About 10 years ago Biola University commissioned some of their staff to compile a report with regard to the differences between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the distinctives of Biola. There are two versions: the 82 page task force report and the 8 page synopsis of the report. Both are down-loadable in PDF:
The report focuses on the following issues:
- The Doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone
- The Doctrine of the New Birth Through the Instrumentality of the Word of God
- The Teaching that the Reception of Christ as Savior and Lord is Sufficient for Eternal Life
- Scripture and Tradition; sola Scriptura
- The Church and its hierarchy
- The exclusivity of the Orthodox Church
- The canonization of saints
- Prayers for the dead
- Various Beliefs about Mary
- The veneration of icons
- The denial of guilt in original sin
Here are some interesting articles published in Christianity Today from about the same time period:
Why I’m Not Orthodox, by by Daniel B. Clendenin
Higher Education: Universities Question Orthodox Conversions, by Scott A. Swanson
Here is a link to What Orthodox Christians Believe?
So why my sudden interest in the Orthodox Church?
Friends are a part of the Orthodox Church and a recent discussion led to the discovery of this controversy at Biola of which I was previously unaware. One of the professors whose presence at Biola spurred the initial report, John Mark Reynolds, is still a professor at Biola. In light of the report and the tradition that Biola comes out of, this is truly a remarkable ecumenical statement. If it is possible at Biola for an outspoken and influential professor to maintain his Eastern Orthodoxy and remain at Biola, discussion, dialog and some measure of true fellowship must be possible anywhere. I am sure that there are alum’s and trustees who are not at all excited. The Scriptorium, a blog authored by the Torrey Institute at Biola (with a disclaimer) and John Mark Reynolds even has a link to the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Diocese of North America (Biola quasi plugging the EO?).
I have found that many American Christians are ignorant of the Orthodox Church and these are some good introductory kinds of articles for your perusal. Dialog is good. What are your thoughts?