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A Note for Evangelicals Considering Rome

By Clark Carlton

Sooner or later, Protestants who are serious about their faith - serious about what it means to be a Christian and to be a member of the Church - begin to look beyond the borders of their limited denominational existence for a more profound spirituality, a God-centered experience of worship, and a concrete sense of belonging to an historical Christian community. In the 1970s this searching gave rise to a movement called Catholic Evangelicalism. This was a movement among Evangelicals to recover their lost catholic heritage while remaining within their Protestant denominations.1

This movement reached a high point with a gathering of 46 Evangelical leaders in 1977. The resulting Chicago Call was a challenge to the Evangelical world to take the past seriously and to recover much of traditional Christian life that had been thrown out with the bath water during the Reformation.2 Interestingly, however, several of the high profile signers of the Chicago Call discovered that they could not recover their catholic roots while remaining Protestant. Some became Orthodox and some, Thomas Howard in particular, became Roman Catholic.3

While Evangelical voices such as Christianity Today tried to pass these conversions off as romantic flights of fancy, the number of conversions continues to increase.4 More recently, two prominent American Lutherans have converted: (now Father) Richard John Neuhaus, author of The Naked Public Square, became a Roman Catholic, and Yale historian Jaroslav Pelikan became Orthodox.5

In short, there has been a definite movement, particularly among clergy and intellectuals, from Protestantism toward what may be termed the catholic tradition. The question that faces Protestants looking for the catholic tradition, however, is which Church embodies it: the Roman Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church?

In order to help Evangelicals make a reasoned evaluation of these rival claims, it would be beneficial to examine the reasons why some Evangelicals choose Roman Catholicism over Orthodoxy. To this end, let us turn our attention to the story of Scott and Kimberly Hahn, as recounted in their book Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism.6 Scott, a young Presbyterian minister, and his wife could hardly have started out more anti-Catholic. Since their conversions, however, they have become well-known Catholic apologists.

In particular, I want to focus on Scotts consideration - and rejection - of Orthodoxy. It takes him all of two paragraphs (out of 182 pages) to explain this, so I will reproduce the passage in full:

So I started looking into Orthodoxy. I met with Peter Gillquist, an evangelical convert to Antiochian Orthodoxy, to hear why he chose Orthodoxy over Rome. His reasons reinforced my sense that Protestantism was wrong; but I also thought that his defense of Orthodoxy over Catholicism was unsatisfying and superficial. Upon closer examination, I found the various Orthodox churches to be hopelessly divided among themselves, similar to the Protestants, except that the Orthodox were split along the lines of ethnic nationalisms; there were Orthodox bodies that called themselves Greek, Russian, Ruthenian, Rumanian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Serbian and so on. They have coexisted for centuries, but more like a family of brothers who have lost their father.

Further study led me to conclude that Orthodoxy was wonderful for its liturgy and tradition but stagnant in theology. In addition, I became convinced that it was mistaken in doctrine, having rejected certain teachings of Scripture and the Catholic Church, especially the filioque clause (and the son) that had been added to the Nicene Creed. In addition, their rejection of the Pope as head of the Church seemed to be based on imperial politics, more than on any serious theological grounds. This helped me to understand why, throughout their history, Orthodox Christians have tended to exalt the Emperor and the State over the Bishop and the Church (otherwise known as Caesaropapism). It occurred to me that Russia had been reaping the consequences of this Orthodox outlook throughout the twentieth century.

While Hahns investigation of Orthodoxy must have been more involved than he describes in this passage, it is clear that he did not put a great amount of effort into it. His reasons for choosing Roman Catholicism over Orthodoxy sound as if they came directly from a 19th century anti-Orthodox tract.

Orthodoxy and Ethnicism

Let us begin with his meeting with Father Peter Gillquist. Now I have known Fr. Peter for many years, however, Fr. Peter himself would never claim to be a theologian or a scholar. I am not surprised, therefore, that Hahn found Fr. Peters thoughts on Roman Catholicism less than profound. He would have been better served by talking with people who have a first hand knowledge of Roman Catholicism, such as Fr. Alexey Young or Fr. Theodore Pulcini.

