An Olive branch to the Orthodox?

Maybe.  While I criticize the weaker and more beggarly arguments against Reformed Protestantism, I fear that might mean I don’t see anything good in Orthodoxy.  I want to put that misconception to rest.

To Those Orthodox Who Fight the New World Order

My hat is off to you.   You have seen the occultic underpinnings of modern society.  You know that the Regime wants (and pursues) a war to the death with any kind of principled Christianity.  You have refused to compromise with Freemasonry and the power elites. The mainstream Orthodox do not love you, yet you truly know St Cyril of Jerusalem’s statement, “In the last days believers will fight with antichrist in the flesh.”

If some Reformed guy came up to me and said, “I think I might convert to Orthodoxy because, you know, liturgy and apostolic succession and the are ‘the only True Church (TM)’ and stuff,” well, that is not intellectually justifiable or warranted.

But if someone came up to me and said, “I’ve really wrestled with what Fr Raphael Johnson has been saying and I think he has a point…I think I might become ‘true’ Orthodox.”  Well, I will disagree with you, but as long as you know the hardship ahead of you, I can respect that.  And I can join you in our fight against Antichrist.

But now comes the dialectic.  Now comes the antithesis.  What of Orthodoxy in America today?

Will They Become Liberal Hipsterdox?

Maybe.  It will be worth watching. While I have problems with the former Metr. Jonah’s semi-Pelagianism, he was removed in areas for which he probably took biblical stands.   I hope American Orthodox can resist the Lavender Mafia.   Until two years ago, my money would have been on OCA that they could.  I am not so sure anymore.  The Greek church, while conservative in conciliar theology, is liberal in social issues.

The other side of the covertskii story

Are as many Orthodox leaving as joining?  An Orthodox priest thinks so.

It may also surprise us because Orthodox literature since the 1980s has tended to overemphasize (in some cases simply exaggerate) the movement of converts entering into American Orthodoxy.

Our growth, to be blunt, seems statistically insignificant.  That there is growth may be a good thing, but we also need to be honest about the losses.  So, if we’ve done our research, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn of losses. . . .

If we Orthodox can set aside our triumphalism for a few moments, I think we’ll find that what is happening in such cases speaks to a truth.  I also think that we have before us the elephant in the room.  People are leaving our church and are leaving in droves.  My prediction is that unless we get another large convert movement into Orthodoxy, we will find our gains in the 1980s and 1990s were simply the “one step forward” to our “two steps back.”

A Convertskii Reading List for Those Leaving

I routinely accuse convertskii of not understanding Reformed theology before they get enamored with high church claims. It is only fair that I offer a survey of texts that one should know before declaring the Reformed faith wrong.  People will say, “But that’s too intellectual.  Christianity is a life.”  Perhaps, but people will always default back to logical decisions, sneers at “Westernism” notwithstanding.  And I have read most of your top guys, so it’s only fair.  And Bradley Nassif agrees with me, so there.

I am not saying you have to read all of these before you go to a different tradition.  What I am saying is if you publicly assert that Protestantism is wrong because of ____________, and the following men have addressed your arguments, and you do not engage their arguments, then you do not have good warrant.

Muller, Richard.  Calvin and the Reformed Tradition.  The high-point of Calvin studies by the world’s leading Reformation scholar.  It will teach readers to stop saying silly things like “Calvinism” or “TULIP is Reformed theology.”

Hodge, Charles.  Systematic Theology volume 3.  If you can give competent responses to Hodge’s defense of justification by free grace, then you know Reformed theology.

Turretin, Francis. Institutes of Elenctic Theology volume 2.   Best defense of Reformed anthropology and Christ’s priestly intercession.  If you still believe in talking to dead people after Turretin, then I tip my hat to you.

Horton, Michael.  Lord and Servant: A Covenant Christology.  If you still hold to a pure Christus Victor atonement theory, or you still hold to estrangement ontology, then you’ve earned your keep.

Jenson, Robert.  Systematic Theology volume 1.  If you believe that the Essence/Energies is logically, biblically, and theologically tenable, you must address Jenson’s critique of it.

McCormack, Bruce.  Orthodox and Modern.  You don’t have to read the whole book–just pages 205, 218-222.  If you can answer McCormack, then you are warranted in believing in a God behind the Persons who are behind the Energies.

“Coming home” is bad ecclesiology

Convertskii love to say how “they came home to Mother Church.”  But we have no home on earth.  We seek the Jerusalem that is above.  Our mother is the heavenly Zion.  It is still in heaven (Revelation 21-22). Therefore, I can’t come home.

And I don’t care what denomination it is (Presbyterian, Romanist, Orthodx, Moonie), books about conversion stories are so saccharine and cloying I can’t read them.

Feurbach and Church-Hopping

Feurbarch was one of the few atheists who actually offered a penetrating and insightful critique of Christianity.   He said the Christian faith is merely one’s psychological projections onto an external reality.   Let that sink in.   Unless you presuppose some form of extra-nos kingdom announcement view of the gospel, it’s really hard to say he is wrong.   But let’s say he is.  Moving on.  This is actually the same critique I offered of modern day neo-Paganism.   The average neo-Pagan is projecting onto Old Norse a religion that has been tamed by Christianity.   You are not getting clean Swedish models and noble axe-wielding men fighting off Muslim hordes.  Odin was a sex-depraved fiend.

But back to church hopping.   Let all convertskii realize this: when you go to a Novus Ordo Mass, are you seeing Charlemagnes in the pews or some gay Jesuit priest?   When you go to a GOARCH or OCA church, are you seeing St Alexander Nevsky who massacred the Teutonic knights on “The Battle on the Ice,” or people going through the motions?  When you to, dare I say, a Reformed church, are you seeing John Knox with a sword in his hand, or Covenanters armed to the teeth ready to kill English dragoons, or do you see….well, you get the idea.

Look before you leap.