Orthodox Church

Theology Page

The Orthodox Church is the one, true Church. This is unpopular to say when relative and subjective thinking pervades not only the morals of the secular world but also "Christian" theology. But grounded on the Tradition from the Holy Spirit and history, only the Orthodox Church has preserved all of the Lord’s teachings and subsequently the entire Apostolic way of life. It can trace itself from today straight to the Apostles through the laying on of hands and its unchanging life and teaching. The purpose of the commandments of the Lord and Apostolic Tradition (to put it another way the purpose of Scripture) is to heal man and bring bring him to glorification (also called deification or theosis) in this present life. This is when man (by the grace of God) cures his soul from corruption to unite himself to God and participates in Him. This is done to the extent that man becomes by grace, what God is by nature. The Orthodox Church have been faithful to the therapy of the Scripture, to the words of Scripture, and the meaning behind those words. The Orthodox Tradition which heals man and society have been faithful observed by the Orthodox as it was first received from Christ and His Apostles. This means that healing and theosis/glorification is achieved in this life only when joined with the Orthodox Church. As the work of the Holy Spirit in Christian history shows, all other traditions (or denominations) that have appeared are merely imagined by men not healed spiritually and who deliberately depart from the revealed way of life that brings communion with our Creator, God.
Because the Saints of the Orthodox Church are glorified and truly speak with the power of the Holy Spirit, Orthodox theology is properly discussed in apophatic language. Seemingly, all those who evaluate Orthodoxy from the outside miss a critical aspect of the Orthodox devotion to apophatic language. Truth is experienced in deification (this is the same as saying Orthodox Saints see and speak with Christ in theosis). Because every human soul is composed similarly and because deification allows for communion with God, the Saints have a shared communion with the One God, Whom they have imitated. This same God (Who is beyond geographic and historical boundaries) gives the same revelation through the same experience which the Saints and Fathers of the Orthodox Church pass to the next generation of Saints and Fathers. This concept underlies apophatic theology. Apophatic theology is greater than logic, analogy, and discourse. Yes, theology uses these but the experience is superior while these other means are inferior. Since the Orthodox Tradition is based on this vision of God, our theology is satisfied with explanations referring to mystery or negation since deification is available to the Orthodox.

Some Orthodox theologians have suggested our theology is exactly like a positive science (e.g. astronomy, biology, etc.) and that other "Christian" doctrines and methodologies treat theology as a negative science (e.g. philosophy). Orthodox Christians who are true theologians do not treat the Church's beliefs like in negative sciences. She teaches dogma in a way similar to astronomy and biology. An Orthodox theologian experiences God, in a more real and true way than we see things by the light of the Sun. Others, then, can verify this shared experience with an experience of their own. This is why the early Church and its continuation as the Orthodox Church does not resemble the Western "Christianity" of the Papists and Protestants; it is because of the empirical aspect of Orthodoxy. Orthodox theologians do not babble about experiencing God when he looks at a rock. It is an experience of light, light, and light. It is the threefold light of the Triune Godhead. As the David the Psalmist says: “in thy light shall we see light.” Light is central to Christianity and is found all over the Scriptures. The Light of God is how the Orthodox know the same Apostolic Tradition throughout history and vast geographic distances. It is how the Orthodox accurately identify heresy. It is how the Orthodox boldly make extraordinary claims.
Western man’s understanding of Christianity has its origins in illiterate barbarians. This is an important point to realize. The Western culture was, at one point, a fully Christian culture. The Apostles (and their disciples) converted the Western world. However, over time, barbarians came, killed, and replaced Church leadership with mostly illiterate leaders from their own culture (often relatives of the conquering warrior-chiefs). As Charlemagne’s Empire spread across the Western world, he transformed the Church into a feudal class structure used to oppress the free Christians into serfdom. By this point, any literate barbarian had lost any connection to Apostolic teaching because they embraced heresy for political advantage (e.g a brief rejection of the Seventh Ecumenical Council but most notably the filioque heresy). They claim Augustine as their patristic heritage. Augustine, while he was very learned, he was inexperienced in Christian theology and allowed Neoplatonism to influence his Christian thinking. It is said Augustine never studied a Father of an Ecumenical Council. For most of the extreme minority of literate barbarians, no other Fathers were available for an Orthodox testimony when Augustine's writings disagreed with catholic Christian teaching. Now, since we are many centuries descended from these traditions of illiterate barbarians, we see the mess it has created. We should not be surprised at the West's impotence trying to resist the forces of the world. This is actually a history of encouraging secularization.
The Protestant reformation began in humanism (born out of the exchange of ideas between Christianity and Islam in Western Europe). Humanism has, as two fundamental principles, the belief in individuality and the belief that the truth of a matter resides in original source writings. These are imaginary attempts to find a way to cast off the Pope’s feudal control over Western Christians and invent a better Christianity. Since Christ has a Body in time and space (i.e. the Church), the Reformers needed to organically enter into that Church to discover Christianity. However, they decided to invent a new one that would fit their purposes and views of the world. The Reformers did communicate with the Eastern Orthodox Church during this time. The writings show an attempt to bring the Orthodox support to their cause against Rome with very little interest in true Christian teaching and practice. Some Orthodox say the Pope was the first Protestant and that each Protestant is his own Pope. The West has an inherent belief in human infallibility. The Pope invented the idea of human infallibility then Protestants claimed it for themselves.

Learn more at the Theology page.