Furthermore, Fr. Peter is not a convert to Antiochene Orthodoxy. There is simply no such thing. Fr. Peter serves in the American archdiocese of the Patriarchate of Antioch. Orthodoxy, however, is Orthodoxy, whether it is practiced among Syrians, Russians, Greeks, or Americans. The claim that the various Orthodox churches [are] hopelessly divided among themselves, similar to the Protestants, except that the Orthodox were split along the lines of ethnic nationalisms is patently absurd. It is the kind of cliché that is often trotted out by Protestants and Roman Catholics alike who are too lazy to undertake a serious investigation of the matter.

To begin with, the division of the Orthodox world into various, self-governing national Churches has more to do with the Western European phenomenon of nationalism and the subsequent interference of western powers (Great Britain, in particular) in the internal affairs of the Balkan nations than it does with the internal logic of Orthodoxy.7 While nationalism has been and remains a problem for Orthodoxy, it is in no way of the essence of Orthodoxy. Indeed, in 1872 the Orthodox Church formally condemned as a heresy the theory that the Church should be organized according to ethnic make-up rather than according to territorial dioceses (phyletism).8

What Hahn fails to mention here is that each of these national Churches professes one and the same Orthodox Faith, observes one and the same liturgical life (albeit in different languages and local customs), and maintains full Eucharistic communion with the others.9 The fact that they do not all answer to a single bishop in a foreign country in no way means that they are not truly united in one, catholic Church. To liken the different local Churches to different Protestant denominations is ludicrous.

Now it is certainly true that the presence of multiple, overlapping jurisdictions in America is a great problem and a cause for scandal. However, it must be noted that this sad situation is the result of particular historical circumstances well beyond the power of anyone to control. Before the Russian Revolution of 1917, North America was de facto the missionary territory of the Russian Church. Aside from the dominant presence of the Orthodox Church in Alaska (formerly Russian territory), Orthodox missionaries moved south along the West Coast during the 19th century.10

When Orthodox from the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe began to arrive in America, most went under the care of the existing Russian Church structure. The first Syrian bishop in America, Rafael Hawaweeny, was actually a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church. While many Greek communities maintained a separate existence, bringing priests over from Greece, their requests for bishops were always denied, because there were already Orthodox bishops here, and the Churches of Greece and Constantinople were not willing to establish a parallel hierarchy.

The Russian Revolution, however, created problems not only for the Church in Russia, but for the Church in America as well. In the ensuing chaos, multiple Orthodox jurisdictions were established as the individual immigrant communities appealed to their mother Churches for help. As time went by, people got used to this unusual arrangement. Thus you can find in a single city a Greek, a Russian, and a Serbian Orthodox Church.

It must be noted here that no one today considers this situation to be normal or even acceptable. All Orthodox jurisdictions in this country are aware of the fact that the situation is uncanonical. Of course, if Orthodoxy had a universal pope, he could fix the situation by fiat. Then again, he could also infallibly define strange doctrines and compel everyone to assent to them under pain of excommunication. A certain degree of disorganization is the price the Church pays for not succumbing to the temptations of worldly success and order.

Caesaropapism

There have, of course, been times when the Church was more or less forced into a more efficient mode of operation by secular powers, and the Church suffered dearly for such intrusions. That is what makes Hahns comments about caesaropapism so utterly galling. To suggest that the Orthodox Church accepted a state of affairs whereby the emperor decided Church policy and that this is in contrast to the way things worked in the West, where Rome claimed supremacy over the temporal powers, displays an appalling ignorance of history.

To begin with, Orthodox canon law specifically forbids state interference in the internal workings of the Church. That does not mean that emperors did not try to interfere in the Churchs business - most tried, and some were more successful than others. It does mean, however, that the Church never accepted this as a normal state of affairs. Indeed, the Church calendar is filled with saints who suffered mightily for their refusal to go along with imperial policy.11

There is a great irony here. By far the greatest impetus for reunion with Rome prior to the fall of Constantinople came from imperial political motives. It was in the interest of the emperor to have communion restored between the Orthodox and the Church of Rome because of the political advantages it would bring.12 The so-called union councils of Lyons (1274) and Florence (1439) were both promoted by the emperor, and both rejected by the body of the Orthodox faithful. Were Hahns views of caesaropapism correct, then the Church would have dutifully obeyed imperial policy, and Rome and Orthodoxy would be in communion now! 13

The fact is, the only place in the Orthodox world where caesaropapism was ever close to being an accepted reality was in Russia, subsequent to the reforms of Peter the Great. Peter abolished the office of patriarch, installed his own government oberprocurator for religious affairs to oversee the Holy Synod, and effectively made the Church a department of state. There is no doubt that this severely weakened the Church and contributed to Her inability to successfully counter the communist Revolution.14 What non-Orthodox historians invariably omit, however, is the fact that the Petrine reforms were based on church-state relations Peter had observed in the German and Scandinavian principalities. Thus, Petrine Russias caesaropapism was the direct result of western, non-Orthodox influences.15 Hahns comment that the sufferings of the Russian Church under the Soviet regime were the fruit of an Orthodox outlook is as misguided as it is insulting.

Before we leave the subject of church-state relations, let us consider the following:

It would be impossible for him to be corrupted by anyone, for he is a catholic in faith, a king in power, a pontiff in preaching, a judge in equity, a philosopher in liberal studies, a model in morals.16

A panegyric to a Roman emperor written by a sycophantic Orthodox bishop? Not hardly. This particular tribute was written by Alcuin in honor of Charlemagne, the Frankish usurper crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III in 800.

The crowning of Charlemagne is often cited as an example of papal supremacy over temporal powers. In reality, however, the Church in Western Europe became part of the Germanic feudal system, with clergy appointed and invested by secular rulers. Simony became a matter of course. This situation did not change until the Gregorian Reforms of the eleventh century. Even then, however, claims of papal supremacy over matters temporal did not always match reality. Pelikan observes:

What the history books describe as the investiture controversy was not merely the churchs defense of its own right to select and install its bishops. It was also the states defense against the claims of the church. The pope claimed the right to depose the emperor, and in the investiture controversy he tried to do just that. Repeatedly pope and emperor clashed over the limits of their respective jurisdictions. The zenith of papal power under Pope Innocent III (d. 1216) was followed less than a century later by the exile of the pope in Avignon and by the humiliating history of the papacy in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Through it all the pope claimed authority over the state as well as the church, but conditions within the church seemed to many to prove that he could not rule even the church.17

Clearly, Hahns reading of church history is both selective and inaccurate. Ever since the time Jesus was presented with a Roman coin and asked about taxation, Christians have been trying to come to terms with the proper relationship between Church and state. No one in the East or in the West was able to come up with a perfect solution. Indeed, a perfect solution is not possible in this world, for the Reign of God is not of this world (Jn. 18:36).18

Theology

With Hahns comment concerning Orthodox theology, he moves from the absurd to the surreal: Further study led me to conclude that Orthodoxy was wonderful for its liturgy and tradition but stagnant in theology. If the alternative to being stagnant means changing the creed (the Filioque), worrying about going to a non-existent place (purgatory), paying money to stay out of said non-existent place (indulgences), turning the Virgin Mary into some sort of super-human (an immaculately conceived Co-Redemptrix), and making the bishop of one city into an infallible, universal potentate with both spiritual and political sovereignty, then the Orthodox will gladly stay stagnant.

The really amusing thing about Hahns comment is that it sounds like something one would expect to hear from the ultra liberal Episcopal bishop John Spong - complete with a patronizing reference to Orthodoxys wonderful liturgy. The development of doctrine is the excuse used by Roman Catholics to justify every change in doctrine from the Filioque to papal infallibility. Yet, liberals also believe that their modernizations are justified by the notion of progress. In the final analysis, what is the real difference between the improvements of Christianity made by the Roman Catholic Church and the improvements wrought by liberals such as Spong? 19

The similarities between a conservative Roman Catholic such as Hahn and a liberal Protestant such as Spong are more than superficial. In his classic introduction to Orthodoxy, Bishop Kallistos Ware quotes the nineteenth-century Russian theologian Alexis Khomiakov:

All Protestants are Crypto-Papists. To use the concise language of algebra, all the West knows but one datum a; whether it be preceded by the positive sign +, as with the Romanists, or with the negative -, as with the Protestants, the a remains the same.20

In other words, Roman Catholicism and Protestantism are but two sides of the same coin. They may present different faces, but the underlying substance is the same.

This explains why many conservative Protestants are attracted to Rome. Allegiance to Rome allows them to overcome the inherent inconsistencies in Protestantism without having to abandon the basic presupposition of Protestantism, namely that Christianity is an ideology derived from a text.21

Sola Scriptura is patently illogical. The popular Protestant saying, The Bible says it; that settles it makes no sense because, strictly speaking, the Bible does not say anything. It is a text, and like all texts it must be interpreted. An infallible book is only useful if you have an infallible interpreter, which is where the pope comes in. Where two or three Protestants are gathered together, there you have four or five different interpretations of the Bible. With an infallible pope, however, you only have to deal with one interpretation - at a time, that is.22 The pope says it; that settles it.

We have already discussed why the Roman Catholic doctrine of the papacy is fundamentally incompatible with the Orthodox faith, so I shall not recover that ground here. However, I do want to stress the fundamental unity of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. The Hahns did not really convert to anything; they merely exchanged one form of the same authoritarian, rationalistic religion for another.

Hahn and other Catholic apologists go to great pains to demonstrate that Catholicism (both those elements which are genuinely part of the catholic tradition and those which are peculiar to the Roman Catholic Church) are based on the Word of God, both in its written and its oral form. Even if a doctrine cannot claim an uninterrupted history back to the Apostles (i.e. the Immaculate Conception or papal infallibility), it can nonetheless be considered scriptural if it can be logically deduced from the Bible.23 This theological method deducing a doctrine from a text is the common heritage of Catholics and Protestants alike, even those Protestants who consider themselves to be the most anti-Catholic.

At this point, allow me to reiterate that Orthodoxy is in no way based on the Bible. Nor is it based or derived from a set of oral teachings running parallel to the Bible. The Orthodox Church is the living Body of Christ - the living experience in history of the union of mankind with God in the divine-human Person of the Only-Begotten. The Word of God is not a book, but a Person. The Prophets, both those of the Old Covenant and those of the New, are those who have seen and heard and touched the Word of Life.24 The Divine Scriptures and the writings of the Saints are the written witness to this experience, but they are not the source of this experience.

Thus, true and false doctrines are not discerned by whether or not one can logically deduce them from the text of the Bible or the writings of a particular Church Father - one can deduce just about anything from the Bible, as Protestantism has demonstrated several thousand times over - but whether or not the purported doctrine constitutes a faithful witness to or sign of the communion between God and man that is experienced in the Church. Thus, Orthodoxy rejects Roman Catholic doctrines such as papal infallibility or purgatory, not because they cannot be deduced from this or that Bible verse or patristic citation, but because they make a lie out of the Churchs experience of union with God in Christ. False doctrines are false witnesses. They derive from and lead toward false Christs.25

Evangelicals searching for the catholic tradition must understand that Orthodoxy is not simply an alternative ecclesiastical structure to the Roman Catholic Church. The Orthodox Church presents a fundamentally different approach to theology, because She possesses a fundamentally different experience of Christ and life in Him. To put it bluntly, She knows a different Christ from that of the Roman Catholic Church.

Final Considerations

I converted to Holy Orthodoxy because I saw in the theology and life of the Orthodox Church a pure witness to the truth - the truth of my own being created in the image of God.26 It was not a matter of subjecting myself to an external authority, but of recognizing and embracing the truth of reality itself.

There is no question that the Roman Catholic Church is larger and better organized than the Orthodox Church. There is no question that the current Roman liturgy is more accessible to modern Americans than the long, sung services of the Orthodox Church.27 Nor can it be denied that Roman Catholicism is easier to grasp intellectually, being neatly set forth in a highly rationalistic system. None of this, however, makes Roman Catholicism true. Our Lord said, I am the Truth. He did not say, I am Efficiency and Convenience.

