When reading My Orthodox Journey, I’m fascinated by the honesty and straight-forward attitude. Or maybe it is just that I see reflections of my own thinking there. Still, when he talks about claims of exclusivity, I find myself disagreeing. It is true that many conservative Orthodox claim that the Eastern church is the “one true church”. But it is just as true that not all orthodox (in fact, probably most) do not believe that. Maybe it is because I was exposed to the the Nicene Creed before I considered orthodoxy seriously, back when I was trying hard to be a Christian in the Reformed tradition. So I already understood “the one holy, catholic and apostolic” church to be the universal church — that is all Christians everywhere. Yes, people in the traditions I came from and people in the tradition I arrived in think that the Orthodox claim exclusivity and that the claim is a dogmatic one. But my teachers have taught me that there is very little Dogma in Orthodoxy. In fact, the dogma that there is consists of two items:
- God is triune: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
- Christ has two natures: Fully God and Fully Man.
So, when Edward Moore, in “Kerygma and Dogma” writes:
The problem is that Christians all-too-often speak of themselves and for themselves […] Theocratic bigotry is often the end result.
we see the problem of paying too much attention to small dogma and ignoring the proclamation (kerygma) to live out our response to God. I’m really not interested in deciding who is or is not in “serious error” when I have so many of my own sins to attend to.