Scripture: Myth or History?

The scriptures call us, rather than attempting to reframe the scriptures and tradition of the church within the context of the things which we as modern people “now know,” to reframe our own understanding of our lives, our personal histories, and the world as we encounter it in terms of the fullness of God’s creation and the reality of Jesus Christ himself.

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…

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…

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…

The Bible of the Church: Vignettes and Lessons from a Reformation Controversy

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…

Recovering a Full Theological Vision of the Ascension

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. —John 12:32 Ascension Day is possibly the most forgotten of the great feasts of the Lord. Why? In part because, unlike all the other feasts of the same rank, it can never fall on a Saturday or Sunday. Forty days after Pascha is always a Thursday,…

Hell (Unfortunately) Yes: Why I Can’t Be a Universalist

I would very much like to be a Universalist. In terms of my Christian hope, in terms of my emotional attachments, I would love to believe that in the end, no one would harden their heart against the Love of our Lord Jesus Christ, all would repent and believe, and all would find salvation in the age to come. I believe that…

Grace and Wrath in the Orthodox Tradition

Eric Jobe’s recent series on justification (Part I, Part II, Part III) has spurred some discussion regarding the role of divine wrath in Orthodoxy. To simplify: Some readers seemed to believe that there was no place in Orthodoxy to speak of the wrath of God at all. Our salvation, to them, has nothing to do with deliverance from God’s wrath. Rather than…

Grace and Debt – How do we Understand Legal Terminology in Paul?

The discussion of justification in my past two posts have brought up a lot of good discussion in the comments revealing the great discomfort that Orthodox Christians seem to feel with forensic (i.e., legal) terms used to describe justification. Nevertheless, such forensic terms are quite dominant in Paul’s language, and the Fathers use them as well. We cannot completely rid ourselves of this…

What Do Orthodox Christians Believe about Justification? A Response to Protestant Criticisms

As Protestant Christians find their way to examining the Orthodox Christian faith, they very often remark about the inconsistency of Orthodox Christianity on the matter of justification by faith, or else they even say that Orthodoxy has no such doctrine of justification. Indeed, the term justification may be a bit curious to most Orthodox Christians who were not reared in Protestant homes, for one…