Special Issue "Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism: Contemporary Issues in Global Perspective"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Theologies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2021) | Viewed by 19682

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A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Bradley Nassif
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, North Park University, Chicago, IL 60625, USA; Antiochian Orthodox Church
Interests: Orthodox and Evangelical relations; Orthodox history, theology and spirituality; New Testament and patristic exegesis
Dr. Tim Grass
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Facilitator of Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative and Senior Research Fellow at Spurgeon’s College, London SE25 6DJ, UK
Interests: modern religious history (currently including Evangelical-Orthodox interactions; the Plymouth Brethren and their missions; history of the Catholic Apostolic Church; history of the reformation on the Isle of Man)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues:

Since the 1990s, the Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Evangelical communities have had more direct contacts with each other than at any other time.  This special issue will focus on current developments and issues in specific regions of the world.

With the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, Western missionaries began flooding the former Soviet Union, Romania and other Eastern European block countries, often without consultation with existing Evangelical communities in those countries. Partly in response to this wave of Evangelical missions, a new paradigm of ecumenical relations emerged among professional theologians in America when the Society for the Study of Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism (SSEOE) was formed in 1990.  Comparative theology, spirituality and missions formed the focus of the organization whose archives are now housed in Asbury Theological Seminary.  In 1997, the World Council of Churches (WCC) began its first series of international dialogues between the Orthodox and Evangelical communities over concerns regarding Evangelical proselytism in Russia and Eastern Europe but also shared concerns regarding perceived theological trends within the WCC itself. Publications include Proclaiming Christ Today: Orthodox-Evangelical Consultation (1995); and Turn to God, Rejoice in Hope (1998).  From 2000-2006, a second series of seminars resulted in the publication of Building Bridges: Between the Orthodox and Evangelical Traditions (2012). Theological and missiological subjects were explored, but financial constraints eventually ended these gatherings. In 2001, the Evangelical Alliance in the UK published Evangelicalism and the Orthodox Church. It was produced by a group of Evangelical and Orthodox theologians whose goal was to lay a foundation for mutual understanding by comparing and contrasting Orthodox and Evangelical beliefs and practices.  Since then, the main ongoing exchange between Orthodox and Evangelicals has been that initiated in 2010 by leaders within the Lausanne Movement and the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox churches, which resulted in the formation of the Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative.  Unlike other dialogues, this focuses on exploring how the two traditions can cooperate in the mission of God. A selection of past presentations appears in The Mission of God: Studies in Orthodox and Evangelical Mission (2015).  However, in spite of all the work that has been done, there remains scope for further scholarly investigation; for example, few regional studies have examined areas outside the Anglophone world, or the political and legal aspects of relationships between these traditions.

The aim of this volume is to assemble a collection of scholarly essays on current issues and/or developments in Orthodox-Evangelical relations, at both global and national levels, which will inform ongoing dialogue.  Essays may evaluate regional meetings, discuss the history of relationships, or consider current missiological challenges, political and legal issues, comparative theology or other topics.  They may focus on (but are not limited to) relations in Russia, Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East, Africa, North America, Australia and Greece.  Sensitivity to the nuances of difference between Eastern and Western Evangelicals and Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox communities is especially welcome.  The suggested length of essays is between 3,000-6,000 words, but this is flexible.

Dr. Bradley Nassif
Dr. Tim Grass
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • orthodox
  • evangelical
  • dialogue
  • mission
  • theology
  • history
  • spirituality
  • hermeneutics

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Research

Article
Abandoning Penal Substitution: A Patristic Inspiration for Contemporary Protestant Understanding of the Atonement
Religions 2021, 12(9), 785; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090785 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 931
Abstract
In recent decades, there has been a resurgent interest among Protestant theologians in the so-called Christus Victor theory of the atonement. Firmly grounded in patristic thought (esp. Irenaeus of Lyons), this understanding of the work of Christ was first studied and formulated by [...] Read more.
In recent decades, there has been a resurgent interest among Protestant theologians in the so-called Christus Victor theory of the atonement. Firmly grounded in patristic thought (esp. Irenaeus of Lyons), this understanding of the work of Christ was first studied and formulated by a Swedish Lutheran, Gustaf Aulén, in 1931. Recent works by Darby Kathleen Ray, J. Denny Weaver, Thomas Finger, Gregory Boyd, and others develop Aulén’s endeavor and present new versions of the Christus Victor model. These scholars directly or indirectly demonstrate that the main framework of the patristic understanding of atonement was more faithful to Scripture and less problematic in terms of dogma and ethics than the traditional Protestant penal substitution theory. A short analysis of contemporary versions of the Christus Victor motif shows that this model of atonement proves to be more relevant in responding to the challenges of today’s world by providing substantial background for Christian spiritual life and ethics. Full article
Article
From the Ivory Tower to the Grass Roots: Ending Orthodox Oppression of Evangelicals, and Beginning Grassroots Fellowship
Religions 2021, 12(8), 601; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12080601 - 04 Aug 2021
Viewed by 997
Abstract
When considering the relationship between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Evangelical Church, can we both celebrate progress towards unity, while acknowledging where growth must still occur? Dr. George Hancock-Stefan, who fled the oppressive communist regime of Yugoslavia with the rest of his [...] Read more.
When considering the relationship between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Evangelical Church, can we both celebrate progress towards unity, while acknowledging where growth must still occur? Dr. George Hancock-Stefan, who fled the oppressive communist regime of Yugoslavia with the rest of his Baptist family, now frequently returns to Eastern Europe to explore topics of modern theology. During these travels, he has recognized a concerning trend: the religious unity and interfaith fellowship celebrated in Western academia does not reach the Eastern European local level. This is primarily due to the fact that Orthodoxy is a top to bottom institution, and nothing happens at the local level unless approved by the top. This lack of religious unity and cooperation at the local level is also due to the fact that the Eastern Orthodox Church claims a national Christian monopoly and the presence of Evangelicals is considered an invasion. In this article, Dr. Hancock-Stefan unpacks the history of the spiritual revivals that took place in various Eastern Orthodox Churches in the 19th–20th centuries, as well as the policies established by the national patriarchs after the fall of communism that are now jeopardizing the relationship between Orthodox and Evangelicals. By addressing this friction with candor and Christian love, this article pleads for the Orthodox Church to relinquish its monopoly and hopes that both Orthodox and Evangelicals will start considering each other to be brothers and sisters in Christ. Full article
Article
Rediscovering a Biblical and Early Patristic View of Atonement through Orthodox–Evangelical Dialogue
Religions 2021, 12(7), 543; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12070543 - 16 Jul 2021
Viewed by 2232
Abstract
One of the most effective ways to discover (or rediscover) truth is through dialogue. I believe that both Orthodox and Evangelicals have something important to offer for a reconstruction of a holistic biblical concept of atonement. Orthodox theology has an important perspective to [...] Read more.
One of the most effective ways to discover (or rediscover) truth is through dialogue. I believe that both Orthodox and Evangelicals have something important to offer for a reconstruction of a holistic biblical concept of atonement. Orthodox theology has an important perspective to offer, which is not well-known in Western theology—an ontological perspective on atonement. However, Orthodox theologians have lacked assertiveness, clarity, and comprehensiveness in their presentation of this view, especially in connection with biblical texts. In Protestant theology, we can find many critiques of inadequate existing views as well as in-depth biblical study of separate atonement ideas, but what is lacking is a holistic concept of atonement that would be able to harmoniously integrate various biblical atonement metaphors and also faithfully reflect the early patristic view. I believe that an ontological perspective on atonement combined with the integration of key biblical atonement ideas and metaphors can bring us back to the heart of the apostolic and early church gospel message. Several issues have hindered accomplishing such a project in the past. I will point to these problems and show some possible solutions. Finally, I will present the ontological perspective and show how it can integrate various biblical atonement metaphors. Full article
Article
Renewing the Narrative of the Age to Come: The Kingdom of God in NT Wright and John Zizioulas
Religions 2021, 12(7), 514; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12070514 - 08 Jul 2021
Viewed by 874
Abstract
This paper makes use of leading New Testament scholar NT Wright’s presentation of the biblical understanding of the kingdom to assess—on the basis of Orthodox Christian theologian John Zizioulas’ own critique—the Orthodox liturgical enactment of the kingdom and age to come. We will [...] Read more.
