Archive for March, 2008

A Discussion on “orthodoxy” (little o)

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

I spent some time commenting in another Parchment & Pen entry, “An Emerging Understanding of Orthodoxy“. Michael Patton showed some interesting diagrams to illustrate both progressive revelation, and progressive understanding. The latter has to do with development of doctrine–as time has progressed, the way that Christians articulate doctrine has also changed. How do we take that? Does it mean that truth is changing? Does it mean that the earlier Christians got it wrong and we have to correct them? Eastern Orthodox deny that doctrine can develop; does it mean that we’re wrong, because we disagree with Tradition? How do we balance the need for reform and discovery with respect for those who have gone before? How do we ensure that we provide a place for Christians to ask questions in a healthy, cautious manner?

The post is good, and there’s some good discussion in the combox. Patton discusses the issue in terms of doctrine going through a process of “maturing”. In the early church we may find immature doctrine, still going through the process of significant refinement in the way it was articulated. And as time progresses, and our doctrine has “matured”, it has also stabilized–it’s not going to change significantly, even as we continue to learn and refine and mature.

I’ll try to summarize some of my contributions in a numbered list. First, a little more introduction: (more…)

A New Series on Eastern Orthodoxy

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

I want to point you all to a new series on Eastern Orthodoxy over at Parchment and Pen. (I’ve posted some comments, asking questions about his statements on the canon of Scripture.)  Dr. Bradley Nassif, who contributed to the book Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism, describes the content of the first three posts:

it is my conviction that there was and is a continuous and consistent tradition of apostolic faith passed down through the centuries, and that the Orthodox Church most faithfully embodies it – at least on a formal level. I’d like to share just two examples that illustrate how the Orthodox Church has maintained its unbroken succession with Christian antiquity, and reveal why it is particular attractive to an increasing number of Christians. Today I’ll speak of Scripture; next blog, I focus on the role of history. The third blog to come, however, will put the Orthodox Church under the microscope of an evangelical critique.

I’m looking forward to the third blog. I’ll be quite interested to see how he articulates the issues, and responds to them.

The posts so far are:
Upcoming Posts on Eastern Orthodoxy [note: this link is expired; the post disappeared] (by Michael Patton)
Why Eastern Orthodoxy? Part 1: Introduction (by Dr. Nassif)

The comment section of Dr. Nassif’s first post has the questions I asked him about the canon. (As before, I used the name Jugulum.) It’s an interesting subject–I think it’s one of the hardest for Christians to wrestle with, and it may be the most neglected subject in evangelical teaching in general. (Update: To clarify, I actually asked him some probing questions, rather than simply questions for information.  I asked him a bit about his view, how he handles the OT canon, and whether he’s be consistent in the claims he makes about the Orthodox Church and the NT canon.)

Update: Here are the rest of the posts from the series, now that it’s complete.

Why Eastern Orthodoxy? Part 2: History
Why Eastern Orthodoxy? Part 3: A Gospel Critique of Eastern Orthodoxy