The culture of the Eastern Church is alien to our experience. Yet the more we familiarize ourselves with the Eastern Church the more we recognize, for all the differences, the family resemblances. The family has been parted for a very long time. But chances have arisen to meet again and get to know one another. In recent years, Eastern Orthodoxy has emerged vividly on the radar of Western Christians — hitherto, it was largely ignored. The separation has been due to the long-term historical disruption caused by differences in language, outlook and theology and eventually by the depredations of Islam. Because of these East and West went their separate ways. As a result, the respective theologies appear at times to inhabit parallel universes. However, this ignorance is changing. Eastern Orthodoxy is increasingly popular in the Anglo-Saxon world. It conveys a sense of mystery, of continuity with the past, of dignified worship at a time when evangelical Protestantism is increasingly cheapened and trivialized. This book examines the history and theology of Orthodoxy from a Reformed perspective. There are clear and significant areas of agreement — a common allegiance to the triune God; the person of Christ; the authority of Scripture and the truth of the gospel. At the same time there are many areas of disagreement, where it seems that Orthodoxy and Protestantism are at odds. However, there are also misunderstandings on both sides, where proponents of either position are not normally dealing accurately with what the other holds to be true. In drawing attention to the agreements and misunderstandings Robert Letham trusts that readers may come to a better understanding of exactly where the real differences lie. We can learn from Orthodoxy — if our assumption is that the most important thing is to grow in our knowledge of Christ.
Robert Letham teaches Systematic Theology at the Wales Evangelical School of Theology (formerly ECTW). Previously he was Pastor of Emmanuel Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, Delaware. He has taught at London Bible College, is Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia and Visiting Professor at Reformed Theological Seminary.