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…

She Said Yes!

On March 25, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation. On this major feast day, we remember the Incarnation — the occasion the Word of God took on human nature; the Infinite Creator became a finite creature; Eternity entered into the flow of history; and the Immortal One became mortal so that we might attain immortality. The Incarnation was and continues to be one of the most momentous events in all history.  It prepared…

Was the Reformation Necessary?

An Orthodox Assessment This is a reposting of an article I wrote in 2015 with a few minor updating. One notable addition is my assessment of “A Reforming Catholic Confession” which was just released today.   On 31 October 1517, Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church (Wittenberg, Germany) sparking a huge theological debate that would radically alter the religious landscape of Europe. Within a few decades the once unified European…

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…

Honoring the Dead

And Other Weird Orthodox Stuff For Protestant inquirers, Orthodoxy is more beautiful, glorious, wilder, and weirder than they would imagine.  They hear ancient prayers chanted in dark churches illuminated by candles while smelling the scent of incense drifting in the air.  If they attend the Orthodox services on special feast days, they will see other surprising rituals: the priest and congregation processing around the church building with the symbolic funeral shroud of…

Response to James White (1 of 4)

  As I listened to James White’s 13 April 2017 podcast “Can a Consistent Eastern Orthodox Christian Be the Bible Answer Man?,” I was struck by the numerous fallacies that so often mar Protestant critiques of Orthodoxy.  The quotes below are organized topically, not chronologically.  The intent here is to promote good reasoning and courteous interaction in Protestant-Orthodox dialogue. Please see my earlier posting: “How NOT to Do Anti-Orthodox Apologetics” for a…

How NOT to Do Anti-Orthodox Apologetics

  Towards Better Protestant-Orthodox Dialogue Hank Hanegraaff’s recent conversion to Orthodoxy has stirred up quite a reaction, most notably among Protestants.  It is not surprising that Protestants would criticize Orthodoxy.  However, what is dismaying is the poor logic employed in their critique of Orthodoxy.  Below are some examples of the poor reasoning often found in Protestant critiques of Orthodoxy.  The aim here is not to defend Mr. Hanegraaff, but rather to point…