CONVERSIONS TO ORTHODOXY
3 Reasons to join the Eastern Orthodox Church
Michael Witcoff, USA
Michael Witcoff is a Christian, a copywriter, an author, and a marketing consultant. He believes the West is experiencing divine wrath for turning our backs on God, and that the only hope for salvation is to unite under one faithful banner as our enemies have under theirs.
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Friends and brothers, it’s been quite a while since I last wrote to you. Between my consulting business and my growing interest in the world of blockchain technology, I’ve had a lot on my plate lately.
But the time seems right for me to come back to Return Of Kings and share a bit more of my journey with you. The rhythm I aim for in life is to learn and grow, then share and teach.
Today’s topic, Eastern Orthodoxy, is something I’d never even heard of when my last article here was published. But since discovering what it is and delving deeper into its mysteries, it’s consumed an enormous amount of my time and attention.
So much of it, in fact, that I recently decided to leave my Wesleyan ways behind and become a full-fledged member of the Orthodox Church. Today, I’d like to share with you my top three reasons for doing so.
1.It’s The Church That Jesus Planted
During my time as a Protestant, it never even occurred to me that a denomination existed reaching all the way back to the time of the apostles.
Once I realized there was an unbroken chain of tradition reaching back nearly 2,000 years, I began to ask an entirely new kind of question. What did they teach? How did they worship? What did they believe? How did it get transmitted through time like that?
I’ve always believed that, whatever you’re trying to do in life, it’s usually better to go straight to the earliest sources than to adhere to newer interpretations. It’s as true with Christianity as it is for copywriting, and I still consider the old Schwartz and Hopkins advertising books to surpass almost everything that’s come out since.
I discovered that the students of the Biblical apostles had written down a fair amount of material regarding ancient Christian practice and belief. From that point on, I could never really look at Protestantism in the same light.
After all, why would I follow the doctrines of the 16th century when I could follow the doctrines of the 1st century instead? It simply made no sense to me that someone who didn’t personally know Christ or the apostles could have more understanding and insight than the men who did.
Christ gave the apostles pretty specific directions, and Paul taught those traditions to all the churches he planted and visited during his ministry. The students of the apostles upheld the traditions and taught them to their own students, and so on and so forth right up until the present day.
Best of all, Orthodox services feel like being transplanted directly into the ancient Christian world. That sense of reverence, holiness, and solemnity can inspire the soul in a way that electric guitar music simply cannot.
2.It’s Untainted By Cultural Marxism
It is not unusual, among Protestant churches, to hear preaching that’s fully aligned with Social Justice ideology and the Cultural Marxism that spawned it. This takes on different forms and manifests to different degrees, but it can reach levels that—at its worst—makes the preaching of a church utterly indistinguishable from what you’d hear at a typical liberal arts college.
This is not only revolting to most normal and healthy men, but also tends to result in lower church attendance. It is well-documented that “the more liberal the church, the emptier the pews.”
Between the ordination of unrepentant sinners and the preaching of the “prosperity gospel,” it is not surprising that Protestantism is losing its core male audience. This is more than a statistic; it is a tragedy.
Scripture tells us, in no uncertain terms, that men are to lead both church and home. With a lack of masculine leadership forming a new generation of young boys into developed and effective leaders, all of society suffers.
However, you will find nothing like these problems in Eastern Orthodoxy. 100% of the clergy are men, and they follow an ancient tradition of hierarchy and rank.
This tradition—for thousands of years—has naturally taught younger men the healthy dynamics of both obedience and command. The fruit of this effort is an endless chain of men who are prepared for their role as leaders in society.
Equally important, there is little to no trace of the Evangelical Zionism which I was already frustrated with before I’d discovered Orthodoxy. Unlike most Protestant denominations, Orthodoxy follows the proper Scriptural understanding that believers in Christ are the true “people of Israel.”
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus tells the apostle Peter that “the gates of Hell will not overcome” His Church.
You can decide for yourself whether lesbian Zionists or alpha male patriarchs better represent the Church that Jesus had in mind.
3.It Offers Deeper Theology And A Richer Experience
I am not trying to attack all of Protestantism with this article. I am still friends with the people I met there, and maintain a deep love for my pastors and their passion for God.
I’m profoundly grateful for my experience in the Wesleyan denomination, and I would never be where I am today unless I had learned the basics of Christianity there.
But that’s just it… it stops at the basics. Jesus died for your sins, now you’re saved, and that’s where it ends.
Orthodoxy, drawing on monastic wisdom going back to at least the 4th century, invites the seeker into a deep mystical understanding of God that far surpasses the typical experience.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I have any real understanding of the Orthodox mystery, because I have barely even knocked at the door. However, I can feel the power coming from the other side and greatly look forward to exploring it further.
Each day of my studies draws me in deeper and deeper, as new levels of both God’s glory—and my own sinfulness by comparison—are revealed to me. It is humbling, it is powerful, and it’s a fuller experience than I knew existed just a few short months ago.
Protestants have the appetizer; the Orthodox serve the meal.
If you are ready to deepen your relationship with Jesus Christ or even to start one…the way that all the apostles and their students did…I highly recommend you check out an Orthodox service sometime and examine it for yourself.
The priests are incredibly helpful to inquirers, and several of them have taken the time to guide me towards various resources or respond to my questions via e-mail.
Even if your nearest Orthodox Church is 20 or 30 minutes away, I think it will be worth your time and effort to make it to a Vespers (on Saturday night) or a Divine Liturgy (on Sunday morning) to see if what it offers matches what you’re looking for.
God bless and Merry Christmas.