Conspiracy thinking has never been absent from the Russian Orthodox Church, but one of its current central themes – that the Anti-Christ will soon appear – has an interesting origin. According to a Russian scholar, this idea comes from Fundamentalist Protestantism in the US and was introduced into Orthodoxy by an émigré professor.
Paul Goble article is wrong about us
Paul Goble has written an article published in the Eurasia Review:
How Russian Émigré Introduced Fundamentalist Protestant Conspiracy Theory To Russian Orthodoxy
His opening paragraph:
Paul Goble is wrong about this. After the foundational error in his opening paragraph, the rest of the article mixes truth with mis-thinking. Reader Daniel skimmed through this article and rightly dismissed it as unimportant, saying, "It has some sound of truth to it, but not the full picture. I will not share it."
The truth is this: The teaching that the Antichrist will soon appear originated with Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. He taught us that the Mystery of Iniquity already doth work, and that the thief comes in the middle of the night. He taught us to discern the signs of the times and to WATCH. It's the Chiliasts who think otherwise. Chiliasm is the idea that there will someday be a heaven on earth – that the world is improving and progressing towards a perfect earthly society.
This is my "opinion", yes. But this is my "opinion" deliberately aligned with the "opinion" of Fr. Seraphim Rose, Archbishop Averky, Archimandrite Constantine Ziatsev, St. Philaret of New York, and St. John S&SF – who are all of one mind on this subject of Antichrist. To say that these great Church Fathers were influenced by Protestants is utter disrespect. Very sad, indeed, if anyone in our Church could agree with Paul Goble, who is outside the Church, on his worldly-influenced assessment of our heavenly Church Fathers as he expresses in his article.
Fanaticism (conspiracy theories) regarding the end times only happens to people when they do not have the true teaching. In the ROCOR we are fortunate to have Church Fathers and true prophets, such as St. Ephraim the Syrian and St. Seraphim of Sarov. They teach us the same as Christ, ... see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass.
The only reason Orthodox people would get fanatic about 666 or something would be if they were denied sound information. People need to know. If the Church won't teach them, then they look elsewhere for answers. If Orthodox people are following Protestants, it is only because their Church has failed to give them the information they need.
This failure is characteristic of world-orthodoxy where end times study is a forbidden. World-orthodoxy even ridicules a casual interest in the subject. That's because end times teachings are a testimony against them, – apostasy is one of the predictions:
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.
Protestants have a reason to be afraid, since they are outside the Church. We Orthodox only need to be afraid that the Church, when She goes into hiding, will be hidden from us. Already She is hard enough to find.
When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on earth?