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Theology Last Updated: Feb 8th, 2011 - 05:50:02

Dear Readers,
We are happy to announce plans for a new design for our website Orthodoxy and the World. We will be diverting all our efforts to introduce our new design March 1st, and so will be unable to make new posts at this time. We have many new translations lined up that we hope you will like, so there is much work ahead! Keep us in your prayers, and continue to support our efforts at Orthodoxy and the World.

Christ in the Old Testament
Yet while many Christians are happy to proclaim this doctrine in Sunday worship or in their daily prayers without any serious consideration for its implications, just as many are surprised by the suggestion that the Word (the Pre-incarnate Christ) was not only there (somewhere in the background) from the beginning, but that He actually appeared and spoke to the prophets – that He in fact was from the beginning the one Who reveals and declares the Father.

Jan 29, 2011, 10:00

Gender Roles in a Biblical Perspective for the Orthodox Christians in the American Context
I have hit the highlights of what the Bible says about gender roles, but certainly not all the places. I understand that God has ordained gender roles of leader and follower from creation. Men are to be leaders. Women are to be followers. A man is to take responsibility and a woman is to help because of his deficiencies. They are a team of separate, but necessary parts. They dance together. They are like two wings on an airplane. Not the same, but corresponding. Which is more important?

Jan 12, 2011, 10:00

Theological Education in Scripture and The Fathers
If theology means all this, we may well ask: Is it a suitable subject to be studied in universities and academies? Can we legitimately set examinations in theology, awarding to our students theological degrees and diplomas, assigning passes and distinction, "firsts", "seconds", and "thirds"?

Nov 3, 2010, 10:00

The Theology of Christian Marriage
There was a saying that was common a few years back that illustrates this: “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle”. This rejects the idea of “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh”. Denying the complementarity, however, is like saying that having two left feet is the same as having a left foot and a right foot.

Oct 22, 2010, 10:00

A. I. Sidorov on Theology and Patristics
I think in general that the notion of theologian is a great title. It is no accident that in our Church it has been conferred to all of three saints. For me the true theologians are men of prayer, ascetics, elders, true monks. For they are not only the ideals of holiness, but also the exponents of authentic theology.

Oct 16, 2010, 10:00

Templeton Prize winner Fr. Ayala: Christianity and evolution - not incompatible?
Evolution and religious beliefs need not be in contradiction. Indeed, if science and religion are properly understood, they cannot be in contradiction because they concern different matters. Science and religion are like two different windows for looking at the world.

Sep 2, 2010, 11:37

Academic Theology: Swimming with Your Clothes on
In modern times we have become too ready to pronounce ourselves theologians by being informed rather than by being formed by the prayer of the Church and the practice of the spiritual life. Most Orthodox know that one does not become a theologian by merely memorizing Bible verses. Yet we often unconsciously adopt a similar Protestant approach toward theology, disguised by our acceptance of certain doctrines, of Church history, and of a liturgical “style” of worship.

Jul 13, 2010, 10:00

Adam, Where Are You?
Reflections on Adam, Christ, and Us

“Adam, where are you: in our historical past? Are you in the same plane of history as Winston Churchill, Leonardo DaVinci, and Plato?” On what basis may we approach this question? To whom may we pose it? Can we look to the Fathers to answer it? Were they even concerned with “historicity” as we are in our post-Darwin era?

Feb 25, 2010, 10:00

The Science of Sciences
In Western Christendom, unfortunately, theology came to be just this - the knowledge about God. Unlike the Christian East, theology became something scholastic, something appropriated to academicians who conversed with each other over philosophical abstractions. Even today, the discipline of theology in most American seminaries, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, remains, for the most part, thoroughly scholastic.

Jan 13, 2010, 10:00

God does not Explain Things; Things Explain God
So, difficult though it may be for all of us in varying degrees to accept, God does not explain anything at all. We do not believe in God to satisfy our ignorance about the world; in short to give us a nice and comforting alternative to science with its seemingly Godless explanations and “theories.” If we are thinking like that we do not truly believe in God nor do we receive the world as it truly is. We need to start the other way round. God does not explain things, things explain God.

Dec 22, 2009, 10:00

Virtual Reality and Virtual Irreality
On Noh-Plays and Icons (Part II)

First it must be said that in Eastern art the virtual is not destructive or negative for human culture, but that any search for a virtual quantity able to transcend purely realistic interpretations of the world, is conceived as a fundamental need for human culture. Already in this sense, the virtual element sought by eastern art is designed in a way entirely different from Virtual Reality flowing out of electronic communication. I will explain this through a more detailed comparison of Noh, icons and Virtual Reality.

Dec 17, 2009, 10:00

Virtual Reality and Virtual Irreality
On Noh-Plays and Icons (Part 1)

The creation of Virtual Reality or cyberspace is not a matter of creating an artificial space in the same way in which one would create an imaginary universe. The creation of Virtual Reality aims at manipulating ontology. Virtual Reality is not just a second imagined reality, but exists as a world of its own, obeying its own ontological laws.

