Answering Questions from the Community

Answering Questions from the Community

What is the Greek Free Church?
The Greek Free Church is an evangelical Bible-believing Christian church, which comprises of people from many different walks of life. Don’t let the name mislead you, we do have English services which all are invited to attend.

Are you a breakaway Church from the Greek Orthodox Church?
If the question is, were we as individuals once part of the Greek Orthodox Church? The answer would have to be yes. If the question is, did we leave the Greek Orthodox Church because we had a falling out? The answer would have to be a qualified as no. Our Church aligns itself with the teachings found in scripture rather than those passed on by Church leaders of whatever denomination (Colossians 2:8).

Is the Greek Free Church affiliated with the Archdioceses in Australia?
Following on from the answer to the question above, no, we are not affiliated the Archdioceses in Australia.

How does the Greek Orthodox Church view the Greek Free Church?
We are predominantly Greek and as any Greek person would know, if you are Greek but not Greek Orthodox, you are likely to be labeled as a heretic. Given the ecumenical movement in religion today we would like to believe that this has changed, but we are not aware of the official views of the Orthodox Church about our Church at this present time. We would like to believe that anyone who reads, believes and lives by scripture is not a heretic.

Reading about your youth group sounds exciting but do you have a youth program in Adelaide?
Unfortunately, we do not currently have a youth program in Adelaide. However, those aged 16 or older are more than welcome to attend our January and National Easter Youth camps at our Walkerville retreat in Victoria. For more information, about our camps or our youth programs held in Melbourne or Sydney.

What is the predominant nationality at the Greek Free Church?
Many Church attending members are from a Greek background. However, our English services are attended by both Greek and non-Greek speaking people. Anyone from any background may attend our services.

But what can you expect when you attend one of our services?

A loving, warm welcome from all. You will be greeted at the door by a member of our welcoming team, where you will be able to ask any further questions you may have.

Our services include a bit of everything: praise and worship, prayer, and a Bible- centred message which lasts about 30 minutes. All messages are quite practical in nature, offering meaningful principles that can be applied in all our lives.

If you are yet to accept the grace of Jesus Christ, we pray that your time with us encourages you to make the most important decision of your life.

My mum is Irish and my dad is Italian. Can I attend your services?
Yes! Of course! As long as you can speak English you are more than welcome to attend any of our English services.

What is the history of the Greek Free Church?
The Greek Free Church has its origins in Greece in the late 1920’s. Amongst the first congregation in Athens was the founder Mr. Kostas Metalinos. The first Greek Free Church congregation outside Greece was established in the United States by Dr Zervopoulos in the early 1950’s. Since then, Greek Free Churches outside Greece have been established in several countries, including Canada, Germany and Australia. For more information visit the about us page.

Do you have any affiliation with the Evangelical Orthodox Church?
No, we have no affiliation with the Evangelical Orthodox Church.

Do you have Holy Communion?
The Lord’s Supper is a term we use for Holy Communion, taking the bread and wine (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). We conduct the Lord’s Supper every Sunday morning.

What is your view on the orthodox church?
Our aim and purpose is to spread the Gospel and the message of God’s grace manifested through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is the author and perfecter of our faith. As such our focus is not to engage in polemics with the Greek Orthodox Church (GOC). Having said that, our view is that the GOC is a religion that claims to be the only true Christian church. We do not accept this view. The true universal church crosses all denominational and man made institutions, it comprises of all those who have understood that they are sinners and fall short of the glory of God and have put their trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We disagree with the GOC on many issues including but not limited to the role of tradition, veneration of icons, Mariolatry etc. We believe that these issues are a hindrance to finding the truth as revealed in scripture. That is the experience of many of those who attend the Greek Free Church.

If the Bible book was compiled in 3rd-4th century AD, what took its place for the full 200-300 years before then? Is’nt this an argument for the retention of some tradition?
During the first 3 centuries there was no official canon established for the New Testament that was universally recognized, but the early Church had in essence decided which books it would accept. These writings of the apostles were copied and circulated amongst the Christian churches in the early history of the Church. The New Testament canon (list of New Testament books) as we have it today was circulated in a letter by St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria in 367 AD. This list gained wider recognition and acceptance and was adopted by the Third Council of Carthage, 28 August 397AD (canon 24). Tradition did not decide the Bible canon; men of God with a firm belief in Him were given discernment to arrive to where they did.

