From the March 2012 E-Block.
More than once in the past 10 or so years, I’ve been mistaken for being Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox. I had been told that some of my doctrinal stances matched the latter in particular, and owing to friendly challenge from a longtime Orthodox reader, I am taking a closer look at Orthodoxy and offering an evaluation.
The reader recommended several books, and the first I received was John Romanides’ An Outline of Orthodox Patristic Dogmatics(hereafter OOPD). The reader of OOPD immediately notices that it is half in Greek (on the left side), half in English (right), so that it is actually only half as long as it seems to be. However, it seems to provide a suitable basic outline of Orthodox dogma.
As it happens, the first two thirds of the book gives me some idea why I have been occasionally mistaken for an Orthodox (EO) believer. Several elements represent conclusions I have arrived at independently. Orthodox views of theosis are not conceptually far from (though not identical to) my view of the heavenly life as an experience of growth and privilege/honor (which in turn is somewhat more developed than the typical Protestant idea of sanctification) . Romanides’ explanation of the Trinity includes references to hypostatic Wisdom. Later in the book, the discussion of the “torments of hell” contain ideas in concert with my own; Romanides explains that while believers will see God as light, unbelievers will see God as fire — an explanation which, even if not as developed as my own, at least recognizes the metaphor inherent in the concepts of light and fire.
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