Newsweek So Misunderstands Bible It’s a Sin

Good biblical scholarship is important… really important. Not only does it help us understand our own Bible and biblical tradition better, it also enables us to spot quite easily when biblical scholarship is misused in ways that are frankly disrespectful to Christians of all stripes and contrary to all reason and good will. Such is the nature of “The Bible: So Misunderstood…

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…

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.

A Meditation on the Samaritan Woman: Orthodoxy as the Revelation of Personhood

The following is a meditation upon the narrative of Christ and the Samaritan woman informed by ancient Palestinian Jewish marriage customs and the place of women in Palestinian society. As such, it is presented as the opinions of the author and not a statement to the exclusion or contradiction of patristic commentary on this Gospel reading. The fourth Sunday of Pascha commemorates…

Is Racial Nationalism Compatible with Orthodox Christianity? A Theological Reflection on Holiness and Priesthood in the Old Testament

“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” – Genesis 1:3-5 In response to growing sentiments of unrest online following…

Did Jesus Have a Wife? What Recent Analysis of “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” Really Means

*Update* New data has recently come to light within the academic community that may conclusively prove that the GJW fragment is indeed a fake. A summary of this data can be found here.  The original discussion of these new data can be found here and here.  In short, the GJW fragment was sold along with several other Coptic manuscripts, notably a fragment…

Is Orthodoxy the Same Everywhere?: Understanding Theological Controversy Within the Church

What do we mean when we say that Orthodoxy is the same everywhere? One of the “features” of Orthodoxy that is commonly put forward especially by converts as proof of the truth of the Orthodox Christian faith is that Orthodoxy is the same everywhere. They may point to the unanimity of liturgical practice, that all Orthodox look to the same councils and…

The Death of Jesus as Sacrifice (Part 2): The Atonement and Justification

My last post, which may now be considered Part 1, was narrowly focused upon the notion of the death of Christ as a sacrificial, expiating atonement.  This is of course not the only aspect of Christ’s death and resurrection that we can contemplate, and therefore, I proceed in this post to examine the notion of the atonement in relation to St. Paul’s…

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…