I know that we’ve been back and forth over which church to attend for a while. We’ve been attending (somewhat sporadically, at first) Saint Benedict Antiochian Orthodox Church since January, 2015. Saint Benedict is one of few western rite churches within the whole of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
I think that I have finally found the church that teaches what I believe is the truth in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Like the Roman Catholic Church, it is an ancient church that teaches Scripture and Tradition. But, unlike the Roman Catholic Church, it does not teach what I consider to be excesses – such as papal infallibility. It also doesn’t demand scholastic answers for everything like the RCC does. This scholastic reasoning in the RCC has resulted in such teachings as the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mortal/venial sin definitions and requirements, and a host of other things that just about drove me mad during the time I was in the Roman Catholic Church.
It is also different from Confessional Lutheran Churches in significant ways. The Lutheran Church does not teach that Tradition is authoritative, which hardly makes sense since the New Testament didn’t even exist in the early days of the Church! The Orthodox Church also teaches free will, unlike the Lutheran Church. The Lutheran Church teaches a confusing single-predestination which is best described as follows: If you get to Heaven, it’s God’s fault; if you go to Hell, it’s your fault. Ultimately, nearly all of Lutheran doctrine is affected by this faulty doctrine.
The Eastern Orthodox Church is a sacramental church, which I think is a necessity. Like both the RCC and Lutheran Churches, the Eastern Orthodox Church believes in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. It is apostolic in both senses – bishops ordaining bishops throughout time, and in that it adheres to the apostolic teachings. It is biblical – almost all the liturgy and prayer is taken from scripture.
I’m really excited to be becoming a part of the Eastern Orthodox Church. If all goes according to plan, we will all be Chrismated in November, before Advent.