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…

Is There Really A Patristic Critique of Icons? – A Response to Pastor Steven Wedgeworth

  Dear Folks: On 30 April 2013, the Calvinist International posted Pastor Steven Wedgeworth’s article “The Patristic Critique of Icons.”  Gabe Martini responded with a five part series on Orthodoxy & Heterodoxy. This issue is an important one because the church fathers comprise an important part of the Orthodox Tradition.  Pastor Wedgeworth challenges the Orthodox affirmation of veneration of icons with his assertion that the Reformers’ rejection of the veneration of icons…

Is Conversion to Orthodoxy Escapist? A Response to Pastor Steven Wedgeworth

  On 16 May 2013, The Calvinist International posted an article by Pastor Steven Wedgeworth: “Alexander Schmemann on Ecclesiastical Counter-Utopia.”  It is a curious article; apart from the one opening sentence by Pastor Wedgeworth, the rest of the blog posting consists of selections from a speech given by Fr. Alexander Schmemann in 1981 titled: “Between Utopia and Escape.”  I could be mistaken but it seems that the point Pastor Wedgeworth wants to…

Affirming the Ecumenical Early Church

  On 29 April 2013 The Calvinist International posted Pastor Steven Wedgeworth’s provocative article: “The Myth of the Ecumenical Early Church.” The “myth” or “misconception” that he seeks to debunk was that the pre-Nicene and Nicene church was “more or less united, both doctrinally and politically.”  He makes his case by arguing: (1) that the first Ecumenical Council (Nicea AD 325) did not produce doctrinal unity as evidenced by the multiplicity of…

An Easter Sermon for the Ages

  This Sunday, Orthodox Christians around the world celebrated Christ’s resurrection.  As part of the Pascha (Easter) service,  Saint John Chrysostom’s Pascha (Easter) homily is read out loud in every Orthodox parish around the world. Thus, it can be said that it is the most famous Easter sermon. John Chrysostom (c. 347-407), Patriarch of Constantinople, was known as the greatest preacher in the early Church.  He was given the name “Chrysostom” which…

Holy Thursday

We are now in the midst of Orthodox Holy Week. On Holy Thursday, the Church holds the Service of Holy Passion.  In this service we read through the passion narratives from all four Gospels in twelve installments.  In the middle of the service the priest brings out the Cross, then the people come up and prostrate themselves before the Cross of Christ. Interspersed with the Gospel readings are hymns and prayers.  …

Theological Conversations With Friends

Folks, I recently received a comment from David Jones, an Orthodox Christian, who has been in conversation with a Reformed pastor about my paper on the Reformed doctrine of predestination.  Below are my responses. Robert David, I’m glad to hear of your conversation with your Reformed/Calvinist pastor friend.  It is good to see bridges being built across two different theological traditions. My assumption here is that your friend is responding to my…