Being Faithful in Dark Times

  Tonight I attended the Holy Thursday service at the local Orthodox Church via Zoom.  It was strange witnessing one of the most significant services being held in an almost empty church (due to the mandatory lock down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic).  The Holy Thursday service, also known as the Twelve Gospels, recalls Christ’s betrayal, condemnation, crucifixion, and burial through twelve readings from all four Gospels.  It is the longest…

Remembering the Good Thief

  A skeptical reader wrote in response to my article “Evidence for Christ’s Descent into Hell”: How do you get around the statement of Christ to the thief on the cross ? Was that a lie or do you think Christ did not know where he was going? In all four Gospels we are told that Jesus was crucified along with two other men (Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27-28; Luke 23:32, 39-43; John…

Evidence for Christ’s Descent Into Hell

  On Holy Saturday, the Orthodox Church celebrates Christ’s descent into Hell (Hades).  For many Protestants and Evangelicals this is a strange idea. When I was a Protestant, I was often puzzled by the line in the Apostles Creed: “he [Christ] descended to hell.”  I thought this line was bizarre and unnecessary.  As a Protestant, I was never taught the theology behind the historic creeds of the Church. However, after attending the…

Christ Is Risen!

    Today Hades cried out groaning: “My power has been trampled on; the Shepherd has been crucified, and Adam He raised up.  I have been deprived of those, over whom I ruled; and all those, I had the power to swallow, I have disgorged.  He, Who was crucified has cleared the tombs.  The dominion of Death is no more.”  Glory O Lord, to Your Cross and Your Resurrection. Holy Saturday Morning…

The “Apocrypha” Anticipates Christ’s Passion

  Many Protestants know of Isaiah 53 which predicted Christ’s suffering, but few know of the Wisdom of Solomon which predicted the persecution of Christ by ungodly men. One unexpected blessing of becoming Orthodox has been a larger Old Testament.  Where many Protestant bibles omit the Deuterocanonical books (often referred to as “Apocrypha”), Orthodox bibles include them.  The reason for the inclusion is because the Old Testament used by the Apostles was the Septuagint which…

Following Christ in Holy Week

  One surprise for me when I converted to Orthodoxy was the frequency of church services during the week.  After several years of being an Orthodox Christian I began to understand that the middle of the week services was a form of Christian discipleship.  Being at the services deepens one’s prayer life and serves as a “Sunday School” lesson of sorts. How should one view these services?  They are not “good works”…