Reconciling Paul and James: Thoughts about Justification

The following post represents some of my musings on the topic of justification which have proceeded in the comments to my last post. I do not intend these musings to be understood as reflecting a particular “Orthodox position,” as in “this is what the Orthodox Church teaches” and thus prescribing such belief. These ideas represent my own thoughts and opinions as I have dialogued…

Iconography in Ancient Israel (Part 1)

The prominence of the Second Commandment has been the touchstone by which Christian iconography has been judged throughout history. it was the basis for the Byzantine iconoclastic periods of 726 – 787 and 814 – 842 as well as iconoclastic movements today such as those found in certain corners of Protestantism.

The Death of Jesus as Sacrifice: An Orthodox reading of Isaiah 53 and Romans 3:25

The propitiatory or expiatory* nature of Christ’s death on the Cross is perhaps poorly understood in much of contemporary Orthodox theological discussion, and as a result, the notion of the sacrificial atonement of Christ is often minimized or excluded altogether. As an almost knee-jerk reaction to Anselmian notions of penal substitution that have taken hold in the Catholic and Protestant West, Eastern…

A Response to the History Channel’s “Bible Secrets Revealed”

On the evening of November 13, 2013, the History Channel debuted a new series entitled “Bible Secrets Revealed” co-produced by noted scholar of Second Temple Judaism Robert Cargill of the University of Iowa. The episode may be viewed here. Anticipation ran high. The program was supposed to be a hard and honest look at the Bible from some of the most notable…

Do Atheist “Mega-Churches” create the same effect as Christian ones?

Hundreds of atheists and atheist-curious packed into a Hollywood auditorium for a boisterous service filled with live music, moments of reflection, an “inspirational talk” about forgotten — but important — inventors and scientists and some stand-up comedy. During the service, attendees stomped their feet, clapped their hands and cheered as Jones and Evans led the group through rousing renditions of “Lean on…

If King David danced, should Christians dance in church?

The above video recently made the rounds on social media, and in many of the discussions that followed, there was a predictably negative response from traditional liturgical Christians and a predictably positive response from those who have in one way or another departed from liturgical tradition. From the latter, the question is typically why the former are so uptight as to insist…

An Orthodox Circuit Preacher: St. Anastasius of Sinai and the Church Today

The following piece by Nicholas Marinides was originally a talk given at Princeton University to the Florovsky Orthodox Theological Society on December 10, 2011. It followed on a talk given by about the theology of St. Maximus the Confessor. Both were part of a half-day workshop on “Athens vs. Jerusalem,” intended to allow doctoral students to present their research on Church Fathers…

Believing Thomas: How I Left the Bahá’í Faith

This post, by author Anjali Sivan, a convert to Orthodox Christianity, was originally featured on her personal weblog on the occasion of St. Thomas Sunday. In honor of St. Thomas Sunday, I would like to share my own special appreciation for him. There is the fact that he was the apostle who brought the Gospel to India. But even more than that,…

The Big Bang and the Torah

While this isn’t about Orthodox Christianity, of course, it’s worth noting for the several potential parallels here, after you get over the fascinating discovery that Mayim Bialik of NBC’s “Blossom” is not only a highly observant Orthodox Jew but also has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA. (She is apparently also now in some new television show… something about a large banging?)…

It Can’t Be Helped: Atheism and the Problem of Determinism

There is a certain term in Japanese whose history I very much dislike: shikataganai – “It can’t be helped.” Now such a concept is not completely alien to Western thought, we often remark how there is “nothing one can do” in certain situations, but the difference is that shikataganai reflects the fatalistic ethos of Japan that the modern West has never quite…