Dec 15, 2009, 10:00

Economy and Canon Law
As Christians, we must respect the fact that not all of our fellow human beings are inclined toward the Christian life. The challenge, for us, is to respect and even love those who have different spiritual and social ideals. For it is only through love that God's grace abounds. The first step in this liberal endeavor is to avoid using secular politics as a means of achieving ecclesiastical ends.

Oct 17, 2009, 10:00

Faith Alone and Faith and Works in the Scriptures
An Orthodox Christian Approach

So, if James 2:24 is the only place in the New Testament where the phrase "faith alone" is actually used and it has the opposite meaning than what is normally given it by, for example, many Protestant, evangelical and nondenominational Christians, where did their understanding of the phrase initially come from and who made it into a slogan? The answer: Martin Luther, the 16th century Reformer.

Jul 15, 2009, 10:00

About Communion
All too often, the modern ecumenical rhetoric seeks to minimize our differences by saying that they are only “skin-deep,” or that we are all climbing toward the same mountain top, albeit from a different direction. Such an approach is not only counterproductive, as the differences will not get resolved if we simply choose to ignore their existence (much like a fallen tree across the path will not disappear just by being ignored), but this approach also goes against the foundational experience of the Church.

May 1, 2009, 10:00

The Impact of Orthodox Theology
This vision of doxological theology is at odds with the standard fourfold division of seminary education in the West, which keeps "Bible," "church history," "theology" and "practical ministry" cordoned off from one another. For the Orthodox, theology is simply commentary upon the saints’ commentary on scripture for the sake of the church’s worship. As the fourth-century Orthodox monastic writer Evagrius of Pontus says, "A theologian is one who prays, and one who prays is a theologian."

Feb 26, 2009, 10:00

Gender as Prophecy and Revelation
It cannot be that God created male and female simply in order to complicate our lives, visit us with consuming passions or distract us from contemplating paradise. Rather the mystery of human gender must bear in itself some prophecy concerning the meaning of our lives, some revelation of the relationship between God and man, and the nature of our redemption.

Feb 16, 2009, 10:00

Contemporary Orthodoxy is the Field of Grace's Action
It has been stated some decades ago that the ecclesiology would be in the focus of the theological thought for many years ahead. This prediction appears to be true. The issues discussed below are derivations from the ecclesiological problematic. At the same time, they are not theological abstractions, but the real problems which the Orthodox Churches worldwide live and contend with in accomplishing their mission. I see my primarily task here to identify those problems.

Feb 5, 2009, 10:00

Freedom of Thought in the Orthodox Church
I do not wish to consider the actual question of my own particular case. I will only try to explain to you the general principles of freedom in the Orthodox Church. Can freedom of thought exist in a Church which has obligatory formulae? Is there not a contradiction between free seeking for truth and the revealed dogma dispensed by the Church? I am convinced that no such contradiction exists.

Dec 22, 2008, 10:00

Economy in the Tradition of the Orthodox Church
There is no doubt that there exists in our days a certain interest concerning the idea of “economy” beyond the circle of specialists of canon law, more so in the Orient than the Occident. This notion is sometimes considered as essential for the comprehension of the praxis of the Orthodox Church. However, it appears that interpretations are imposed concerning the nature of Economy itself, and further, it’s field of application.

Nov 3, 2008, 10:00

An Introduction to the Orthodox Christian. Understanding of Free Will
What is human free will? Is it the ability to choose between good and evil? or is human freedom limited to a choice between things, e.g., choosing between a cup of coffee and a cup of tea? Do human beings in fact have any freedom at all? When we ask these questions, we have nothing political in mind. We do not ask here about human or civil rights --- which can be given or taken away by the state --- but the greater question about the - faculties of human nature.

Aug 1, 2008, 10:04

The Triumph of the Icons: History, Theology, and Implications for Orthodox Worship Today
The only way for Christ to save the world and restore it was to be born in it and to sanctify matter, by becoming matter Himself. Indeed, the Incarnation of the Son of God then not only made the veneration of icons possible within Orthodox Christianity but a downright necessity. St. Theodore the Studite wryly states that if only mental worship was sufficient, then God would not have become human and endured the Cross. He could just as easily have communicated with humans mentally.

Mar 20, 2008, 10:04

Biblical Theology and the Sacrament of Penance
The doctrine of Repentance is represented in different books of the Old and New Testament. There it is set out with different degrees of fullness depending on historical conditions as well as on the sacred authors’ purposes and objectives. Philologically it is not restricted to any one term; and while the biblical teaching about salvation was evolving, repentance terminology was also acquiring fullness and accuracy in meaning

Nov 16, 2007, 04:45

The Greek term mysterion, on the other hand, has a meaning that is richer and more profound. The word occurs about thirty times in the New Testament, and nowhere there does it signify a liturgical rite. Equally, in the New Testament ‘mystery’ does not mean, as it tends to do in modern usage, simply an unsolved puzzle, a conundrum or enigma.

Nov 14, 2007, 03:15

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