- Salvation and The Sacraments
- Salvation and Deification
- Salvation and The Atonement
- Worship and Icons in Orthodoxy
- The Importance of Icons in Orthodox Worship
- The Pattern of Orthodox Worship
The Orthodox, like Protestants and Catholics, regard the Bible as the inspired Word of God. But like the Catholics, the Orthodox Bible contains a few books not found in the Hebrew Scriptures (that is, books called the Apocrypha [Maccabees, Judith, Tobit, etc.] and written between the close of the Old Testament and the writing of the New Testament). The inclusion in the canon of Scripture of some books not regarded as canonical by Jesus and the Apostles (based on their lack of reference to them) is not an unimportant matter.3However, even more important and resulting in more serious consequences is the place of tradition in connection with the Scriptures. The Orthodox view of tradition is more complex than the Roman Catholic view. In the Catholic view, Scripture and tradition are both authorities. In other words, tradition exists alongside of Scripture as another authority. In the Orthodox view, the Scriptures are a part of tradition. According to their theologians, it is a mistake t...
Due to their high regard for tradition and belief that what the church fathers taught was permanently valid, the Orthodox Church has not been significantly involved in the debates of the last two centuries over creation and evolution. This is beginning to change as secular and rationalist thinking has come to dominate the sciences in the West. Andrew Louth is a theologian and professor emeritus from Durham University in England. He is at the same time a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church and serves the parish in Durham. Louth reveals the kind of approach likely to be taken with increasing frequency. He asks: Louth goes on to discuss the many characteristics that we humans share with animals. Thus a common origin is seen as quite reasonable. He does, of course, affirm that man possesses reason and is a higher being and in the image of God. Even so, this identity need not be tied to a historical Adam and Eve, according to Louth. But what about the Fall? For Louth, the fallen state...
Eastern Orthodoxy has historically maintained and defended a high view of the deity of Christ. The Orthodox make a great deal out of being “the Church of the seven councils” (that is, the seven ecumenical councils of the early Church). The first five of these councils dealt with challenges to the full deity or full humanity of Christ. The first of these councils was held in Nicea and the fourth was held in Chalcedon. These two councils affirmed the biblical doctrine of Christ as being one person with two natures, thus fully divine and fully human. From the side of His divinity, He is the second person of the Trinity and is as fully God as are the Father and the Holy Spirit. From the side of His humanity, He is the virgin-born son of Mary and the heir of David. All these things the Orthodox Church faithfully teach and affirm. Thus, there is no debate between evangelical Protestants and the Orthodox on the deity of Christ or His incarnation. Difficulties emerge, however, when the mean...
“What must I do to be saved?” This was the question the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas in Acts 16:30. It remains the critical question for all of mankind. Indeed, if we are given the wrong answers to this question, a catastrophic loss is the prospect we face. Strangely, in contrast to both Protestants and Catholics, the Orthodox do not seem to focus very much on this question. There are, of course, reasons for this. Like Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy places great emphasis on the “sacraments.” Like Catholicism, Orthodoxy sees baptism as bringing about the regeneration of the person receiving the sacrament. The Orthodox typically baptize infants, but, of course, adult converts to Orthodoxy are baptized as well. In contrast to Roman Catholics, the Orthodox baptize by immersion. Immersion is carried out three times in succession, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Unique to the Orthodox is a second sacrament applied immediately following baptism, c...
One of the great points of confusion among outsiders trying to understand Orthodoxy is the concept of “deification” or “theosis.” Translated, the thought is “becoming god.” To most Westerners this concept is totally alien. Paul does, of course, speak of being “conformed to the image of Christ” (Romans 8:29). Is that all the Orthodox mean by theosis? No, it is not. In fact, the Orthodox have a major and complex theology built around the idea of deification. Most frequently quoted by the Orthodox is a statement by Athanasius: “God became man that we might become gods.”14 Athanasius was by no means the only church father to speak of deification in similar terms.15 Outsiders might be tempted to think that the Orthodox have similar views to the Mormons, believing that humans can become divine, “gods” in an ontological sense. This would be quite mistaken. The Orthodox are quite clear in their Trinitarian belief that the divine essence resides only in the triune God. Man cannot by any mean...
A final point on the Orthodox teaching on salvation should be added before leaving this topic. There is comparatively little focus in Orthodoxy on the atonement or the Cross but a significantly greater focus on the doctrine of the Incarnation and the Resurrection. Protestants and Catholics are accustomed to thinking of the Incarnation as part of the process ending in the death of Christ on the Cross for our sins. Of course, the doctrine of Incarnation is a rich vein that bears many treasures for Christian theology, not the least of which is an affirmation by God of the inherent goodness of the material creation.21 But in Scripture, the Incarnation of Jesus is seen first and foremost as a revelation of God to man of His goodness and character (Hebrews 1:1–3) to redeem man by means of the atonement. This is seen with great clarity in Jesus’ own statement of the purpose of His coming: “to give His life a ransom for many” (e.g., Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45). It comes as a surprise, then,...
Christians from the West tend to be confused or even shocked when they first attend an Orthodox service. In Eastern Europe and Russia, Orthodox Churches generally do not have seating. (However, Greek Orthodox Churches in America do tend to have pews.) The inside of an Orthodox Church is typically richly adorned with icons. The word “icon” is simply the Greek word for “image.” At the front of the sanctuary is a wall of icons with a door (or doors) in it. This wall is called an “iconostasis” (“icon stand”). It plays an important part in Orthodox worship. The icons on the iconostasis only display the most important icons adorning a particular church. There are often many, many more icons distributed throughout the church. Westerners from the Catholic tradition, or who are familiar with Catholic Churches, are accustomed to religious art being featured prominently in the church. However, in an Orthodox Church, one is immediately struck with the number of pictures and the obvious importan...
