Becoming un-Baptist Part 7: Becoming Orthodox
At the end of my theological journey, I found myself facing two choices: Roman Catholicism or Orthodoxy. I bumbled around and found myself listening to Ancient Faith Radio and Scott Hahn. I admit that Scott Hahn had some compelling arguments for Roman Catholicism. However, his most compelling arguments did not lead me to Rome. My study of Church History showed me that Rome had made some moves away from Biblical and Early Christian thought and practice. This then left me with one valid option: go to an Orthodox church.
So, I went to an Orthodox Church and shocked the local priest by telling him that my wife and I had come for the purpose of becoming Orthodox. The priest replied that we should start by coming to liturgy first for a few weeks, which we did. I had already reasoned my way to the conclusion that Orthodoxy was true and I needed to be a part of it.
The first thing I noticed was how much Scripture I encountered in the Liturgy. Not only that, but some exegetical work I had done in my earlier studies actually showed up in the liturgy, translated into English just as I had earlier argued that it should be translated. I was stunned. At the same, I found that reading the Fathers became less and less like I was reading a foreign text and more like I was reading someone who shared in the same things in which I was sharing. I did not feel the need to read the Fathers with an implicit distrust of their conclusions and methods as I once had done.
After my initial impressions, I realized something quite important; becoming Orthodox was not a mere rearranging of my mental assent about various points of doctrine or practice. It was an entrance into a way of life that was quite distinct from what I had experienced as a Protestant. I found myself with set fasting, which we practiced as a community. I entered into a worship that did not cater to my feelings, but was centered upon the worship of God.
Becoming Orthodox was also a significant shift in my world-view. One example of this is how I lost my Baptist Salvation Calculus Formula that allowed me to determine the state of another person’s salvation, and I found myself praying for God’s mercy upon others and upon myself. I began to practically understand that God is the Judge and that I will be judged along with everyone else.
I would like to say that since becoming Orthodox, I have purged myself from all sin and am a resplendent example of how all others should be. Such is decidedly not the case. I managed to maintain all my personal flaws. However, I have entered into an ancient (yet new to me) way of living as a Christian with a set and proven pattern for spiritual growth.
 The first thing that comes to my mind are the liturgical deviations which have come to pass since Vatican 2. To these I would add the addition of the Filioque to the Nicene Creed, forced clerical celibacy, the ability to merit God’s grace, and Papal Supremacy.
 In particular the passage from James 1:17. The ESV reads “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” I argued that the text ought to be translated as: “All good giving and every perfect gift…” Then to my amazement, the priest comes out and states exactly what the Greek actually states!