A Response to Reformed Christianity

This is my response to a Reformed group of people, including a Reformed teacher and blogger who engaged in a conversation regarding why he does not want to covert to the Orthodox Church. I believe he is a member of the Confederation of Reformed Evangelicals, a Reformed group that  grew from other Reformed groups by embracing Orthodox theologians such as Fr. Alexander Schmemann.

“Robin [and Brad],

You said that you do not want to take one authority or one period of the Church, and you apply Orthodoxy to this, but this assumes Orthodoxy is to be as Roman Catholicism. We do not have a Pope and we have not turned Ecumenical Councils into dogma parties. The Councils are here to protect and NOT to necessarily establish doctrine. The Orthodox faith moves doctrinally in a very collective manner, but with the guidance of the bishopric. And if the Church collectively gets off track, a council is formed and heretics are excommunicated.

You also say that you do not want to stick with one period of the Church but Orthodoxy does not do that either. You might be confusing the fact that  for the first one thousand years, the church was unified (not without trouble, of course) but both east and west met for council then and the monarch was alive, well, and protecting the Church as it is supposed to be. This was not just “one” period. And now that there has been a massive schism, the east continues to expand on doctrine and teaching, albeit not as much as it used to, but nonetheless enough to grow and prosper to be larger than any Protestant ‘denomination.’

Could it be that you are narrowing yourself to one period far more than the Orthodox? The Reformation was quite short and whatever lasted turned into liberalism. Most every Reformed church that succeeded from the Reformation has become completely liberal (European Reformed and most all of American). The 20th century schismatics from the Presbyterian and Anglican groups did not gain any dominion whatsoever from the “splits.” Their numbers of people retained were very small, they lost most all of the properties, and they could not even hold themselves together doctrinally. The Reformed period was very short and ended in what is now liberalism and shopping-mall evangelicalism.

I like the way you want to strive for unity of the gospel but why not do this within the “laying on of hands?” Why not strive within the apostolic Church? It does not make any sense to remain separate in order to begin unity. We already have unity, the same that you long to have. We wrestle with the Scripture, we debate, and honor theological education. You, again, mistake the Orthodox faith for the Roman. We have doctrinal latitude within our Church, more than Reformed, I would say. But we have little latitude within worship, as the Church did for over one thousand years. We do not allow renaissance and other modern philosophies to enter our worship. And we hold to the doctrine of  lex orandi, lex credenda, the Latin phrase for ‘as we worship so we will live.’

There is much to be said about God working through unity! Saint Paul, Jesus, Saint Ignatius, and many others proclaim that without unity there is blindness! After the schism of the Church, there was much blindness spread, and when the schism of the schism happened (the Reformation) there was even more spread. We are living in perilous times, times where one cannot afford to be reinventing the Church on their own!”