

And yet, I have been commanded to give thanks in everything. Am I to give thanks when I am strapped to a rack, tortured, stretched out on a wheel, and having my eyes gouged out? Am I to give thanks when I am beaten with humiliating blows by one who hates me? When I am stiff from the cold, perishing from hunger, tied to a tree, suddenly bereft of my children, or deprived even of my very wife? If I lose my wealth as a result of a sudden shipwreck? If I run into pirates on the sea, or brigands on the mainland? If I am wounded, slandered, wander around, or dwell in a dungeon?

Raising these objections, and more besides, our adversaries find fault with the lawgiver, thinking that, by slandering the precepts that we have been given as impossible to fulfill, they furnish themselves with a defense for their own sins. What, therefore, shall we say in response to them?

That, while the Apostle is looking elsewhere and attempting to elevate our souls from the earth to the heights and to transport us to a heavenly way of life, they, unable to attain to the loftiness of the lawgivers mind, and preoccupied with the earth and the flesh, crawl around in the passions of the body like worms in a swamp and demand that the Apostle issue precepts which are capable of being fulfilled. For his part, the Apostle summons not just anyone, but one who is as he was to rejoice always, no longer living in the flesh, but having Christ living in himself, since union with the highest good does not in any way allow sympathy for the demands of the flesh (cf. Galatians 2:20). And even if an incision is made in the flesh, the disintegration occasioned by its continued presence remains in the part of the body that suffers it, since the pain is unable to spread to the noetic part of the soul. For, if, in accordance with the Apostles precept, we have mortified our members which are upon the earth (Colossians 3:5) and we bear in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus (II Corinthians 4:10), necessarily the injury suffered by the mortified body will not reach the soul which has been freed from contact with the body. Dishonor, losses, and deaths of our nearest and dearest will not rise up to the mind, nor will they incline the sublimity of the mind to sympathy with things below. For, if those who fall into difficulties have the same attitude as the virtuous man, they will not cause annoyance to anyone, seeing that not even they themselves endure sorrowfully what befalls them; but if they live according to the flesh (Romans 8:13), not even in this way will they annoy anyone, but will be reckoned pitiable, not so much because of their circumstances, as because they do not choose to react properly.

In short, a soul which has once and for all been held fast by the desire for its Creator and is accustomed to delighting in the beauties of the heavenly realm will not alter its great joy and cheerfulness under the influence of carnal feelings, which are varying and unstable; but things which distress other people it will regard as increasing its own gladness. Such was the Apostle, who took pleasure in infirmities, in afflictions, in persecutions, and in necessities, counting his needs an occasion for glorying (II Corinthians 12:9-10); in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness, in persecutions and distresses (II Corinthians 12:10; 11:27), conditions in which others endure only with difficulty, bidding farewell to life: in these he rejoiced. Therefore, those who are ignorant of what the Apostle has in mind, and do not understand that he is calling us to the evangelical way of life, dare to accuse St. Paul of laying down things that are impossible for us. Well then, let them learn how many legitimate occasions for rejoicing are made available to us through Gods munificence. We were brought from non-being into being; we were made in the image of the Creator (Genesis 1:27); we have the mind and reason to perfect our nature, and through them we have knowledge of God. And perceiving the beauties of nature carefully, we thereby recognize, as if through letters, God’s great providence and wisdom concerning all things. We are capable of discerning good and evil; we are taught by nature itself to choose what is beneficial and to avoid what is harmful. Having been estranged from God through sin, we have been called back to kinship with Him, being released from ignominious slavery by the blood of His Only-begotten Son. We have the hope of resurrection, the enjoyment of Angelic goods, the Kingdom of Heaven, and promised goods, which transcend the grasp of mind and reason. (read the entire thing here)

Basil the Great – A Sad Individual Indeed

Mass of St. Basil
Image via Wikipedia

From the DailyGospel.org:
Saint Basil (c.330-379), monk and Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Doctor of the Church
Homily 7, on wealth; PG 31, 278

“At that statement…  he went away sad”

The incident of the rich young man and those like him makes me think of that of a traveler who, wanting to visit a certain town, arrives at the foot of the walls, finds an inn there, goes down to it and, discouraged by the short distance still to do, loses all the benefit of the difficulties of his journey and prevents himself from visiting the beauties of the town. Such are those who keep the commandments but can’t bear the idea of losing their goods. I know many people who fast, pray, do penance, and practise all sorts of works of piety very well, but who don’t spend a cent on the poor. What good are their other virtues to them?

These won’t enter the Kingdom of heaven, for «it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven». Clear words, and their author does not lie, but rare are those who let themselves be touched by them. «How will we live when we are stripped of everything?» is what they exclaim. «What sort of life will we lead when everything has been sold and there is no longer any property?» Don’t ask me what deep design underlies God’s commandments. He who made our laws also knows the art of reconciling the impossible with the law.

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Basil on the value of reading (Namely, Greek Literature)

Basil was commenting on the use of Greek literature for Christians, but his advice might be applied today to various other types of literature. In my opinion, Basil is saying the express opposite than what is said today (think Slippery Slope), in that we should read what opposes us, and discard anything of non-value.

Do not be surprised if to you, who go to school every day, and who, through their writings, associate with the learned men of old, I say that out of my own experience I have evolved something more useful. Now this is my counsel, that you should not unqualifiedly give over your minds to these men, as a ship is surrendered to the rudder, to follow whither they list, but that, while receiving whatever of value they have to offer, you yet recognize what it is wise to ignore. Accordingly, from this point on I shall take up and discuss the pagan writings, and how we are to discriminate among them.

You can read the rest here.

Is he right? Of course. Don’t expel from your presence those things which disagree with you, but instead read and devour it. Learn from it and learn how to defend yourself if necessary. Or, sometimes, you’ll find correction most needed.