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 […]

Ecumenism as Dialogue or Monologue? (Part Two: The Witness of Scripture)

Ecumenism as Dialogue or Monologue? (Part Two: The Witness of Scripture)

In the first part of this series, I offered an overview of the traditional Orthodox method for addressing non-Orthodox communities, highlighting two notable events in Church history. In this essay, I’ll discuss the ecumenical method—that method of God’s covenant people interacting with those outside the covenantal body—as found in the Holy Scriptures. Examples from the Old Testament […]

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 […]

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 […]

A Response to Bart Ehrman on Paul and Salvation (Part One)

A Response to Bart Ehrman on Paul and Salvation (Part One)

Bart Ehrman has made quite a name for himself, both on the scholarly and popular level. I have no particular disdain for his work, even when I disagree. In fact, I was impressed by his recent book on the deity of Jesus because of its subtlety and genuine scholarship (which is not to say I […]

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 […]

Building a Wall Around the New Testament

Building a Wall Around the New Testament

As with other dogmatic developments in the life of the Church, the canonization of scripture was largely done in response to heresy. For example, prior to Marcion (mid-second century), there was little activity on the part of the Church in establishing a closed ‘canon’ or rule of scripture. It was not until St. Irenaeus that […]

The Apostle Paul and the ‘Works of the Law’

The Apostle Paul and the 'Works of the Law'

A great emphasis in the protestant reformation was the doctrinal formulation of “justification by faith alone,” which many asserted to be “the doctrine upon which the Church stands or falls” (Martin Luther: “articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae”).

While this was in and of itself a complete novelty (and devoid of Patristic warrant) — supposedly being based upon the Scriptures alone — it is quite easy to demonstrate that not only is this concept foreign to the Scriptures but is also foreign to the first century Judean mindset (not to mention the Christian). To be plain, Luther and other reformers were reading their contemporary disagreements with the mainstream Latin church into the words of St Paul.