Eastern Orthodox Church and the Gospel?

Patriarch-Kirill-Orthodox-Pascha

I was looking for a Youtube video of an Eastern Orthodox Father explaining the gospel when I found the one below.  After watching it, I’m not sure they know what the gospel is.  Was it just me, or was his explanation convoluted and imprecise?  After listening to it, I’m more unsure of what they believe than when I began.  It seems to be the normative for the EOC.  It is almost like they purposely leave things unclear.  It is like buying a car from a used car salesman in a fancy outfit who says, “Come on, trust me.  I’m looking out for you.” but then he won’t let you look under the hood, or even open the car door before you buy, and when you ask him what size engine it has, he just assures you that it is wayyy better than your other car, because it is the oldest car around.

The gospel is fairly simple to explain as a Protestant.  That is because we hold the Bible, God’s Word, as our authority for our faith.  Ya know why? Because it is God’s Word…  Here it is in a nutshell, we are sinners. God is perfectly righteous. We can’t be good enough to make up for our sins. Jesus Christ, the second person of the triune God, took on human flesh, was born of the virgin Marry, lived a perfect sinless life, and was righteous. He was truly God, and truly man. He went to the cross, had the wrath of God poured out on Him that we had coming to us, and paid for our sins.  This justified us to God.  If we repent of our sins, turn from them and turn to Christ, trust in His work on the cross where He atoned for us, and believe only in Him and His work for our salvation, God considers us as righteous as Jesus.  His righteousness is imputed to us once we repent and believe.  After that moment, we are saved, and can never be lost again.  From that point on, God will conform us to His Son’s likeness, in the sense that we will begin to hate our sin, and love God and His will more.  We will submit to Him more.  We will grow in the knowledge of our own personal sins, as well as grow in holiness.  OK so maybe I didn’t make it as simple as, “Repent of your sins, believe in Christ, then you are saved.”  I could have, because in a sense, it is that simple.

The EOC explanation of the difference between the EOC and Protestants gospel was kind of useless to me.  I don’t know how it could be good news to anyone.  It almost sounded like the guy was trying to say they believe you can be dead and get saved.  If that is true, then the Bible is a lie.  If the Bible, being God’s Word is a lie, then it isn’t God’s Word.  I trust the Bible and not the EOC’s man made traditions.

6 thoughts on “Eastern Orthodox Church and the Gospel?

  1. Steve White

    Very true about the EOC. Eastern mysticism is simply convoluted, and whereas we would center our understanding of the gospel with the Philippian jailer, where he said “what must I do to be saved”, they would center on Jesus statement of “who do people say that I am?”. It’s no wonder that they are confused about what the good news really is.

    As far as your proclamation of the gospel, it is always wonderful to hear. If I might suggest a small tweak to where you said “This justified us to God” in regards to his atoning work on the cross. I would suggest that there are two aspects Christ’s work that are required for our justification. What has been called his active and passive obedience. That is in his active obedience he lived a perfectly obedient life to the father, under the law, and his death on the cross is his passive obedience, wherein, as you say, he paid the fathers wrath due us. His death on the cross for our sins makes us innocent of sin, but not righteous. His life of obedience is what makes us righteous, and that is what is imputed to us. As Luther called it, the marvelous exchange, our sin, for his righteousness. So, justification, defined as “being declared righteous before the father” is because of the imputation of righteousness, which is the imputation of Christ’s active obedience.

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    1. When I started writing it I was attempting to keep it simple, but then my weird need to explain things to death kicked in lol. So it was not as full as it could have been or as brief as I intended it.

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  2. Zach Mockbee

    I believe the good monk above was confusing “Gospel” for soteriology as do most Protestants. As to the Gospel, we Orthodox believe that Adam and all humans were sentenced to death through disobedience. Through Abraham, God promised to renew the world through his descendants which culminated in Our Lord Jesus Christ, who fulfilled the Law as Israel was unable, gave himself to remove the stain of sin from humanity, and rose again to grant new life to all. We Orthodox believe, as St. Paul wrote, that all will be raised, but that some are raised in righteousness and some in judgment, so it is imperative to keep the faith of Christ, as St. Paul says, by “faith which worketh by love.”

    In short, we Orthodox believe in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the Gospel.

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      1. Zach Mockbee

        Baptism justifies in Orthodox and Catholic theology. We do not necessarily distinguish between justification and sanctification as salvation is decidedly holistic informed by both the personal faith of the Christian and his partaking in the sacraments within the Church.

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