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TITLE: "A manifesto for 'introducing North America to the riches of this [Eastern Orthodox] historic faith'" October 6, 2006
The quotes are the last words in the book. This 'manifesto' (imho) is not another 'conversion' story but rather the true story of a spiritual journey; a journey embarked by a group of fervent evangelical Protestants (Campus Crusade for Christ leaders) and which lasted over a decade. Peter E. Gillquist (the author) is a brilliant marketeer and presenter of his group's spiritual journey, of their search for the ancient faith and original New Testament Church.
The book is devided into three sections:
Part I describes the group's pilgrimage through the history of Christendom. This was done by assigning each members an area of research, such as church history pre-reformation and post-reformation, Biblical doctrine, and Christian worship. As Gillquist sumarizes this new journey in the last chapter, "the change came for us when we stopped trying to judge and reevaulate Church history, and for once invited Church history to judge and evaluate us."
Part II entitled "Orthodoxy and the Bible" is the meat of the book (imho). Here Gillquist does an excellent job of explaining (and not overpowering or over-analyzing) the most mis-understood and puzzling components of the Orthodox faith and praxis. These topics include:
a) explaining the use of all 5 senses in Orthodox worship,
b) the reasons for having a Christian historical tradition ("Traditon is there not just to preserve the Bible, but also to interpret it."),
c) using the title "Father" (Fr.),
d) why should we honor Mary (aka Theotokos - God-bearer),
e) and why does a Christian cross oneself?
Part III is a narative highlighting the lows and highs of a decade of pilgrimage before the Evangelical Orthodox Church (EOC - the name of over 4000 Protestants, 17 dioces who were becoming Orthodox) had been accepted and included into the Antiochian Orthodox Church.
As my title suggestions, this books is a great marketing tool for anyone interested in the Orthodox Church and Faith. One should not expect doctoral answers to difficult questions from this 191 page book (although a lot of Biblical verses are quoted and used for explanation). Personally I found the writing style very easy to read (the larger font and spacing definitely helped), coherent and logical, and even entertainining in some spots. I wish Gillquist would have written more about the ones who dropped out early on from the church history research, or the priests/bishops in EOC who did not join the Antiochian Orthodox Church. As a liturgical Protestant I certainly do not agree with the statement that "to forsake the Church, you must also forsake the faith" (pg.143) and I wish Gillquist would have spent more time talking about ecclesiology and its view and development throughout the history of Christendom.
Nevertheless, I found the tone, style, and content of this book to be non-polemical, Christian, and informative. I would recommend it for any Christian (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox) interested in why a large group (over 2000) of hard-core evangelical Campus-Crusade-for-Christ Christian activists became and joined the Eastern Orthodox Church. This book is also beneficial to any non-Christian intersted in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.