While my compatriots and I continue to gather and compile documents and information from many groups of former CRI employees across the country, I thought I would write a short piece. (I’ve included what I take to be some suitable musical accompaniment. ) Some critics no doubt think that my claims of Hank’s theological incompetence and the evidence I gave in the previous post are a matter of cherry picking. Likewise no doubt, some have wondered if the video I linked where Hank simply reads off of works by others without attribution is truly indicative of his lack of education. After all, everyone makes mistakes, right? You’re just being too hard on him, right?
There is a light bulb joke the asks “How many Orthodox monks does it take change a light-bulb?” The response is “Change??”
There is a sense among Orthodox (Catholic) Christians that there is no change in orthodoxy but what does this mean? Is there absolutely no-change in any aspect of orthodoxy? We may also ask what to we mean by orthodoxy? Is it a description of creed/dogma and practice or only creed/dogma or only practice? Then with any one of these options there is the question of what creed/dogma and what practice and the extent of creed/dogma or practice. Read the rest of this entry »
Every year for Labor Day weekend my parish has a rather large Greek festival. It is the largest in the state. Of course I help work at the festival with other parishioners. In the great wisdom of my fellow parishioners and clergy I work the book table and jointly give tours of the church. The book table is a load of fun. You never know who you are going to meet. And every year I manage to pull away a few new stories. We not only have the usual weird people that any event in a large city draws, but we have about four seminaries of various theological persuasions which makes discussions at the book table very interesting. Its like a box of chocolates.
A good amount of the books are hand picked by me and are not only of superior quality but I pretty much sell them fairly well below retail. The proceeds go the church. So if you are in the Saint Louis area this weekend and you are looking to get out of the house and perhaps learn something about Orthodoxy, come visit the Greek Festival at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.
As I noted above in Three Strange Days the Lutheran radio program, Issues, Etc. had a three day series of programs on Eastern Orthodoxy now about a month ago. Here I wish to go through the programs and address the arguments given by David Jay Webber and Todd Wilken. The programs are divided up into, Orthodoxy: Strength and Weaknesses, Orthodoxy Today, and The Pelagian Controversy.
In the first broadcast that I heard, Strength and Weaknesses there is the usual attempt to tar Orthodoxy with something very much alien to it, namely the Charismatic movement. The criticism made by Webber is that Charismatics and the Orthodox go to worship for the same thing, namely the attainment of a mystical experience rather than to be slain by the law and revived by the gospel. What constitutes “mystical” or “experience is really left undefined. Consequently it is very easy to mash these two bodies together. The term “mystical” is deployed to connote an experience that is irrational or contrary to reason and that the goal is some kind of absorption into God and a loss of one’s identity. The implication is that Orthodoxy and the Charismatics are modern Schwermers and are really peddling Buddhism in Christian garb.
For three strange days a few weeks ago (June 1-3) I listened to a Lutheran broadcast on Issues, Etc. about Eastern Orthodoxy. The person chosen for the broadcast was David Jay Webber, a Lutheran minister who has spent some time in Russian-Slav world, along with the host Todd Wilken.
Conservative Lutherans continue to blast Orthodoxy with caricature, half truths and material deployed without sufficient explanation and designed to shock the non-Orthodox, specifically into the conclusion that the Orthodox are barely Christian, if at all. Unfortunately this program was no exception. I have gone through the programs in a separate post above. Here I use some space to give some advice to all of the Lutheran critics.
Often in discussions of the Filioque clause, it is pointed out by Catholics that Rome does not require Eastern Catholics to recite the clause. From this it is either argued directly or implied that Rome takes a more tolerant and somewhat charitable position in contradistinction to the Orthodox who do not permit its recitation at all. (Adrian Fortescue exemplifies this in his Rome and Constantinople, 23)
But this is not in fact the case. Rome has directly imposed the recitation of the Filioque on Eastern Catholics and attempted to do so with the Orthodox and the Orientals on a good number of occasions.
Pope Nicholas III for example imposed the recitation of the Filioque as did Martin IV and Nicholas IV. Eugenius IV imposed the Filioque on Armenians when they were received by Rome. When Callistus III sent Simon, O.P. to Crete as an Inquisitor he bid him to make sure that the Greeks recited the Filioque. Even Eastern churches in traditionally Latin geographical locations have been required to employ the Filioque. (See Allatae Sunt, sec. 30-31)
“The Eastern Church was held by the fathers of the English Reformation in respectful veneration. The Book of Common Prayer bears traces of the influence of Eastern liturgies. The Thirty-Nine Articles, while unhesitatingly affirming that the Churches of Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch and Rome have erred, expressly omitted any such allusion to the Church of Constantinople. The Apology of the Church of England constantly refers to Eastern practice and doctrine, in refutation of the assertions of the Bishop of Rome that is the head of the Church or that he and the clergy and laity under his rule alone form the Holy Catholic Church, or that communion with the See of Rome is essential to the unity of the church.