Orthodox Christian Theology

A layman's understanding of the will of God in the Christian life, from the perspective of an Orthodox Christian.

About Me

A picture of my wife and me.
A picture of my wife and me.

I am just a run-of-the-mill Bible-reading, church attending layman. My wife and I were married at First Presbyterian Church in Schenectady, NY and spent years as members of Red Mills Baptist Church in Mahopac, NY. Recently, we converted to Eastern Orthodoxy and attend a parish in Syracuse, NY.

My initial aim for this blog was for my readers to be better introduced to reformed theology and the Gospel. Now that we converted to Orthodoxy, the emphasis of the blog has changed to evangelism to Protestants (to convert) and explaining Protestant positions to Orthodox. I am shy of writing anything to overtly critical or substantial otherwise as I am a new convert and I think it be wise to wait a while.

Most of my writing experience pertains to writing technical articles in the auto repair industry. My sole scholarly contribution was published by the Philosophy East West Journal and is called “Al-Ghazali and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola on the Question of Human Freedom and the Chain of Being.” Presently I work in the civil service and my wife as an engineer. Most importantly, we both love the Lord!

30 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Hey, Craig. Listen, I’ve been having some trouble sleeping recently. Could you send me a copy of that East West Journal article? lol
    Love you, brother.

  2. Hi I saw you post at Shameless Popery yesterday and came to your blog to see what you were interested in. I blog at Nick’s Catholic Blog where I “specialize” in addressing Reformed Theology (with an emphasis on the Book of Romans), and I think you might be interested in some of what I’ve written. I believe the issue between Protestants and Catholics comes down to Paul’s teaching on Justification, with everything else being of secondary importance. I have written a lot on the Biblical definition of Justification, Righteousness, “Clothed” with Christ, Penal Substitution, Imputation (Logizomai, look it up if you haven’t!), and Active Obedience. I stick to Romans and Galatians as much as possible.

  3. Hello Craig,

    Sorry I didn’t get back to this earlier. I’ve been very busy with life and for some reason WordPress hasn’t been sending me updates telling me new comments have been posted, so I didn’t know unitl I just checked. Now as I try to respond here, it wont let me post links.

    My blog is CatholicNick at Blogspot, and should be an easy Google Search. I cover key texts like 2 Cor 5:21, Rom 4:3, 4:6, etc, and show how Sola Fide is impossible on an exegetical level.

      1. Hmm, I guess the comment did go through and it looks like you found my blog.

        If I had to point to my absolute favorite article I would point to “A Study on Imputation of Righteousness.” It’s somewhat long though, but that’s because I document about 50 Reformed Scholars who completely err on a key Greek term “Logiomai”.

        Also my “Romans 4:6-8 crushes Calvinism” (June 5, 2013) is a go-to apologetic for me.

        Finally, as to not over load you with reading, I’d simply suggest “Is Imputation taught in 2 Corinthians 5:21?”

        I’ll comment on your Penal Substitution post you made last month.

      2. Give me some time on that, I have been teaching through Job and it has been taking away from even time I have to post my commentary of Romans (which is already finished!) Keep up on me 🙂

  4. Hey Craig,

    My name is John and I’m actually a follower of Joe’s blog at ShamelessPopery, and I see you commenting there rather frequently.

    I just wanted to commend you on your patience and respectfulness, as well as your intellectual honesty, when you dialogue there. A true demonstration of Christian charity! “Love is patient, love is kind…” I see that not all the Catholics who comment there give you the same courtesy (not speaking of Joe himself), and I think that’s their own problem.

    In my own subjective experience, I’ve seen so much online discussions where people from both sides just yell religion at each other, being both passionate and ill informed. Thanks for being a breath of fresh air. I wish there were more people like you. It would make discussing our differences so much more edifying.

    Keep up the good work and God bless you.


    1. Thank you for the kind words, I am not always such a great example of what you write of but thank you for letting me know that men like you have an eye on me 🙂 Christians must be known by how they love one another.

