Wednesday, February 19, 2014

An Introduction to Eastern Orthodoxy

I began a discussion on Eastern Orthodoxy, giving some of the history and basic differences between the Eastern and Western church. This is the first part in a series of shows that will deal with the unique teachings of the Eastern Church.

9 comments:

Vincent VAN DER WEERDEN said...

Pastor Jordan do you know what the major differences are between Lutherans and the EO are on salvation and the doctrine of justification? I heard the EO reject alot of what Augustine wrote on this.

Jordan Cooper said...

I will be dealing with that issue more in the future. There is a lecture from an Eastern Orthodox convert who was a Lutheran pastor on this topic.

Vincent VAN DER WEERDEN said...

Where can I find that lecture? Is that convert sympathetic to the Lutheran understanding of justification? Also i noticed you never replied to that email I sent you a while back.

Jordan Cooper said...

Sorry, I get a lot of emails and I'm not always able to write back. Send it again?

Anonymous said...

Could you do one on Oriental Orthodoxy (I. e., the Copts, Armenians, etc.)? They are similar in a lot of ways but there are a few key differences.

Anonymous said...

Could you do one on Oriental Orthodoxy (I. e., the Copts, Armenians, etc.)? They are similar in a lot of ways but there are a few key differences.

Ryan said...

As a convert to the Orthodox Church myself, and also someone who knows a lot of other converts, I'll definitely admit that there's more than a little truth to the comments about converts in this podcast. Whether or not the Orthodox Church has more of a problem with this than, say, the Catholics or Calvinists, I'm not sure, but it definitely is a problem. I think a big part of the problem is the temptation to engage in childish point-scoring. There's a certain triumphalism that tries to use converts as "votes" in favour of one's own church, as if the truth were determined that way. The result is that converts are sometimes treated with something like deference, rather than being encouraged to learn with humility from their elders in the faith.
In the case of the Orthodox Church, this problem has been aggravated by the deplorable state of the church in North America in the 20th century. The situation is improving, but the Orthodox Church in North America has as often as not been treated as little more than an ethnic club by its own members. This again tends to give converts a certain amount of authority, as often converts are the only ones who really care about the faith. Of course, I should be very clear that I'm talking in generalities, and there are plenty of "ethnic" Orthodox who are just as motivated as the converts, and usually a lot more mature in their faith. But, on the general level, this is a continuing problem for the Church.

J. Dean said...

Good podcast, Jordan.

A few years back, our family went to a Greek Festival held by a nearby Greek Orthodox Church, and during that festival people could go into the church itself and have a brief time with the Pastor (Patriarch?) where he would give a synopsis about Orthodox theology and practice. It was quite eye-opening to visit, and I can see how "seductive" (for lack of a better word) that joining the Orthodox church can be: the entire interior of the church was both beautifully ornate and practically instructive, as it had imagery from Scriptural scenes in almost every free space. In addition, the pomp and form of the liturgy rivaled anything in a Western church concerning its aesthetic beauty and corporate sense. Beautiful is an understatement for the form of the Orthodox church.

Yet at the same time, it was a bit confusing. When the minister talked about the emphasis on good works and how essential they were, he made it sound like good works were what saved people (and it sounded quite Pelagian in nature, explicitly so). But when I asked him if this was salvation by works, he denied it and emphasized grace. Needless to say, I left there both in admiration and confusion. Loved the form, loved the beauty, but balked at the evasion of justification by grace alone.

Anonymous said...

Good pod cast, Jordan.

I actually was a serious inquirer into Eastern Orthodoxy for several years, and a catechumen for a couple of months, before moving on to traditional Anglicanism. Much of the same things you mention here that have attracted converts also attracted me to Orthodoxy. At the end of the day, there were a handful of issues that kept me from swimming the Bosphorus and that led on the Canterbury trail instead (so to speak).

Doubting Thomas