Hear the first-person stories of people who made their way into the Orthodox Church from Protestant Christianity and Judaism. In thoughtful memoirs, authors Peter Gillquist, A. James Bernstein, and John Oliver reflect on their journeys to Orthodoxy and their search for the true church. Their books are both inspiring personal narratives, and compelling introductions to the Orthodox Church. Complementing these works are five other introductory texts—discussing topics such as liturgy, Orthodox history, praying with icons, and the obstacles Protestants may encounter in coming face-to-face with Orthodoxy. The Ancient Faith Introductions Collection engages readers unfamiliar to the Orthodox faith and fosters deeper appreciation of the Church in Orthodox Christians.
In the Logos edition, this collection is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
Speaking to non-believers and believers alike, Father Andrew Damick attempts to create a sacred space in which we can encounter God. In this compact volume, he distills the essence of the Orthodox Christian faith, addressing the fundamental mysteries of where God is, who God is, why we go to church, and why Christian morality matters. If you’ve only heard about the Protestant or Roman Catholic version of Christianity, what he has to say may surprise you—and make you long to encounter God in Jesus Christ.
Andrew Stephen Damick is pastor of St. Paul Orthodox Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. He also lectures widely on Orthodox evangelism, history, ecology, comparative theology, and localism. He is a founding member and one of the associate directors of the Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas. Father Andrew hosts the Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy and Roads from Emmaus podcasts, and writes the Roads from Emmaus blog.
At a time when so many disaffected Christians are trying to recreate the Church from scratch, Fr. James Guirguis offers a clear and accessible case for simply returning to what Christ’s Church was always meant to be, as found in the Orthodox Church.
James Guirguis is pastor of St. George Orthodox Church in New Hartford, New York. He has given lectures on topics such as early Christian history as well as sickness, suffering, and healing in the Christian tradition. He regularly contributes to the Out of Egypt blog. He earned an MA from St. Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary in 2006.
At the Corner of East and Now: A Modern Life in Ancient Christian Orthodoxy
Acclaimed author Frederica Mathewes-Green takes us through a typical Divine Liturgy in her little parish of the Holy Cross in Baltimore, setting of her well-loved book Facing East. Interspersed with reflections on the liturgy and the Orthodox faith are accounts of adventures around the country. In all the places she visits and all the people she meets, Matthewes-Green finds insights about faith, American life, and what it means to be human—sharing these insights with the wit, pathos, and folksy friendliness that have made her one of the most beloved spiritual writers in America.
Frederica Matthewes-Green is an Eastern Orthodox author and speaker. She earned her BA in English from the University of South Carolina and her MA in theological studies from Virginia Theological Seminary. She is also the author of The Illumined Heart, The Open Door: Entering the Sanctuary of Icons and Prayer, and Gender: Men, Women, Sex and Feminism.
Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith
Peter Gillquist tells the story of a handful of courageous men and their congregations who risked stable occupations, security, and the approval of lifelong friends to pursue a call to the Orthodox Church.
This text is also the story of every believer who is searching for the Church—where Christ is Lord; where holiness, human responsibility, and the Sovereignty of God are preached; where fellowship is more than a covered-dish supper in the church basement; and where fads and fashion take a back seat to apostolic worship and doctrine. This revised edition includes a new epilogue, “Coming up on Twenty-Five Years” since the entry of the Evangelical Orthodox into the Holy Orthodox Church.
Peter E. Gillquist converted to the Orthodox faith from evangelical Protestant Christianity. He was instrumental in leading 2,000 formerly-Protestant Christians, members of the Evangelical Orthodox Church, into canonical Orthodoxy in 1987. He served as an archpriest and chairman of the Department of Missions and Evangelism for the Antiochian Orthodox Church of North America.
Surprised by Christ: My Journey from Judaism to Orthodox Christianity
Author: A. James Bernstein
Publisher: Ancient Faith Publishing
Publication Date: 2008
Surprised by Christ tells the story of a man searching for truth and unable to rest until he finds it. Raised in Queens, New York, by formerly Orthodox Jewish parents whose faith had been undermined by the Holocaust, Arnold Bernstein went on his own personal quest for the God he instinctively felt was there. He was ready to accept God in whatever form he chose to reveal himself—and that form turned out to be Christ. But Bernstein soon perceived discrepancies in the various forms of Protestant belief that surrounded him, and so his quest continued—this time for the true church. With his Jewish heritage as a foundation, he studied and evaluated, and eventually came to the conclusion that the faith of his forefathers was fully honored and brought to completion only in the Orthodox Christian Church.
Surprised by Christ combines an engrossing memoir of one man’s life in historic times and situations—from the Six-Day War to the Civil Rights Movement to the Jesus Movement in Berkeley—with a deeply felt examination of the distinctives of Orthodox theology that make the Orthodox Church a true home not only for Christian Jews, but for all who seek to know God as fully as he may be known.