      God bless,

  5. Hi Crqig,
    I was wondering if you had studied/read about when the change took place in regards to “representing Christ” during the Eucharist? My understanding, limited to scant gleanings from a few websites, is that the change took place mid to late 4th cent., but I have not been able to confirm this with any certainty. The Eucharistic Sacrifice, from what I understand, in the early church was limited to receiving Christ’s finished work on the cross and offering praise, thanks, and oneself, not Christ. Any information and sources you may have would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Thanks for the question. In short, the idea that the Eucharist had a propitiary effect has its earliest support in the antiochene liturgies. See https://christianreformedtheology.com/2015/11/16/development-of-the-term-unbloody-sacrifice-in-the-antiochene-rites-early-liturgies/ The earliest of these liturgies is probably from the early fifth century. The Liturgy of Saint Chrysostom, which is probably from the 5th or even 6th century, is the earliest I have found with the notion of the Eucharist forgiving sins.

      However, early CHristians did believe that they literally received Christ in the Eucharist. Both Justin Martyr and Ireneaeus were explicit about this fact, Ignatius debatably so.

      God bless,

  6. Hi Craig, I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now. I just read that you aren’t a Protestant anymore and that your are a catechumen for the Orthodox Church. Do you have any article in which you explain your change of mind/testimony? I currently am a Protestant but leading towards Catholicism. There are still some things that are keeping me from converting (such as family) but I see my conversion in a future.

    Regarding Orthodoxy, do you have any particular book suggestion? Mainly on its doctrine and history. I’d like to know your reasons for converting to Orthodoxy and not Catholicism.

    Hope you have a great day,

    God bless.

    1. There are not a lot of “great” Orthodox books vis a vis Roman Catholicism . The best all around treatment I have seen is “Light from the Christian East: An Introduction to the Orthodox Tradition” written by a Lutheran scholar. As for why Orthodoxy and not Catholicism my reasoning is two fold. First, I find that Orthodox soteriology is much more explicit Biblically and traditionally than the highly merit-based Catholic system. Second, Roman Ecclesiology is historically a minority, and peculiarly Roman view (big surprise.) It was never an ecclesiology adopted by the East and it was specifically rejected as early as Cyprian, and emphatically so. Please stick around as I will be having articles on this subject coming up, though my contributions will hardly be the best work ever done on it.

      I did a Sola Scriptura debate with Matt P., a Catholic, and I think the weakness of the Roman position is very clear. In the debate I do not argue the Protestant view of sola scriptura, but rather against the Roman view of authority (Roman Supremacy.) Personally, though I love him and owe my conversion to his efforts, I think Matt’s arguments are weak–ultimately minority Scriptural exegesis and well wishing. Hardly a compelling view if we want to adopt the historical mode of understanding the Christian religion that Christians have always understood.

      Please stay in touch,

      God bless,

      1. Hello, Craig. After almost three years investigating the claims of Catholicism, I am becoming, God willing, an Eastern Orthodox soon. I’m flying back to my home country after living in Dallas for five years, getting my degree in theology, getting married and having a daughter. I’m just writing to let you know that your writings have helped me a lot. If you’d like to know more about me, I can message you on Facebook, if that’s ok with. I’ve decided to keep my identity anonymous on public sites. God bless.

  7. Craig, a valid priest can absolve us from our sins. This is simply wonderful, the good news! As you prepare to approach the Eucharist, I hope that you do not come as an anti-catholic, or anti-anything. Our mother Maria can help you in your discernment, catholic or orthodox. There is no better help. She is the mother of all baptized – ask her. There is a book by Saint Louis De Montfort on true devotion to Mary. I hope it is helpful to you. In the end, going to confession and being absolved from sins is what matters. God bless you!

  8. Craig, I am thankful for your blog. It is helping me mentally reconcile some of the conflicts I am having between my decision to pursue joining the Eastern Orthodox Church and my own sympathies to the Reformed tradition. I do have a question. How do you reconcile your own legacy Reformed beliefs (such as limited atonement, predestination, unconditional election, basically TULIP, etc.) with the Confession of Dositheos?

  9. Hi Craig! 🙂 This is Annalia Fiore from RMBC. I’m leading a presentation on Theodicy in the Brothers Karamazov, and I was wondering if you knew of any early church/patristic writings on the subject? 🙂 I hope you and Knoch are doing well.

