Larry Wessels, Director of Christian Answers of Austin, Texas (websites: BIBLEQUERY ORG, HISTORYCART COM, & MUSLIMHOPE COM), presents his ministry's radio show entitled, "Christian Answers Live!" hosted by Lee Meckley & Jim Toungate. The special guest in this particular episode is Douglas Jones, managing editor of the theological publication CREDENDA AGENDA which is in essential agreement with the confessional statements of classical Protestantism. The subject under discussion is EASTERN ORTHODOXY which, after all is said & done, is simply a man-made religion that promises eternal salvation to those who do religious works of righteousness to earn it. For many Protestants, Eastern Orthodoxy is still something foreign & obscure. To try to gain just a flavor of it, consider the following brief overview of its main claims, in order of its oft-stated priorities:
1. The Church - Eastern Orthodoxy sees itself as the Church, one, holy, catholic, & apostolic, which alone has faithfully maintained Christ's truth through unbroken continuity with the apostles.
2. Apostolic Tradition - That tradition to which the Church is called as guardian, is made up of the Bible, true Councils, the Church Fathers, liturgy, canon law, & icons.
3. The Triune God - Eastern Orthodoxy views the trinity as the essence of their faith, "the catholic truth above all other."
4. Creation & the Fall - Though God created man with free will & rationality, Adam stood in a state of undeveloped simplicity. When he fell, he fell "not from a great height of knowledge & perfection...hence he is not to be judged too harshly for his error." The deteriorating effects of Adam's sin (death, disease) extended to his descendants, but his guilt did not.
5. Salvation & Sacrament - Once Adam initiated the deterioration of human nature, God desired to reverse the process by means of Christ's incarnation: "God descends to the world & becomes man, & man is raised to divine fullness & becomes god." Thus they describe salvation as 'deification or theosis' - the process of becoming metaphysically united with God's divine energies: "We remain creatures while becoming God by grace, as Christ remained God in becoming man by Incarnation."
The Eastern Orthodox Church is a man-made apostasy from true Biblical Christianity. Their major heresies are as follows:
1. A Paganized Deity - Eastern Orthodoxy loudly repudiates Plato only to embrace Plotinus, whose Neo-Platonic system has been openly cultivated into every aspect of Eastern Orthodox theology, from God's degrees of being to human deification. Such obvious paganism flies in the face of the first commandment (see also Colossians 2:8).
2. Subjugation of Scripture - Christ reserved some of his most heated denunciations for that ecclesiastical body which subjugated God's revelation to human tradition. Eastern Orthodoxy attempts to evade this charge by claiming to preserve only divine tradition. But the Pharisees made the same claim. Those who attempt to suppress God's covenantal word invite on themselves the curses of the covenant.
3. Church as Emperor - With God's written revelation suppressed due to its "obscurity," the ecclesiastics take over the supreme position. Once the "church leaders" rule over God's word then this "church" organization ceases to be Christ's Church.
4. Salvation Without the Cross - Since deification is grounded in the incarnation rather than the atonement, Christ's cross becomes, in principle, non-essential, a quaint side-show in deification. Discussions of substitutionary atonement & propitiation are virtually absent from their published explanations of salvation.
5. Glorification by Human Discipline - Eastern Orthodoxy attempts to evade the charge of self-salvation by appealing to the foundational grace shown in the incarnation. Rome speaks of merit, & the East speaks of acquisition, but both substitute human effort for Christ's effort.
6. Arrogant Worship - Eastern Orthodoxy shows no concern for conforming any aspect of its worship to the requisites of the Lord. They rejoice in imitating the inferior worship of the Old Covenant temple & shallowly overturn the ancient prohibition on venerating images (with their statues, icons, & sacrifices).
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