This paper makes use of leading New Testament scholar NT Wright’s presentation of the biblical understanding of the kingdom to assess—on the basis of Orthodox Christian theologian John Zizioulas’ own critique—the Orthodox liturgical enactment of the kingdom and age to come. We will explore how Wright and Zizioulas describe the principles of a properly kingdom-oriented worship. Finally, we will examine Wright’s critical realism as a potential model for understanding how enacting the age to come in worship could shape the kingdom narrative of its participants. Thus, while Wright’s immediate goal in his engagement of the theme of the kingdom of God may be to correct a longstanding misreading of the New Testament, his teaching ultimately enables us to propose a way of accomplishing Zizioulas’ hope of renewing the full narrative of the age to come in Orthodox worship. Full article
Article
Monasticism—Then and Now
Religions 2021, 12(7), 510; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12070510 - 08 Jul 2021
Viewed by 854
Abstract
The monastic tradition has its roots in the New Testament practices of withdrawing into the desert, following a celibate lifestyle and disciplines of fasting. After the empire became Christian in the 4th century these ascetic disciplines evolved into monastic communities. While these took [...] Read more.
The monastic tradition has its roots in the New Testament practices of withdrawing into the desert, following a celibate lifestyle and disciplines of fasting. After the empire became Christian in the 4th century these ascetic disciplines evolved into monastic communities. While these took various forms, they developed a shared literature, gained a recognised place in the church, while taking different ways of life in the various settings in the life of the church. Western and Eastern traditions of monastic life developed their own styles of life. However, these should be recognised as being formed by and belonging to the same tradition, and showing how it can adapt to specific social and ecclesiastical conditions. In the modern world, this monastic way of life continues to bring renewal to the church in the ‘new monasticism’ which adapts traditional monastic practices to contemporary life. New monastic communities engage in evangelism, serve and identify with the marginalised, offer hospitality, and commit themselves to follow rules of life and prayer. Their radical forms of discipleship and obedience to the gospel place them clearly within the continuing monastic tradition. Full article
Article
Together toward Christ: Comparing Orthodox and Wesleyan Positions on Evangelism
Religions 2021, 12(7), 495; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12070495 - 02 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1092
Abstract
Inspired by the events of the 2018 consultation of the Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative, this brief article seeks to pare down the broader question of “greater Christian unity” within the North American sphere to a more digestible, specific, practical question: How do Wesleyan and Orthodox [...] Read more.
Inspired by the events of the 2018 consultation of the Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative, this brief article seeks to pare down the broader question of “greater Christian unity” within the North American sphere to a more digestible, specific, practical question: How do Wesleyan and Orthodox positions on evangelism compare? This question is examined by describing the Wesleyan and Orthodox views of evangelism, delineating some key similarities and differences, and proposing a way forward for Wesleyans and Orthodox, together toward Christ. Full article
Article
Spiritual Synchronicity: Icon Veneration in Evangelical and Orthodox Religious Practices in the 21st Century
Religions 2021, 12(7), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12070463 - 24 Jun 2021
Viewed by 852
Abstract
Much scholarship in the dialogue between evangelical and Orthodox believers focuses on doctrinal compatibility. This article contributes to that literature by giving an example of a spiritual practice (icon veneration) that creates additional space for ecumenical dialogue and unity. Some US-evangelicals in the [...] Read more.
Much scholarship in the dialogue between evangelical and Orthodox believers focuses on doctrinal compatibility. This article contributes to that literature by giving an example of a spiritual practice (icon veneration) that creates additional space for ecumenical dialogue and unity. Some US-evangelicals in the 21st century have incorporated the use of icons into their personal faith practices. Icon veneration is ripe with ecumenical potential for evangelical–Orthodox relations because of its prominence in Orthodox communions while at the same time appealing to a growing number of evangelicals. This article considers three sites of evangelical icon use in turn: the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia (EBCG), Icons of Black Saints, and an evangelical ministry called “Heart of the Artist”. Each site adopts a slightly unique understanding of icons that may appeal to evangelical believers. Although Orthodox and evangelical believers may understand theologies of icon veneration differently, the emergence of icon veneration among evangelicals remains a spiritual synchronicity, and ought to be recognized as such. Evangelicals continue to receive the gift of icon veneration from their Orthodox siblings in ways in line with the EBCG, Black Orthodox icons, and Heart of the Artist, so icon veneration has potential to further resource ecumenical dialogue. Full article
Article
Ecumenical Convergences: Romanian Evangelicals Exploring Orthodoxy
Religions 2021, 12(6), 398; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060398 - 31 May 2021
Viewed by 1209
Abstract
Historically, in Romania, the relations between the Romanian Orthodox Church and the evangelical communities have been characterized by tension and mutual distrust. That is why, unfortunately, there has been no official dialogue between the two communities so far. The present article investigates the [...] Read more.
Historically, in Romania, the relations between the Romanian Orthodox Church and the evangelical communities have been characterized by tension and mutual distrust. That is why, unfortunately, there has been no official dialogue between the two communities so far. The present article investigates the theoretical possibility for such an ecumenical dialogue to occur by analysing the contributions of several evangelical theologians who published research studies on theological topics specific to Eastern orthodox theology. Their positions were analysed from the perspective of an inclusive theology which allowed us to identify some common themes for both traditions: the authority in interpreting the Scriptures, salvation as a process, and the Church understood through the application of a perichoretic model. All these convergent themes could constitute the basis for a future official ecumenical dialogue between the evangelicals and the orthodox from Romania. Full article
Article
Spiritual Well-Being of Russian Orthodox and Evangelical Christians: Denominational Features
Religions 2021, 12(6), 392; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060392 - 28 May 2021
Viewed by 1259
Abstract
Till the early 2000s, the Russian “religious renaissance” caused by the collapse of the USSR had been characterized by the rapid growth of religiosity. However, these spiritual changes had been occurring within the Russian Orthodox church and among Evangelical Christians in different manners. [...] Read more.
Till the early 2000s, the Russian “religious renaissance” caused by the collapse of the USSR had been characterized by the rapid growth of religiosity. However, these spiritual changes had been occurring within the Russian Orthodox church and among Evangelical Christians in different manners. Evangelical communities are still relatively small; however their members are highly devoted to their traditions. Meanwhile, Orthodox religiosity is primarily characterized by the nominal self-identification of believers and relatively low level of religious practices’ intensity. The article presents the study results (2017–2019) of the spiritual well-being of Orthodox and Evangelical Christians and its basic confessional and social determinants. The results demonstrate a strong correlation between the enchurchment level and the spiritual well-being level. The authors place particular emphasis on the role of religious coping that determines subjective well-being. The analysis confirmed that the positive ways of religious coping are determined by the regularity of religious practices and the believers’ social capital. We interpret the peculiarities of Orthodox and Evangelicals’ spiritual well-being in the light of differences between their church life’s arrangements which are defined by the believers’ practical religiosity and social capital. Full article
Article
Charismatic Reformer, Mystic or Father? The Reception of Symeon the New Theologian by Pentecostal/Charismatic Theologians
Religions 2021, 12(6), 389; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060389 - 27 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 828
Abstract
The last three decades have seen a renewed interest on the part of Evangelical scholars in patristic studies. Recently, theologians of the Pentecostal/Charismatic tradition have started to examine the works of Saint Symeon the New Theologian. The latter’s emphasis on personal experience of [...] Read more.
The last three decades have seen a renewed interest on the part of Evangelical scholars in patristic studies. Recently, theologians of the Pentecostal/Charismatic tradition have started to examine the works of Saint Symeon the New Theologian. The latter’s emphasis on personal experience of the Holy Spirit and Christification provides a fertile ground for encounter between Orthodox and Pentecostal/Charismatic scholars. Recent Pentecostal/Charismatic scholarship on Symeon is reviewed in the light of contemporary Orthodox scholarship. Four key moments in Symeon’s teaching on asceticism are presented in response to two Pentecostal/Charismatic theologians. Full article
Article
Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism: An Overview of Their Relationship from the Perspective of Moral Values
Religions 2021, 12(6), 383; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060383 - 26 May 2021
Viewed by 1090
Abstract
Orthodox–Evangelical relationships are dominated by proselytism (at least in Eastern Europe and in the former Soviet Union). This is understood as church conversion practiced through unfair means among people who are already Christians, belonging to so-called “historical churches.” However, beyond it, there is [...] Read more.
