Fire and Brimstone

Fire and Brimstone

A man on a busy street corner holds a sign that reads “Sinners Repent!” There are other signs posted around him with longer bits of text, with messages of a similar tone, warning of the wrath of God and hellfire that awaits those who refuse to repent and believe in Jesus. To help hammer home the message of the […]

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 […]

Mary the True Woman and Mother of Life

Mary the True Woman and Mother of Life

As Jesus Christ is the true and final Adam—the true Man and exemplar of humanity, through whom all humanity can become truly human—so also is Mary, the Mother or Birth-giver of God (Θεοτοκος), the true and final Eve. She is ‘the woman,’ and through her faithfulness, the restoration of the cosmos is wrought. Jesus himself […]

Judas Maccabeus and the Death of Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman means a great deal to me. As an actor, he was one of the finest of his generation, and set a new bar for the acting profession. He worked with some of the greatest directors the industry has ever produced (including many of my personal favorites). And yet, he was a troubled person. […]

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 […]

Abortion as Murder in the Christian Tradition

Abortion as Murder in the Christian Tradition

According to the tradition of the Orthodox Church, abortion is a sin no different than murder. Among the non-Orthodox, there has been an attempt in recent decades to reframe the seriousness of abortion as a matter of choice. Rather than speaking plainly that abortion is a form of death, the two sides of the debate […]

Overcoming Vanity

Overcoming Vanity

The sin of vanity receives extensive treatment throughout both the scriptures and the writings of the fathers. Being viewed as a bedfellow to pride—one of the ‘seven deadly sins’—vanity convinces us that we should place our hope in the world rather than in God. Vanity tells us that we can do everything on our own, […]

Christ the Mercy Seat

Christ the Mercy Seat

In his Epistle to the Romans, Saint Paul writes: “… being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Whom God Himself hath set forth to be an expiation through faith in His blood” (3.24-25). This word, translated as “expiation” by the Orthodox New Testament, is in Greek hilasterion. The usage and meaning of […]

Confession: the Sacrament of the Heart

Confession: The Sacrament of the Heart

The heart, my brethren, is only a small vessel; and yet dragons and lions are there, and there likewise are poisonous creatures and all the treasures of wickedness; rough, uneven paths are there, and gaping chasms. There also is God, there are the angels, there life and the Kingdom, there light and the apostles, the […]

Abraham’s Narrow Gate

Abraham's Narrow Gate

There are a lot of great stories (not to mention a lot of great theology) to be found in pseudepigraphal literature. One must use discernment, of course, but we should not be quick to reject these books outright, simply because they do not come bound in our modern, printed editions of the scriptures. For example, […]