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…

The Dark Side of the First Christmas

    Normally, the Christmas season is viewed as a time of holiday cheer. Of twinkling lights, fragrant pine trees, peppermint candy canes, eggnog drinks, gingerbread cookies, happy songs in the air as people go shopping for gifts, and the smiling children eagerly anticipating opening their presents. But for many the year 2015 has been a year filled with tragedy and loss. A sense of darkness and mourning hangs heavy in the air as…

Baptism = Normative Occasion of Justification?

    From Vance: “In my church tradition, baptism is considered the normative occasion of justification, but not the cause of justification.  Does this view differ substantially from baptismal generation as understood by the Orthodox?” My Reply: Thank you for your interesting question about baptism as a “normative occasion” versus it being a cause of justification. The first thing that struck me about your question is that it is narrowly focused on…

A Tale of Two Gospels

By Stefan Pavićević. If there’s one thing I really think Protestantism has gotten wrong, it would be the way it treats the Bible.  Now, before I continue, I want to assure the reader that my intention is not to bash Protestants, because I have many friends who are good Christians and Protestants, people I deeply respect and love as my brothers and sisters in Christ.  My point here is not to be…