When I renounced Protestantism and embraced Holy Orthodoxy I implicitly renounced Roman Catholicism as well, for Roman Catholicism and Protestantism are truly two sides of the same coin. When I abandoned the heretical notion of Sola Scriptura, I also abandoned the presupposition that Christianity is an ideology that can be derived from a text. When I relinquished my role as an infallible Protestant pope, interpreting the Bible according to my own lights, I also relinquished the fantasy that there could be another infallible pope.

To put it another way, I was not content to settle for Protestantism repackaged in sacramental garb. I was looking for a truly new vision of the Christian faith, and I found that new vision in Orthodoxy. Of course, what was new to me was in fact the oldest expression of Christianity. Orthodoxy was the religion of the early Church - even in Rome - before the pope became an infallible sovereign, before purgatory became peopled with millions of souls trying to work off their sins, hoping that some of the excess merits of the Saints might fall their way.

If you want to know what life in the early Church was like, look at the Orthodox Church today. She still confesses the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed without changes, still baptizes by triple immersion, 28 still keeps Wednesdays and Fridays as fasting days, 29 still observes rather strict fasting rules for Lent and Advent, 30 and still celebrates the Holy Liturgy in forms that are much the same as they were in the sixth century.31

In short, Orthodoxy is what Roman Catholicism used to be. If, however, you are looking for a new and improved version of Christianity, then whether you remain Protestant or become a Roman Catholic matters little. Find a church or parish that meets your needs and fits your lifestyle, one where you are comfortable - a church with a gymnasium might be nice.

If, on the other hand, you are genuinely searching for an encounter with the living God, then forsake all thoughts of comfort or lifestyle. Seek the truth, and settle for nothing less. I can tell you that you will find the truth in the Orthodox Church. Here you will encounter God. Here you will find the guidance you need for the healing and salvation of your soul.

Endnotes

1. Cf. Donald G. Bloesch, The Future of Evangelical Christianity: A Call for Unity Amid Diversity (Garden City: Doubleday & Co., 1983), pp. 48-52.

2. The text of the Chicago Call may be found in Robert Webber, Common Roots: A Call to Evangelical Maturity (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978), pp. 251-256.

3. Robert Webber and Donald Bloesch are somewhat conspicuous in that they have steadfastly remained in their Protestant denominations - denominations that are among the most liberal in America. Webber is a member of the Episcopal Church and, as far as I know, Bloesch remains a member of the United Church of Christ.

4. Perhaps the most visible Evangelical to convert was Frank Schaeffer, son of the late theologian Francis Schaeffer. See his Dancing Alone: The Quest for Orthodox Faith in the Age of False Religion (Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1994).

5. Pelikan was received into the Orthodox Church on March 25, 1998 (The Feast of the Annunciation) at St. Vladimirs Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York.

6. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993).

7. Fr. John Meyendorff observes: In Greece and in the other Balkan countries of Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania, nationalism was generally promoted by a western-trained and western-oriented secularized intelligentsia which had no real interest in Orthodoxy and the Church except as a useful tool for achieving secular nationalistic goals. Ecclesiastical Regionalism: Structures of Communion or Cover for Separatism, originally published in St. Vladimirs Theological Quarterly 24 (1980), pp. 155-168. Reprinted in Meyendorff, The Byzantine Legacy in the Orthodox Church (Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 1982), pp. 217-233 (226). It should be noted that this essay was originally written for an ecumenical colloquium and is far from being anti-western. The reader should be aware, however, that Fr. Johns criticism of modern Orthodox regionalism and his expressed openness to the concept of Roman primacy in this article is part of an intellectual dialogue and can in no way be interpreted as a denial of the basic tenets of Orthodox ecclesiology, which clearly rule out concepts such as universal ordinary jurisdiction.

