Vampires and Iconoclasm

The Gospel for Vampires Protestants often have a hard time understanding why Orthodoxy objects so vigorously to iconoclasm. How does having or not having pictures inside churches relate to theology?  The answer is that iconoclasm undermines belief in the Incarnation.  Iconoclasm also undermines respect for God’s physical creation.  Church history teaches us about the early heresy of Gnosticism which denied the goodness of creation and for that reason rejected Christ’s humanity.  The…

The Illogic of Calvin’s Iconoclasm

  On 23 May 1555, John Calvin preached on Deuteronomy 4:15-20 applying Moses’ admonition against idols to the depicting of Jesus Christ in icons.  This sermon is significant for Reformed-Orthodox dialogue because it presents us not only with Calvin’s hermeneutical method but also the theological reasoning underlying his iconoclasm. In my article, “The Biblical Basis for Icons,” I pointed to the use of images of cherubim on the curtains of Moses’ Tabernacle…

A Tale of Two Gospels

By Stefan Pavićević. If there’s one thing I really think Protestantism has gotten wrong, it would be the way it treats the Bible.  Now, before I continue, I want to assure the reader that my intention is not to bash Protestants, because I have many friends who are good Christians and Protestants, people I deeply respect and love as my brothers and sisters in Christ.  My point here is not to be…

Why Christ had to Die

                    Athanasius the Great’s theological classic On the Incarnation contains passages that explain eloquently the significance of Christ’s death on the Cross.  In this blog posting I highlighted certain phrases to bring to the reader’s attention important themes in Athanasius’ exposition on Christ’s death in § 20. Universal salvation: Christ died for all that all men might be saved.  No limited atonement here!  The early Church then and the Orthodox Church…

Taking the Incarnation Seriously

  In a recent blog posting Pastor John Armstrong wrote about his paradigm shift on the Incarnation.  I found his article very helpful for illustrating the different ways Protestants and Orthodox approach the Incarnation.  Armstrong wrote: For now I have been thinking about how the Orthodox Church has a doctrine of salvation that includes the whole world, or the teaching of cosmology. Simply put the Orthodox do not treat the incarnation, the…

The Icon of Pentecost

  For me, the icon of Pentecost is one of the more intriguing and puzzling icons. Unlike the lively emotionalism and expressiveness of Pentecostal worship, in this icon “nothing” seems to be happening.  But as I gaze at this icon, I gain insight into the Church’s understanding of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.  I used to be part of the charismatic renewal, so when I began to look into…

Rev. Uri Brito on Christ’s Bodily Ascension

  Not too long ago I came across a fine blog posting by the Rev. Uri Brito on Christ’s bodily ascension to heaven.  While he and I come from different church traditions (Reformed versus Orthodox), there are some points in theology where we share common ground.  Reading Rev. Brito’s reflection reminded me of the debt I owe to the Reformed tradition: how it led me out of the shallows of Evangelicalism into…