To extend the above history into the realm of tradition is fraught with dangers. Man’s ingenuity to come up with new ways to worship and serve God is amazing. Today, the word “tradition” encompasses many liturgical, ritualistic and religious practices for many churches and denominations. We cannot allow it to colour our understanding of, nor alter the application of God’s Word in our life. Indeed, much of what is called tradition today falls outside and is often contrary to the Word of God. We need to exercise the same discernment used by the early Church in accepting the true books of the Bible and not follow blindly the traditions of men.

You place sole emphasis on Holy Scripture. How can an illiterate be treated equally if he/she can’t read the Holy Word? Isn’t this an argument FOR the retention of some tradition?
Because one is unable to read the Holy Bible, it does not mean that tradition takes its place. The responsibility of the Church it to read and explain the Holy Bible in a way that is understood by a contemporary audience by taking into account the make-up of that audience (i.e. language, education levels etc). This involves reading the Bible as it has stood over the years and explaining it in a way that contemporary man can understand. This does not mean that tradition takes the place of the Holy Bible. Where the audience or congregation has people that are illiterate, this responsibility is more acute. We personally know of people who were illiterate and through personal study and the grace of God have been able to read the Holy Bible for themselves. In any case, audio versions of the Bible are readily available.

You have stated that no “Church” solely holds the Truth. Doesn’t that contradict St Paul who proclaimed that the “Body of Christ” can never ever be divided (First Corinthians 1:10-17)?
When we use the word Church we should clarify the meaning of the word, as the word is used in a number of contexts. Firstly, we do not refer to Church as the building where people meet. Secondly and very importantly, the Church is the total number of believers whether living or departed that are the Body of Christ. This can be termed the universal Church, it is invisible in the sense that it is made up by all those that Christ calls his own. Thirdly, Church can also refer to a localised congregation or group of believers or a denomination made up of more than one localised congregation or parishes. The writings of Paul you refer to are addressed to such a Church. Through history no one denomination or local congregation can claim to be the universal Church whether it is the Orthodox Church, Evangelical Church or some other congregation. Localised Churches have, to a greater and lesser extent adhered to the truth as revealed in the Holy Bible. No Church in this third sense can claim to be the universal Church, nor claim to having exclusive hold of the truth.

What Paul writes in the first chapter of Corinthians is not contradictory to the fact that a localised Church may not hold and live the truth. The epistle is a letter to a localised Church at Corinth. The problem Paul writes about is division among the members of the Church as to whom they followed (Paul, Apollos etc). Paul writes to this Church and tells them they are followers of Christ and part of the universal Church. Their sectarian stances were wrong.

As you only exist from 1920, who held the truth for the previous 1900 years (approx)?
We could argue that one church group or another held the truth since the times of Jesus. In fact we could let the different churches and their doctrines argue about who has the truth – they have been at it for centuries.

The truth is that through all the ages, true believers held the truth because they based their life on the Word of God and not because they belonged to any one “Church”. The truth remains unchanged the challenge for each generation regardless of religious denomination to find and live the truth. No denomination, institution or “Church” is the Truth or the sole repository of the Truth.

Your beliefs and values are remarkably similar to essential Orthodox Christianity. Why can’t you express the same faith within the Orthodox Church?
If it is as you say, then one day we may see each other in heaven in God’s presence.

I doubt that our values and beliefs are all that similar. The Greek Orthodox Church brands us as heretics. It is a little difficult to fellowship in a Church when the same Church brands you as such.

We do not accept infant baptism, nor the confession of sins to authorities within the Church, nor the many “mysteries” that the Greek Orthodox Church has, nor the many hierarchical positions and ordination as practiced by the Greek Orthodox Church, nor praying to “saints”, and many other things.

Further, many testify to the difficulty they have had in finding the Truth that satisfies their inner most needs within the Orthodox Church. On a purely experiential level there would be difficulty in expressing the faith within the Orthodox Church.

How can you maintain the supremacy of Holy Scripture when It was compiled into book form by the historical institution that you as a group reject?
The collection of books that form the Holy Scripture were sorted out well before our time and canonized over a period of time in 3-4th centuries AD. We are grateful to the work of several faithful men that worked hard to ensure that we have God’s Word.

However we are much more grateful to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who ensured that God’s Word would survive through the ages to be in our hands today. Many may try to lay claim to that heritage – we do not see the point of that. At one point in time the Pharisees did the same but John the Baptist rebuked them. The past is the past and we cannot dwell on it. We look to the future.

We would prefer to let God reward His faithful from the past, while we study His word in order to prepare ourselves for that wonderful day when Jesus will return again to take His bride.

Are you a registered Church in Greece and Australia?
Our Church’s views are mainstream. We are not a religious sect with unusual views or emphasis. We have an association with the Greek Free Evangelical Church registered in Greece. Our Church is registered in Australia.

0 Comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.