8. See Meyendorff, Ecclesiastical Regionalism, p. 228.

9. There are two primary exceptions to this world-wide Orthodox unity. The first involves the Church calendar. In 1923, Ecumenical Patriarch Melitios Metaxakis (whose career was colorful to say the least, and the legitimacy of whose election is highly questionable) abandoned the traditional Orthodox (Julian) calendar and adopted the Gregorian calendar. Leaving aside the fact that such a calendar change had been condemned by previous Orthodox synods, the action was undertaken without the universal consent of the other Orthodox Churches - a de facto denial of the conciliar structure of the Church. It was, to put it bluntly, the result of papal pretensions on the part of the patriarch. The calendar change was adopted by several (but not all) local Churches, prompting schisms in Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria that have lasted to the present day. The calendar change - and I am a member of a local Church that uses the new, Gregorian calendar - was an unalloyed evil and a curse for the Church. It would have never happened, however, had the conciliar nature of the Church not been utterly disregarded. For a decidedly unsympathetic treatment of Patriarch Melitios and the calendar change see Bishop Photius of Triaditsa, The 70th Anniversary of the Pan-Orthodox Congress in Constantinople in The Orthodox Church Calendar: In Defense of the Julian Calendar (Jordanville, NY: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1996), pp. 5-29. The second exception to Orthodox unity is a direct result of the Russian Revolution: the division between the Church of Russia (Moscow Patriarchate) and the Russian Church Abroad (a.k.a. the Synod ). With the demise of the Soviet Union, however, tentative efforts have begun to heal this breach. Lest Roman Catholics get too smug in observing these inner-Orthodox problems, however, we should point out that the entire Reformation, with its thousands of resulting denominations, started out as a schism within the Roman Church. Furthermore, there exist other bodies that claim to represent true Roman Catholicism, notably the Old Catholic Church of Utrecht and the Polish National Catholic Church.

10. For the history of the Alaskan mission as well as a general treatment of Orthodox missiology, see the two excellent studies by Fr. Michael Oleksa: Alaskan Missionary Spirituality (New York: Paulist Press, 1987) and Orthodox Alaska: A Theology of Mission (Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 1992).

11. Caesaropapism, however, never became an accepted principle in Byzantium. Innumerable heroes of the faith were constantly exalted precisely because they had opposed heretical emperors; hymns sung in church praised Basil for having disobeyed Valens, Maximus for his martyrdom under Constans, and numerous monks for having opposed the iconoclastic emperors in the eighth century. These liturgical praises alone were sufficient to safeguard the principle that the emperor was to preserve, not to define, the Christian faith. John Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes (New York: Fordham University Press, 1983), p. 6.

12. Remember that Constantinople was facing overwhelming odds in defending herself against the Moslems.

13. From the thirteenth century on, all discussions between the popes and emperors regarding reunion took place in an atmosphere dominated more by political than by religious considerations, the Byzantine Church itself remaining largely outside the picture. Moreover, those discussions showed that the West harbored completely false ideas about the existence of Byzantine caesaropapism and thought that it was sufficient to win over the emperor to gain the allegiance of the whole Church. It was with this in mind that the popes encouraged the personal conversion of the Emperor John V in 1369. Even today the view is quite common that the Byzantine schism had its roots in caesaropapism; nevertheless it is a fact that from the eleventh century the emperors were almost consistently in favor of reunion with Rome because of the undoubted political advantages to be derived from it, and they tried to bring reunion about at all costs, even by the use of brute force. Equally consistently, since the time of Michael Caerularius, the patriarchs, or most of them at any rate, opposed their efforts in the name of the true faith. By relying so much on the emperors to bring about reunion, the popes were relying, actually, on a caesaropapism which did not in fact exist. John Meyendorff, The Orthodox Church: Its Past and Its Role in the World Today (Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 1981), pp. 59-60.

14. The Patriarchate was re-established at an All-Russian council literally during the October Revolution. Unfortunately, the reforms came too late to stop the communist take over of the government. Interestingly, the newly elected patriarch, St. Tikhon, had been the Archbishop of New York, overseeing the American mission before his election. For an account of the reform movement prior to the Revolution, see James W. Cunningham, A Vanquished Hope: The Movement for Church Renewal in Russia, 1905-1906 (Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 1981).

