Thursday, June 30, 2011

Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy - by Fr. Andrew Damick

I just ordered mine today

You can also get it at Conciliar Press.

As seen from the website:

"Quick Overview

Are you an Orthodox Christian who wonders how to explain to your Baptist grandmother, your Buddhist neighbor, or the Jehovah’s Witness at your door how your faith differs from theirs? Or are you a member of another faith who is curious what Orthodoxy is all about? Look no further. In Orthodoxy & Heterodoxy, Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick covers the gamut of ancient heresies, modern Christian denominations, fringe groups, and major world religions, highlighting the main points of each faith. This book is an invaluable reference for anyone who wants to understand the faiths of those they come in contact with—as well as their own."

For more information and opinions about the book go to


My secondary sources for the book I'm working on

The secondary sources:

1.) Gratia et Certamen: The Relationship Between Grace and Free Will in the Discussion of Augustine with the So-Called Semipelagians (Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium) (an academic and lead authority about the subject, and so it was only right that I use him as a resource)

2.) Grace and Christology in the Early Church (Oxford Early Christian Studies) (another academic resource about the subject that will be used as a reference, I could be wrong but I think the author is a Reformed protestant)

3.) The Ancestral sin (an academic source about the early fathers on the issue of original sin)

4.) Free Choice in Saint Maximus the Confessor (an academic source about the Post Augustine 7th century Christian East view about free will and the theology behind the 6th ecumenical council)

5.) The Doctrine of Grace in the Apostolic Fathers (a pro-reformed and calvinistic bias by one of their well known scholars that I will be fighting against in the book)

6.) Putting Amazing Back into Grace: Embracing the Heart of the Gospel (another pro-reformed and calvinistic bias by one of their well known scholars that I will be fighting against in the book)

7.) What's So Great About the Doctrines of Grace? (a pro-Calvinistic and Reformed resource in regards to what TULIP is. I will use this as a resource in my book)

8.) Why I Am Not an Arminian (a pro-Calvinistic and Reformed resource in regards to Calvinism that I will use as a resource for the book)

9.) Reconsidering Tulip (an anti-Calvinistic and Reformed bias that I will use as a resource for my book)

10.) Why I Am Not a Calvinist (an anti-Calvinistic bias by Arminian scholars that I will use as a resource)

11.) Against Calvinism (an anti-Calvinistic bias by a well known Arminian scholar that I will use as a resource once this book comes out in October)

12.) Grace, Faith, Free Will (an anti-Calvinistic bias by an Arminian scholar that I will use as a resource in the book)

13.) Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities (an Arminian source that I will use as a resource)

14.) Calvinism: A Southern Baptist Dialogue (a resource about the history of Calvinism and non-Calvinism in the SBC. I have the book and I found somethings in it that will be useful to what I'm writing)

15.) A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs (A resource with an Anglican and Anabaptist bias)

16.) A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography (a scholarly resource with an Anglican and Augustinian bias)

17.) Early Christian Doctrines: Revised Edition (a scholarly resource with an Anglican and Augustinian bias)

18.) The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Vol. 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600) (a scholarly resource with a Lutheran and Augustinian bias)

19.) The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Vol. 2: The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700) (a scholarly resource with a Lutheran and Augustinian bias)

20.) The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Vol. 3: The Growth of Medieval Theology (600-1300) (a scholarly resource with a Lutheran and Augustinian bias)

21.) The Orthodox Way (a scholarly resource with an Orthodox bias)

22.) Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective (a scholarly resource with a Charismatic evangelical protestant bias: the protestant author taught at Moscow university for 5 years)

23.) Eastern Orthodox Theology: A Contemporary Reader (a scholarly resource with a Charismatic evangelical protestant bias: the protestant author taught at Moscow university for 5 years)

24.) Recovering the Scandal of the Cross: Atonement in New Testament & Contemporary Contexts (an anti-Reformed and Calvinistic bias)

Books I still need to get:

25.) Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution (a pro Calvinistic and Reformed view)

26.) Christus Victor: An Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of Atonement (a pro Lutheran[one Lutheran school of thought] and Eastern Christian view, as well as the historic Christian view in general)

There are a number of other books, articles, and online material that will be used as well. If there are more books you think I might need just let me know. If I have the time and money then I might buy them. It all depends on the content of the books and if they are saying something not already said in the books I listed above.
Saturday, June 4, 2011

Reconsidering Tulip - by Alexander Renault

From the book.

