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…

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…

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…

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…

Original Sin and Orthodoxy: Reflections on Carthage

Anyone who has been around Orthodoxy for a while has heard an argument like the following: Orthodox don’t believe Original Sin but rather Ancestral Sin. At least one book has been written on the topic. Numerous essays of semi-scholarly quality and lay appeals, have been proffered. Podcasts were recorded. Even this blog has written an article on the topic. The content of this position is…