Monday, May 26, 2014

Justin Martyr

As promised, here is another brief history lesson about a man who is often overlooked in Western Christianity but should not be. Ladies and Gents, meet Justin Martyr.

Justin Martyr

Throughout the history of Christianity, there have been more killed for bearing the name of Christ than have been captured in the annals of history. Few, however, keep the name “Martyr” as part of their commemoration; so in this aspect, Justin of Flavia Neapolis[1] (modern day Nablus in the Samaritan region)[2] stands as an honoree in our Christian family history. Like many of the martyrs of Christianity, Justin went willingly to torture and death, but unlike many others, he blazed a trail for Christian apologetics and philosophy in life. For his writings and his character, he is remembered as Justin Martyr.

The life of Martyr

            Born between A.D. 100 and 103[3], Justin was neither Jew nor Samaritan, despite his hometown’s location. Instead, it is more likely that his Greek parents moved to the Roman colony shortly after its foundation[4]. His growing up in a culture and religious context that was not his own by birth seemed to have placed in him a natural itch to find religious truth. It was this urging that led him to make himself into a student of a diversity of Greek philosophies. 

            He began under the tutelage of a Stoic teacher which is unsurprising as Stoicism was largely the most popular philosophy of the time[5]. Finding no comfort in the cold and atheistic undertones of Stoicism, he found his way to an Aristotelian teacher but parted company when he realized that money was this man’s main motivator. Next he sat under a self-absorbed Pythagorean professor but was discouraged and unconvinced of the validity of such a philosophy when he was chided for not having preliminarily studied himself in music, astronomy and geometry. Finally, he found a teacher of Plato who won his intellectual heart by instructing him in the high ideals of Platonic thought. At last his thirst for spiritual exposure seemed temporarily quenched and he expected his wisdom to be supported by divine revelation soon after this education.

            It was at this point in his life when the approximately thirty-year-old Justin met an old man who would change his life forever and send him on a road toward his eventual death. While at a lonely place near the sea, Justin encountered this man who, in Socratic form[6], engaged him in a dialogue. This meeting would eventually yield Justin’s Christian conversion and his conclusion that Christianity is the only “safe and profitable philosophy”[7] as it was only Christianity that could answer the questions asked of him. Justin never met this man again, so we know essentially nothing of him, only that this unnamed man would affect change in Christianity through Justin for centuries to come.

            What we have now are three major writings from Justin and some lesser ones that cannot be verified as authentic. His writings include Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, First Apology and Second Apology as well as an account of his trial and execution, Acts of Justin, which can be authenticated. His writings eventually led to his arrest and martyrdom around A.D. 165 under Roman Prefect, Rusticus[8]. It is to this legacy that we now turn.

Legacy of Justin the Philosopher

            While there are many far reaching effects of the writings of Justin, it will be most succinct to draw them out in his major areas of influence; that is, Justin as apologist, philosopher and martyr. As an apologist, he was absolutely a forerunner. While earlier writings such as Ignatius of Antioch were pastoral in content and voice, Justin’s novelty was his attempt at defending his faith and his Christian siblings in the face of the pagan, Roman Empire’s unregulated persecution. His First Apology was addressed to Emperor Antoninus Pius, though it is doubtful if it was ever actually read by the Emperor. Regardless of the eventual readership, Justin traversed a path through Greek philosophy in the name of Christianity in which many apologists would follow in centuries to come. Among the topics covered in his initial letter and his addendum, Second Apology, were issues of resurrection, basic philosophical credentials and a defense of the core tenets of the Christian faith. His letter seemed to have some positive effect as there was an edict in favor of Christians published shortly thereafter[9].

            One of the biggest issues he tackled with the purpose of sparing Christian life was the common practice of persecuting and distributing judgment against believers simply for bearing the name “Christian”. Also, he was able to clearly articulate orthodox Christian beliefs about Jesus and his divinity using the Platonic concept of the Logos which mediates between creation and Creator; like St. Paul, he made Christianity somewhat acceptable to his Greco-Roman audience by skillfully utilizing their own language[10].

