So this question isn't for me, its for my Girlfriend. I'm a cradle Orthodox (or near enough) but my Girlfriend is Presbyterian (PCA). She has been asking me to explain a few challenging things about Orthodoxy and why it disagrees so strongly with Calvinism. I've tried very hard to find any sort of debate or comparison of the doctrines of the two religions but the closest I've gotten is a series of podcasts by Father Andrew Steven Damig called "Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy" Which I love but I cant get her to listen too. I've tried on my own to explain the basic beliefs and Doctrines of the Orthodox church but I'm young and though I've read much about the church and tried to do research on the major christian denominations in in America Im no scholar and I'm worried about making a major error.
Now she has shown much interest in the church aside from learning the actual beliefs. she often comes with me to church during the week and most weekends, often times comming with me to all 5 services. However I get the sense that her interest is largely in the Physical beauty of the church.
My questions are these:
1. Does anyone know of a few good Essays or lectures I could show to her?
2. How should I explain such alien concepts as Theosis and the Nous to her, she has asked but I'm not quite sure how to explain.
3. How should I approach talking to her about this?
I've talked to the preist at my church but I'd like to get a few opinions from those who have been in similar situations, so any advice would be very welcome
I almost married a woman who was PCA some 10 years ago. And so maybe I can help you out for the PCA is a very conservative Presbyterian protestant group with a high conviction of discipline and theological precision! To be honest, I actually enjoyed my visits to the PCA bunch that my ex was with. They were nice people. But this was in the South, and so the PCA in other regions of the country might be different. Less disciplined and somewhat lax. Who knows! Do her elders know that you two are dating? The PCA group that my ex belonged to were very strict. They believed in courtship! They wanted the boyfriend to ask the girlfriend's father for permission to date his daughter. Then the girlfriend's parents, your parents, and a church elder would watch over that relationship or help hold it accountable. For the end goal of courtship is marriage. The elder of my ex didn't want her to Marry a non 5 point Calvinist and so she broke off the relationship. This was years before I became Orthodox. If her parents and elders know that you two are dating then they will try and convert you to the PCA. The more dominant partner in this relationship will win this fight!
And so no need to rush it! Just continue to be yourself around her for you don't want to be un-normal around her as if she is some sort of pet project or experiment or something. Some women are able to sense a difference in the other person and so be yourself, don't try to be something you are not use to being when around her.
Also continue to pray for her and continue to invite her to Divine Liturgy. This is step one!
Step two is to let her listen to a number of Podcasts, and let her read some online articles, e-books, and paperback books. Also if she is willing then let her watch videos as well. But all within it's proper time. Steady as she goes! No need to rush this! There is a real good Orthodox website that focus it's attention on the Reformed protestant tradition. Check it out sometime, it's called Orthodox Bridge! This blog might be perfect for her! It might be just what she needs!http://orthodoxbridge.com/ (Orthodox-Reformed Bridge: A Meeting Place for Evangelicals, Reformed & Orthodox Christians)
As seen from the site itself:
"Recently, there has been a growing openness among Christians in the Reformed tradition to Eastern Orthodoxy. The OrthodoxBridge is intended to serve as a meeting place where Calvinists and Orthodox can dialogue, ask questions, exchange opinions, and debate matters of faith in a civil manner.
The title has several meanings. One, a bridge serves as a connection that reaches across a deep gap. Two, a bridge brings people together for friendly dialogue and exchange. Three, a bridge can serve as a means by which a person can cross over from one side to the other.
The beliefs and practices of Eastern Orthodoxy can seem strange to those not familiar with it. While interested in Orthodoxy many Calvinists find aspects of Orthodoxy questionable. It is our hope that we can show our Calvinist friends that big “O” Eastern Orthodoxy is truly biblical and small “o” orthodox in the fullest sense of the word.
We welcome your reactions, questions, and feedback, and look forward to many interesting and invigorating dialogues. May our great God and Savior Jesus Christ be glorified!"
Please visit the website to read more about the blog!
Books to get would be:http://www.amazon.com/Common-Ground-Introduction-Christianity-Christian/dp/0937032816 (Common Ground: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity for the American Christian)
This book is perfect for Evangelical protestants looking into Orthodoxy! He did an excellent job with this book! He really did! Now this book may not be for every American reader for it's focus is limited in scope! Yes, the Evangelical and fundamentalists traditions are not exactly the same as the Reformed tradition, but your girlfriend will be able to relate in many ways.
Hmm, knowing that your girlfriend is coming from a strong conservative Presbyterian back-ground that might have a tendency to not believe something like this if they think it's not Biblical. Hmm, knowing she is from this back-ground then I would say that this would be the best book to get for her. However, it will cost you a pretty penny! So save up! Don't worry, if you set aside 20 dollars a month, then you should be able to buy a used copy in 4 to 5 months. I have the book, and it is lovely!http://www.amazon.com/Deification-Eastern-Orthodox-Tradition-Perspective/dp/1593333242/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1309476274&sr=1-12 (Deification in the Eastern Orthodox Tradition: A Biblical Perspective)
This might be a bit too much for her right off the bat, for this goes to the very heart of what she believes, and so don't let this be the first thing for her to read. Wait a year or two for this one. Let her read other books and articles first. http://www.lulu.com/product/file-download/reconsidering-tulip/14269986
(Reconsidering Tulip)Mp3's:http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/podup/illuminedheart/god_essence_and_energies (GOD: Essence and Energies)http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/holyfathers/god_is_there_where_the_understanding_does_not_reach (“God Is There, Where the Understanding Does Not Reach”)http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/frederica/distractions (Distractions)Videos:http://www.amazon.com/How-to-Run-the-Way/dp/187289710X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1324777821&sr=1-2 (How to Run the Way)
Have a Merry Christmas!