Strange Fire: Pentecostalism as Cure for the Reformation

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…

Why I Cannot Be a Post-Evangelical, Post-Denominational, etc., Christian

One of the things I’ve noticed in recent years is the growth of all kinds of “Post-_______” Christianity. By this I mean varieties of Christianity that are all generally within the Evangelical Protestant genre yet explicitly do not embrace any particular tradition. Typically, what this looks like is something recognizably Evangelical yet with a potpourri of different doctrinal, worship and pastoral emphases…

Early Pentecostal Speaking in Tongues was About Foreign Languages

The following two excerpts are from the revised text of Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy: Finding the Way to Christ in a Complicated Religious Landscape, which is due for publication by Ancient Faith Publishing in December 2016 (see the full Table of Contents here). The chapter on Pentecostalism from which these sections are drawn is completely new for this edition. The “Parham” mentioned in…

Why Should Pentecostals Become Orthodox Christians? A Short Answer

The following is adapted from the working text for the revised, expanded edition of Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy: Finding the Way to Christ in a Complicated Religious Landscape, which is available as an updated podcast, with a new episode available weekly. The first edition of the book from 2011 is still available. This passage is adapted from the concluding passage of the all-new…

Why Would a Calvinist or a Baptist do Confession?

A friend shared this article today, in which one of the writers at The Gospel Coalition (a generally Reformed bunch of Evangelicals) laments the lack of confession in (his?) church: It is puzzling to see one of the defining marks of a Christian’s identity quietly disappear from a church’s worship. I’m speaking, of course, about confession – a time when the church…

“Born Again” Experience or Baptismal Regeneration?

 Soon after the Berlin Wall came down many American Evangelicals saw Eastern Europe as a mission field ripe for the Gospel.  However, they overlooked the fact that Orthodox Christianity had already been there for over a thousand years!  Mihai Oara wrote “Conversions and Conversions: Romanians between Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism” which describes how Evangelicals sought to evangelize Eastern European Orthodox. The typical narrative…

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…

Did the Father Abandon Christ on the Cross?

Of all of the seven last sayings of Christ on the cross, perhaps the most puzzling is the Cry of Dereliction. Recorded only in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34, both in Aramaic and in Greek translation, this phrase was even somewhat confusing to its first hearers who pondered that he was calling Elijah. Matthew 27:46-47 NKJV Mark 15:34-35 NKJV And about the…

Which Path to Church Unity? Recognition vs. Reception

From time to time, my friends and I get into a discussion about Christian unity.  Anglicans and Roman Catholics seem to be especially eager to reunite with the Orthodox and I have to explain why such efforts are difficult, if not improbable.  This position is often met with frustration and perplexity: Why can’t we just be one?  What’s the hang up?  I began…

“I Don’t Worship God by Singing”: So Why Bother Going to Church?

A reader alerted me to best-selling author Donald Miller‘s Feb. 3 post “I Don’t Worship God by Singing. I Connect With Him Elsewhere,” and I was immediately struck by both the rightness and the tone of his critique: I’ve a confession. I don’t connect with God by singing to Him. Not at all. I know I’m nearly alone in this but it’s…