Once upon a time I was a Calvinist. It was a happy time. It was a
time of enormous growth and learning. And having come from an
evangelical tradition that emphasized individualism and emotion, I
found that Calvinism now presented me with a veritable feast for the
intellect. I met many other Calvinists who loved the Lord their God
with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind—Christians whose faith
and piety continue to inspire me to this day.
I felt like the Bible was making more and more sense every day.
I saw things I never saw before. I learned that Christianity was far
bigger than I had originally suspected, having grown up in an isolated
evangelical bubble. The Reformed doctrines of predestination, which
before seemed abhorrent and strange to me, now became crystal clear.
I read Reformed materials voraciously—everything from Calvin
and Luther to Berkhof and Warfield; from John Owen and Jonathan
Edwards to N.T. Wright and John Piper; from Boettner, Van Til, and
Spurgeon to Sproul, Wilson, and Leithart, not to mention the countless
articles, debates, and podcasts I found online. I studied the works of
dispensationalists, premillennialists, amillennialists, postmillennialists,
preterists, futurists, theonomists, reconstructionists, presuppositionalists,
Federal Visionists, and any other “ists” that had a voice in
the world of Reformed Christianity. And in addition to memorizing
many of the Bible verses that supported Calvinism, I even spent a year
memorizing the entire Westminster Shorter Catechism while in training
to be an elder at my local Presbyterian church.

Something else that I found to be new and exciting in my Reformed
journey was the respect that they seemed to have for the early Church
Fathers. I would occasionally hear preachers quote from some ancient
saint who actually lived before the Reformation. I had always just
assumed that once the ink dried on the book of Revelation, the Church
fell apart and went completely apostate until Martin Luther recovered
the truth in the 16th century. I would hear Reformed teachers say that
there was a “thread of consistency” that reached from the Reformation
all the way back to the earliest Christians. This gave me a degree of
comfort I never had before as a modern evangelical, when I suspected
that my faith looked absolutely nothing like the faith of those “early
Church Fathers,” whoever those guys were anyway.

It was around this time that Dan Brown wrote his infamous book,
The Da Vinci Code. The premise of Brown’s book was that the early
Christians essentially invented their faith—that the divinity of Christ
wasn’t even developed until the council of Nicea in 325 AD. No sooner
did Brown’s book make the best-seller lists than a slew of apologetic
articles appeared on the Internet. And of course, wanting to defend
my faith and encourage those who were being negatively influenced
by The Da Vinci Code, I read several of these articles. I found out
that there were a bunch of people called the “early Church Fathers”—
genuine Christians who lived during the first few centuries of the
I heard names like Ignatius, Polycarp, Clement, Irenaeus, and
countless others that were new to me. I read what they had to say
about the divinity of Christ. I read about how they were influential in
the early Church, and how so many of them were martyred for their
beliefs. Slowly but surely, I started to like these guys.
And that’s where all my trouble began. I had absolute respect
for the Reformers and for the confessions they created, especially
the Westminster Standards, which were particularly important to
my Presbyterian denomination. I also had absolute and unshakeable
respect for the Holy Scriptures. And now I was beginning to have a
growing respect for the early Church Fathers. These were the three
different spheres of influence in my Christian life: the Westminster
Divines, the Bible, and the early Fathers.

The problem, however, was that I couldn’t get all three spheres
to line up! I was beginning to realize that the early Church Fathers
taught things that were vastly different than what my Reformed faith
was teaching me. Yes, there were certainly disagreements among
them on minor doctrinal issues, but by and large, the early Fathers
were all in agreement on things that I had just assumed were Roman
Catholic inventions: things like the salvific efficacy of the sacraments,
the necessity of works for salvation, the ever-virginity of Mary, the
importance of tradition and apostolic succession, the rejection of
sola scriptura, etc. But the big kicker was that virtually every early
Church Father taught against all five points of Calvinism (summed up today by the acronym TUL IP: Total Depravity, Unconditional
Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of
the Saints). So, of these spheres that I so desperately wanted to hold
onto, I realized I could only pick two out of the three. It was either the
Divines’ interpretation of Scripture or it was the Fathers’ interpretation
of Scripture. I simply couldn’t have it both ways.

I suppose many Calvinists would say at this point, “What’s the
problem? Simply accept the Divines’ interpretation of Scripture and
throw out the Fathers. What did they know anyway?” And that was
exactly the question that began to haunt me: What did they know
anyway? When I read little bits and snippets from the Fathers during
my time as a Calvinist, I sensed deep down that they had a fervor
and a zeal that the Reformers seemed to be lacking. They spoke
with authority, like people who had genuinely experienced a direct
encounter with Almighty God."

To read the rest please buy the book.

I'm halfway through the book and most of what I read so far is really good. I've noticed a few areas where I would differ or disagree, but over all I think this is a great effort by Alexander Renault. It's the first book of it's kind that I am aware of. And this is something we need. And so I would like to thank Alexander Renault for taking the time to write something like this.





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