Is Liturgy Magic? A Response to Peter Leithart’s Puritan Sacramentalism

I must admit that it always bugs me a bit when someone tells me what I believe, especially when I do not actually believe it. And so the bug in my bonnet buzzed again a bit when I read Peter Leithart’s latest musings on liturgy over at First Things. In this piece, Leithart lets the Orthodox, Roman Catholics and other “high church”…

Is Orthodoxy Really United?: A Question from a Reader

I recently received the following question from a reader (slightly edited to remove identifying details): I am aware of one Orthodox church parish leaving one Orthodox group to go to another Orthodox group because of some issue. Doesn’t this kind of dispel the idea of the Orthodox being a unified church organization as it is in the case of the Roman Catholics?…

Patriarch Bartholomew on Union with Rome

Pope Francis of Rome recently made a visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and made a grand gesture of asking for the blessing of the Ecumenical Patriarch on himself and his church. So once again we are treated to all sorts of commentary from both the “left” and the “right” on the supposed imminent reunion with Rome, bolstered especially by words from the…

My Presbyterian Field Trip: A Fragmenting Tradition

This last Thursday evening, I was supposed to be concelebrating at the festal services for a nearby Orthodox church, but over the days preceding I had so strained my back that I knew that if I followed through on my plans, even just standing during the services, I would likely not be able to stand the next morning. So I stayed home…

Protestants and a Churchless Tradition: “Sola” vs. “Solo” Scriptura

One of my ongoing fascinations is what I have come to refer to in my head as “the Evangelical appropriation of tradition.” Charismatics are celebrating Lent. Baptists are talking about the Eucharist. The inscrutable maybe-universalist and now Oprah-darling Rob Bell is even using the phrase the tradition. Maybe this tradition stuff isn’t so bad. I can branch out a little. I can…

7 Reasons that Reading the Bible = Tradition

I recently came across a conversation online in which someone insisted that he didn’t need tradition at all, because he had the Bible. Why trust the word of men when you have the word of God? I was reminded again of just how complicated it is to try to believe in what the Bible says while rejecting Christian tradition. We’ve covered matters…

Orthodoxy, Heterodoxy and “Ecumenism”: An Editorial

Recent discussions on some posts on this weblog, as well as some I’ve seen elsewhere on social media, have spurred questions about what the official positions of this site are, what my own positions are, etc. I have even had a few instances where commenters quoted to me from Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy, attempting to catch me in a contradiction with something I…

Did the Ecumenical Patriarch say that the Church is divided?: Response to an Anonymous Greek Orthodox Priest

An anonymous piece by a self-identified Greek Orthodox priest entitled “On the Recent Events in Jerusalem and their Ecclesiological Underpinnings” has recently been circulating in response to the recent meeting in Jerusalem by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis, especially regarding certain statements by the Ecumenical Patriarch about the Church being “divided in time” and its ecclesiological ramifications. It’s been republished in…

The Future of Protestantism and Catholicism: A Few Orthodox Comments

Over at First Things, R. R. Reno reflects as a Roman Catholic on his recent attendance at Peter Leithart’s Future of Protestantism conference, in which Leithart et al advocated for a post-Protestant future, especially in terms of what Leithart calls “Reformed Catholicism.” Reno notes that, while Protestants like Leithart may be looking at engaging with Catholicism to imagine their own future, Catholics…

The Ecumenism of Fr. Georges Florovsky

A short piece on the ecumenism of Fr. Georges Florovsky has been written by Florovsky scholars Fr. Matthew Baker and Seraphim Danckaert and published in Orthodox Handbook on Ecumenism: Resources for Theological Education. It’s brief but fascinating it its detail. Here are a few highlights: Georges Florovsky (1893-1979) was the leading architect of Orthodox ecumenism in the 20th century. He combined magnanimity…