Thirsting for God in a Land of Shallow Wells by Matthew Gallatin

Thirsting for God in a Land of Shallow Wells
Thirsting for God in a Land of Shallow Wells

The book Thirsting for God in a Land of Shallow Wells tells the journey of Matthew Gallatin from his Seven Day Adventist youth through fundamental evangelicalism and the Jesus Movement (he was a Cavalry Chapel pastor) to Eastern Orthodoxy.

As you can imagine, Gallatin has had quite the spiritual journey.

In fact, it was this spiritual journey that made the book so interesting and readable. One could see themselves taking the same journey and asking the same questions. I know it made me stop and think about my beliefs and traditions…. more so then any other book in recent times

A major strengthen of the book is its honest look at Protestantism. Gallatin questions the underlining worldview of the Protestant faith – namely the reliance of Scripture alone and the right of the individual to interpret Scripture.

Most Protestants would fight to the death on the principle of Sola Scripture – yet, in reality, no one can stand on just the Scripture. Everyone who reads the Scriptures brings something to the table – the writings of Calvin, Luther, Dobson, or those of the first century. The real question is how you interpret Scripture – not whether you stand on Scripture alone.

That brings us to the second issue Gallatin brings up in his book: that of individual interpretation.

There have been more church splits and inter-faith battles in the 500 or so years after the then the 1500 years previous. Mostly due to one person interpretation over another with no checks and balances (in some cases, both sides are using the same Scripture verse to prove their point!).

In contrast to these on going theological battles, the Eastern Orthodox Church provides a stable foundation where the Scriptures are interpreted by the writings of the Saints, tradition, and the council of the Bishops. In other words, it cuts through all the misgivings and doctrinal issues of Protestantism – which, honestly, is something to be desired.

Near the end of the book Gallatin takes the time to walk the reader through the sticker side of Eastern Orthodoxy (at least, for Protestants) – ie. the Eucharist, Liturgy, Mary Theotokos, and the Saints.

All in all, Thirsting for God in a Land of Shallow Wells is a great book that will challenge the way you think and live. While I disagree with some of Gallatin’s conclusion, I really apprentice his honesty in laying bare the weakness of Protestantism.

We can learn a lot from our Eastern Orthodox brothers. 🙂