[Series: What I Read in Seminary #1] The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity

While researching for a biblical theology (BT) course, I thought I would make good on an intention of mine to interact with Roman Catholic (RC) and Eastern Orthodox (EO) theology. I thought the best way to start would be to read their catechisms (still to be done!). Further, I thought it would be good to read an introduction to Eastern Orthodoxy, as the extent of my interactions with the Eastern Christianity has been an Oriental Orthodox friend of mine, a lecture in an Introduction to Church History class, and various quotes or asides in other classes. I had been recommended The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity, by Timothy Ware as a good place to begin, and I agree that it was a good place to start.

Ware presents a great introduction, beginning with the history of the Church and of Eastern Orthodoxy, followed by a section on some of the unique facets of the EO’s theology. Aspects of the book were both expected and surprising. What was thought-provoking was the balance of corporate and individual worship, the emphasis of mysticism, and the effort by Eastern Orthodoxy to distinguish itself from Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. The book definitely leaned on the reader having an understanding of RC theology, and at times it appeared as if the Reformed viewpoint was misunderstood, but it was both a great introduction for Western Christians to Eastern Christianity and a decent introductory apologetic for the EO.

As a good follow-up to this book I plan to read Eastern Orthodoxy through Western Eyes, by Donald Fairbairn to understand a studied outsider’s view.