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