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…

The Apostolic Failure of the Reformed Church

  Some of the readers of the OrthodoxBridge have questioned whether there is in fact a trend of Protestants converting to Orthodoxy.  One important evidence can be found in “Searching for the Historic Christian Church: The Allure of Eastern Orthodoxy” by Pastor Mike Brown.  The article opens with: In the past five or six years, I have known several people who have left Reformed Christianity for Eastern Orthodoxy. Their reasons for making…

Cracks in Reformed Iconoclasm?

Dominic Bnonn Tennant, a Reformed Baptist, raised some important questions about Reformed iconoclasm.  In “Are Pictures of Jesus Idolatry?” he notes: Thinking so is an understandably venerable Reformed tradition which strikes me as naive and legalistic on several levels.  Here, I look at the context of the Second Commandment to exegete the limitation of its meaning. The article has two-parts: Part 1: exegesis and Part 2: what were ancient people thinking.  In…

Evangelicalism Falling to Pieces?

“2016 State of American Theology Study,” a survey sponsored by Ligonier Ministries and carried out by LifeWay Research, gives an intriguing and sometimes disturbing overview of what Americans believe.  Care was taken to ensure that the 3,000 people who took part in the survey reflected the U.S.’s diverse population. The results of the survey have generated considerable discussion among Protestants.  In a recent article in First Things, Matthew Block bemoaned the spread…

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…

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…

Calvin Dissing the Fathers

                    In an earlier blog posting “Plucking the TULIP,” I marshaled an array of patristic citations showing that a wide range of early church fathers affirmed human free will: Irenaeus of Lyons, Cyril of Jerusalem, John of Damascus, John of the Ladder, Gregory of Nyssa et al.  I did this to show that the theological consensus of the early Church refuted the Calvinist…