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 […]

Desire, Stillness, and the First Murder

Desire, Stillness, and the First Murder

When all the pain and misery of this world is considered, there is often one attitude at the heart of it all: a lack of contentment. Generations of Americans were raised on the “American Dream.” Many of us were taught from childhood that we could be and do anything we wanted. We were told to expect and even demand as much, stopping at nothing to […]

A Time to Weep and a Time to Laugh

A Time to Weep and a Time to Laugh

Reading the Sayings of the Desert Fathers, I came across the following: A hermit saw someone laughing and said to him, ‘We have to render an account of our whole life before heaven and earth, and you can laugh?’ While this probably strikes most as curmudgeonly, for us Christians, a reference to the Last Judgment ought to inspire sober […]

‘What Would Jesus Do?’ and the Feast of All Saints

'What Would Jesus Do?' and the Feast of All Saints

This past Sunday was the feast of All Saints in the Holy Orthodox Church. On that day, we commemorate all the Saints of God, fruits of the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, commemorated the Sunday prior. On this day we especially seek the intercessions of these holy men and women, and set them before […]

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 Letter to Symeon

A Letter to Myself

Written by way of self-examination. A creative attempt at practical application of basic principles of the Orthodox Christian spiritual life, in the style of letter-writing. My soul has long been on pilgrimage1 without finding a true harbor either outside or within myself. —St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, The Arena – – – In Christ, I have become aware […]

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 […]

How to Live a Simple, Christian Life

Simple Christianity

Christianity is a calling to become like Jesus Christ. It is a calling to live up to our namesake as ‘Christians.’ As St. Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of the apostle John, writes: It is fitting, then, not only to be called ‘Christians,’ but to be so in reality. Our faith has been reduced by many today to ‘Christ plus […]