Accusation and Confession

Accusation and Confession

Accusations are powerful. In the Garden of Eden, the dragon accuses Eve of naivety for following God’s commandments: You certainly will not die; for God knows that in the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be as gods who know good and evil. —Gen. 3:4–5 In John’s apocalypse, […]

Orthodox Mysteries in the Old Testament

Orthodox Mysteries in the Old Testament

The Orthodox conversion rites—Chrismation, Baptism, and the holy Eucharist—are a fulfillment of priestly types or shadows in the Old Testament. Just as Israel was a nation of priests (Ex. 19:6), so too is the new covenant Church (1 Pet. 2:9). A description of priestly consecration can be read in Leviticus, mirroring the conversion rites for […]

Symbolism and the Devil

Symbolism and the Devil

For many, a symbol is roughly defined as “an illustration whose purpose can be termed pedagogic or educational.” It merely points to or teaches about an idea, but offers no real connection to anything beyond itself. In Orthodoxy, however, a symbol is a gateway or ‘window’ to something beyond; it truly connects us with that which […]

Guarding the Chalice

Guarding the Chalice

When a faith is highly traditional—so traditional that her Tradition is seen as nothing less than the presence of God living and breathing in the life of the Church—it is sure to clash with the sensibilities of a modern, critical, and pluralistic culture such as our own. One of the many sources of friction between the Orthodox Church […]

Early Christian Worship and the Bones of Martyrs

Early Christian Worship and the Bones of Martyrs

In the Apostle’s Creed (an early Roman baptismal statement of faith) a person confesses belief in “the communion of saints.” While this creed is not widely used in the East, it is important that we understand the communion of saints as a matter of both ontology and incarnation—it is related to the essence or ‘being’ […]

The Eucharistic Liturgy in Ancient House Churches

The Eucharistic Liturgy in Ancient House Churches

Many evangelical groups today are proposing that we abandon “traditional” models of “being the Church,” and instead replace that stodginess with what is presumably a more “New Testament” model: that of the “house church” or “cell church.” Essentially, they are promoting that the local Church be a de-centralized assembly, meeting in the homes of various individuals, proportionally scattered throughout a city. The presumption is that this is the “Biblical” model for both fellowship and discipleship, being derived from the New Testament itself.

The Lord of Quantum Mechanics

The Lord of Quantum Mechanics

As with the rest of creation, our God is Lord even of quantum mechanics. He created the space-time continuum, and physical barriers or geographical distances are no obstacles for his might. He can transport people (and their prayers) to any location in the universe—instantaneously. In him we live, move, and have our being (Acts 17:28). […]

Forgetting Christianity: Baptism, Sin, and the Devil

Forgetting Christianity: Baptism, Sin, and the Devil

Listen to this reflection on Ancient Faith Radio. – – – While baptism exorcises sin and the devil from the baptized, the Church of England has exorcised the language of sin and the devil from its baptismal rite. Instead of rejecting “the devil and all rebellion against God” and “repenting of the sins that separate us […]

Divine Liturgy and the Great Thanksgiving

Divine Liturgy and the Great Thanksgiving

Some of the most profound words of the Divine Liturgy are rarely heard. Standing at the south corner of the altar, the deacon quietly utters to the presiding priest: “It is time for the Lord to act.” This phrase sets the tone for everything in our worship. We are not performing some sort of magical […]

Fasting with the Orthodox Church

Fasting with the Orthodox Church

The ancient Christian practice of fasting on prescribed days and seasons — as the fulfillment of the Jewish fasting periods of the Old Covenant — is one that has been largely abandoned by much of modern Christianity, and especially in the west. While preparation for Christmas in our secular culture is marked chiefly by consumerism, […]