Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How to Turn an Evangelical Protestant into an Orthodox Christian in Four Easy Steps

Clark Carlton, philosophy professor and author of the outstanding four-part introductory series on Orthodoxy published by Regina Orthodox Press

Of course, the title of this post is written totally tongue-in-cheek. I realize that no one will convert to the Orthodox faith unless the Holy Spirit first draws him or her.

Still, I am often asked, “What would be a good book to give to my friend /coworker /son /daughter /parent /cousin (etc.) who is asking me about Orthodoxy?” On other occasions, I have been asked, “I have read such and such book; what should I read next?”

Of course, many other priests’, writers,’ and thinkers’ recommendations would be somewhat (or perhaps totally) different from mine. Still, I thought that the reader might be interested in knowing the books that I personally recommend to evangelical inquirers, and the order in which I recommend that they read them. For more information on the books, see the previous two posts.

Step One: Becoming Orthodox, by Fr. Peter Gillquist
Step Two: Thirsting for God, by Matthew Gallatin
Step Three: The Way, by Clark Carlton
Step Four: Common Ground, by Fr. Jordan Bajis

In addition to the above steps, I would urge an inquirer to read through the Orthodox Study Bible (especially the New Testament), carefully reading the study notes and the explanatory articles that are sprinkled throughout the text.

For those who do not much care for reading, I recommend An Eastern Orthodox Response to Evangelical Claims by Fr. Paul O’Callaghan and the series of topical pamphlets published by Conciliar Press, especially the titles that I recommended in my last post

What about Roman Catholics?

For Roman Catholic inquirers, I recommend the following books:

Step One: Orthodoxy and Catholicism: What Are the Differences? by Fr. Ted Pulcini
Step Two: Popes and Patriarchs by Michael Whelton
Step Three: The Truth by Clark Carlton
Step Four: Common Ground

I pray that this list and the previous two will prove helpful to you. May the Lord bless you all.


Clint said...

Ha, it might be more like 437 easy steps...

I loved your list for protestants (I know so little about Roman Catholicism that I don't think I could comment on your list there with any sort of intelligence, but it looks good to me).

As to the Protestant list, I have read all four of those books and agree that they are fantastic. My own personal choice would be to put Matthew Gallatin's book first, but I couldn't really argue with you on your placement. (Not that I should). I think the first two are great for the "less-theological" crowd, while the second two fit the more intensely trained theologian. But all four are great for anyone.

All of that to say that I loved your list.

Mike said...

As a former Roman Catholic, I would also suggest two other books which did it for me - The Orthodox Way and The Orthodox Church by Kallistos Ware. The first one explained to me Eastern theology whereas the latter convinced me of the flaws in Roman Catholic ecclesiology (particularly Papal Supremacy, the bishops merely being lieutenants to the Pope, etc.)