Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology by Andrew Louth
By Andrew Louth
With an expected 250 million adherents, the Orthodox Church is the second one greatest Christian physique on the planet. This soaking up account of the fundamental parts of japanese Orthodox proposal offers with the Trinity, Christ, sin, humanity and production in addition to praying, icons, the sacraments and liturgy.
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But, as we shall see in more detail in this book, while dogma is important, in the sense that there are matters about which it is important to be right (or perhaps better: matters about which it is dangerous to be wrong), what this really means is that there is truth – about God, his engagement with the world that he created, and especially the Incarnation in which he united himself with his creation – that is not simply a matter of opinion. It can be defined, though definition in such matters is less a question of delineating something exactly, than of preventing misunderstanding that is all too easy.
There is a sense that patristic interpretation of the Scriptures is important, but no systematic attempt to put that into practice. Perhaps there is no systematic way of incorporating patristic interpretation, perhaps we should be looking for something else. It does, however, seem to me that the liturgical use of Scripture should have some kind of priority in the Orthodox Church, though what this means still needs to be worked out. But it would involve paying attention to how the Scripture is presented in the lectionary.
In current parlance, it has two valencies: it either suggests correctness (orthodox being derived from two Greek roots, and meaning ‘correct opinion’) or – very commonly – what people used to think, or still think, with the suggestion that this opinion has had its day (as when one speaks of the [current] orthodoxy about some topic). That may give some clue to the meaning of Orthodoxy for the Orthodox themselves, for it suggests that correct opinion or belief is something to be valued. It suggests commitment to the importance of dogma: Orthodoxy involves acceptance of dogmatic truths, that is, truths that are important and have been defined, in the case of Eastern Orthodoxy, by the Seven Œcumenical Councils which are revered in the Orthodox Church.