    1. Annalia, it is so good to hear from you! Noch sends her love!

      I’ve begun reading the Brothers Karamazov and for now, I am not seeing the Theodicy portion of it yet…so I do not know the paraidmg the book is working under.

      Theodicy itself is a surprisingly sparse topic in the patristics itself. I have found Augustine to be the most thoughtful writer on the topic. In the Confessions, in Book VII he gives a repudiation of the Manichees who ascribed evil to have a substance. You can begin in Chapter 3 (https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/110107.htm).

      In City of God Book XII, Augustine also speaks of the subject, ironically also beginning in chapter 3 (https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/120112.htm).

      Tertullian, an earlier writer, in Against Marcion Book I anticipates the later “permissive and prescriptive” wills of God as talked about by John of Damascus. Conversation begins in Chap 26 https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/120112.htm.

      Saint John of Damascus’ treatment, specifically in Chap 28 of Book II of his Exposition of the Orthodox faith gets into more detail about the permissive and prescriptive wills: https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/33042.htm

      Saint John Chrysostom also gives a treatment of the topic in his exegesis of Rom 7:13–found here: https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/210212.htm

      Personally, I think Augustine’s treatment here is overly pedantic and concerned with refuting Manichee doctrines (they were Gnostics and saw evil as something created and material). Augustine gives a far better, and Biblical, treatment in the Handbook of Faith, Hope and Love (https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1302.htm). This one has some good “one liners” but its well worth reading from top to bottom, it covers everything on that topic.

      If I can offer any closing comments, the early church fathers’ take is that:

      1. Evil is not a “thing,” as in it has no substance and is not created. God made everything “good.”
      2. On that note, God never wills evil. He only wills good.
      3. When evil exists, its origin is in the perversion of the will. So angels and men, who turn their will against God, take what is good (free will) and do evil.
      4. God permits evils existence, for a good purpose. (Augustine really is the only father to really grasp this well in my honest opinion.)

      Now, some of this really does not explain why there are cyclones and viruses, as the perversion of our will has led to material creation being subjected to futility. I am not sure if a father has addressed specifically this, though I would venture to guess that because creation was put in man’s care in Gen 1, the perversion of his will has destroyed everything under his care–just like a husband and father, leaving a household badly, ruins the household.

      God willing, this all helps!

      My wife and I miss you and your family dearly. With this Covid stuff, who knows when we will be downstate next. But it has been too long. Please send our love to your family. And if you guys ever go upstate, please PLEASE don’t be strangers.

      God bless,

      1. Craig, thank you so much for these resources. These are IMMENSELY helpful. I’ve already passed them on to my classmates.

        The Brothers Karamazov is a fantastic book, and the subject of Theodicy is introduced in chapters Rebellion to the Grand Inquisitor. 🙂

        (On a side note, I’d love to see you write an article on the Orthodox interpretation of Romans 9. That’d be fascinating!)

        My parents send their love. And congrats on your new little one!

  10. Craig, thank you so much for these resources. These are IMMENSELY helpful. I’ve already passed them on to my classmates.

    The Brothers Karamazov is a fantastic book, and the subject of Theodicy is introduced in chapters Rebellion to the Grand Inquisitor. 🙂

    (On a side note, I’d love to see you write an article on the Orthodox interpretation of Romans 9. That’d be fascinating!)

    My parents send their love. And congrats on your new little one!

  11. My dad says “you can email him at — his name at his last name (plus an “s) dot org.” 🙂 We’d all love to see baby pictures.

  12. Hello Craig! My name is Juan David and I’m glad that I have found your blog, and more right now that I have converted to Christianity. However, I have no denomination yet, since I accepted that there was one true God who came down to earth, and well, the rest is what we all know. During this time, I’ve been studying and reading about Christianity and its thousands of denominations, but I have felt attracted by the doctrine and beauty of Orthodox Christianity. The first article I read was the one about Eucharist that helped me to understand more that Jesus was actually there and what Jesus meant by saying “do this in remembrance of me.” Hope you keep helping me!

    1. Juan, I will pray for you. Pray to God to help you and seek to please him. I recommend fasting, prayer, and Scripture reading. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.

      God bless

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: