Convention Season

We’ve been a bit sparse on posts the past couple of weeks, so I thought I would at least put up a brief note so you don’t think we’ve disappeared.  Our collective quietness has been due, of course, to some summer vacationing, but also because some of us are attending to the professional habits that summer so often occasions—conferences. I always imagine…

Why Evangelicals Need Mary

In recent years growing numbers of Evangelicals have become interested in Orthodoxy.  Many want to convert to Orthodoxy but have difficulty with certain Orthodox teachings. Without question, one of the most difficult obstacles for any Protestant Evangelical interested in Orthodoxy is Mary. A large part of the problem lies in a communications gap between Evangelicals and Orthodox.  Unlike Eastern Orthodoxy which has…

The Eminem Ethic

The following article was originally published on the Roads from Emmaus weblog in February of 2012. I spotted this image on Facebook today, and it puts forth a commonly accepted ethic, which I’ve dubbed here the Eminem Ethic. Essentially, various categories of race, sexual desire, physical appearance, and economic status don’t matter when it comes to winning his kindness. What matters is…

Venerating the Virgin: Orthodox Christian Reflections for Protestants

One of the more divisive issues between Orthodox Christians and Protestants is how Mary, the Theotokos, is viewed by the Church. I frequently meet people who are on the fence about what church to attend, who have a great interest in Orthodoxy, but who are uncomfortable with the place of Mary in our faith and worship services. The purpose of my article…

Fourth of July Reflection: Holy Kingship and Ecology

At Camp Karoondinha (a Delaware term for “Land of Shining Waters”) on the wooded banks of Penns Creek, at the last morning of Webelos camp this summer, the American flag ran up the pole outside the dining hall with trumpet blaring. The Scouts saluted. My son and others then ran for breakfast, only to stop when they saw a big beautiful green…

Sacrament and Culture: Why Protestants Don’t Redeem the Time

The new group weblog Orthodox Arts Journal recently published a piece by Nicholas Kotar with a rather ambitious title, “The Creation of a Christian Culture“: Of all the great callings that Christians are reminded of on a daily basis, the creation of culture is not among the most mentioned. I would even hazard a guess that many Orthodox would find [the calling…

St. Cyprian’s Seamless Garment: An Answer to Peter Leithart on Church Unity

I‘m very grateful for the dialogue that has emerged in recent weeks with regards to the catholicity, unity and uniqueness of the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, particularly in an engagement with the camp calling itself “Reformed Catholic” (a minority group within the general Reformed tradition), represented most prominently by Dr. Peter Leithart. One of the assertions that this group has…

Muslim Comedian Dean Obeidallah Defines “Good” Christianity

Dean Obeidallah, a Muslim and professional comedian, recently opined for CNN in “Where are the good Christians?” on his longing for a Christianity he would prefer. The title caught my eye, as it suggests not only that there is a clearly defined line between “good” and “bad” Christians but also that this author knows where this line is and feels it’s obvious…

“The Limits of the Church” by Fr. Georges Florovsky

The following piece by Protopresbyter Georges V. Florovsky was originally published in 1933 in Church Quarterly Review. Where Florovsky does not translate foreign phrases, we have supplied a translation in brackets for non-specialists. It is very difficult to give an exact and firm definition of a ‘sect’ or ‘schism’ (I distinguish the theological definition from the simple canonical description), since a sect…

Patristics for Baptists? Orthodox Observations on a Recent Debate among Southern Baptists

This post was originally featured on the Orthodox-Reformed Bridge site. The original is here. Reformed theology has been making inroads in unexpected places.  Christianity Today, in a recent article, reported on a surprising trend among Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) pastors.  A 2006 survey found that only 10 percent of SBC pastors overall identified themselves as “five-point Calvinists.”  However, a 2007 survey found that a surprising…