            Justin is also remembered as the first true Christian Philosopher. Contrary to many modern Christian’s approach to various worldviews, Justin embraced his diverse background in philosophy in order to bring about a clearer knowledge of what he found in Christianity to be the truest philosophy. He believed that a seed of divine revelation was given to each philosopher and thus each contained a grain of truth. It was not until Jesus’ arrival that humanity was given the fullest revelation[11]. It was with this premise that he was able to engage Gnosticism, paganism and Judaizers on all sides of his context.

            Finally, we see Justin as his name sake acknowledges: a martyr. It is thought by most historians that it was an encounter with a Cynic philosopher named Crescens that eventually yielded his death[12]. After writing his Second Apology, the Cynic apparently found whatever ammunition was necessary to accuse Justin of Christianity. When brought before the Prefect and asked about his faith, Justin along with five male companions and one female companion, declared it unwaveringly. Rusticus mockingly asked Justin if he suspected that he would reap a reward for his death and Justin declared that he didn’t suspect it, he was convinced of it. It was after this that sentence was given and all six were flogged brutally before being decapitated[13]. While we cannot say that Justin and his companions were special cases in their context, we can see them as one record among many of Christians who not only professed Christ in life, but also through their death. So they contributed to the tradition of martyrdom in the early church.

Concluding Thoughts

            Justin is an incredible figure in Christian history; one for whom not enough space is available here to flesh out his contributions to the faith. What can be said is that he made it intellectually acceptable to some in the ancient world to be a Christian. Furthermore, he made a way for philosophy to not be entirely left to the way side and still remain orthodox to the faith. Justin squarely rested his philosophy and worldview on the person of Christ; this novel way to approach intellectual endeavor served him well. 

            For Christians today, Justin’s passion for intellectual honesty as well as his loyalty to Christ are points to be emulated. Apologists and lay-Christians alike can thank him for going against the stream of pagan persecution and Jewish conformism in order to more clearly and securely establish Christianity as its own religion. It is safe to say that without his contributions, it may have been much later if ever that Christianity would defend itself so well against those who would call it foolish, evil or logically irrelevant. This is the legacy of the one known as Martyr and it is a legacy worthy of our modern attention.

Chadwick, H. (1967). Justin and Irenaeus. In The early Church (pp. 74-79). Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Ferguson, E. (2005). The Church and the Empire: B. Justin Martyr as a Representative Apologist. In Church history (pp. 73-75). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Foxe, J., & King, M. G. (1968). Account of the Fourth Primitive Persecution: Under the Roman Emperors, which commenced A.D. 162. In Foxe's Book of martyrs (pp. 17-19). Old Tappan, NJ: F.H. Revell.
Hall, C. A. (2002). The Resurrection of the Body and the Life Everlasting: The Contribution of the Apologists. In Learning theology with the church fathers (pp. 253-256). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
Litfin, B. M. (2007). Justin Martyr. In Getting to know the church fathers: An evangelical introduction (pp. 53-74). Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press.

[1] (Litfin, 2007, pp. 53-74)
[2] (Ferguson, 2005, pp. 73-75)
[3] (Foxe & King, 1968, pp. 17-19)
[4] (Litfin, 2007, pp. 53-74)
[5] (Chadwick, 1967, pp. 74-79)
[6] (Ferguson, 2005, pp. 73-75)
[7] (Litfin, 2007, pp. 53-74)
[8] (Litfin, 2007, pp. 53-74)
[9] (Foxe & King, 1968, pp. 17-19)
[10] (Ferguson, 2005, pp. 73-75)
[11] (Chadwick, 1967, pp. 74-79)
[12] (Foxe & King, 1968, pp. 17-19)
[13] (Litfin, 2007, pp. 53-74)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

On Philippians 1 in Brevity

Paul, to the Church in Philipi while in prison:

"I don't expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn't shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I'm Christ's messenger; dead, I'm his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can't lose."  ~ MSG

 Death is Gain

It is odd in our hyper-secular culture to think of death as a gain. After all, it seems modernity has brought about nearly every conceivable way to avoid death. Even as Christians here in the U.S. it is easy to simply assume the worldview of our culture and see death as the ultimate if it were something that only a few could embrace and those few are to be thought of as supreme for some reason.
Here in the midst of Memorial Day weekend, many are gearing up to mourn again those that have lost their lives in battle and so they should. Scripture speaks to us that the greatest love is to lay down our lives for another... but even in such a sacrifice, a Christian should know that there is no loss in death.

