Being a Faithful and True Witness

Being a Faithful and True Witness

According to the Scriptures, being a witness for Christ is, in most respects, synonymous with martyrdom. While not all Christians face literal martyrdom in their lifetime, the call to carry a cross is a call to each and every one of us. Jesus Christ was the first true and faithful Martyr (Rev. 1:5), and all Christians should […]

Ripe for Metamorphosis: The Great Feast of Transfiguration

Ripe for Metamorphosis

Transfiguration is one of the twelve Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church. It comes forty days before the Elevation of the Holy Cross, and is the next-to-last feast of the ecclesiastical year. In this feast we are reminded of our calling as Christians: to be transfigured, to mature into ripened fruit, and to be glorified […]

Salvation as Theosis in John 1

Salvation as Theosis in John 1

Theosis or “Christification” is what I’ve come to believe is the end-game of salvation: to be united with God and so be restored in His image and likeness. St. Athanasius summed it up by saying, “God became man so that man might become divine.” He didn’t mean that we cease being creatures, but that we […]

An Orthodox Commentary on the Gospel Coalition Controversy

An Orthodox Commentary on the Gospel Coalition Controversy

In recent months, several key evangelical pastors have been involved in a public debate regarding the Christian doctrine of sanctification. In the Protestant framework,1 sanctification is the progressive transformation of a converted sinner into a true disciple of Christ. Having been justified by God’s grace, sanctification is the “setting apart” or consecration of Christians as people […]

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 […]

Remember Us In Your Kingdom

Remember Us In Your Kingdom

To be “remembered” by God is vitally important in Orthodox spiritual life. But what does this mean? Before receiving the holy Eucharist at a Divine Liturgy, we confess: I will not reveal Your mystery to Your adversaries. Nor will I give You a kiss as did Judas. But as the thief I confess to You: “Lord, remember me in Your […]

A Journey through Romans 9 (Part Four)

A Journey through Romans 9 (Part Four)

This is the final part of a four part series on interpreting Romans 9. You can also read part one, part two, and part three. – – – And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.” —Rom. 9:29 The […]

A Journey through Romans 9 (Part Three)

A Journey through Romans 9 (Part Three)

This is the third part of a four part series on interpreting Romans 9. You can also read part one and part two. – – – So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. —Rom. 9:18 Though it is sometimes difficult for modern readers to see, burdened as they are with a long history […]

A Journey through Romans 9 (Part Two)

A Journey through Romans 9 (Part Two)

This is the second part of a four part series on interpreting Romans 9. Read part one. – – – The story is then told in great detail in Romans 4–8, which is constructed around the shape the Old Testament narrative. Romans 4 deals with Abraham, Romans 5 deals with bondage “in Adam” just as Israel was in […]

A Journey through Romans 9 (Part One)

A Journey through Romans 9 (Part One)

The ninth chapter of Romans is often referenced as ‘the’ text convincing Christians to become ‘Calvinists.’ Many would go so far as to argue that it is impossible to read this section of Romans in any other way. For me, the ‘Calvinist reading’ seems to ignore Paul’s use of the Old Testament. Furthermore, it fails to situate the argument of Romans 9 […]