They were the one church that remained faithful to the Teachings of the Apostles when all others broke apart and drifted into darkness. Unfortunately, the believers in the West do not know much about the Orthodox Church – shoot, I heard one man this week say that the Orthodox Church was the same as the Roman Catholic Church!! (In case you didn’t know, they are VASTLY different)
Recently I have had the pleasure of looking into the theology and practice of the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is pretty cool – there is something about the way they focus on experiencing God and living with Jesus vs trying to understand Christianity via Bible studies, theology books or conferences as Western Protestantism does (with some exceptions).
Another cool thing about Orthodoxy is the fact that the core of their worship has been unchanged for 1600 years. Wow! That is a long, long time…yet, there is something to be said about faithfulness and enduring; especially in culture that values rapid change and the “next best things”.
The only negative to this unchanged worship is that it is easy to start relying on the system instead of having to listen to God and seeing what He is doing in the moment (granted, one can go to far the other way and start relying on one’s self and the gimmicks of the day…balance…it is all about balance)[@more@]
Seeing how we are studying Revelation in our small groups, I decided to look up what the Eastern Orthodox thought about the end times. It turned out to be harder then what I thought as there are not very many English speaking Orthodox writings….sigh.
However, I did find out that the Orthodox Church tends not to focus on the “end times.” In fact, one site I found mentioned that since Jesus Himself did not know the time, we, as His followers, should not be seeking to know the when’s and how’s of the Second Coming/Judgment/End Times. Instead, we should be focused on the ministry of Christ: loving God and loving others.
Wow! Man, did my heart rejoice to hear that! Finally a major church that realizes the unhealthy focus on the “end times” and chooses not to go there; instead they focus on Jesus.
Granted, there are a few Orthodox theologians that have studied the book of Revelation and the “end times.” By far the majority of them tend to lean towards amillennialism – which, again, is really cool as personally I lean that way as well.
The goal now is to try to get my hands on a commentary of Revelation from the Orthodox viewpoint…not just because I “agree” with them, but because I want to know what God has shown them over the years. Not only are they coming at the “issue” from a different branch of Christianity (ie. not Western Protestantism), they are also looking at the Bible through a non-Western culture viewpoint.
We shall see if can I locate one through the library system…