Today’s Guest blog comes to us from our dear Fr. Stephen Freeman. Fr. Stephen has written his past few articles on the subject of the Holy Scriptures in the Orthodox Church. His valuable insights, rooted in the historic and consistent wisdom of our Orthodox faith, offer what I believe is one of the best and balanced instructions on how to view and properly value the Holy Scriptures.
There is a particular view of the Holy Scriptures that is prevalent among many Evangelical Protestants that simply cannot and does not bring the believer to spiritual maturity or sobriety in faith. This view passes itself off as “intellectual” and “rigorous” and “deeply committed” to the value of Holy Scripture, all the while actually being the exact opposite of its hollow claims. A lover of Christ would do well to avoid this trap. Fr. Stephen helps us a great deal in recognizing these errors and embracing the life-giving wisdom of true fidelity and true love for our precious Holy Scriptures, given to us to make us “like Christ.”
Here’s a wonderful “taste” from the article:
God promised to the Church that the gates of hell would not prevail. He declared the Church to be the Pillar and Ground of Truth. He revealed the Church to be the Bride of Christ (and I could fill pages with such statements).
This is not to exalt the Church “over” the Scriptures, but to recognize the Scriptures place within the Divine Life of the Church. The Orthodox do not exalt a bishop over the Scriptures, nor do we declare a bishop to be the head of the Church (we declare that to be error). But we acknowledge that the Scriptures cannot be rightly read outside of and apart from the life of the Church. Such decoupling of the Scriptures has only created false churches, false brethren, and false teaching. No gathering of Christians hears as much Scripture as the Orthodox do in the context of their services. The Orthodox liturgical life is the singing of Scripture in the praise of God (from beginning to end).
P.S. I am looking forward to spending some time with you tomorrow night on our next Faith Encouraged LIVE program. It’s just you and me tomorrow night and we are going to talk about the necessity of icons and just why this expression of both theology and worship has endured through the centuries. In fact, we will discover that iconography teaches and protects fundamental Christian truths that make you and me mature Christians. Give me a call tomorrow night as you listen at 8 PM Eastern/5 PM Pacific to Faith Encouraged LIVE with Fr. Barnabas on AncientFaith.com