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…

Orthodoxy Is Not Found through Archaeology

Many Orthodox Christians speak of a search for the early Church; of a search for the “ancient faith.” As such, it can be all too easy to conflate Orthodoxy with that which is “old.” But Orthodoxy is not true because it is old; it is true because it is orthodox. Even though many people confuse references to the ancient faith or the faith of the apostles with a call to the past, what we…

The Good News and the Life of the Kingdom

What is the difference between the life of the Church and the Gospel message? Between the Mysteries of our faith and the good news of Jesus Christ? Are they identical, or should distinctions be made? The King and the Kingdom As Orthodox Christians, we are blessed with an immense heritage. From the central tenets of holy tradition to the various customs of nations that have over the centuries been grafted onto the vine of Christ’s…

According to the Scriptures

In the Nicene Creed, recited by the faithful at every divine liturgy, the Church confesses that Jesus Christ was crucified and rose again “according to the Scriptures.” This language is taken directly from St. Paul in 1 Cor. 15:4, and is thereafter a common expression among the apostolic fathers. Most of us today–somewhat naturally–take this to mean that Christ was crucified and rose again in accord with the account of those events as recorded in…

Sola Scriptura vs. Holy Tradition: Is There a Difference?

I have recently—and on a few other occasions—written about the differences between the Protestant approach to authority and the Orthodox. For Protestants, the final authority or rule is the Bible—a principle known as Sola Scriptura. And while some Protestants have written catechisms and other companion material to the scriptures themselves, these too are held in check by the proper interpretation of the Bible. With regards to the latter, I have previously offered: Even when…

Apocalypse and Tradition: The Source of Authority in Orthodoxy

What is the ultimate source of authority in the Orthodox Church? This is a question that plagues inquirers of the faith and can even be a significant stumbling block to a person’s conversion. For Protestants, the ultimate source of authority is the holy scriptures or the Bible. In this context, the Bible is often pitted against man made traditions or authorities—all of which must be subordinated to the authority of the Bible. This…

What is Truth?

When Jesus says he has come to bear witness to truth, Pilate responds with a most poignant question: “What is truth?” (John 18:38) This is what we call dramatic irony. Christ himself is the way, the truth, and the life, and in him alone is truth. All aspects of truth knowable in this life are but a reflection of he who is truth. And as the Church is the true Body of Christ, the Church is therefore…

Orthodox Truth in an Age of Relativism

It is not loving to affirm a person in their sin. It is not loving to affirm a person in their rebellion against both God and his created, natural order—not “supernatural,” or “unnatural,” but the way nature was always intended to be, revealed most perfectly in Jesus Christ and the Mother of God and all the Saints. It is not loving to affirm a person in their beliefs or perspectives that run…