Orthodox Pastoral Care and Psychotherapy
If there is any subject bound to divide members within the Orthodox Church today, it is the relationship between Orthodoxy and psychotherapy. Indeed, a line could be drawn down the middle of any Church nave with members on each side intent on coming to blows. One side is bound to consist of ROCOR1 priests and laity, enthusiastic converts, and the boomer faithful; on the other stand dual vocation priest-therapists, intellectuals, and younger, seasoned faithful. Each
Round Table: Do Animals Have Souls?
In Genesis 1, God creates the animals of the sea and sky on the fifth day and subsequently creates land animals on the sixth. On this same day God also forms a certain kind of land animal in God’s own image and likeness—humankind (Gen 1:26-27). As with the animals of land, sea, and sky, humans are told to “be fruitful and multiply,” but then receive a unique set of instructions from God: “Fill the earth
Round Table: The Knowability of God
The Scriptures are somewhat ambiguous about how fully God can be known by human beings. On the one hand, the Son has revealed God to be our Father and has pioneered the path of faith—offering unprecedented access through grace. Jesus teaches that the pure in heart “will see God” (Matt 5:8). Likewise in the first Johannine epistle: “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do
Anastasis: A Graphic Novel about Christ’s Descent into Hades (Review)
In a world where Christian media is often a sad parody of the secular standard, Anastasis stands out as an exemplary work of theological and artistic import. The short 54-page graphic novel, written and designed by Creative Orthodox, is centered around Christ’s descent into hades. Even though the theme is theologically rich in content, the way it is written makes the topic both approachable and engaging for an audience of all ages. Of particular note
Round Table: Suffering
“Why does God permit human beings to suffer and die?” There is no simple or easy answer to this question. Perhaps the best response is to pray, with Jesus Christ: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42). Our Lord experienced the groaning of creation (Rom 8:22). He shed immortality and impassibility to take the form of a servant (Phil 2:7), to identify
Do You Have to Be Anti-Western to Be Eastern Orthodox?
TJ Humphrey’s latest article, Why I Didn’t Convert to Eastern Orthodoxy, is making the rounds on the internet as voices on social media and elsewhere join in to echo his main critique. The enthusiasm with which this article was received is indicative of a failure on our part as Eastern Orthodox Christians in general and a failure of Eastern Orthodox Christian converts in particular. What this calls for is not a defense of Holy Orthodoxy
The Eastern Orthodox Church and Evangelism
The Eastern Orthodox Church is often criticized for its “lack of emphasis” on evangelism; the Orthodox Church just does not care about “The Great Commission” or spreading the “Gospel” to the world—or so the argument goes. In my experience, the major proponents of this criticism are often low-church evangelicals who define evangelism according to a specifically narrow rubric. Within such communities, buzzwords like “The Great Commission,” “Gospel,” and “Evangelism”—and more recently “building the Kingdom”—are thrown
Round Table: Christian Self-Defense and Lethal Force
Gun violence and lethal force have been hot topics on the evening news and the subject of debate in the social and political spheres for quite some time. Because of this, people are often categorized in one of two camps: those who are for and those who are against lethal weaponry. Instead of jumping into a heated political debate, we here at Conciliar Post asked our authors how they believe Christians should understand lethal force in self-defense.
A Conversation on the Saving Work of Jesus
We asked two of our Editors—Ben Cabe and Ben Winter—to hold a discussion about an important theological question: How does your tradition view the saving work of Jesus? What follows are their replies, as well as responses to each other’s position. Ben Cabe Soteriology is inextricably connected to Christology. That is, what salvation is, how one “attains it,” and what it effects in the human person, cannot be understood without a proper understanding of who
Christmas Traditions | Round Table
Christmas is a wonderful time of year, filled with family, food, and festivities. While almost all Christians agree that Christmas is an especially important time of year for the commemoration of Jesus’ birth, not all Christians concur on how to best celebrate the nativity of the Lord. This month’s Round Table reflects on how different traditions celebrate Christmas. As you read this Round Table, we encourage you to reflect not only on what you do
Round Table: After Death
Living in a fallen world such as we do, death unfortunately remains a fact of life. We have all experienced the loss of loved ones, all struggled with the spectre of death. But what happens when people die? Do they go to heaven? Hell? Purgatory? Limbo? Furthermore, do all dogs really go to heaven, or is that merely the childhood fantasy relegated to the dumpster of bad theology? This month’s Round Table discussion reflects on
Round Table: Martin Luther
498 years ago tomorrow, a young Augustinian monk who taught at the University of Wittenberg nailed ninety-five theses on “The Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Though seemingly innocuous as the time, this event has since been hailed as the start of the Protestant Reformation, a theological shake up in the Western Church that has changed the face of Christianity and Western civilization. In response to the
Round Table: What Is Christianity?
What is Christianity? That seems to be a simple question. At least until you sit down and have to precisely and concisely answer it. Is Christianity a religion? A relationship? A worldview? A movement? An institution? A set of doctrinal beliefs? A series of philosophical arguments? All of these? None of these? Some of these? This month, Conciliar Post has collected no fewer than fourteen answers to this important question of definitions. Ranging across a
Is Protestantism a Heresy?
Is Protestantism a heresy? This question has recently been asked of me by a number of sincere Protestants. Well-meaning as they are, their questions have put me in a dangerous position. On the one hand, I could answer as I have addressed similar, though less pointed, questions by hearkening to my ignorance and the mercy of our gracious God. On the other, such an answer may lead those I love, among whom I count you
What Does the SCOTUS Ruling Mean for Traditional Christian Marriage?
Today the Supreme Court announced its ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. The question concerning the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide has been settled, but it leaves us with more questions than answers. Other countries that have legalized same-sex marriage have run into this same problem. In a consultation document concerning the legalization of same-sex marriage, the British government realized that if they redefine marriage they would also have to redefine consummation: a marriage of
Round Table: Eschatology
Human beings have long been interested in discerning what the future holds. Throughout recorded human history, people have sought to understand “the End” and what that event entails. Some worldviews adopt an attitude of pessimism regarding the end of the things, theorizing the utter destruction of planet earth by nature or humanity. Other perspectives take a more positive approach, trusting that the ills of the world will be remedied before life ceases on planet earth.
Traveling This Road Together (A Thank You)
Yesterday marked one year since the launch of Conciliar Post. A number of changes have been made to the site since last June, among them, a site redesign in December, as well as the additions of a Christian Traditions page and free audiobooks of the Writings of the Church Fathers. The up-and-coming year is sure to be as exciting as the last, with new additions, greater functionality, and exciting resources. But beyond expanding the website’s functionality, increasing
Round Table: Baptism
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20) Since Jesus’ delivery of this Great
Round Table: Resurrection
This week, Western Christians celebrate Holy Week, the last days of Jesus Christ on earth before his crucifixion at the hands of Pontius Pilate, torturous suffering on a cross, and death. Of course, the story of Christ does not end there, but continues on Sunday with Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. This act—the defeat of death—became the launching point of the Christian faith, the linchpin of the Gospel: God has come to earth and he
Why We Call Mary the Mother of God
The title “Mother of God” is given to Mary in both the Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Catholic) Churches. Used by early Christian writers such as Origen, Athanasius, and Augustine, the title seems to have been well established and widely accepted prior to its formal proclamation in the 5th century. This title is important. “Mother of God” carries with it the full weight of Jesus Christ’s deity.