Another Fundamental Fact

In our last blog piece we examined the fundamental fact about the Church’s essential nature—viz. that the Church was the actual Body of Christ, the manifestation of His presence in this age.  Here I would like to examine another fundamental fact about the Church—viz. that in this age it is destined to suffer. The suffering of the Christians in this age is not simply a sociological fact, something which given a different…

The Fundamental Fact

It is very easy for people, especially outsiders, to miss the fundamental fact about the Church.  It is easy to assume that the Church is fundamentally an organization or (worse yet) a collection of clergy.  That is perhaps because the Church is obviously organized (in the case of Orthodoxy, one is tempted to say, “loosely organized”), and it does have clergy, whose dress and titles set them apart and make them very…

Sex in Context

Buried away in the midst of a long apostolic denunciation of the evils of a culture soaked in idolatry is the potent little phrase παρὰ φύσιν/ para physin, meaning that which is against φύσις, against nature, natural endowments, or the natural condition (Romans 1:26).  In this passage Paul was elaborating on the more spectacular failings of Gentile culture, and prominent in his assembled catalogue of evils was that of homosexuality, in both…

Pascha: What’s in a Name?

I am reliably told that in some parts of the Protestant world the feast we Orthodox are now celebrating is called “Resurrection Sunday”.  Though it used to be universally known there as “Easter”, apparently some people in the Evangelical Protestant world are reluctant to use the term “Easter” because they believe the word has pagan connotations and a pagan past. The actual history of the word is somewhat obscure.  The Venerable Bede,…

Thinking about the Atonement: the New Testament

In my last blog piece I discussed the Old Testament view of the atonement.  Here I would examine the New Testament understanding of the atonement. As with the Old Testament, there is in the New Testament no clear and detailed elaboration of how the atonement “works”, which of course accounts for the current debate about it.  But all Christians agree that it centers upon the life, death, and resurrection of Christ:  because…

Thinking about the Atonement: the Old Testament

It is perhaps significant that there is no obvious and complete explanation of atonement and how it functioned in the Bible.  My guess is that this was because it was too obvious to the ancients to require stating.  People just knew instinctively that they were in need of help and closer union with the gods/ God and that offering sacrifice was the way to make it happen.  Today we look at the…