Orthodox–Evangelical relationships are dominated by proselytism (at least in Eastern Europe and in the former Soviet Union). This is understood as church conversion practiced through unfair means among people who are already Christians, belonging to so-called “historical churches.” However, beyond it, there is a real potential for cooperation using moral values as a starting point. As there is an increasing disagreement between the Orthodox and mainline Protestant on moral values, the Orthodox and Evangelicals might increase their cooperation as they witness traditional values of Christianity. This kind of cooperation might be partially contextual, but it is based on Biblicism, which both Orthodox and Evangelicals share as a core value. As this cooperation, based on shared moral values, certainly has real potential, and has to be used for the good of Christianity, it might also have its limitations. Orthodox Christians and Evangelicals have shared common moral values, but each one of them might interpret the content of these values differently. One of the differences in interpreting and explaining the content of moral values might be given by the different interpretations of what is called church tradition. Full article
Article
Remnant and the New Dark Age
Religions 2021, 12(6), 372; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060372 - 21 May 2021
Viewed by 860
Abstract
A new dark age has come upon us; as a result, Christianity and its churches in North America are no longer growing. One reason for this might be the widespread impression that Christians are hypocrites, saying they believe one thing while doing the [...] Read more.
A new dark age has come upon us; as a result, Christianity and its churches in North America are no longer growing. One reason for this might be the widespread impression that Christians are hypocrites, saying they believe one thing while doing the opposite. However, that accusation would only be true if these believers actually believed the principles they are supposed to be violating. It is more likely that many Christians have, like those around them, abandoned truth in favor of personal opinion bringing moral discourse to a near standstill and intensifying the darkness by extinguishing the light of truth. Still, there is hope. In the past, it often was a faithful few, a remnant, who preserved the knowledge of that light and facilitated a new dawn. History shows us that the very movements that are today abdicating responsibility were once spiritual survivors themselves. They withdrew, coalesced around the remaining spark of truth in order to remember, preserve, and reignite. The thoughts and practices of these pioneers could guide the escape from today’s darkness. Full article
Article
Mariology, Anthropology, Synergy and Grace: Why Is Luther So Far Apart from Cabasilas?
Religions 2021, 12(5), 343; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12050343 - 13 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 835
Abstract
The issue of “Mariology” is one that divides the Eastern Orthodox and the Evangelical Christians. In this paper we are approaching the issue through the juxtaposition and comparison of the three Mariological sermons of Nicholas Cabasilas, on the one hand, with Martin Luther’s [...] Read more.
The issue of “Mariology” is one that divides the Eastern Orthodox and the Evangelical Christians. In this paper we are approaching the issue through the juxtaposition and comparison of the three Mariological sermons of Nicholas Cabasilas, on the one hand, with Martin Luther’s Commentary on the Magnificat, on the other. The study of the two works side by side will bring to surface the theological presuppositions which explain the differences between the Eastern Orthodox and the Evangelical views. It will also help us identify some key points that need further discussion and clarification but also ways to reach a point of mutual agreement and understanding. Full article
Article
A Tentative Proposal to Use Orthodox Theological Relational Selfhood as an Alternative for Confucian-Influenced Chinese Evangelicals
Religions 2021, 12(5), 321; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12050321 - 01 May 2021
Viewed by 605
Abstract
Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Chinese evangelicals have rarely interacted. Even if it seems that Eastern Orthodox Christianity and its theology have hardly influenced Chinese evangelicals in the past, this article demonstrates the possibility that Orthodox theology can still indirectly transform Confucian-influenced Chinese evangelicals. [...] Read more.
Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Chinese evangelicals have rarely interacted. Even if it seems that Eastern Orthodox Christianity and its theology have hardly influenced Chinese evangelicals in the past, this article demonstrates the possibility that Orthodox theology can still indirectly transform Confucian-influenced Chinese evangelicals. Moltmann, a great contemporary Protestant theologian, is influenced deeply by Stăniloae, a great modern Eastern Orthodox theologian, particularly in the development of social trinitarian theology in Eastern Orthodox heritage. Moltmann argues that social trinitarian anthropology can prevent the social and individual problems appeared in the societies shaped by either individualism or collectivism. Selfhood is one academic language used to discuss this relationship between the self and society. Despite modernization and westernization, contemporary Chinese people are still deeply influenced by Confucian models of relational selfhood. Even for Chinese evangelicals who had converted years ago, their way of thinking and behavior might be as much Confucian as biblical. The Confucian-influenced collectivist mindset may lead to problematic selfhood and more challenging interpersonal relationships. This article uses Orthodox theology via Moltmann’s social trinitarian, Stăniloae-inspired approach to develop an alternative relational selfhood for contemporary Chinese Christians. Full article
Article
Discipleship in Oriental Orthodox and Evangelical Communities
Religions 2021, 12(5), 320; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12050320 - 30 Apr 2021
Viewed by 720
Abstract
In many countries with a strong Orthodox Christian presence there are tensions between Evangelicals and Orthodox Christians. These tensions are rooted in many theological, ecclesiological, and epistemological differences. In practice, one of the crucial causes of tension comes down to different practical understandings [...] Read more.