In fact, it is death - our baptism into the crucifixion of Christ - that brings about our true life: our resurrection after the Messiah. Paul writes well when he juxtaposes these two states of existence. Death, he says, is gain because in death, we are Christ's prize, his bounty and we gain unity with him eternally. Death may hurt those who we leave, but it is not to be feared or avoided; it is natural and thus set right again by Christ's resurrection as it was intended to be from the very beginning of time.

To Live is Christ

 The more vital piece of Paul's attitude toward his ministry is this portion: while living, we are to be the arbiters of the Kingdom of God. Consistently, Jesus points his followers back to this mission and back to the focus of the Kingdom. When asked about the end of days, he reminds them that now is the time to act; now is where their focus should be.
So too should we contemporary Christians be focused on the now. There is truly no shortage of Kingdom-bringing for us to accomplish here in our world. I only want to encourage those that do work towards this Kingdom reality that there is life in your work. This life - this Christ-life that we participate in - is manifest in small ways, in daily ways and it is always followed by peace in the soul. We were built to be a part of Christ's Kingdom and so there is a settling in us when we act in accord to our intended nature.

Go Forward

So, in light of these wise words from our older brother, Paul, let us go forward in our week remembering that this is the attitude to have towards our individual ministries. And what is your ministry? It is your life; your day-to-day interactions, your example and spiritual foot-print that you leave behind. Go and face this ministry with the fact in mind that when we die, it is all to our benefit because we will be with Christ. More immediately important, though, we are to live as Christ's. Reflect on how you're doing with this; is this your attitude? Do you fear death? Are you living as Paul did, with the mission of Christ's message as your motivator?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Lord Lord

In our Christian subculture it is not at all uncommon to refer to God as "Lord" in prayer and in conversation. This practice comes straight from Scriptures and has consistently been a part of the Christian tradition since then. You're probably thinking "ok, Captain Obvious, thanks for the not-history lesson"...kidding, I know you're not that rude. My purpose in bringing this up is that I think that in our modern context, we tend to use this term without giving it the due respect it deserves and, sometimes, without thinking at all.

"...So, by their fruits you will get knowledge of them. Not everyone who says to me "Lord, Lord" will go into the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the pleasure of my Father in heaven..."
                                                                  Matt. 7:20 & 21

First off, when we read this passage, we need to remember that what Jesus isn't saying is that we have to read God's mind and do what he wants perfectly or we won't "get to heaven when we die" (think hymn in those quotations). He's not saying that only a small select group will get to be with God for eternity. No, what he's saying is that not all who go under the title "Christian", who call him "Lord" in their prayers and in reference to him, and those who do good things will be in his kingdom.
The word for "Lord" in this passage is transliterated as the Greek word kurios (koo'-ree-os) which (as I understand it, though I'm not a professional in Biblical Greek) means specifically "one who owns, has power over or is master of". Now you may be thinking "yeah, Jesus paid for my sins and so I guess he's the boss o' me" and when modern Christians think of this and when preachers preach on Jesus being our Lord, they usually hover around this legal meaning of "Lord" as in Lord and serf. To a first century Jew, however, this term kurios would have also included their God, the Creator of all. Thus, when Jesus is saying that "Lord" is not an indicator of who is in his kingdom, he's using a bigger paintbrush, if you will. He's using a word that connotes the one who is king of the universe, the Creator of all existence and the One who simply is.

The Danger of It

Why is this a big deal? Why does it matter if I say "Lord", isn't that just the same as saying God?

Well, in our subculture, people often use it as a synonym for Jesus, God, etc. but my purpose here, in part, is to specifically say NO; it isn't the same and this is a big deal.

