Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Eastern Orthodox Church

When I was in Israel and Jordan a few weeks ago on a tour, I wound up visiting several Eastern Orthodox Churches. While the Eastern Orthodox Church doesn’t get as much scrutiny, in regards to doctrine, as the Roman Catholic Church, it is rather interesting that they seem to have similar doctrines.

Today, the Eastern Orthodox Churches are dominant in Eastern Europe in countries like the Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Greece, Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria. There are also communities of Eastern Orthodox followers in the Middle East, namely under the Syriac Orthodox Church, including Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Iran, Iraq and Lebanon. I also remember hearing that, at least in Belarus, the Eastern Orthodox Church has considerable political clout.

Here, at the Defending Contending Blog, we see a contrast & comparison between Eastern Orthodoxy & Protestantism. And, over at Apprising Ministries,a reader tells of his experience in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

And, below, Richard Bennet, a former Roman Catholic priest discusses Eastern Orthodoxy, and it's similarities to Roman Catholicism.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Quotes (#7)

"The negotiation about doctrinal agreement displeases me altogether, for this is utterly impossible unless the pope has his papacy abolished. Therefore avoid and flee those who seek the middle of the road. Think of me after I am dead and such middle-of-the-road men arise, for nothing good will come of it. There can be no compromise."-Martin Luther (HT: Apprising Ministries)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Quotes (#6)

"Dismissing the stupid opinion of their own strength they [the elect] come to realize that they stand and are upheld by God's hand alone; that naked, and empty-handed, they flee to his mercy, repose entirely in it, hide deep within it, and seize upon it alone for righteousness and merit"- John Calvin (1509-1564)

Warren Smith on "A Lover's Quarrel With the Evangelical Church"

Although I haven't read Warren Smith's book, A Lover's Quarrel With the Evangelical Church, I think based off of what I've heard him talk about, I think he makes some really good points.
Back in August of 2009, Mike Horton interviewed Smith on the "White Horse Inn," in regards to his book, which you can listen to here. In fact, Horton stated: "This is an important book for a crucial moment in our history as Christians in the United States. Besides being richly biblical in its analysis of contemporary evangelicalism, this book is written by a veteran journalist with hard-hitting and inescapable data to support his conclusions. I highly recommend this book."

This month (Jan. of 2010), Smith also gave a lecture, in a similar tone to the interview with Horton, regarding what he percieved as problems with Evangelicalism in America. And, I think he also was wise to stress that he wanted to make the emphasis not on the quarrel, but on the lover.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A.W. Pink on Christian Love

The folks over at Defending Contending had this quote, which I thought I would pass along.

"Love is the Queen of the Christian graces. It is a holy disposition given to us when we are born again by God. It is the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. True spiritual love is characterized by meekness and gentleness, yet it is vastly superior to the courtesies and kindnesses of the flesh.

We must be careful not to confuse human sentimentality, carnal pleasantries, human amiability and affability with true spiritual love. The love God commands, first to Himself and then to others, is not human love. It is not the indulgent, self-seeking love which is in us by nature. If we indulgently allow our children to grow up with little or, no Scriptural discipline, Proverbs plainly says we do not love them, regardless of the human sentimentality and affection we may feel for them. Love is not a sentimental pampering of one another with a loose indifference as to our walk and obedience before the Lord. Glossing over one another’s faults to ingratiate ourselves in their esteem is not spiritual love.

The true nature of Christian love is a righteous principle which seeks the highest good of others. It is a powerful desire to promote their welfare. The exercise of love is to be in strict conformity to the revealed will of God. We must love in the truth. Love among the brethren is far more than an agreeable society where views are the same. It is loving them for what we see of Christ in them, loving them for Christ’s sake.

The Lord Jesus Himself is our example. He was not only thoughtful, gentle, self-sacrificing and patient, but He also corrected His mother, used a whip in the Temple, Severely scolded His doubting disciples, and denounced hypocrites. True spiritual love is above all faithful to God and uncompromising towards all that is evil. We cannot declare, ‘Peace and Safety’ when in reality there is spiritual decay and ruin!

True spiritual love is very difficult to exercise because it is not our natural love. By nature we would rather love sentimentally and engender good feelings. Also many times true spiritual love is not received in love, but is hated as the Pharisees hated it. We must pray that God will fill us with His love and enable us to exercise it without dissimulation toward all." A.W. Pink: 1886-1952

The Connection Between the Emergent Church and Roman Catholic Mysticism

Now, it seems that there's an obsession with Roman Catholicism by the Emergent Church. Examples would the appealing to people like Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), John of the Cross (1542-1591), Henri Nouwen (1932-1996), and Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

A while back, Richard Bennett, a former Roman Catholic priest of the Dominican order, who served in Trinidad, gave this lecture on the Emergent fascination with Roman Catholic mysticism. He goes into detail about the definition of mysticism. I will add though, that although Bennett identifies Richard Foster as an Evangelical, Foster is actually a Quaker mystic, with Quaker theology being based off mystical, subjective experiences.

Now, apparnetly, Mr. Bennett did another lecture on the same topic, and it was updated. In this one he touches on people like Phyllis Tickle, Tony Jones and Brian McLaren. Just as an interesting note: where Bennett is speaking at, the Metropolitan Tabernacle, is where Charles Spuregon was pastor in the 19th century.