Those Whom He Justified He Glorified: Paul’s Argument in Romans 1:17–3:31

In contemporary evangelicalism, the writings of the Apostle Paul are conventionally interpreted in terms of a strictly forensic doctrine of justification. According to this reading, mankind has, in sinning, incurred the just wrath of God. The sins of mankind were counted (imputed to) as if they were Christ’s, and when one exercises faith in Christ, one’s sins are recognized as punished in his person and Christ’s active obedience is imputed to the…

Laurus’ Orthodoxy

“Time is a flat circle.” So says Russ Cohle in True Detective, season one. For him, as for Nietzsche before him, this observation is a nihilistic conclusion about the the ultimately meaningless repetitiveness of life. In the novel Laurus by Eugene Vodolazkin, which follows the life of a Russian Holy fool and healer in the fifteenth century, the main character – who goes by different names at different junctures of life: Arseny, Ustin, Ambrosius,…

The Intercession of Saints in God’s Divine Council

According to the Old Testament, the heavenly or divine council is the host of angels surrounding God, “advising” Him. You see this theme in Job 1–2, 1 Kings 22, and so on. But the theme begins all the way back in the first chapter of Genesis. In the Beginning In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth—but only the earth was without form, void, and dark. God spends six days…

Blessed Is the God of Our Fathers

For much of popular Christianity today, faith is an entirely personal matter. We are all individuals on our own personal journey to heaven, and the trappings of a “corporate” experience are altogether optional. The Church is not a kingdom of Saints, but rather one of many ways to get to God. But throughout Orthodox prayer books and services, God is referred to as “the God of our Fathers.” This phrase, lifted directly from the…

Why Orthodox Christians Celebrate the New Year on the First of September

The first day of September is celebrated as the Ecclesiastical or Church New Year by Orthodox Christians. It is also a day marked by prayers for the environment, reminding us to be good stewards of the world around us. So This is the New Year? The old Roman term for this day is Indictio, meaning “definition” or “order.”  This was a day established as the beginning of a fifteen year cycle, marking the redefinition of tax…

Orthodoxy on the Internet: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

It’s always a good thing to be interested in learning more about the Orthodox faith. There are many ways to do this. For some people, it means buying and reading lots of books. For others, it simply means attending services or asking their priests lots of questions. Still others will make friends in their local parish, finding those at a similar place in their own spiritual journeys, sharing common discoveries. And many more…

Old Testament as Icon

When I was in seminary, I focused for my STM on the study of the Old Testament (OT).  My thesis was on understanding the census numbers in the book of Numbers, so that they could be read as Christian Scripture (and not mere ‘history’). Passages such as those are often ignored in preaching and catechesis, as they seem like good history (maybe), but not much else.  My answer, after surveying all the…

The Modern Myth of Rights and How to Best Love Our Neighbors

When it comes to politicized, controversial, and otherwise binary issues in our world today, should Orthodox Christians pick sides? Or should we look deeper and live in a way that transcends the political divide? Global Warming and Voting Obama For example, whenever I share an interesting article about the climate on social media (whether in favor or opposed to an anthropogenic influence), the share is accompanied by a dizzying array of one-sided, emotionally charged…