 The great danger of using the term "Lord" without submitting to the Creator is that we tend to then simply project whatever we'd like to onto this faux-Lord so that our faith is a little easier. i.e. "I'd better buy a new coat this winter so that I can give my old one to the needy" or "I'm helping my coworker learn about right and wrong by not refilling the copy machine after I've emptied it. After all, they did it too and what goes around comes around". We make up pseudo-pious excuses with our faux-Lord instead of submitting to Jesus.


When we pray, sing a worship song, write to God or meditate, do we use the word "Lord"? If so, is Jesus - who is God - actually the kurios of your world? Does he own it, create it, pervade it and have dominion over it? Can people tell? What Jesus was saying right before he says the "Lord, Lord" bit was that you'll be able to tell who belongs to him because of the fruits of their lives. If someone is calling Jesus "Lord" but is not developing a life that reflects the communal love of the Triune Godhead, then there might be a problem. While it is not our place to judge anyone, it is our job to help our sisters and brothers in Christ become more like him who submitted perfectly to the will of Yahweh.

So, reflect: is this me? am I doing it right? If you don't feel like God is truly the kurios of your life, perhaps switch up your references to him to something you can more honestly say. Jesus taught us to call him Abba (daddy) after all. Crucify your faux-Lord because he cannot come back from the grave. Embrace the true kurios of existence as your Lord.


 p.s. I didn't use a picture of Kanye West to judge him as one who misuses the term; I only want to point out that, as a culture, we don't think twice before using this term as fashion instead of its holy intended purpose. No judgement here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Lectio Devina

I don't like to just link other blogs, but this was too good to not also hit my readership.

Pastor Mark Moore nailed this one:

"Lectio divina is dangerous. There is a dangerous risk to your comfort when you begin submitting to Scripture rather than trying to master it."

Read his blog here. :)

On Miraculous Healings

This morning I want to write to you and tell you about one pondering I had yesterday while working (I work in a vinyard so I have lots of time to think). I ran out of coffee, however, so I had to go get some this morning and my writing time was cut into, so we'll see how far I get :)

I was thinking about Jesus healing people because of the faith of others, mostly relatives, in the new testament. There are several times where Jesus tells people that their "faith has made them whole" and this makes sense to us because we generally like to feel like we have a say in what happens to us. But what about those who were healed because of the faith of another? The possessed boy healed because of his father's struggling faith: "I believe, but help my unbelief". When Jesus brings the little girl back to life, he tells her parents to "believe". So my question in all of this pondering was "why this"?

In light of modern medicine, we often feel like there is little that can happen to a person that can't be saved if caught early enough. Sadly, this is a misplaced confidence. Still, when we pray that God heals someone and they don't become well, we are stuck between our mourning and this Biblical heritage of miraculous healings. Why doesn't this happen now more regularly?

After the better part of an hour trying to wrestle something sensible out of this conundrum, I finally just gave up and said "God, if you have a good answer for this, I'm up for it". Then nothing really happened. It wasn't until a couple hours later, after I had been praying and singing while I worked that a thought came to me. This thought was to view Jesus' miraculous healings in a cosmic framework; one that superseded the event itself.

What if God was getting at something more than just the individual event?

If there is one thing that is true, it is that God knows the big picture much better than we do. So, what if the miraculous healings that Jesus accomplished were not merely to the end of bettering that individual's life? Furthermore, what if those healings were for more than just establishing his authority and divine status for those following him (which they certainly did)? What else could they be for?
An Exemplary Event

I think that the healings that we see in Scripture which were accomplished by another person's faith were to be a demonstration to us of how our faith is not our own. Perhaps there is a metaphysical principle at work in these events in which the faith of a believer - even a struggling believer - is enough to heal a person.

When I think about sin, I think the most accurate understanding is to hold to the Eastern Orthodox view in which our propensity towards sin is understood as an illness instead of a dirtiness, like it's understood in the Western Church. This reminds me of Jesus saying that a doctor doesn't come for the well but for the sick - the sick in spirit.

