Eastern Orthodoxy Through Uneducated Eyes

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Eastern Orthodoxy Through Uneducated Eyes
A Review of Donald Fairbairn's "Eastern Orthodoxy Through Western Eyes"

"Our calling is not to blaze a trail, for Christ has done that for us. Rather, our task is to join the many who have walked and are walking the path, to follow the footprints leading to eternity and to God."

-Donald Fairbairn

In Donald Fairbairn's "Eastern Orthodoxy Through Western Eyes", Fairbairn takes the basic beliefs of Orthodoxy and explains them from a Western point of view. It's evident that this book was written for those of the Protestant faith due to the language used and the issues they address. Although he describes the theology correctly, his interpretation of what the theology means and what it means to Orthodox Christians is inaccurate and almost offensive. Fairbairn decided to break the book into three parts so that he could properly explain Orthodoxy with a Western perspective. In the first part, Fairbairn explains where the source of the Orthodox Vision comes from. He claims that the source is Tradition. He talks about the tradition of the church and how we express said tradition. In the second part of the book he talks about the heart of the Orthodox Vision, which he asserts is the Union with God. He delves into basic theology and explains salvation and humanity in a way that "Westerners" can understand. I think he accurately reports on the basic Orthodox Theology and he writes in such a way that those who are uneducated on this matter can easily comprehend. The third section of this book, which is titled "The Orthodox Vision and Its Distortions", Fairbairn talks about "Popular Orthodoxy" and actions and views that Orthodox faithful do that are incorrect (i.e. the emphasis on the Saints etc.). In my opinion Fairbairn takes this opportunity to criticize Orthodoxy and point out some major faults that the Orthodox faithful have. He states that the church is "Triumphalistic" and does not have any tolerance...
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