The story of Fr James’ journey is fascinating. It reminds us again of the sovereignty of God, and his desire to reach every one of his beloved children, no matter where they are.
—Frederica Mathewes-Green, author, Facing East
In life you meet a handful of people whose stories crash through the usual categories of human experience and form a new kind of stand-alone narrative. Enter: Fr. James Bernstein. Son of a Jewish rabbi, national chess champion, leader with Jews for Jesus in Berkeley, Orthodox Christian priest – whew! You will love and be greatly encouraged by his unusual story of life in Christ.
—Peter E. Gillquist, author, Becoming Orthodox
A marvelous volume! It shows how in our time, just as two millennia ago, the question posed by Christ, ‘Who do you say I am?’ (Matt 16:15), is resoundingly answered: ‘The Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ All conversions are miracles of God’s grace. Fr. James Bernstein allows us to share in the special miracle of his conversion.
—H. Tristram Engelhardt Jr., professor of philosophy, Rice University
Fr. James Bernstein’s roots are here in Jerusalem even as he ministers in the Pacific Northwest. Though separated by vast distance we are one and united in our desire to actualize an authentic Jewish Christian Orthodox Church in the Holy Land as in the beginning. His book compellingly presents why of all branches of Christianity, Orthodox Christianity has by far the greatest kinship to Judaism.
In sharing his ‘surprise’ with us, Fr. James Bernstein shows that he is a Hebrew prophet in the definition of prophecy provided by that other ‘Hebrew born of Hebrews’ who knew the same ‘surprise.’ In sharing his story and convictions, Fr James ‘speaks to people for their edification and encouragement and comfort.’ (1 Cor. 14:3) The grace and spirit of His words match the grace and truth of their content. We thank God for this prophetic gift.
—Thomas Hopko, dean emeritus, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary
A. James Bernstein converted to Christianity at age 16. His spiritual journey has included a number of twists and turns: he was chapter president of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship at Queens College, helped found the Jews for Jesus ministry in San Francisco, was a staff member of the Christian World Liberation Front in Berkeley, served as a pastor of an Evangelical Orthodox Church near Silicon Valley, and later became an Eastern Orthodox convert and then priest. He now serves as pastor of St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Seattle, Washington. Father James is the author of the booklets Orthodoxy: Jewish and Christian, Which Came First: The Church or the New Testament, and Communion: A Family Affair. He was also a contributor to the Orthodox Study Bible: New Testament and Psalms.
This best-selling book is designed to help Orthodox readers more deeply appreciate their faith and give Protestant readers a more thorough understanding of the Orthodox Church. Beginning in the street ministry days of the Jesus Movement, Matthew Gallatin devoted more than 20 years to evangelical Christian ministry. He was a singer/songwriter, worship leader, youth leader, and Calvary Chapel pastor. Nevertheless, he eventually accepted a painful reality: no matter how hard he tried, he was never able to experience the God whom he longed to know. In encountering Orthodox Christianity, he finally found the fullness of the faith. In Thirsting for God, Gallatin expresses many of the struggles Protestants commonly encounter in coming face to face with Orthodoxy: such things as Protestant relativism, rationalism versus the Orthodox sacramental path to God, and the unity of Scripture and tradition. He also discusses praying with icons, praying formal prayers, and many other Orthodox traditions.
Matthew Gallatin converted to the Orthodox faith from evangelical Protestantism, serving many years as a worship and youth leader, as well as a Calvary Chapel pastor. He taught philosophy at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and is an active member of Holy Myrrhbearers Antiochian Orthodox Church in Bonners Ferry, Idaho.
Touching Heaven: Discovering Orthodox Christianity on the Island of Valaam
Touching Heaven tells the story of John Oliver, a young evangelical American on a journey of discovery that leads him to an ancient Russian monastery on the Island of Valaam, a place of peace and a place of struggle. There on Valaam, he encounters Orthodox Christianity and is reminded that the Christian life is not for the faint of heart. And on Valaam, the treasure of stillness requires a fierce guarding.
Touching Heaven is a lovely book, quiet and contemplative, and full of peaceful revelations.
—Frederica Mathewes-Green, author, Facing East
A gripping . . . account of what drew John Oliver into the deep waters of Christianity and made him an Orthodox Christian.
—Jim Forest, international secretary, Orthodox Peace Fellowship
John Oliver is the priest of St. Elizabeth Orthodox Christian Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. A graduate of St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, he is now an instructor there in Old and New Testament, and American Religious History.
What is the Orthodox Church? A Brief Overview of Orthodoxy
This volume provides a brief overview of Orthodoxy. Father Marc Dunaway offers a valuable resource as he outlines the history of the Christian Church, with concise explanations and helpful at-a-glance timelines. He includes the age of persecution, the age of councils, the Great Schism, the Protestant Reformation, and more. A perfect introduction for those unfamiliar with the Orthodox Church, it also makes a handy reference work.
Marc Dunaway is archpriest of St. John the Evangelist Cathedral in Eagle River, Alaska.