Our faith in Jesus can heal other people. Where we miss out on much life in our faith is when we stop short with this idea and think that miraculous healing via one's own or another's faith is only needed in physical maladies. The reality is that Jesus comes as a healer of spirits, a mender of hearts and a restoring breath of fresh air to a stagnant soul. 

The Take-away

So, when you read about Jesus healing someone because of another person's faith, remember that this principle holds for today. 
Your faith may be the difference between life and death for someone's spirit.

Whether you demonstrate that faith through your friendship or through your prayers, know that the faith in Jesus that you live in can be a healing force in a person's life. Perhaps that person ends up becoming a brother or sister in Christ. Perhaps all you ever accomplish is for them to feel like, because of your relationship with them, that there is hope for the Christian religion and we're not all "hypocritical, moral-nazis with long 'don't do' lists". 
When you pray for other people like these parents in Scripture did, pray that Jesus heals someone's body AND spirit because of your faith.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Part of a whole

In our culture (the one I was raised in; e.g. Midwest USA), we have this uncanny tendency to view the world in hyper-individualistic terms. When compared to our historical predecessors and numerous less-developed (if you could call that an accurate description) countries, our advanced technology and social structures have effectively allowed this worldview to thrive. We see it in advertising and marketing, we see it in the recent concern about the next generation losing basic social skills in favor of staring at their smartphones.

My purpose here is not to bag on technology or to complain that the Western mindset is all wrong. Instead, I want to paint a picture in your head that we are generally raised to see ourselves as the "center of the story", if you will. By way of contrast, we see many ancient cultures and some modern ones who have well-developed shame/honor systems in which the individuals see themselves as intrinsically part of a larger picture.

What I'm Getting At...

The reason that I wanted to get you to think in terms of how individualistic versus how communal our mindset as a people has become is because I want to make a statement that will either strike you as intrinsically correct or incorrect and I feel that whatever your worldview, in terms of seeing yourself as part of a larger whole or seeing yourself as the main character in your life-story, is going to be the deciding factor.

Your relationship with God is not a private thing

Let that one simmer for a minute....

On the one hand...

I could definitely see the argument that comes from the individualistic worldview: "Hey, wait a second, my life is my life and my prayers are private and the Bible says to not let your prayers be seen in a public place but to pray in private and do good works in anonymity. And furthermore, the Bible says that only God can judge me and so if I got God on my side, who can say what about my relationship with him? It's none of anyone's business".

Just then, I tried to come up with a couple of the most common arguments; here's why they're unfounded...

While it's true that we have private lives and that maintaining a healthy internal spiritual life is vital to the human experience, the Bible in no way promotes or supports the kind of individualism we have wedged into the Christian tradition. When it speaks of not letting your prayers be seen and of doing good works secretly, the Spirit-inspired authors were talking about our pride: don't let pride be the reason you pray passionately or do things for others. Addressing the last little argument above, the Bible says that Christians are to allow God to be the judge of those who wrong us instead of trying to exact vengeance ourselves. This, however, is not equivocal to saying "only God can judge me"; no, everyone can judge you - most people will - but it is specifically because everyone has the capacity to judge that the command to not judge is important to the Christian life. Don't judge, it's God's job - not "only God can judge me".

On the other hand...

Christians believe that the Bible is perfect for describing how humans are to live with God and each other. If we believe this, then the first bit of my argument above ("my life is my life...) is total smoke; it doesn't hold. This is because the type of community and life that Christians are to live is to be one where Christ is the center of the picture, the main character of the story and the head of our community. So, the individualistic worldview that we've received from our culture is to be completely forsaken in favor of the communal and Christocentric worldview of Jesus. This is why our relationships with God are not private: our lives are not private.

How does this work with maintaining an internal spiritual life?

I will attempt to reconcile these two important facets of the Christian life - private spiritual life and communal faith - by way of an analogy. Let's think of this in terms of a sports team. I train Crossfit in which all work out routines are timed or scored in some way. This naturally evolved into competitions in which there are some partner events, individual events and team events. In some competitions there are teams of four or five in which they compete against other teams to accomplish the exercises set before them. 
As a member of a competitive team, everything I do in training as an individual is going to affect the whole, so there is a large portion of my training regimen that must keep in mind that there is a bigger picture at stake here and more going on than what I do as an individual.  However, this needs to be balanced with the fact that I am an individual and have personal strengths and weaknesses to contend with and, in training, these are things to focus on not to the end of becoming a greater me, but to make the team a greater contender for victory.


