Painful Talking Points on Ecclesiology, Papacy, and Eastern Orthodoxy


John Henry Newman

I had a great conversation recently with another student of history on the matter of the Papacy, Catholicism, the current crisis, and all these against the backdrop of Eastern Orthodoxy and its claims. The conversation dipped into the weeds and roots behind larger categories and, often enough, the main nuggets of a robust historical discussion can be forgotten or lost. I’d like to put the expansive thoughts of this conversation into truncated points. This way, the ground which is covered has a documented reference. This also serves to aid against the loss of memory. So much of these topics are so complex, that the implications and sub-categories get touched, but scarcely get returned to just because they are so deep in the weeds. Whether my readers mind or not, I will document accordingly, at least for my sake. For those who enjoy the reading, please comment and share your own thoughts. But I should forewarn: We hit on some points which are more painful than comforting, but which present circumstances make necessary. If you are the type to be annoyed, easily frustrated, or are easily brought to despair on this subject, this may be a post you wish to ignore for the time being. Continue reading

Why, God, Why?


File:Jarbach Altarpiece 01.jpg


Lately, I’ve been overwhelmed with stories of horrible tragedy, immense suffering, loss of hope, shattered happiness, and painful wounds. I mean the sort which, once heard, you are left without a crumb of earthly wisdom to bring consolation for. There are just some things that happen in our lives which, upon further reflection, only confirm that there are no words to say which can restore hope and healing. Many of us even die before getting any satisfactory answers, if we did not already realize before then. I here speak of the stories I’ve heard on media news, from friends, close family, and even my own life. Yes, I’m not ashamed to say that I do suffer. My suffering might be considerably less than others, and even far less than the generations which have preceded me, but the fact of the matter is this: we all suffer. If you have not suffered yet, just you wait. As one Christian speaker once said, life will kick your teeth in good like 6 or 7 times. If it has not happened already, you just need to live a little more, and it will happen. One way or the other. Some of us get our teeth back, and others never get a single tooth back. These losses can be physical, material, or spiritual.  In fact, I have a number of very close family members who are suffering immensely as we speak. Even so, if I had to speak for myself, it is in the spiritual realm that I suffer the greatest. I also know many close friends whose ongoing conversation consists in defining their spiritual suffering, even if implicitly. They may not even know that I can hear it in them. Continue reading

The Righteousness of God Through Faith in Jesus Christ: The Justification of Sinners According to St. Paul

This paper will be dedicated to share my understanding of justification by faith as taught in the writings of St. Paul. The course of this writing will follow the structure of the Epistle to the Romans, but I will interweave other parts of the Pauline corpus which corroborate the argument.  Continue reading

In the Cross, Both God’s Truth and Mercy Kiss: Philaret of Chernigov on Penal Substitution



Philaret of Chernigov

Dmitry Grigorievich Gumilevsky, Archbishop of Kharkov (1848-59) and Chernigov (1859-66), otherwise known simply as St. Philaret of Chernigov by the Eastern Orthodox churches, has a fascinating section in his book “On the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ” which speaks directly to the truth of penal substitution. I quote:  Continue reading