“Did Christ found a Church? Does it have a continuous history and can it be found today? What came first, the Bible or the Church? Did that Church have a name?” The goal of Christianity: an honest and lovely conversation between an Orthodox Priest (Fr. Seraphim Cardoza) and an Evangelical Pastor (Perry Atkinson). Rev. Archpriest Seraphim Cardoza, is a former evangelical pastor who was drawn to Eastern Orthodox Christianity. In 1995 he was ordained and assigned to minister to the small ROCOR congregation in Medford, Oregon, US.
Watch the full interview here: https://youtu.be/8NbK3D_gQ0Y
Fr. Seraphim Cardoza:
One guy at the airport grabbed my shirt, grabbed my arm, and said, “Are you saved? Do you know Jesus?” Here I am, unashamed of who I am, you know.
“Are you saved?” And I go: “Yes, I was saved yesterday, I’m being saved today and I hope to be saved tomorrow.”
Next question, “Do you guys believe the Bible?”
Yeah, I mean they’re militant.
My question is: “What came first, the Bible or the Church?”
Most don’t know. The Church came first. Did that Church have a name? One Holy Catholic Apostolic Orthodox Church.
Do you guys believe the Scripture?”
My question is, “Who do you think wrote the Scripture?”
“Er… I don’t know.”
“What came first, the Church or the Scripture?”
The church, 300 and some years before we had the canon of the Scripture. Did it have a name?
Yes, it did, One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church.
And there’s another one I get quite often, oh my goodness: “The Bible says ‘call no man father‘.”
And I go, “Well, if you read Paul in Corinthians, he said, ‘though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father…'”
And then he writes to Galatians, “You fathers…”
And so I say, “What do you call your father: Jack, Jim, Jerk…?”
You know, Perry, let me tell you a thought that I have. May I? Yeah.
And you know me…
Yeah, too well…
And I mean this with love. I was ordained in a large group, a denomination. And I think I was a good pastor, you know. I had my faults, for sure, and I felt like I pastored.
But when I was ordained in the Orthodox Church and they called me “Father”, spiritual father, my whole mindset… Do you know how you feel about your sons? That’s how I feel about my Church.
It’s not that I didn’t love them before, it’s not that I didn’t care for them before, but when they call me on the phone, “Father, will you give me your blessing?”
“Oh, I’m humbled, I’m your father, I’m your spiritual father,” like Saint Paul said… all the way… You know, I’m not a guide, I’m also a guide, but I’m a father…
If I can in some way reveal America’s best kept secret, it’s Orthodoxy. It has so much to offer the Church in America. Where did I start from? Church of the Nazarene, that’s where I met Christ, that’s where I learned that we could go on further and I’m so thankful, that’s where the Gospel, the Scriptures… Oh my goodness! That started your journey. That started my journey. But why can’t all of us, why can’t we really be unafraid to ask this question: “Did Christ find a Church? Does it have a continuous history and can it be found today?” And if we’re willing to ask that question, maybe we won’t all become Orthodox but there has to be some Orthodoxy in every denomination… that we can recover…