A Christian faces this kind of tension; we are to be mindful of the fact that we are bringing the Kingdom of God to earth and that everything we do affects this overall goal and big picture. We are part of a larger community: the Church throughout history and the world. We are, however, individuals who have personal baggage and spiritual lives that need cleaned up, improved and maintained. We should not, however, let ourselves ever be deceived into thinking that we can focus solely on one of these two modes of spiritual living. We are both a community and individuals. Hold this tension because our individual relationships with God are public, communal and not private; they are part of a whole.



Friday, May 16, 2014

Eastern Orthodox Tradition

Hello all! Again, here is a short history-related post so as to expand your horizons, so to speak. This post is about Eastern Orthodoxy. For those of us in the west who have little to no experience with it, let this be a primer. I've included several sources so that you can find some other people who are more qualified than I to give you information about our Eastern Christian family.

 The Eastern Orthodox Tradition

While it may be easiest for American Christians to look back at history and reflect with the assumption in mind that events surrounding and following the Protestant Reformation were the bulk of what was relevant between the 1500’s and modern times, it must be remembered that the Church is much larger than many Western minds acknowledge. In the East – particularly Russia – there were many exciting things happening. Men like Alexis Khomyakov and St. Innocent of Alaska were leaving their mark on how the Eastern Orthodox Church understood Christian worship and community. The Church in the East was contributing to the larger Christian tradition which may have greater implications in the next stage of Christian development here in the 21st century.
Evolutions in the Orthodox Tradition
            The contributions and figures from the Eastern Orthodox tradition which are examined here all come after the fall of Constantinople and focus on Russian Orthodoxy as this was the major source of Orthodox theology for most of the period leading up to modernity. The first man of note is St. Innocent of Alaska (1797-1879) who was commissioned by the Academy of Kazan to increase missionary presence there.[1] Specifically, this married priest was sent to the Aleut people and was so enthralled with their way of life that he strove to learn the language and translate the Bible into Unagan which was the primary Aleutian dialect. In 1838 he lost his wife and after taking the vows of a monk was made Bishop of a rather large area which included the Aleutian Islands, the Kamchatka Peninsula and more. Eventually he became the head of the Moscow Synod in 1868.[2]
            The many achievements of St. Innocent, while impressive in themselves, must be seen as part of a larger movement towards a simple and grounded faith. This movement was largely catalyzed by the publication of a book entitled Philokalia, translated as “the love of beauty”. This text was essentially a compilation of Eastern mystical texts that helped bring ascetic life back into vivacity in the Orthodox tradition. In order to get a quick look at how this movement developed, one can merely observe the growth from 452 functioning Orthodox monasteries in 1812 to 1045 monasteries in 1914.[3] This movement was also heavily founded on the Hesychist tradition which, as defended by St. Gregory Palamas in the 14th century, is founded on a mystical notion of returning to oneself with the understanding that the Spirit of God is indwelling in the person. This largely gave theological worth back to the carnal parts of a human and made practical ministry vital to Christian living and thus Orthodox Christianity.[4]
            Along those same lines, Eastern Orthodox theology became more clearly articulated in contrast to the rival Protestant and Catholic explanations. The uniqueness of Orthodoxy is in the primary understanding that ecclesial function should begin with the Eucharist – that is, worship – and the ascetic tradition. The former of these two foundational points included traditional liturgy and the latter contained the elevation of the lay-theologian.[5] Along with the lay-theologians who were responsible for many road-side chapels which were constructed in this period, there was also an influx in ascetic spiritual leaders known as Startsi which translates as “old man”. Rarely receiving a formal education or ordination, these confessor-counselor-wise men were theologically on par with Catholicism’s ordained theologians.[6] These spiritual leaders in combination with the Hesychist influence and missions work such as that accomplished by St. Innocent all gave Eastern Orthodoxy a large measure of substantiality and longevity in practical Christian living.
A Balanced Theology
            The second man to be mentioned  is Alexis Khomyakov (1804-1860) who, as a Slavophile under Tsar Nicholas I strove alongside his companion Ivan Kireyevsky to establish Eastern Orthodox as the middle ground between Protestant and Roman Catholic extremes.[7] Part of this effort was motivated by Nicholas’ views of Russian Orthodoxy as a defense against “westernizing”. Khomyakov’s basic thesis, then, was that Orthodoxy already held within its theology the freedom which many turned to Protestantism for as well as the unity in the church which Roman Catholicism was known for.[8] This both/and position essentially set the stage for later developments in ecumenical theology which was more than a cheap truce among traditions and more than a mere defining of lines which are not to be crossed.[9] Instead, the work of Khomyakov and company was to reread history in light of the many different perspectives of Christianity and to try and renew Orthodoxy as valuable to the rest of the Christian tradition.
Concluding Thoughts
            The Eastern Orthodox tradition is often overlooked by westerners and, in light of all that has been written here, it seems that this should not be so. The church today is in the middle of evolving into whatever it will be next and as we progress in a world that is incredibly secular, it may be advantageous to look to how the Russian Orthodox tradition maintained its distinctness in the midst of a changing world. With a commitment to traditional worship and personal piety, the Orthodox Church has largely succeeded in being a good representation of Christian community in the spiritual heritage of Christianity. The next generation of leaders in the 21st century would do well to give this tradition its well-deserved attention for the sake of the future Church.

