To See the Heavenly Country

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they…

Talking Theology

I learned during years of theological study that it is possible to give a “theological account” of almost anything and even make it sound cogent. Of course everything that sounds cogent is not necessarily true. In my morning paper I read the following account from a local Church. It was under the heading, “Cafe Worship”: Cafe Worship is an interactive church service designed to engage all five senses. Instead of pews, congregants…

The Knowledge of God

The knowledge of God, generally spoken of in a very experiential manner, is an absolute foundation in Orthodox theology. Nothing replaces it – no dogmatic formula – no Creed – not even Scripture – though Orthodoxy would see none of these things as separate from the knowledge of God. But the questions I have received are very apt. In a culture that is awash in “experience” what do we Orthodox mean when…

The Nativity of the Theotokos

Today marks the birth of the Mother of God on the calendar of the Orthodox Church (New Calendar). It is one of the twelve major feasts of the year. It is also a feast which shares a great deal in common with many other events in the course of Scripture – all of which emphasize the character of our salvation. The story of Mary’s conception and birth, as received by Tradition in…

Transfiguration and the Bridal Chamber

There is a propensity in our modern world to break things down – to analyze. We have gained a certain mastery over many things by analyzing various components of their structure and manipulating what we find. It has become the default position of modern thought. This power of analysis, however, is weakened by its very success. Frequently the truth of something lies not in the summary of its parts but in the…

The Fullness of Faith

I prefer to use the term “fullness” when describing the Orthodox faith because it is far more explanatory than simply saying that we are the “true Church,” etc. “Fullness,” of course does not deny this, but it moves us onto more fruitful ground. In this post I offer a short list of what seem to me important consequences of giving one’s life to the “fullness of the faith.”  This is a reprint…

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…

True Knowledge of God – Living the Tradition

Tradition (the subject of my last post) is understood within the Orthodox faith in a manner that is quite different than the word’s use in the vocabulary of many other Christians. Tradition is the continuous Life of God in the Church. There are many things that give expression to this life – but Tradition itself is not the expression but the content that gives rise to the expression. The Christian faith is…