Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ware and "The Orthodox Church"

(WARNING: Another prefatory piece!)

If the feud between Western Catholicism and Western Protestantism is a complex picture, adding the Orthodox Church to the discussion gives that complexity a third dimension. For me, it CUBES the confusion in the image I am trying to discern. Where there were 9 difficult facets with which to wrestle, there now seem to be 27.

With such pessimism in mind, I picked up the oft-recommended Penguin soon-to-be-Classic "The Orthodox Church", by Timothy Ware, aka Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia (for major excerpts, see here).

For the very well read, the book is likely too brief, and not heavily enough footnoted. But I, for one, feel foolish for not having read it sooner. Unless you are already quite familiar with Orthodoxy, it is a must-read.

Lord willing, I would like to do a few posts on Ware's work, as Orthodox v. Catholic seems to invoke spirited discourse. For example, I've learned that certain critiques of Catholicism, such as its propensity to have the state torture or kill non-believers, can be made with equal vigor against Orthodoxy. I've learned that the unity claimed under Orthodoxy's title is a markedly different unity than that which the Roman Catholic Church claims to defend. I've learned that the Orthodox teaching on Trinity is shockingly foreign to me as a Protestant.

In trying to discern the proper constitution of Christ's Church, the chore of addressing the Great Schism seems much larger than pondering our Western Reformation.


TheGodFearinFiddler said...

I agree - much more difficult of a topic. Eastern Orthodoxy doesn't defeat itself in the way that Protestantism does. I need to read that book myself.

Canadian said...

I can't wait for this series.
So much I need to learn.

Thos said...

*** ADDENDUM ***

I will refer to the author of this work as "Ware", without any disrespect meant for Bishop Kallistos' high Apostolic office. He had this book published under the name Timothy Ware and, frankly, it's just easier to say "Ware"...

Thos said...


Truly humbled and intimidated now! I hope you don't learn anything from me, because I'm not equipped as a teacher - I rather aim to stimulate thought as you learn straight from the source (take this as a legal disclaimer that I don't want God to judge me for teaching people incorrectly - I don't envy teachers!).

Should be good times, at any rate.

Peace in Christ,