"...if we be honest with ourselves,
we shall be honest with each other." ~ George MacDonald
"...if we be honest with ourselves,
we shall be honest with each other." ~ George MacDonald

Orthodox Christianity

“If nothing compelled God to create, why then did he choose to do so? In so far as such a question admits of an answer, our reply must be: God's motive in creation is his love. Rather than say that he created the universe out of nothing, we should say that he created it out of his own self, which is love. We should think, not of God the Manufacturer or God the Craftsman, but of God the Lover. Creation is an act not so much of his free will as of his free love. To love means to share, as the doctrine of the Trinity has so clearly shown us: God is not just one but one-in-three, because he is a communion of persons who share in love with one another. The circle of divine love, however, has not remained closed. God's love is, in the literal sense of the word, "ecstatic" a love that causes God to go out from himself and to create things other than himself. By voluntary choice God created the world in "ecstatic" love, so that there might be besides himself other beings to participate in the life and the love that are his.”

~ Bishop Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way

 

I have a lot of time for Orthodox Christianity.

According to the Orthodox view, salvation is union with God. Through this union, our natures are changed. We no longer live for ourselves, but for God. The person who is in union with God is governed by the the Spirit of God, who directs us to obey Jesus and to pray. The Orthodox do not have an individualistic view of salvation. Salvation is found through communion with God and the Church (i.e. salvation is found through intimacy with God and intimacy with others).

When the Orthodox say, “Lord have mercy,” it does not have a judicial meaning. They are not asking God not to punish them. They are asking God to save them from their sins (i.e. make them like Christ). It is from sin we need saving. (A prayer which is often said by Orthodox Christians is, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”)

In the Orthodox view God’s justice is not like man’s justice. God does not require a payment in order to forgive. He is always willing and able to forgive, but neither can he condone sin, which destroys sinners whom he loves. When we see how much God loves us, and what lengths God was willing to go to, to draw us to himself, his Spirit moves us to repent, and then he forgives us. We naturally respond to God’s forgiveness by doing the good works which he created us to do. Works are a result of faith. Without works, there is no faith.

Because of the symbolism in the Orthodox Church, many are quick to dismiss it. (See the video below.) That is a real shame because Protestants and Catholics can learn much from our Orthodox brothers and sisters.

The following Orthodox videos, articles, and book have made an impression on me.

A lot of people have trouble accepting that Jesus was God because they imagine that God would appear as a Zeus like figure—if he appeared to us at all. But

“Christ shows us what it is to be God, in the way he dies as a human being.” - Fr John Behr

Saving Knowledge

Three Temptations in Marriage. Part 1: Egotism

The Orthodox Way by Bishop Kallistos Ware

The following is not an Orthodox video, but if you are a Protestant, it might make you take a closer look at the Orthodox view of atonement. See here.

 

Recommended Reading for Orthodox Christians

Donal Grant by George MacDonald

The Church in Iran