Church, Culture, and Incarnation link

There’s an ongoing conversation in which I find myself involved. It’s ongoing because my Orthodox friends find my opinion so outrageous, they remain busy trying to change my mind. My error is I’m not convinced that Christians who are not Orthodox should necessarily convert to the Orthodox Church. Because my argument against Orthodoxy is multifaceted, my detractors tend to latch on to a single idea rather than considering it as a whole. And this is not necessarily their fault. In the heat of discussion, it’s difficult to present a complete argument rather than getting bogged down in the details.

On the other hand, some non-Orthodox who have asked me to help sort out their doubts about Orthodoxy understand the main thrust of my argument immediately. It frames their doubts in a manner that explain several things which individually seem trifling but taken as a whole are unsettling.

The core of my argument is that both the Eastern Church (that is, Orthodoxy) and the Western Church have abandoned the incarnation, but in very different ways. As a result, “the true church” (as we Orthodox like to think of ourselves) has run off the rails because it has messed with the core principle of “God with us” (that is, incarnation) and that profoundly affects “us with God” (that is, salvation).

There is a question I don’t address in this essay. History would strongly indicate the flaw is fatal within Protestantism. The Protestant communions will stagger and stumble to an eventual oblivion because of their abandonment of the core of Christianity. I don’t think the flaw is fatal within Orthodoxy and it will likely recover its theological center. But, the problem is that at the moment it steadfastly refuses to repent of her sin. In spite of the fatal flaw within Protestantism, is becoming a part of an unrepentant church a real solution? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. As is often the case with persistent and flagrant sin, there are no easy answers to this dilemma.

This is a long essay, entitled “Church, Culture, and Incarnation,” and will probably not interest a lot of people. I’ve therefore limited the blog post to this introduction with links to the essay. It can be found in two formats.

The HTML (web page) format, found at http://justanotherjim.com/ortho3/church-culture-incarnation.php, is over at my old, archived web site and therefore has the appearance of the old JAJ, roosters and all.

I’ve also provided a PDF file at http://justanotherjim.com/ortho3/church-culture-incarnation.pdf. I know some of my readers don’t like reading longer essays on the computer screen. The six page PDF is in standard page format and is printable.

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2 thoughts on “Church, Culture, and Incarnation link

  1. Very honest, perceptive and accurate analysis of the current state of Orthodoxy. The dichotomy between the Orthodoxy I hold to, and the reality of what is happening in my local church, is staggering. I can never be anything but Orthodox, even Greek Orthodox, just as I cannot leave the family I was born into, no matter how dysfunctional it gets. It’s not because I can’t really let go and follow Jesus, but rather, it’s because I have let go and want to follow Jesus. Like the demoniac of Gadara whose legion of tormentors were sent by Christ into a herd of two hundred swine, after He freed me I wanted to just pick up and leave and follow Him. His word to me was to go back to my family and tell them (and show them) what He has done for me. Sometimes it may not look or feel like I am following Him, but to follow Him is to do what He tells you. That’s what I am trying to do. I thank you, brother, for your courage in posting things like this. Bravo, kai axios!

    • Thanks for the kind words. I especially liked your sense about being Orthodox. You said you’re Orthodox ” not because I can’t really let go and follow Jesus, but rather, it’s because I have let go and want to follow Jesus.” I’ve had non-Orthodox acquaintances who took a very serious look at Orthodoxy and remained where they were in their dysfunctional Roman Catholic or Protestant churches who said very similar things; they do it because they need to follow the incarnated Jesus Christ and not some disincarnated theology lodged in a disconnected ancient church. (Well, they didn’t say it that way, but this gets to the gist of the essay.)

      Thanks again for your comments.

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