Can You Baptize Without Baptism? Review: The Ecclesiological Renovation of Vatican II by Fr. Peter Heers

Is it possible to receive an unbaptized person into the Orthodox Church without baptizing him? What would it mean to do such a thing? You might not expect a book about the Second Vatican Council to elicit such questions from Orthodox sacramental theology but Fr. Peter Heers’s 2015 doctoral thesis, published with the title The Ecclesiological Renovation of Vatican II (ERV2), does…

Synodality or Supremacy? Orthodoxy and Rome

Catholic University professor C. C. Pecknold has a column out today regarding the failure of “synodality” in the modern Roman Catholic Church as practiced under Pope Francis. There is a reference there to Orthodox conciliarity: Governance within Orthodoxy is built not around the papacy but around “sister churches” gathering together for collaborative, deliberative self-governance in synodal assembly. It is important to understand…

Ss. Paul and Constantine

It is commonplace for many modern Christians, even Orthodox Christians, to consider St. Constantine a problematic figure.  Even the fact that he is considered a saint within the Orthodox Church is seen as difficult.  Obviously, the end of Christian persecution by the Roman Empire was a great benefit to the Church and to the Christians of the day.  But it is not…

Sexuality and Gender: Response to “Orthodoxy in Dialogue” Open Letter

On September 24, 2018, the “Orthodoxy in Dialogue” website published an open letter to the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, calling upon them to make a radical revision of the sexual ethical teachings of the Orthodox Church. The following is a point-for-point response, arranged roughly according to topic, with relevant quotes from the OiD piece. Abortion…

Anatomy of a Foreword: Metr. Kallistos on Sexual Morality

In the past few days Metropolitan Kallistos Ware has generated more discussion of his thought than at any other time in recent memory. The venerable Metropolitan wrote the foreword to the newest edition of The Wheel, a journal ostensibly dedicated to questions of Orthodox theology and praxis. More specifically, this edition of The Wheel focused on human being and sexuality, particularly questions…

The Church and Homosexuality: A Meditation

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. —Romans 8:18 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” At that saying…

David Bentley Hart’s The New Testament: A Review

That David Bentley Hart was asked to produce a translation of the New Testament may at first seem counter-intuitive.  His field is philosophy and philosophical theology, not New Testament or Greek language (though he reads Greek).  Further, with the wide range of New Testament translations available to a general audience in English, not to mention the variety of Greek critical editions available…

Do Orthodox Converts Have to Reject Their Religious Past?

I recently received an email from a Protestant who read Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy and was puzzled by some passages that were seen as being inherently contradictory. From the appendix “How and Why I Became an Orthodox Christian” (pp. 373-384): I am convinced that my life as a Christian before I discovered Orthodoxy was both real and fruitful. […] I had been in…

Faith and Doubt: Mormonism and Orthodox Christianity

I read the announcement today about the passing of President Thomas S. Monson, president and prophet of the LDS church, with a mix of emotions. While I no longer identify as Mormon, I do think that President Monson was a good man and tried his best to inspire the Mormon people in the way he knew to do so. In reality, I…

Protestantism is Not United, Not Catholic, and Not a Church

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an October 2017 series of posts on the Reformation and Protestantism written by O&H authors and guest writers marking the 500th anniversary of the nailing of Martin Luther’s 95 theses to the church door at Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. Articles are written by Orthodox Christians and discuss not just the Reformation as a historical…