Heading to the Cross

    Holy Week is a reenactment of the last week of Jesus’ life.  Through Scripture readings, songs, chants, and prayers, the Orthodox Church relives the last days of Christ.  Holy Week is an opportunity for us to follow our God and Savior to the Cross.  In Orthodoxy’s sacramental understanding of reality, we are there in spirit partaking of the events of Holy Week. On Great Friday we observe the Holy, saving, and…

Do We Need a Photo ID of Christ?

A Response to Pastor Toby Sumpter     Rev. Toby Sumpter’s “A Plea & A Sketch of an Argument on Icons”  is not a simplistic bashing of icons.  Rather, he has taken the trouble to engage the Christological issues underlying the iconoclastic debates.  Among the earlier objections to icons was the two-fold argument that either icons depict Christ’s divinity, and by doing so circumscribed the divine Being, falling into the heresy of…

Do Your Homework?

A Response to Pastor Toby Sumpter   In “A Plea & A Sketch of an Argument on Icons” Pastor Toby Sumpter exhorts Protestants interested in icons and Orthodoxy to do their homework before making any move to Orthodoxy.  Reading through his admirably comprehensive list of references my first reaction was: “How many people have the time to do all this reading?!”  Second reaction was: “OMG!  This is way more than a typical…

Corpus Formation versus Canon Formation

  A Response to Pastor Toby Sumpter On 3 March 2016, Pastor Toby Sumpter posted on Reformation21 “An Apostolic Case for Sola Scriptura.” In this article he argues that canon formation of the New Testament proves the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura.  He writes: In fact, there is a strong case to be made that the apostles and first Christians knew what books would form the New Testament canon very early on.…

Eschatological Discipleship

Every year in preparation for Lent the Orthodox Church celebrates the Sunday of the Last Judgment.  On this Sunday we hear the Parable of the Sheep and Goats (Matthew 25:31-46).  It is sobering to be reminded that we will all one day appear before the Great Judgment Seat of Christ. When the thrones are set up and the books are opened, and God sits in judgment, O what fear there will be…

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…

Modern Charismatic Movement Similar to Charismaticism in the Early Church?

    by Hal Smith (Guest Contributor) One of the main debates between the modern Charismatic movement and traditional Orthodox Christianity is over which better represents the Christianity of the Apostles’ era. Further, both Orthodox Christians and modern Rationalists see the modern charismatic movement as unreliable in its claims of miracles, because they see those claims as originating in the witnesses’ psychological phenomena, rather than as accurate depictions of material phenomena. Yet…