In many countries with a strong Orthodox Christian presence there are tensions between Evangelicals and Orthodox Christians. These tensions are rooted in many theological, ecclesiological, and epistemological differences. In practice, one of the crucial causes of tension comes down to different practical understandings of what a Christian disciple looks like. This paper examines key aspects of discipleship as expressed in revival movements in Orthodox Churches Egypt, India and Ethiopia which are connected to the challenges presented by the huge expansion of Evangelical Protestant mission from the nineteenth century. Key aspects will be evaluated in comparison with aspects that are understood to characterize disciples in Evangelical expressions, including: differing understandings of the sacraments and their place in the life of a disciple; ways in which different traditions engage with the Bible and related literary works; contrasting outlooks on discipleship as an individual and a community way of life; and differing understanding of spiritual disciplines. Full article
Article
Eco-Theology and Environmental Leadership in Orthodox and Evangelical Perspectives in Russia and Ukraine
Religions 2021, 12(5), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12050305 - 27 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1817
Abstract
Environmental leadership and eco-theology have not been a priority for Evangelical and Orthodox Christians in the countries of the former Soviet Union (particularly, Ukraine and Russia) due to various historical, political, social, and theological reasons. However, contemporary environmental global challenges suggest that both [...] Read more.
Environmental leadership and eco-theology have not been a priority for Evangelical and Orthodox Christians in the countries of the former Soviet Union (particularly, Ukraine and Russia) due to various historical, political, social, and theological reasons. However, contemporary environmental global challenges suggest that both Orthodox and Evangelical Christians should revisit their perspectives and efforts related to responsible stewardship by humankind of the earth and its life forms. This article presents the analysis of multiple forms of data (relevant Orthodox and Evangelical documents, specialized literature, and individual interviews/focus groups). We conducted individual interviews and focus groups with 101 Evangelical and 50 Orthodox Christians from Russia and Ukraine. Although the majority of interviewees agreed that the ecological crisis exists and should be addressed, only some of them admitted that they actively care for creation. While Orthodox Christians are more active in practical care for creation, Evangelicals have a stronger grasp of the biblical teaching concerning nature and humans’ responsibility for it. We argue that Evangelical and Orthodox Churches in Ukraine and Russia can learn from each other and impact their communities: engage minds, touch hearts, feed souls, and respond to environmental challenges as an expression of their faith and leadership. Full article
Article
When the Gap between Academic Theology and the Church Makes Possible the Orthodox–Evangelical Dialogue
Religions 2021, 12(4), 274; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040274 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 979
Abstract
In the church tradition, we find that the great theologians were also deeply involved in the life of the church as bishops, priests, or pastors who served the believers in their parishes, though, even at that time, practicing theology started to drift apart [...] Read more.
In the church tradition, we find that the great theologians were also deeply involved in the life of the church as bishops, priests, or pastors who served the believers in their parishes, though, even at that time, practicing theology started to drift apart from performing pastoral work. In Modernity, however, things began to change radically, especially with the development of theology as an academic discipline and even more so with the development of the profession of the theologian specializing in religious studies. This phenomenon penetrated Protestant churches in particular, but it is also found in Orthodoxy. In this study, we advance the hypothesis that, despite its negative connotation, the gap between academic theology and church life opens up the possibility of a promising dialogue between Evangelicals and the Orthodox in Romania. Especially in the last 30 years, theologians from both communities have interacted in the context of doctoral research, scientific conferences, and research projects, although the dialogue between church leaders and hierarchs is almost non-existent. We analyze whether this incipient theological dialogue could possibly create a bridge between the two communities and within them and between academia and the church. We believe that one of the best ways to reduce the distance between them is to build on the interest of the current generation of theologians from both churches in Biblical studies, in Patristic theology, and in the work of the Romanian theologian Dumitru Stăniloae. Full article
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