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…

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…