Eastern Orthodoxy?

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Puritan Board Junior
I don't know where to put this really, I trust a mod will *fix* that for me. :)

I would like to know what someone can tell me about Eastern Orthodoxy. I have a friend who converted to EO from Reformed Christianity and she said it was her study of Reformed Theology that *pushed them* over into it. ???? I personally don't see that. It is a close cousin to catholicism to me. I know the history with Constantinople. I'm wondering if/what I am missing.

She recently sent me this clip in a *rant* about a Baptist missionary who was going to Serbia to *convert* the Orthodox church.


Is there a good book from a Presbyterian/Reformed perspective on this?


Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
This is a good book on the topic. It is sympathetic, without being apologetic for being Reformed, and having serious disagreements with EO.

A lot of folks are put off by Rome's pompous claims, her arrogance, etc. And yet, they are still unsatisfied with the responsibility of answering for oneself to God. Many people still feel a deep need for the comfort of external authority. Absolute, but somehow human and accessible, authority.

EO offers to fill that want, and to do so amending the errors and even schismatic actions of Rome and the "Western" branch of Christendom. As far as they are concerned, Rome took western Christianity off her own way, trying to lord it over the eastern patriarchies. So, Protestantism split with Rome, but instead of coming "back" to EO, with the possible exception of some strains of Anglicanism, the Protestant world remains (if possible) even farther afield than Rome from the fold of Orthodoxy.

Again, in EO as with Rome, the locus of authority is not found in Scripture itself mediated fundamentally by the life-giving Spirit; but in the mediation of all Scripture-understanding through fixed forms of interpretation by the Church. So, especially in liturgy (which is more than sacraments in EO) is communion with God discovered. The church is the vehicle through which theosis or a form of "divinization" is realized.

Again, EO claims to be unchanged and unchanging. It claims unbroken liturgical and ministerial coherence with the Apostles. They claim that the Ecumenical councils, which they number up to 6 or 7 (not only the 3-4 we recognize as legitimate), have fixed the truth in dogmatic form.

However, by a number of lines of evidence, these churches fail to live up to their own professed ideals. For instance, they do not let the Fathers speak for themselves, but have defined earlier sentiments by later ones. They have been greatly influenced by the ancient philosophies (far more than they care to admit), and have never had any sort of Reformation to clear out the gunk. They make no acknowledgment of how politics have influenced official church statements on dogma.

For example, the politically connected church overturned one Council that condemned icons (as idolatry), by conveniently calling it "regional" and dismissing it, and substituting what is now the official stance on admission of icons by an Ecumenical council more amenable to the practice. The ancient rejection (as referenced by the overturned council) as well as the exegesis of Scripture on the subject was completely ignored.

When a church does what it wants to do, in defiance of Scripture (not to mention a good track-record in history)--that church is no longer properly subservient to Scripture. Preaching Scripture is no more emphasized in EO than it is by Rome. This, despite the legacy of orators like John Chrysostom. EO has traded a word-based heritage for a mystical mess of pottage.

May you continue to pray for your friend, and may she come back out of this sensually entrancing system but ultimately darkened and inclosed weir, and into the marvelous light of the freedom of the gospel.
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Puritan Board Freshman
Note on that video: The doctrine re4futed is a flimsy Eternal Security that is not Reformed. It's coupled with Arminianism to be logically inconsistent.


Puritanboard Commissioner
My understanding is that while it is nominally Christian, it is biblically wrong on all five "solas" of the Reformation:

faith alone
grace alone
Christ alone
Scripture alone
for the glory of God alone

and wrong on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit (which the Roman Church got biblically right and separated from them based on their unorthodoxy on this point).

An understanding of reformed Christianity would not lead one this way at all.

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
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Puritan Board Junior
Many, many thanks to each of you who responded. I am going to take my time and work through each of these.

I am very concerned for her. I am not sure how to talk to her because she initiates discussion, but then quickly shuts down.

The fruit of what they have embraced that is being borne out in their home is not good.


Puritan Board Sophomore
To be honest, their soteriology makes sense if you think Christ took on the sins of every person on the cross...


Puritan Board Freshman
I would like to know what someone can tell me about Eastern Orthodoxy. I have a friend who converted to EO from Reformed Christianity and she said it was her study of Reformed Theology that *pushed them* over into it.
If your friend could read Russian I would suggest that he read an excellent article titled "The Salt That Lost Its Saltiness" by A.Bezhitsin with over a hundred references to Russian theologians, classical authors, as well as modern journalists. It highlights the EO influence on people's mentality in general and the present country's situation in particular.
Or better visit the country, where it has been the only established (and only allowed) religion for centuries (till 1917) - that itself will speak louder than all the books taken together. Just my opinion.


Puritan Board Junior
I guess I should add, the Orthodox church has changed all their names. Her husband is taking *seminary* classes and now, in order for him to move forward, they have to be married *IN* the Orthodox church. So, with more than half a dozen children, they are going through *marriage counseling* and preparing to be wed. Although, they both speak of monasteries when the children are grown and gone.

Very confusing.

-----Added 9/2/2009 at 11:10:21 EST-----

Wow! Igor! She can't read Russian...but I wish I could!


Puritan Board Freshman
JoyFullMom, wish I could help you, but even if I try to translate it myself into English at loose hours (which, alas, are not many), I will hardly finish even half of it by the end of the year. To do a summary might be a little easier (and, I believe, at least this SHOULD be done some day), but is still time-consuming. Of course, there are on-line "translators", which might be an option for want of anything better, but personally I would not recommend that. But the main quiestion is: if your friend and her husband have already made a final decision or not.
Anyway, A.J. provided very useful links - I enjoyed reading both articles. The author does know his stuff.
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