The place of icons in Orthodox worship is the result of a centuries-long development and some bloody battles. In the year 726, the Byzantine Emperor Leo III decreed that icons should notbe used in Orthodox worship. This was immediately resisted, indeed violently resisted, and the famous “iconoclastic controversy” was underway. During the next 117 years, the Byzantine Orthodox Church and society were torn by this controversy. By and large, it was the state, the emperors, their families, the patriarchs, and the bishops who attempted to remove icons from the churches and to ban them from use during church services. The monks and many of the laity were vehemently opposed to the attempts of the iconoclasts to suppress the use of icons in the church. Finally, in 753, Emperor Constantine V called a council of the church in Constantinople, which issued a condemnation of using icons in the church’s worship. This did not stop the controversy, however. There continued to be strong resistance t...
Perhaps one of the most unfortunate consequences of the tragic iconoclastic controversy was that it actually ended up elevating icons in importance. Before it began, it was entirely possible to be an Orthodox believer and participate in Orthodox worship without venerating icons. Icon veneration, or worship in many cases, was widespread, but it was not a dogmatically defined practice and was not integrated into Orthodox liturgy. After the Seventh Ecumenical Council of 787, veneration of icons was made an integral part of Orthodox worship and the meaning of icons was dogmatically defined by the council’s decrees. This results in a role for icons within the Orthodox Church that is clearly far beyond anything that can be justified by Scripture. Though linking the making of icons with an affirmation of the Incarnation makes sense to many, just as many see the argument as far from compelling. And, if that argument is not compelling and not based on any explicit Scripture, why should icon...
A brief word about the conduct of Orthodox services should be added to this topic. The priest(s) perform the rituals of the Eucharistic service behind the iconostasis, out of sight of the worshipers. The liturgy is sung or chanted and is quite consistent. In other words, the worshipers who attend regularly know the liturgy and know how to enter into the process. The participation of the worshipers is seen in their responding at appropriate points in the liturgy and in much bowing, kneeling, and kissing of the icons. Some worshipers will stay through an entire service, but many will come in at some later point and many will leave before the service is over. In fact, there are at least two services that take place each Sunday, the first being “Matins,” which lasts about an hour. The Eucharistic service lasts another hour and a half. Thus, many come and partake of whatever portion of the service they wish to be present for and participate in. As strange as it seems to Westerners, it is...
- Dr. D. Trent Hyatt
This is why a vast and chaotic gap exists between Orthodox spirituality and the eastern religions, in spite of certain external similarities in terminology. For example, eastern religions may employ terms like ecstasy, dispassion, illumination, noetic energy, etc. but they are impregnated with a content different from corresponding terms in ...
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Greek Orthodox churches are made up of several self-governing Churches that are sometimes ‘autocephalous’ (having their head) or ‘autonomous’ (self-governing). They believe that God revealed himself in Jesus Christ. They also believe in the incarnation of Christ, his crucifixion and resurrection.
Mar 06, 2019 · Orthodox Judaism believes that both the Written and Oral Torah are of divine origin, containing the exact words of God without any human influence.
Apr 26, 2021 · The afterlife is unknowable, so all effort should be made to make this life the best it can be, to honor ancestors, and to respect elders. Eastern Orthodox: Orthodoxy is a Christian-Judeo derivative that reinterprets key Scripture verses in such a way that works become essential to reach heaven. Orthodoxy teaches that faith in Jesus is ...
May 07, 2020 · Few people make an individual conscious choice on which religion they would like to follow after examining different options. Nearly eighty-six percent of the world's population are religious while remaining 1.1 billion or 14% have no religious affiliation. There are four major religions in the world.
- Christianity. Christianity is a religion based on the lessons of Jesus of Nazareth and the Old Testament. It is a monotheistic religion in which Christians believe in the Holy Trinity.
- Judaism. Judaism in a religion based on ethics and principles found in the Talmud and the Bible. Judaism began with the Covenant of Abraham, which is the progenitor and patriarch of the Jewish individuals, and God, as claimed by the Jewish culture.
- Buddhism. Buddhism is also called Dhamma or Buddha Dharma, which roughly translated means “teachings of the Awakened One” in the languages of ancient texts in Buddhism; Pali and Sanskrit.
- Islam. Islam originated with the lessons of Muhammad. Muhammad was a 7th century Arab religious and political person. Islam is a monotheistic religion and Muslims believe that God presented Muhammad with the Sunnah and Qur’an which are the fundamental roots of Islam.
- Basis for Doctrine. Christian denominations differ in what they use for the basis of their doctrines and beliefs. The biggest split is between Catholicism and the denominations that have roots in the Protestant Reformation.
- Creeds and Confessions. To understand what different Christian denominations believe, you can start with the ancient creeds and confessions, which spell out their major beliefs in a short summary.
- Inerrancy and Inspiration of Scripture. Christian denominations differ in how they view the authority of Scripture. The Inspiration of Scripture identifies the belief that God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, directed the writing of the Scriptures.
- The Trinity. The mysterious doctrine of the Trinity created divisions in the earliest days of Christianity and those differences remain in Christian denominations until this day.
- Mormons and the Planet Kolob. olgaaltunina/iStock/Getty Images. Continue Reading Below. Next time people wanna knock Scientology and Xenu, let's just remember that some of you wanted to elect a dude who believes we came from a planet that doesn't exist.
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- Some Jewish Babies Get Horrifying, Bloody Blow Jobs After a Bris. There was once a baby boy who died of herpes, which he contracted during his bris. It's sad and tragic.