Fr. Matthew Baker: Memory Eternal!

Friends, We just learned the very sad and shocking news that Fr. Matthew Baker, a promising, brilliant scholar and priest who has contributed a number of articles to this site and is the close friend of a number of us, passed away in a tragic car accident this evening while traveling home from his parish assignment in Connecticut. The following message has…

“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…

Is Liturgy Magic? A Response to Peter Leithart’s Puritan Sacramentalism

I must admit that it always bugs me a bit when someone tells me what I believe, especially when I do not actually believe it. And so the bug in my bonnet buzzed again a bit when I read Peter Leithart’s latest musings on liturgy over at First Things. In this piece, Leithart lets the Orthodox, Roman Catholics and other “high church”…

On Leithart’s Puritans and the Purity of Sacraments

Introduction In a recent article at First Things, Peter Leithart laments the “high-churchism” of non-Protestant celebrations of the Eucharist. For Leithart, the essential difference between “high” and “low” liturgies is that of the preparatory rites—not necessarily the external ornaments of incense, bells, and vestments. Beyond mere simplicity, the Protestant or “Puritan” sacramentalism was one that eschewed excessive and unnecessary foreplay: The low-church Reformers…

Is Orthodoxy Really United?: A Question from a Reader

I recently received the following question from a reader (slightly edited to remove identifying details): I am aware of one Orthodox church parish leaving one Orthodox group to go to another Orthodox group because of some issue. Doesn’t this kind of dispel the idea of the Orthodox being a unified church organization as it is in the case of the Roman Catholics?…

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…

Infant Communion, Revisited

By Fr. Gregory Hogg Commemoration of the Holy Innocents, 29 December 2014 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. John 6:51 The young children ask for bread, But no one…

The Problem of Authority: How Do We Know What Is True?

By Mark Meador When formerly Protestant converts to Orthodoxy (or Roman Catholicism) recount the theological reasons for their conversion, it is not uncommon to hear among those reasons that they were persuaded by “the authority of the Church.” Once you become convinced of the Church’s authority, the telling goes, everything else falls into place. While this seems to be sufficient for the…

The Moral Christian: A Response to Fr. Stephen Freeman

In a recent post at Glory to God for All Things, “The Un-Moral Christian,” Fr. Stephen Freeman critiques what he sees as common conceptions of Christianity as moral, defined as “the rules and standards by which we guide ourselves.” These, he writes, are external and can be described and discussed. They are the rules by which we choose how to behave and…

My Presbyterian Field Trip: A Fragmenting Tradition

This last Thursday evening, I was supposed to be concelebrating at the festal services for a nearby Orthodox church, but over the days preceding I had so strained my back that I knew that if I followed through on my plans, even just standing during the services, I would likely not be able to stand the next morning. So I stayed home…