(Tim, w/thanks to Lucas) From my perspective, there's little difference between the claims of unity of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Both amount to little more than, "We're real, real old."
Read Calvin's Institutes and you'll see that evangelical reformed doctrine and practice are much older, going back to the Apostles themselves with much support in the early and medieval church. I like to tell my congregation that the Roman Catholic church didn't exist until the Council of Trent when it went off in schism. Yes, it's slightly hyperbolic, but a good bit true, too.
Here's an article from the New York Times documenting something those of us with brothers and sisters in Christ working in former Soviet bloc countries knew already. Just as Orthodoxy's scribes were tight with the KGB before Communism's fall, they're tight now with the blinkered nationalistic thugs governing these countries today. And Orthodoxy's patriarchs are in The Man's hip pockets...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 22, 2008 - 8:05am
(Tim) Really, what more is there to say about "If my father were still alive, he'd have converted to Eastern Orthodoxy" Franky Schaeffer?
His trajectory was set twenty-five years ago with little but dishonor
and shame since. Here's the latest in that line, taken from a piece he wrote for the Huffington Post
(ephasis in the original). Yes, I know Franky's larger argument is to
move the Democratic Party toward electability by getting them to
distance themselves from the albatross of late term abortion, but the context of this piece is immaterial to me as I remember
Francis Schaeffer while reading these words...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 11, 2009 - 2:54pm
(Tim, w/thanks to Brian) Although it makes me uncomfortable seeing national sovereignty lose to the New One World Order, praise God for this victory for religious freedom in Bulgaria won in the European Court of Human Rights by an attorney allied with the Alliance Defense Fund. If you have never supported the Alliance Defense Fund and you're able, please do so...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 9, 2009 - 7:54am
Lots of Berliners talked of Ronald Reagan’s speech, delivered in
Berlin, almost two years earlier, when he demanded:”Mr. Gorbachev, Tear
Down this Wall!” Was President Reagan’s dramatic call about to happen?
Some Berliners worried the soldiers would take charge. No one knew.
Ironically, the worst source of information was the media, perhaps
because in 1987 so many had underestimated the importance of Reagan’s
speech. The New York Times declared that Reagan had “lost the air of
authority” and suggested that Reagan’s Berlin Wall speech was “surreal”
and indicated that the “presidency had ceased to function.” The
Washington Post, and U.S. News & World Report has also been highly
But, in November 1989, Berliners remembered the power of a U.S.
president calling for the hateful wall to be torn down. Each person to
whom I spoke, seemed to know someone, a family member or friend, who
had been trapped on the other side of the wall. Hope was alive,
powerful and focused on tearing down the Wall. -"I Helped Tear Down the Wall"
(Tim) Grant Olson, the producer of the video at the bottom of this post, was an elder at our church some years back. Since then, he's gone on to serve in Campus Crusade's work in Eastern Europe. Although I'm in strong disagreement with Crusade's relegation of the Church to the sideline of evangelism and discipleship, since the fall of communism twenty years ago, it's been a great joy to see how Crusade has poured men into Eastern Europe where they've boldly proclaimed Jesus Christ.
There was some glamor in the early years, but that glamor has long since departed. The callouses Marxism left on men's hearts are real. Also, the systemic poverty and corruption that is Communism's legacy remains intractable in many of the Eastern European countries. The glory days of the first opening of Eastern Europe are long gone and what's left for those giving themselves to the people of countries such as Albania, Hungary, and Romania is very tough slogging.
So God bless Campus Crusade and her men and women who have loved Eastern Europeans with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
All this on the occasion of our arrival, today, at the Twentieth Anniversary of the act of God pulling down the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989. Men of towering courage and strength like Lech Walesa, John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn were putty in God's hands to bring down the bloodiest ideology and greatest oppression man had known up until that time. (It's since been dwarfed by feminism's victims, one billion and counting.)
In my office is a picture Dad had been given by the artist who drew it. He had the drawing on the wall of his study and loved it...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 13, 2009 - 6:56am
(Tim) This is written by a convert to Eastern Orthodoxy. Thinking readers might have some responses, I post it here. I've received it second or third hand, so I don't know the writer or context.
While recognizing that some people have a calling from God to speak out specifically on these sins, I find that the focus among many Evangelicals on the abortion and same-sex marriage issues to the exclusion of all others reflects the extreme individualism of Protestant theology and ethics, both "conservative" and "liberal". Evangelicals care rightly about the killing that goes on within a woman's womb, and about the improper and irreverent use of our God-given sexual organs in our own bodies or in the bodies of others. But there is not always a corresponding concern about the killing and grave threats to human life that are present outside of the womb, and about the improper and irreverent use of the natural world and material possessions given to us by God.
I don't think it's an accident that the same individualistic faith traditions that emphasize and sanctify "my personal choice" (to accept Jesus as "personal Savior" in the case of conservative Protestants, to have an abortion as a "personal matter" in the case of the liberals) but downplay the physical unity and continuity of the Body of Christ across space and time would also be quite uncertain regarding the social obligations that Christians have to their political and military enemies, to the poor and sick among us, and to the rest of God's creation. A faith tradition that fails to connect our moral obligations inside our bodies with our moral obligations outside of our bodies is deficient in both its anthropology and its ecology.
To get things started, it seems to me evangelicals are now close to the heart of the movement for the social justice of cutting carbon emissions, calling for the government to increase funds for AIDS research, and shaming people who litter. Rick Warren, anyone? Brian McLaren? Rob Bell up there in Grand Rapids? Inter-Varsity? Zondervan? Navigators? Willow Creek? Tim Keller and his flock?
And of course, every last prof at Covenant and Taylor and Gordon and Westmont and Wheaton.
Maybe our critic is only speaking of historic evangelicalism--not the classic liberalism that's taken over these past few decades.
Those following the doctrinal battle of the past couple of years within the PCA's Northwest Presbytery were surprised to see a pastor of that presbytery, Jason Stellman, announcing a couple days ago that he's renounced his ordination vows. He says he has embraced two of Rome's dogmas: that the Word of God is subordinate to the Church's tradition, and that infusion is right and imputation wrong. In other words he has publicly repudiated sola Scriptura and sola fide.
It's important to note that Mr. Stellman has been at the center of his presbytery's doctrinal battle as prosecutor of his fellow presbyter, Dr. Peter Leithart, for heresy. Mr. Stellman's work was completed when the court acquitted the accused. Now the accuser himself has embraced some of the very errors he was opposing in his prosecutorial work.
The two things cannot be unrelated, and while the precise nature of that relationship is known only by God, it would be foolish not to look for warnings we may take from this train wreck. Since Rome's heresies lead to apostasy, wise men will examine the paths of those who have fallen for indications of what we must avoid if we are to persevere to the end.
That said, nine days before Mr. Stellman embraced Roman Catholic doctrine, the acquitted posted a short piece saying he is too catholic to embrace Roman Catholicism. In that piece Dr. Leithart summarized his opposition to Rome...