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The Poverty of Love
The last few decades, more and more evangelicals have been mining the treasures of Eastern Orthodoxy. One reason for their openness is the work of people like Bradley Nassif, professor of biblical and theological studies at North Park University in Chicago. For years he has been, as one editor put it, "a courageous and enthusiastic pioneer of Orthodox-evangelical dialogue around the world." While Nassif was exposed to evangelical faith in his youth, which he says gave his faith vitality, he has remained a faithful member of the Orthodox Church. But while championing the Orthodox cause, he's never been blind to its spiritual needs. As he put it in one article, "The most urgent need in the Orthodox world today is an aggressive 'internal mission' of (re)converting our people to Jesus Christ." In this Christian Vision Project article, Nassif suggests how one element of the Orthodox heritage might help reconvert all of us to the person and mission of Jesus Christ.
"Is our gospel too small?" Shouldn't the answer be obvious? As an Eastern Orthodox theologian, my first impulse was to point out that a small gospel has never been our problem. The name of the great 7th-century saint Maximus the Confessor symbolizes the maximal gospel proclaimed by him and all the Orthodoxone with cosmic implications that embraces the whole of creation. Proclaiming that kind of gospel has always been the Orthodox way. But then I came down to earth. Though Orthodoxy has a grand vision in principle, it often doesn't make a lot of difference in practice. I believe our theological compass is pointed in the right direction, but when it comes to following through on our not-so-small gospel, we are no better than anyone else.
So what's lacking in all our ...1