Patriarch Kirill is the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. He is a supporter of Valdimiri Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and has said the soldiers who die in the war will be cleansed of all their sins. He said, “If a person dies in the performance of this duty, then they have undoubtedly committed an act equivalent to sacrifice. They will have sacrificed themselves for others. And therefore, we believe that this sacrifice washes away all the sins that a person has committed.”
Kirill may claim to represent the Russian Orthodox Church, but he is not representing orthodox Christian doctrine. Christian doctrine teaches there is nothing salvific we can do to save ourselves, no act no matter how noble can wash away the stain of our sin.
Christians believe “by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast,” Ephesians 2:8-9. No sacrifice we can make absolves our sin; God “made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him,” 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Kirill’s telling Russian soldiers their “sacrifice washes away all the sins that a person has committed,” is biblical nonsense and a false hope, only Christ can do that. He compromised scriptural truth to give political support to Putin’s war. Kirill misrepresented the Gospel for political purposes.
What about Christianity and politics here in America?
I have heard the term “Christian Nationalism” bandied about in the news media and is spoken against as if it is an evil thing and un-Christian. I had to look up the definition of the term to know exactly what we are talking about.
Christian nationalism “is Christianity-affiliated religious nationalism. Christian nationalists primarily focus on internal politics, such as passing laws that reflect their view of Christianity and its role in political and social life.”
Like our Founding Fathers, I believe Christian principles offer our society the best opportunity for human fourishing and success. I take those convictions with me into the voting booth every time I vote and cast my ballot for the candidate that I believe, as much as is humanly possible, will govern with those principles in mind.
I believe Christian citizens have a right and a responsibility to legally exercise their political influence to that end, as long as we do not misrepresent the Gospel as Kirill did, or misplace our trust in the political system. I believe America can be great again, but that will only happen when we return to God, and the faith of our Founding Fathers who formed this nation on the foundation of biblical truth, and as men, women, boys and girls turn in faith to Christ.
Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock,” Matthew 7:24-25.