A new video from the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) explores some of the basic grounds on which Christians of other traditions choose to become Orthodox Christians. The production value is a little sketchy at points (there seems to be a bit of awkward blue-screening in a couple of the early shots), and some historical details are glossed over (the schism at Chalcedon isn’t mentioned when characterizing the first millennium of Christian unity). Many Orthodox Christians would probably also be hesitant at the ecclesiology implied by the statement that “the Body of Christ has been breaking apart” or that “the Church” is fracturing and watering down its teachings. That might have been easily avoided by the use of “Christianity” or “the Christian world” rather than using ecclesiological terms such as “Body of Christ” and “the Church,” terms that Orthodoxy traditionally applies uniquely to itself.
I’m also not a big fan of the claim of 40,000 Protestant denominations (that number seems to have doubled in the past ten years or so in the various places I’ve seen it claimed), mainly because most of those “denominations” are really just totally independent, non-denominational congregations and not actual confederations of churches or also because the source that most folks use for that number (the World Christian Encyclopedia) counts the presence of a single communion in two different countries as two denominations. The script doesn’t seem to get the difference here, though, because after asserting the 40k number, then it introduces the idea of the non-denominational church. I’d really like to see a full list of these 40,000 “denominations” sometime. My suspicion is that there may only really be a few thousand, though I admit that I haven’t done the homework. It’s a highly debatable claim, at the very least. I’m not sure why we need to use that number. Wouldn’t it be enough to say that Protestantism is fractured into numerous competing churches and denominations?
In general, though, despite my quibbles, the video is still good, and it seems to be an introductory piece heralding some coming convert stories. Give it a watch.