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…

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…

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…

Memory Eternal! Kevin Allen

  One of contemporary Orthodoxy’s greatest evangelists in the blogosphere was Kevin Allen, host of The Illumined Heart. Many who visited the site have been touched by the many fascinating one-on-one interviews Kevin did with people from a wide range of faith backgrounds who came to Orthodoxy. On 7 August 2018, Kevin passed away from ALS aka Lou Gehrig’s disease (source).  This progressive neurodegenerative disease is dreaded by many due to the…

Does John 6:44 Teach Predestination?

A reader wrote: I’ve really enjoyed browsing your site. I’m a reformed Christian and have appreciated learning about the Orthodox Church. I do find the church appealing but I believe scripture supports the reformed position. I’ve been reading your plucking the tulip article and was hoping you’d interact with John 6, especially vss 44-59 as I’ve yet to hear a compelling argument in favor of the non reformed view of that passage.…

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…