Wednesday, 4 June 2008


Well, this was going to be an interesting slant on an interesting blog I stumbled upon the other week. A Calvinist pastor (former army chaplain) who has recently converted to Orthodoxy (was it Greek, Russian, Estonian, Bulgarian, Rumanian, Ukrainian... or is that a cheeky question!?) has made a couple of blogs that are delightfully meandering and yet quite astute in their criticisms of Protestantism.

But now I can't find the blog!

Never one to be deterred by trifling considerations, and since I can remember some of what he said, here goes...

One of his major criticisms of Protestants relates to the ecclesiological mess, and to our rejection (ed. through fear?) of tradition. Some fair points there, but what is interesting is that he has his golden age. The church fathers are the golden age - and 'they' are apparently preserved in the Orthodox faith of today. Whatever one might want to say about the fathers, there seems to be some historical blindness, and some contemporary blindness there. Has he not spotted the differences between the national orthodox churches? [Here's an unfortunate example of Orthodox 'unity' today. Forgive me for pointing out this speck in my brother's eye, but I simply speak as a Protestant who is slightly annoyed by the attempt by the Orthodox to claim the unity high ground and the continuity high ground without looking at their own glass house...]

And whose unity is he on about – a few clergy and monks are ‘united’, but what of the laity!? And who are the laity anyway. Isn't it all of us?

Thinking of the golden age, of course, Protestants have one, too - it's just a lot shorter. Finished somewhere around AD100, I think!

So, there's innovation and acculturation, and often appropriately so. As Andrew Walls perceptively points out, that's how the Christian faith started, and ever since then it has to cope with the tension of forces that pull in new directions while other forces are all about imposing your circumcision on someone new.