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Moving from West to East? | Mike Horton on Office Hours

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In recent decades a large number of evangelicals (and some Reformed folk) have left the evangelical faith for some version of Eastern Orthodoxy. Recently the CBS news program "60 Minutes" claimed that the Eastern Orthodox church is only unbroken tradition in Christianity. In the latest episode, Office Hours asks Mike to tackle these questions and more.

[audio:http://wscal.edu/media/audio/OH_01.25.12_Horton.mp3|titles=Horton on Office Hours|artists=Office Hours]


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  • Guest - cynthia curran

    Well, most folks that have read the secret history of procopius don't convert to eastern orthodoxy since Justinian is a saint in the Orthodox Church and one becomes aware of his shortcomings by reading the secret history. justinian and the other byzantine emperors may be a litle hastern not a perfection christian but I still admire justinian law against child prostution and passing the code and the hagia sophia. Also, a lot of eastern orthodox because of the crusades and the ottoman turks tend to be anti-western and anti-us and pro-greece and pro-russian-cultural difference. The religion of the byzantine empire is interesting but doesn't make me want to become orthodox. While both Justinian and Theodora are saints in the eastern orthodox only Theodora is a saint in the oriential churches like the Jacobites since she helped him against her husband Justinian. Justinian exiled the monophysites because of the pope in the west, even if he was rough on the pope vigilius who didn't agree with him to comdem the three chapters.

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  • Guest - cynthia curran

    Jacob Baradaeus founded the jacobite church of syria and india was helped by the epress Theodora..

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  • Guest - cynthia curran

    Really, Justinian had a large impact on Eastern Orthodoxy. Mary was venerate more in the east than the west in fact pope Agapetus mention that in Italy, Mary was not honored as much. Justinian and later Justin first stressed Mary being venerated. Justinian in spite of how some modern eastern orthodox views on Augustine according to classical scholar Brain Croke quoted Augustine in letters written to Pope Hormisdas from on Faith and the Trinity. A lot of modern Orthodox feel Augustine very wrong on sin and not a saint. Justinian did a lot of canon law that still influences both Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic canon law. Justinian built the largest church in the world until Serville in Spain, and it was the imperial church until the Ottoman conquest in 1453. In fact many Orthodox actually want to make it a church again. Justinian is maybe responsible for the Hymn O Begotten Son in the Orthodox Communion Service. Justinian in his lifetime was view as a Saint or a Demon- Procopius, Evagrius Scholorlastus. One reason why Justinian did not become an official saint of the Eastern Orthodox until about 700, he died in 565. Granted, official saint in Eastern Orthodoxy different than Roman Catholicism. Usually a person is a saint if many people venerate them in EO or OO. Most Evangelical converts know little of Justinian with the exception of Father Justin who is the only non-Greek at St Catherines in Egypt. Father Justin is great on anicent and medieval history and converted to the Eastern Faith having already know what Byzantine emperors did to get political power.

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  • Guest - cynthia curran

    I mean Justin the second.

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  • Guest - cynthia curran

    Justinian I mean quoted Augustine in his letters. Brian Croke is a classical scholor.

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  • Guest - Kristofer Carlson

    There are serious problems with Michael Horton's characterization of Eastern Orthodoxy. He fails to understand conciliarity, and the manner in which a council becomes authoritative. He confuses regional councils and ecumenical councils; he assumes that a council is ecumenical simply because it has spoken on an issue, when what happens is that council becomes ecumenical when it has been accepted by the church, and when it has been ratified by a later council. The ecumenical patriarch whose confession was somewhat akin to Calvinism and foreign to the spirit of Orthodoxy was deposed. As was Nestorius, by the way.

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  • Guest - Michael Horton

    Kristofer, I didn't suggest that the Reformed position embraced by Patriarch Lucaris was adopted by any ecumenical council. It was his own view, which he attempted to incorporate as a faithful interpretation of Orthodoxy. His efforts in this regard were repudiated after his assassination.


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  • Michael,

    Your point about "looking for the pristine church" as a motivation couldn't be more spot on.

    Back in the seventies and early eighties in so. Cal. we were with a Christian church movement that was all about getting back to the original practice (which we understood to be pure) of the first century church. It was a kind of "if, then" thing. If we could get back to (recover) that original practice, then we, the church, could know Christ as he was meant to be known. Some eventually went to the Orthodox tradition. At least two of us (my wife and I) found the Reformed tradition. ;)

    It was really all about regaining/attaining a pure experience of the church as the foundation of faith and practice. The gospel of justification was relegated to that of a dusty doctrine on a theological shelf.

    Great interview, guys...

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  • Guest - Joshua S.

    Great interview! I'm one of the young Reformed men who was looking at Orthodoxy, and Mr. Horton is right: there's a real allure, mainly its appeal to antiquity and getting away from North American evangelical faddishness. Here's how close I was: I almost left my Reformed brothers. I almost abandoned the TULIP. I was patient and became more grounded in the Reformed faith, so I didn't convert, but some of us did.

    There need to be more books/articles/podcasts on this. I see there's not much information coming from the Reformed camp on how to deal with Orthodoxy, a real challenge that needs to be addressed. While we're busy refuting Catholics and Arminians (whom we've already refuted), no one is actively discussing Orthodoxy!

    Search for "Eastern Orthodoxy" on Reformed blogs--Challies, PyroManiacs and the like--you won't find but one or two things vaguely related to it. Search "Catholic," and the list is endless. Why is that?

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  • Guest - gospelfororthodox.org

    Dear Joshua S.

    Eastern Orthodoxy is a massive unreached people group that many of us in the West have all but ignored. Your question as to the reason for the neglect is important and one that deserves greater attention.

    Orthodoxy is a religion of condemnation that is very strategically designed to keep people from understanding the truths of the gospel. The Word of God is non-existent and those who do come in contact with the gospel from outside the church are so deceived by traditions they are taught that they see the gospel as foreign and offensive.

    There is a great need for actively engaging EO, many of us who have friends and family who belong to EO are familiar first-hand with the devastation that it brings. The concerns you mentioned are the cry of our heart and we have recently started gospelfororthodox.org. Please visit the website to continue the discussion.

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