29 April 2006

Book Recommendation

As I've read blogs, listened to radio shows, and read papers dealing with how the Orthodox teach about salvation, I have at times felt myself completely befuddled. I couldn't even recognize what was being described AS Orthodoxy!

A little book (but not little in price for its size!) that a friend recommended to me the other day I have found to be outstanding: "How Are We Saved? The Understanding of Salvation in the Orthodox Tradition" by His Grace Kallistos Ware.

It is written in a simple format and offers a fine summary of the Orthodox approach to salvation. I especially appreciated the section where he quotes another bishop who spoke of the relationship between justification and sanctification in terms of "saved from" and "saved for." It's worth the read, no matter what one's confessional persuasion. Another choice moment is when he quotes Luther, but notes that most Lutherans would disagree with Luther on the point he was citing (the famous: this life is not holiness but growth in holiness...).

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fr. Weedon!

I was shocked that you had not read that one... mmmm you mention someone recommended it to you... now I know that I told you about that book several months ago after I had gotten it! LOL

I am shocked... finally... there is actually a book that I read before you did :P

Matt

William Weedon said...

Then I'll yell at you, too, Matt! I told the person who recommended it to me that if it was so darned good they should have shouted at me and INSISTED that I read it. But noooooo. So here I have been without this excellent resource when I need not have been. ;)

Anonymous said...

*gasp* totally horrified look... what? shout??? for be it from me to ever raise my voicce to my spiritual Father! :P

Rosko said...

I'll have to check out this book, and then give it to the girlfriend too!

Anonymous said...

Having heard the lecture by a similar title and loved it, I'm sure the book must be even better.

Deb

Rosko said...

I got it from the Warehouse today, and will be diving in soon. I did have one question, regarding the following:

"The question to be asked is not 'Have I completed the journey of salvation?' The true question is 'Have I even begun to repent?'"

If this is correct, then I have no certainty in Christ, I don't even know if I am in anway connected to Christ. Maybe I'm reading into this one point too much, but if I live my life in doubt, then why shouldn't I just become a Muslim or a Jew? If I am in constant doubt that I am penitent, how is Jesus any better than Buddha? Just the immediate thoughts that come to mind.

Harry

Anonymous said...

Harry,

Read in context. The question finally drives you fully and completely to say "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner."

Your ONLY certainty is in Christ who lives in you, who feeds and nourishes you in the Mysteries, who guards and keeps you in Holy Mother Church.

The questions shift your eyes from "keeping score" to Jesus, author and perfector of faith.

Ezekiel+

Rosko said...

Yes, context is everything. I knew I had done wrong when I just saw it bolded on the last page in the book before the references page. People just need to be careful what they bold. So the "Have I even begun to repent"? Should lead us to think "Maybe I have, but if I haven't, I better run to Christ right now and start" ? Just good ol' Rosko ramblin' again.

Anonymous said...

More attempts to find at least "one source" that presents an acceptable view of the Eastern Orthodox... Nevermind the droves of resources from the East which present versions of the Gospel completely foreign, and outside, of the true Gospel. Heretics who declare, quite boldly, that the cross is little more than the necessary consequence of the incarnation, and locate the essential manner of salvation wholly in the incanration through a unity of wills, and the like. One source.. another source... won't the real slim shady please stand up? What do they *really* teach? You won't find an answer, because their divisions and differences are far more pervasive than even those in modern LC-MS Lutheranism. So, the answer must be, if you can find one Orthodox, or a few others, whom you can agree with -- jump on board, and invite others along.

William Weedon said...

Dear Anonymous,

Pardon me, but that's just silly. Bishop Ware is widely recognized in Orthodoxy as presenting a fair and accurate summary of what the Orthodox do in fact teach. I resonate with that because I found this little book to be quite representative of what I've heard and read from a variety of Orthodox speakers and writers in my study of them for the last 25 years. It's just a good book to get a handle on what the Orthodox teach and I'd recommend it without reservation to any and all - including you!

Pax Christi!

William Weedon said...

P.S. There sounds to be real anger in your response. If you'd like to email me directly (and privately) to talk about that, I'd welcome it. "The anger of man does not work the righteousness of God."

William Weedon said...

Harry,

Ware invites you to complete trust in Christ and to complete distrust in yourself. This seems to me to be spiritually wise, avoiding what the old Lutheran dogmaticians called "carnal security." You can fall away and therefore you should never repose any trust in yourself; your Savior is a rock unshakable, and therefore you should put all your trust in Him alone.

Randy K. Asburry said...

I would encourage "Anonymous" actually to read the book in question and then give a verdict of "true" or "heretical." I also wonder what other Orthodox sources and/or authors "Anonymous" *has read* to come to his/her angry conclusion. Last I knew, Lutherans considered themselves a bona fide part of the "church catholic," not the sum and total of all true Christianity bent on defending their turf lest any others encroach upon it. Can Lutherans acknowledge, let alone appreciate and celebrate, the common ground that they *do* have with other Christians, or are they simply destined to fulfill Galatians 5:15?

Rosko said...

Read it, enjoyed it. I didn't find that Luther quote in there, but I finished it late at night, and maybe my eyes just missed it. Now I'm diving into "Am I Saved?: Scriptural Thoughts on Salvation in the Orthodox Church" by Fr. Theodore Bobosh. I picked it up on my trip to the warehouse of Light and Life Publishing. It is interesting. The only problem I have so far is when misquotes Ephesians 2:8 and then makes a point on the misquoted form (by faith through grace; I always thought that grace was the worker and faith the vessel, not the other way around). Thanks for the recommendation, though, I really enjoyed the book. I'm passing it on to Pastor this week, I think.

William Weedon said...

Harry,

The Luther quote is on page six.

William Weedon said...

I've not heard of the Bobosch book. You'll have to let me know what you think of it.

You are right about Eph 2, Dia with the genitive is "through" so it is definitely "through faith." And "grace" simply stands in the dative.