Question and Answer
Can you explain to me Eastern Orthodox Church's Theology? Do they still represent true Christianity?
As I am sure you can appreciate, this is a huge question. Let me recommend a recent book from a Reformed writer on the subject. Orthodox Presbyterian minister and professor Robert Letham has written a fine book entitled Through Western Eyes - Eastern Orthodoxy: A Reformed Perspective (ISBN-10: 1845502477; ISBN-13: 9781845502478). This book is published by Christian Focus, an English publisher (Dr. Letham is currently teaching in Wales).
The Eastern Orthodox Church is often referred to as the Church of the Seven Councils because it has not materially advanced theologically beyond those councils. Whereas the Western church developed from Augustine's insights on grace and justification (albeit differently among its various branches), with a forensic or legal bent, the Eastern church tended to develop in terms of a more mystical approach, not emphasizing justification but theosis (or deification). The Eastern Orthodox church tends to regard the Western Church, in both its Roman and Protestant branches, as too rationalistic because of its particular theological development (think Anselm on the atonement or Westminster on the covenant) as opposed to the apophatic approach of the East, in which theology is done largely by via negative, God being defined by what he is not, being best known mystically. If all this seems a bit chewy to you, that's all the more reason to consult Letham's book or a good article on Eastern Orthodoxy.
In terms, then, of Eastern Orthodoxy representing true Christianity, it is Trinitarian, affirming the first two councils. It properly affirms the Incarnation, as do the 3rd and 4th councils. But the Eastern Orthodox Church does not have our doctrines of depravity, atonement, justification, etc. I am sure that you have many more questions but I trust that this is of some value to you.
"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)
The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.
The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.
While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.
You will receive an answer by email. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.
The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.
Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been editedall personal references are removed, Scripture references may be added, and sometimes portions are expandedto make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.