Ferguson, Everett, John D. Woodbridge, and Frank A. James. "The Russian Empire and the Russian Orthodox Church." In Church History: The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual, and Political Context, 663-64.
González, Justo L. From the Protestant Reformation to the Twentieth Century. Nashville: Abingdon Pr., 1987.
Hart, David Bentley. The Story of Christianity: An Illustrated History of 2000 Years of the Christian Faith. London: Quercus, 2007.
Janz, Denis, Richard A. Horsley, Virginia Burrus, Derek Krueger, Daniel Ethan Bornstein, Peter Matheson, Amanda Porterfield, and Mary Farrell Bednarowski. "Orthodoxy Under Communism." In A People's History of Christianity, 132-36.
Kärkkäinen, Veli-Matti. One with God: Salvation as Deification and Justification. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2004.
Meyendorff, John. St. Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Spirituality. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1974.
Zizioulas, Jean, and Douglas H. Knight. Lectures in Christian Dogmatics. London: T & T Clark, 2008.

[1] Ferguson, Everett, John D. Woodbridge, and Frank A. James. "The Russian Empire and the Russian Orthodox Church." In Church History: The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual, and Political Context, 663-64.
[2] Hart, David Bentley. The Story of Christianity: An Illustrated History of 2000 Years of the Christian Faith. London: Quercus, 2007. 219-220.
[3] Ferguson, Everett, John D. Woodbridge, and Frank A. James. "The Russian Empire and the Russian Orthodox Church." In Church History: The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual, and Political Context, 663-64.
[4] Meyendorff, John. St. Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Spirituality. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1974.106-108.
[5] Zizioulas, Jean, and Douglas H. Knight. Lectures in Christian Dogmatics. London: T & T Clark, 2008. 120-126.
[6] Janz, Denis, Richard A. Horsley, Virginia Burrus, Derek Krueger, Daniel Ethan Bornstein, Peter Matheson, Amanda Porterfield, and Mary Farrell Bednarowski. "Orthodoxy Under Communism." In A People's History of Christianity, 132-36.
[7] Ferguson, Everett, John D. Woodbridge, and Frank A. James. "The Russian Empire and the Russian Orthodox Church." In Church History: The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual, and Political Context, 663-64.
[8] González, Justo L. From the Protestant Reformation to the Twentieth Century. Nashville: Abingdon Pr., 1987. 424-425.
[9] Kärkkäinen, Veli-Matti. One with God: Salvation as Deification and Justification. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2004. 7-9.