15. Cf. Fr. Georges Florovsky, Ways of Russian Theology, Part One; Vol. 5 in The Collected Works of Georges Florovsky, Tr. by Robert Nichols (Belmont, MA: Nordland, 1979). Peter wished to organize church administration in Russia just as Protestant countries ordered it. Such a reorganization did not just correspond to his own estimation of his authority or merely follow from the logic of his general conception of state authority or the monarchs will. It also conformed to his personal religious perception or opinion. Peters outlook was wholly that of a man of the Reformation world, even if he retained in his personal life an unexpectedly large number of habits and impulses belonging to the Moscovite past (pp. 117-118). The Reformation remained an act of secular coercion, compelling the body of the church to wither but finding no sympathetic response in the depths of the churchs consciousness (p. 120). And again: The churchs mind and conscience never became accustomed to, accepted, or acknowledged this actual caesaropapism, although individual churchmen and leaders frequently with inspiration submitted to it. The mystical fullness of the church remained unharmed (p. 121).

16. Quoted in Pelikan, The Growth of Medieval Theology, pp. 51-52.

17. Jaroslav Pelikan, The Riddle of Roman Catholicism, p. 44. At least one Roman Catholic writer cites the Churchs involvement with secular rule as a tragedy: But from the time the popes entered the temporal arena, heavy and irremovable chains were forged around their churchly kingdom. Malachi Martin, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church (NY: Putnam, 1981), p. 14.

18. "The Kingdom of God" is more properly rendered as "the Reign of God".

19. Hahn has added his name to the list of Roman Catholics petitioning the pope to declare the Virgin Mary as Co-Redemptrix. He, and another professor from the Franciscan University at Steubenville have prepared a three-part audio series on the doctrine. According to the advertisement for the tape: Scott explains how Mary was a stumbling block in his conversion, and why he was, as a new Catholic, reluctant to support a new Marian dogma. He then shows how this dogma captures Marys vital importance, especially as the new millennium draws near, which Pope John Paul II anticipates will be a new springtime for the Church. If the new millennium demands new dogmas, might it just as well demand a new code of morality?

20. Timothy (Kallistos) Ware, The Orthodox Church (NY: Penguin Books, 1984), p. 9.

21. I develop this idea in The Way: What Every Protestant Should Know About the Orthodox Church (Salisbury, MA: Regina Orthodox Press, 1998).

22. Popes, have, of course disagreed with one another. This also assumes that there are no anti-popes, thus making it difficult to tell which is the real infallible pontiff.

23. I am using deduced here in its general sense, rather than in the way it is used in formal logic. Most of these deductions are in fact inductions, for very few could claim to be logically necessary.

24. Cf. 1 Jn. 1:1.

25. Consequently, when the heretic lays hands on the traditional faith he lays hands on the life of the faithful, their raison detre. Heresy is at once blasphemy towards God and a curse for man. This is the reason why the entire organism and the spiritual health and sensitivity of Orthodoxy has from the beginning reacted against the destructive infection of heresies. Archimandrite Vasileios, Hymn of Entry, p. 21.

26. I discuss my conversion in detail in The Way.

27. This is due in no small part to the continual dumbing-down of the Roman Mass since Vatican II.

28. Roman Catholic children are lucky to get the tops of their heads wet. Where in the Gospels did our Lord enjoin his Disciples to sprinkle all nations?

29. Even the famous practice of fish on Fridays has largely been abandoned by Roman Catholics, at least in the United States.

30. By and large, fasting in the Roman Church has been reduced to giving up something for Lent.

31. This is easily contrasted with the folk masses, mariachi masses, polka masses, and even clown masses that have become staples of the modern Roman Church since Vatican II. Indeed, contemporary Roman Catholic worship looks more and more like the baby-boomer friendly seeker services that have become so popular in the Protestant world.

The epilogue of Clark Carlton's The Truth: What Every Roman Catholic Should Know about the Orthodox Church.

Clark Carlton earned a B.A. in philosophy from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee. While studying as a Raymond Bryan Brown Memorial Scholar at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, he converted to the Orthodox Faith.

Mr. Carlton earned a Master of Divinity degree from St. Vladimirs Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York in 1990.

In 1993, he earned an M.A. in Early Christian Studies from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. At the time of this writings he was working as an adjunct instructor of philosophy at Tennessee Technological University in his home town while completing his Ph.D. dissertation on the dogmatic and ascetical theology of St. Mark the Monk (5th c.).