The Truth of an Icon

Icons are lovely objects – directing our hearts towards God – sometimes miraculous and truly “windows to heaven.” But I want to be somewhat theological today and write about the “truth” of an icon. Icons are peculiar, when painted according to the most traditional patterns. They are not just “ahistorical” they are positively non-historical. We can look at an icon and see any number of events depicted that do not belong to the same…

The Allegory of All Things

Andrew Louth, writing in his book, Discerning the Mystery, says: If we look back to the Fathers, and the tradition, for inspiration as to the nature of theology, there is one thing we meet which must be paused over and discussed in some detail: and that is their use of allegory in interpreting the Scriptures. We can see already that for them it was not a superfluous, stylistic habit, something we can…

Icons and Words

With this post I want to make a link between my last article, on how we “see” icons, and an earlier article, “Doctrine and Opinion,” in which I quoted the late Fr. Georges Florovsky who said, “Doctrine is a verbal icon of Christ.” I noted then that this presented a very different approach to doctrine and the usual reasoned treatments that accompany it. Human reason has a very vital role to play…

Speaking With Authority

And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes (Matt. 7:28-29). Authority is an interesting phenomenon – though not often what people may think. I remember the first few years of my ministry – fresh from seminary. There is probably no one in the religious world who knows more than a newly-graduated seminarian. I was…

Rightly Reading – Yet Again

I am reprinting this short article on “rightly reading” in response to comments on my last post. I suspect that this article will be reprinted often when the subject of the study of Scripture arises. The course of your reading should be parallel to the aim of your way of life…. Most books that contain instructions in doctrine are not useful for purification. The reading of many diverse books brings distraction of…

The Orthodox Reading of Scripture

The following quote is from the Christian history website maintained by Christianity Today (an evangelical source).  It describes the crucial teaching role of St. Irenaeus of Lyons, an early Bishop of the Church and later a martyr, and perhaps the most articulate spokesman of Orthodox theology in the 2nd century. The article discusses Irenaeus’ refutation of the Gnostic heretics, particularly their misuse of Scripture. It sheds light on how the Church rightly divides the…