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Book Plunge: Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology

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  • Book Plunge: Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology

    How do we get introduced to Eastern Orthodox thinking?

    Link

    ------

    What do I think of Andrew Louthís book published by IVP? Letís plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    When my wifeís mentor was visiting recently, I was looking for a book for her and found this one on the shelf. I didnít remember when I requested it, but I figure I did with my wifeís current looking into Eastern Orthodoxy. I got it out and decided to soon read through it.

    Now I have and I found it an interesting read and informative. I am curious to see that itís a work by an Orthodox Priest but published by an evangelical press. I really encourage that. I think Orthodox Christians should read books by evangelicals about their position and vice-versa and the same goes with Catholics. We have differences and similarities and we need to understand those.

    The book is written on the level for laymen so that part is a bonus. Itís also not really argumentative. I would have liked to have seen a little bit of that seeing as an evangelical needs to know what makes the Orthodox position distinct and that would require telling some of our differences.

    Fortunately, what we agree on is covered well in this book. The evangelicals should stand up and say amen to the news about the Trinity and the person of Christ. There could be some pause on issues of creation since the author doesnít say thereís a necessity for a literal Adam and Eve. Some also might be concerned about Louth not having a problem with evolution.

    Those positions donít trouble me, but I know they will trouble some. Itís good though that Louth is familiar with these issues and I like seeing the Orthodox having the same kinds of discussions we Protestants have. Now letís get also to some things I would like to see changed in the book.

    First, I would love for there to have been something like a glossary. There are times terms are used about Orthodox worship that I doubt many evangelicals would know and they are not explained. Louth will write about the Metropolitan and I suspect some Christians would say ďI know we have bishops and elders and deacons and presbyters. I donít remember that position in the church.Ē A glossary would have it that an evangelical reader could look back and see terms explained.

    Second, I would really like to see what Louth thinks makes the Orthodox Church distinct. I realize this would entail some criticisms of Protestantism and Catholicism, but I think thatís a good thing. We need to hear those criticisms. If we are wrong, then we can embrace a true position. If not, then we can hopefully learn to refine our own position.

    Third, some history of Orthodoxy would be nice. Now I donít mean saying ďOur church started in 33 A.D.Ē I donít know anyone in the other camps who is at all persuaded when the Orthodox say that. I donít think this needs to be extensive, but something needs to be there.

    Fourth, I would like more explaining on the doctrines we do disagree with. Why do the Orthodox hold those positions? I know the reasons, but many evangelicals might not. Why do you hold that Mary was perpetually a virgin and is the mother of God? Why do you hold that it is okay to pray to saints? Why do you think the way that you do about the Eucharist?

    Of course, this could have made the book longer than intended. In all fairness, Louth does have listed books for further reading, but I would have liked more categories and many of them more specific. What if someone wanted church history specifically, as an example?

    What I might like even more if someone was to write it, and it could be out there already, would be a dialogue book with an Orthodox and a Protestant in dialogue and it could be interesting to include a Catholic. There is some of this in Plummerís Journeys of Faith, but it could be interesting to have a book dialoguing different positions. Salvation, the eucharist, Mary and the saints, original sin, etc.

    Still, if you want to understand Orthodox theology, this is a good introduction. I encourage reading it. I also want to again point out that while I am still a devout Protestant, I am thankful for my brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church. Iíve learned a lot of wisdom from them.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters
    (And I affirm the virgin birth)

  • #2
    May I also suggest 'Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy' by Fr Andrew Stephen Damick?
    The fact that science cannot make any pronouncement about ethical principles has been misinterpreted as indicating that there are no such principles; while in fact the search for truth presupposes ethics. - Karl Popper, 1987

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    • #3
      https://www.deeperwatersapologetics.com/?p=11347

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