Looking isn’t always seeing.

St. Symeon the New Theologian

“How can one be fit to handle the divine teachings of our Lord if he or she has not first submitted to them and been transformed by them?”

In Orthodoxy faith is activity, not passivity.”

“The Orthodox find sin to be a much more serious problem than just personal guilt….there is also decay. It is not enough to treat sin as a category that Christ saves from; sin is a power that kills spiritually.”

These quotes are from Benjamin Harju’s blog series of reviews on Robert Koester’s book A Lutheran Looks at … Eastern Orthodoxy, in which Harju does a useful work in explaining Orthodox life and practice, as a response to a book written from one Lutheran’s point of view.   Read the first of five parts here.

Anastasia posted about this offering from her godson, a writer who is respectful and careful in his discussion and clear in his use of the language, all of which endear me to him. The review can be found in its entirety on the March 5-7 posts of his blog.

Comparing and contrasting one thing with another is an excellent way to refine one’s understanding of any subject, and the method works for me in this case, as Subdeacon Benjamin compares the East with the West, the truth of Orthodoxy with some misconceptions, and scholarly writing with propaganda.

All in all, Harju has to conclude that Koester did not “look well into the matter,” (my quotes). The reviewer himself, one can learn on his blog, converted from the Lutheran church to Orthodoxy, so he is familiar with both traditions, and points out on this post the context and starting point of Lutheran theology, that it “arose by seeking to reform Western, medieval, scholastic theology,” unlike the Orthodox tradition which is continuous from the apostles, and that he “learned to love Orthodoxy as the fulfillment of my Lutheran goal.”

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