Carrying the Cross and Suffering in Hope

Carrying Our Cross in Hope

Jesus didn’t suffer so that we wouldn’t have to. He suffered so that we could handle suffering with him. In other forms of Christianity, one is often told that Christ suffered and died so that we could be freed from a similar fate. A focus in Protestant theology is Christ appeasing the wrath of the Father, freeing us from a […]

Triumphalism and the Church Triumphant

Triumphalism and the Church Triumphant

Every student of Church history knows that history is messy. There was never a ‘Golden Age’ of the Church, nor will there ever be one before the Last Day. And yet, as Orthodox Christians, we believe that the Church is the one, true Body of Christ. We believe that she is the pleroma or ‘fullness’ of God (Eph. […]

The Beauty of Logos: Towards an Orthodox Aesthetic

The Beauty of Logos: Towards an Orthodox Aesthetic

What is the purpose of ‘beauty’ in the Eastern Orthodox faith? Are these mere externals, or is there something deeper behind our colors, shapes, and forms? We could start by considering Dostoevsky’s famous line (from The Idiot): Beauty shall save the world. “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (John 6:60) Struggling with this very task, […]

Theosis and Justification in Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians

Theosis and Justification in Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians

Reading the Bible as an Orthodox Christian post-Protestantism can be difficult. Even as one’s views of God, Christ, sin, and salvation dramatically shift, old reading habits can stubbornly persist. More than once I have encountered converts who simply have no idea how to read St. Paul consistently with the Orthodox faith. I believe that such a […]

Israel and the Church: Why Does It Matter?

Israel and the Church: Why Does It Matter?

There is an effort among many Christian scholars today to revise the traditional approach to the question of Israel’s identity. These scholars argue that the Church must be subtly distinguished from the ‘actual Israel’ in order to do justice to the voice of the Old Testament. But I will argue that this position must be rejected, not simply because it […]

Iconoclasm: The Heresy of Heresies (Part Two)

Iconoclasm: The Heresy of Heresies (Part 2)

In Franks, Romans, Feudalism, and Doctrine, Fr. John S. Romanides suggests: The schism between Eastern and Western Christianity was not between East and West Romans. In actuality, it was a split between East Romans and the conquerors of the West Romans. By the end of the seventh century, whole areas of the western part of the Roman Empire were […]

Iconoclasm: The Heresy of Heresies (Part One)

Iconoclasm: The Heresy of Heresies (Part 1)

It’s not surprising that iconoclasm persists in contemporary Christian culture, and especially in America. Without a proper understanding of both the Incarnation and the deeper purpose of creation—throughout which God is ‘everywhere present and filling all things’—we are left with a worldview that is distorted. With no emperor or royal family to honor, we venerate celebrities, pornographers, amoral politicians, and […]

The Victory of God

The Victory of God

The victory of God is not a schizophrenic victory over himself; it is a victory over death and its author, the devil. It is a great reconciliation; the warm embrace of the prodigal son. During both Great Lent and Holy Week, Orthodox Christians hear some of the most deeply profound words ever uttered. And through these hymns, readings, […]

Always a Convert, Never a Cradle

Always a Convert, Never a Cradle

Orthodoxy is a liturgical faith. And at the heart of that faith is a calling to be continually converted to Jesus Christ. The Church year begins with the nativity or birth of Mary—the beginning of our salvation story in Christ, and Israel’s return from exile—and continues through the nativity of Jesus. Great Lent is the […]

The Church is Apostolic

The Church is Apostolic

The fourth attribute of the Church is ‘apostolicity.’ According to the Greek tradition, salvation involves the transformation of a sinner into the likeness of God; it is to become by grace what Christ is by nature. This perspective of salvation, called theosis or deification, is at the heart of what it means to say the […]