Questions & Answers
Common questions about Orthodoxy
Does Orthodoxy mean what I think it means?
Jesus Still Saves
1. What Does Orthodoxy Teach About the Bible?
We believe that the Bible is the word of God. The Bible is part of the tradition of the Church, namely, the written part.
The Scriptures are true, effectual, and transformative. While I suppose one could argue that someone can be saved without the Bible (after all illiterate people can be saved even if they never read anything at all), I don't see why you would want to miss out on the Holy Scriptures and their profound truths.
The Scriptures are inspired by God, and are useful to equip the man of God to live a Holy Life (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
2. Why do you follow Tradition?
Everyone follows Tradition. For example, you read the Bible every day, but you didn't compile the specific books that make up the Bible, you trust Tradition.
Scripture itself commands us to adhere to Tradition, both written and Oral (2 Thessalonians 2:15).
The idea that tradition is somehow bad is a modern concept, not one that Scripture or the Fathers would have agreed with.
3. What do you believe about salvation?
God created us to have a relationship with Him. Unfortunately, we have sinned and fallen. Our first parents sinned first, and all of us have sinned since then. We are fallen and sinful people, and this separates us from God, and makes us unable to fulfill the purpose of our creation, namely, to love, serve, and image God.
But thankfully, the Triune God did not leave us in that place, the Son of God took human flesh, and lived a perfect human life. He has suffered so that when we suffer He can say, "Follow Me through the suffering, I am God, and I am here with you." And He has even died, so that when we die He can say, "Come, follow Me, for I am your God and I have been here too, follow Me out of the grave."
Jesus in His death has conquered death, and by dying He destroyed the power of death and sin.
Better still, Jesus arose from the dead, and in Rising He has given new life to human nature, this new life is called justification. Thanks to this work of Jesus, we have the ability to experience the original purpose of our creation, becoming one with God.
4. Why do Orthodox Churches almost always have a geographic region connected with them (Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, etc), isn't that weird?
It only seems weird because in the United States people have an aversion to anything that seems "foreign." But in reality, this is a beautiful reflection of Orthodoxy fulfilling the great commission.
In the great commission, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ commands, "Go into all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19-20).
Now, we often tend to think of that as a command simply to baptize individual people, but that's not actually what He said, He said to baptize nations. That obviously includes people too, but the fact that there is a Russian Orthodox Church is a demonstration of the fact that, at least at one time, Russia had been made a Christian nation. And by the grace of Almighty God, we hope she will be restored to that state yet again. The fact that there is a Greek Orthodox Church shows that St. Paul's missions succeeded, and the Churches He founded all over Greece in places like Corinth, Athens, and Philippi spread to all the nation of Greece.
5. But isn't Orthodoxy just as divisive as Protestantism? Why not just have one church?
There is only one Orthodox Church. That Church is comprised of many people all over the world, and of some nations. Each Autocephalous (self-governing) Church is part of that one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, these are not separate churches or denominations, but are simply different elements within the One Church.
I realize that Catholics in particular may struggle with that concept, but there is actually a far greater degree of unity between say, "Greek and Russian" Orthodoxy than there is between say "Franciscan and Dominican" Catholicism. After all, the Jesuits for example are completely different in doctrine and practice from Augustinians, and yet in doctrine and practice each Orthodox Church is almost identical, yet diverse in being able to have all sorts of different cultures.
This is beautiful as Jesus says that one day every nation, kindred, language, and people will praise His name. Jesus doesn't want a Church that's like Islam, where everyone just becomes carbon copies of one specific culture. Instead, Jesus wants a diverse Church with multiple languages and cultures all representing their authentic culture, yet being one in Him. And that's the Orthodox Church.