Preparing for Lent

  The Orthodox Church prepares for Lent by observing a series of Sundays, each with a particular theme. On the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, the Orthodox faithful hear one of Jesus’ well known parables and are urged to reflect on the importance of repentance for our spiritual recovery. One way we learn the meaning of repentance is through the hymns and prayers of the Church. One especially powerful prayer sung in…

Aniconism Versus Iconoclasm?

  CS Comments on “John Carpenter – Round 2” Folks, I received a comment from CS in regards to my recent article: “Responding to Rev. John Carpenter – Round 2.”  In light of the number of questions he asked and the length of my answers to his questions, I made the decision to post both as a separate blog article.  You may find the original comment here. To assist the reader, I…

Responding to Rev. John Carpenter on Icons – Round 2

Continuing the Conversation Pastor John Carpenter recently published a lengthy article on the Gospel Coalition’s website “Answering Eastern Orthodox Apologetics regarding Icons.” The article is in part a response to my earlier article: “A Response to John B. Carpenter’s ‘Icons and the Eastern Orthodox Claim to Continuity with the Early Church.’” One could say that my article and Pastor Carpenter’s two articles represent an ongoing friendly Reformed-Orthodox dialogue, which we welcome. This…

Christmas 2018

    Today Christ is born in Bethlehem of the Virgin. Today the Beginningless doth begin, and the Word becometh incarnate. The powers of heaven rejoice, and earth is glad with mankind. The Magi do offer presents, and the shepherds with wonder declaim. As for us, we shout ceaselessly, crying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men. (John of Damascus)   From Divine Prayers and Services,…

“Dear Santa”? or “Holy Nicholas of Myra, Pray for us!”

Which is Santa is more in keeping with Christian discipleship?   OR the real Santa Claus?     Today when people think of Santa Claus, they think of a kindly, white-bearded man who brings presents to good boys and girls all around the world.  In anticipation of Santa’s coming, children are encouraged to write “Dear Santa” letters.  It is unfortunate that this Santa has been an adaptation to modern consumer culture where…

Orthodoxy’s Official Response to Calvinism — The Confession of Dositheus (1673)

  The Orthodox Church has made two major responses to the Protestant Reformation. The first response was to Lutheranism when the Lutheran theologians of Tübingen and Patriarch Jeremias II of Constantinople exchanged letters from 1573 to 1581.  The exchange ended in an impasse due to irreconcilable theological differences. See the “Lutheran-Orthodox Dialogue in the Sixteenth Century.” The second response was to the Reformed tradition almost a century later in 1672 when a…

Review: GCTS Prof. Ryan Reeves’ lecture: “Great Schism (1054)”

  On several occasions, I have read comments by Calvinists and Evangelicals who expressed anger and disappointment on not being taught about the early Church and Orthodoxy while in seminary. I was fortunate that I had more than a little exposure to the early Church and the Church Fathers at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. So I was intrigued when a reader brought to my attention Gordon-Conwell professor Ryan Reeves’ lecture on the Great…