When the (mostly Greek-speaking) Orthodox were separated from the Roman churches (who used Latin in their theology and liturgy), it was the conclusion of a long process. John’s family reacted harshly. The Orthodox churches can be a visible example to the RC Church to return it older ways. John nods in agreement. In pre-modern societies, a person’s identity was forged almost entirely in relation to his or her tribe. Copyright © 2021 The Gospel Coalition, INC. All Rights Reserved. Shortly thereafter, he rejected the Orthodox doctrine of infant baptism. In a startling find, statistics disclose over 60% of Greek Orthodox families of the last generation and 90% of Americans with Greek roots are no longer in communion with the Church. It is clear that he sees his youth as a wasted part of his life, and he is upset that the priest never taught him the truth about God. “That’s all I knew anyway.” He acknowledges that Orthodox doctrine might contradict Orthodox practice in some places, but for John, it’s in practice that one shows what is truly believed. The suggestion came after he and I discussed another friend of his who was also raised in the Church of Christ who has become interested in Orthodoxy. Because Orthodoxy does not see ancestral sin as an inheritance of guilt or a stain, there is no reason for the miraculous removal of either. I thank John for his time, and then ask him to sum up the biggest difference between Orthodox Christians and Baptists. John smiles and begins to get visibly excited. As a priest, I am always concerned about why people leave the Orthodox Faith. Nonetheless, Orthodox tradition does hold that the Theotokos remained free of personal sin, a belief shared with some reformers such as Martin Luther. His response comes quickly. I realized that the Orthodox church was a societal organization that had taught me nothing.” So John decided to “follow Jesus” and turn away from his sinful past. In pre-modern societies, a person’s identity was forged almost entirely in relation to his or her tribe. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods. His wife thought he had gone crazy. 5 Ways Eastern Orthodox Differs From Other Christian Denominations 5 Ways Eastern Orthodox Differs From Other Christian Denominations Eastern Orthodox Christianity predates Protestantism by about 500 years. THE EASTERN ORTHODOX SCHISM: Why the Schismatic Orthodox Churches Are Not Truly Orthodox. Most Orthodox reject the dogma of the Immaculate Conception as unnecessary and wrong. The Eastern Orthodox route is a dead end for these reasons: the Roman primacy is instituted by God and is the safeguard for humility, while the Orthodox are hopelessly divided and afflicted with a pathology against charity. I had been born again,” he says. Yesterday, I interviewed a former Southern Baptist who has converted to Eastern Orthodoxy. Besides my parish running me under the bus with regard to compensation, not to mention the lack of support from my bishop, I left Orthodoxy because ultimately it is a front for ethnic interests, mostly whom have come to the West to capitalize on our wealth and our hunger for something beautiful, traditional, and exotic. In his early twenties, John became active in the Communist party in Romania. “What about pious Orthodox Christians? The Orthodox priest was one of the most important people in the village in which John grew up. “I stopped getting drunk, stopped smoking, stopped cursing. His story begins in the buckle of the Bible belt. “Religiosity does not mean salvation,” he replies. “How sure are you that you made the right decision?” I ask. The Orthodox Church feeds on tradition, not on Scripture. if there are only a few who are truly faithful, … The Rev. Today I am interviewing a former Eastern Orthodox believer who has become Baptist. This is understandable since we've existed in a binary relationship with the Catholic tradition for over 500 years. Roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in the territory of the former Soviet Union, most of those living in Russia. He was born into a family of Orthodox Christians, in a society where church and state often mix in unhealthy ways. John Matusiak 2. The Gospel Coalition supports the church by providing resources that are trusted and timely, winsome and wise, and centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ. St. Augustine & Original Sin- a typical Orthodox perspective, by Fr. Recently I was asked by my godfather and good friend, Nathan Lewis, to explain why I left the Church of Christ for the “Eastern” Orthodox Church, hence the title of this article. The Communist party began to put pressure on him to give up his newfound faith and continue to be involved in their atheistic agenda. An Anthropology of Embodiment, Happy New Year: “All Glory Be to Christ!”. As he delved into Paul’s epistles, primarily to the Romans and Ephesians, John came to understand salvation as a gift from God through faith alone, not through good deeds. It is a reflection of the human condition. If I became Orthodox, I would have to accept more Catholic things than I at first thought: purgatory, for example. Scripture teaches that the one who believes is the one who should be baptized.”, John’s view of salvation changed dramatically as well. “Do you seek to convert your Orthodox family and friends?” I ask, already somewhat expectant of what his answer will be. 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