XVI, No. We now feel it necessary to say something about another book by His Grace which has become, in many ways, a companion volume to the aforementioned book; viz. Vladimirs Press, , written while he was still an Archimandrite. Like its predecessor, it is a veritable curates egg. In our review of The Orthodox Church, we noted that "as the standard introduction to Orthodoxy, it is to be found in almost any academic or public library and certainly in any decent bookstore.

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A few years back, however, I had a few realizations that changed the form of my ecumenism. The first was the realization that sola scriptura, when seen in the ahistorical way many modern Evangelicals view it, is an untenable position. Second, I realized that the sort of ecumenism I had developed bordered dangerously on consumerism. I put on liturgy, you put on anabaptism and none of it matters substantially.

I truly believe that ecumenism is good, but when it reduces to matters of taste, it becomes dangerously individualistic. These two realizations led me to the third. If I am to be a serious ecumenist, and not merely one who considers the diversity of the church merely a matter of fashion, then I need to take seriously the identity and claims of the branches of the Church. Moreover, since I no could no longer hold to simplistic sola scriptura, I could no longer dismiss out of hand the claims of those branches of Christianity, namely the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, that depended upon the authority of tradition.

At the same time, I was also reading much Medieval Philosophy, and beginning to see the coherence of some of the views of Roman Catholicism. I had always thought that Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox believers could very well be real Christians, just as easily as any Protestant could. However, this had always amounted to thinking they could in virtue of the fact that the core of what they believed matched what I believed. It was, in other words, a kind of patronizing ecumenism.

They got in because, despite all their weird additions, they were in essence like me. Yet, both these churches claim for themselves the identity of being the one true holy, catholic and apostolic Church. The rest of us might be Christians, but we are so in virtue of being, as it were, accidental members of their faith. So, on and off for the last couple of years I have been giving Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy a serious look. This has not, necessarily, been with an eye towards converting, and I highly doubt I will.

On the one hand, there is something about the two churches I find highly aesthetically compelling. At times I feel like Protestantism looks like a sketch of Christianity, while Roman Catholicism looks like a detailed Renaissance painting and Eastern Orthodoxy like one of its Ikons, with all the colour and symbolism it brings.

Still, in the end I want to seek Jesus where he may be found, and I at times I think there is something of Him in the Old High Churches that we have lost, so I continue to look at them and learn from them, and only God knows what will happen. Researching Roman Catholicism has been relatively easy. They have many books that easily layout their views and apologetics, including their very detailed catechism. Searching this East, however, has proved more challenging.

I have long desired to find a kind of Mere Christianity of Eastern Orthodoxy, and had so far come up empty. I was, thus, understandably excited to see The Orthodox Way in the list of extra readings for one of my classes, and quickly picked it up. I am extremely happy with the book. It is beautifully written and clearly exposits the Eastern faith not merely propositionally, but as a living faith. I have not been so wholly captivated by a work of theology since I read N.

As I said in my long preamble, I do not expect that I will ever go over to the East, but I am deeply grateful for this book, and it certainly gives me food for thought. If you are a Christian of any stripe, but especially one with questions about our brothers and sisters in the East, I heartily recommend a look at this book. There is much more I could say about this book, and I may indeed write more posts on it in the future weeks reflecting on what I have read within its pages.

For now though, I simply want to leave you with a glowing recommendation. The peace of the Lord be always with you.


The Orthodox Way



Kallistos Ware






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