Many of you followers of Pastor Cooper’s work have expressed curiosity regarding Eastern Orthodoxy. While I am by no means an expert in the subject, I have had a longstanding interest in Eastern Christianity — an interest which at one time extended to serious inquiry and an interest in converting. It’s a topic which I have thought much about and written some about. With that said, I’d like to offer the following list of essays and reflections on Eastern Orthodoxy (only one of which is mine) for your perusal.
Before I compile the list, some caveats:
- I am not even attempting to be unbiased, so you needn’t point out the fact that I’m presenting a biased list. I am Lutheran. I think everyone should be Lutheran. I don’t recommend being Eastern Orthodox. If you tell me personally that you’re thinking of becoming Eastern Orthodox, I will discourage you from doing so. If you’re Eastern Orthodox and you’re thinking of leaving, I will encourage you to do so even as I lovingly attempt to poach you for the Church of the Augustana (the grandiloquent name for the Lutheran Church).
- I am not suggesting that these short pieces, which are critical and written by detractors from Orthodoxy, comprise a fitting substitute for longer, positive works written by actual Eastern Orthodox Christians. I highly recommend The Orthodox Church by Bishop Kallistos Ware.
- I am not suggesting that reading is a substitute for visiting and participating in an Eastern Orthodox liturgy. Much is made of this point by Eastern Orthodox friends of mine — almost exclusively converts, mind you — so much, in fact, that they almost suggest that you really should just convert first and ask questions later. Otherwise, it is implied, you’re just being a “rationalist.” Point is, if you’re really curious about Eastern Orthodoxy, you might also want to visit one of their services, as just reading about it will not give you as much insight as reading and visiting. (I will never forget the first Eastern Orthodox liturgy I ever visited. It was at an OCA parish that met in the top floor of an old Grange Hall; the priest’s office was a caboose that had been permanently parked outside. It was the Great Vigil on the Eve of the Theophany of Christ at the Jordan. Three hours of standing, crossing myself, getting censed, and being confused — and that last one is not me being flippant or pejorative: it was a pleasant confusion, all things considered. I was so saturated with incense by the time I left that I almost hotboxed my car on the drive home; it smelled like a Turkish bazaar for about a week.)
Those caveats being made, I offer you the following list of things to read:
- “On Temptations To Go East,” By Rev. Dr. Burnell F. Eckardt, Jr.
- “What Are You Afraid Of?” by Rev. Fr. William Weedon.
- “My Best Guess As To Why I’m Not An Eastern Orthodox Christian,” By me.
- “The Errors Of The Christian East: Justification,” By “Quiet George”.
- “Why Stay Lutheran?” By Rev. Fr. William Weedon (NB: this is a two-part video series).
“Leaving The Orthodox Church,” by Rev. Fr. Richard Rene.
- Response piece: “On Leavings,” by Owen White.
- “Is There A Patristic Consensus?” by Rev. Fr. Christopher S. Esget.
- “A Brief Response To Subdeacon Benjamin Harju (on the Role of Regeneration in the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification),” by Rev. Dr. Eric Phillips.
- “We’re Already Home: A Response to Joshua Genig,” by Rev. Fr. Christopher Neuendorf.
Some podcasts you should listen to:
- “An Issues, Etc. Interview with Rev. Dr. Kurt Marquart: Eastern Orthodoxy.”
- “Just & Sinner: An Introduction to Eastern Orthodoxy.”
- “Just & Sinner: Joshua Genig’s Conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy.”
- “Just & Sinner: Response to Subdeacon Harju on Justification.”
Questions or comments? You know what to do: bottle them up and tell no one.
Or, if you’d rather, leave them in the combox. Blessed Whitsuntide to you and yours! – TDD