Trinity Talk discusses Eastern Orthodoxy with Steven Wedgeworth

AAM-0277The Orthodox Church is becoming more and more familiar these days. But what do they teach? Join us as we delve into the history of the Eastern Orthodox Church. We will be discussing also the nature of icons in Orthodoxy.

Our guest Steven Wedgeworth has done significant research on this topic. This is the first of three discussions.Tune in the weeks ahead to

Pastor Wedgeworth blogs at WEDGEWORDS. You can also obtain the lectures Steven Wedgeworth and Steve Wilkins gave on “Romanism & Orthodoxy” in the first Bucer class of the year. The CDs are available here and the MP3 downloads are available here.

About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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25 Responses to Trinity Talk discusses Eastern Orthodoxy with Steven Wedgeworth

  1. What significant research? For how many years? Did he get a degree with it as a area of specialization?

  2. Uri Brito says:

    I think the interview speaks from itself. Thanks for visiting, Perry.

  3. I think the inaccuracies speak for themselves. He’s just out of seminary and Orthodoxy just came on his radar screen about a year or so ago. Hardly sufficient to do the kind of research necessary to warrant the term “significant.”

  4. Uri Brito says:

    Well, how about your start dealing with particular misunderstanding (s), so he can address them. There were several Orthodox converts who said–though they disagree–that Steven did a fine job representing Orthodoxy.
    Also, it’s been on his radar for over two years.

  5. That would be significant if the converts were well informed. But I don’t see where that has been demonstrated.

    Second, I am not sure how that amounts to a demonstration that he has done “significant reserarch” and is therefore qualified to speak on the subject.

    Let’s try the golden rule. Would you find someone qualified to speak about Calvinism who was in the same position? I doubt it.

    Given that when he was at seminary, he was being brought up to speed by then an acquaintence of his who has since converted, whatever was on his radar screen prior to that wasn’t substantial.

    When he’s done, I’ll put something together and post it, but there’s not much that he’s said that isn’t in Ware’s intro or Letham’s bk.

  6. Uri Brito says:

    Ok…fair enough. Have you listened to his Bucer lectures? Thanks.

  7. Hey Perry,

    I notice that you’re still doing your “credentials” approach to things. But I wonder why you can’t just talk straight. I mean, we both know that your credentialed buddies are really stinkin’ weird. PhDs don’t prove a thing, and frankly, all I’m doing is summarizing a bunch of other PhDs.

    What was it that I said, which is apparently plain-jane vanilla intro stuff, that was so wrong?

    Or is it that you and I just disagree? I often think you misrepresent Orthodoxy, you know. A very good number of Orthodox academics don’t see things your way.

  8. Hey Steven,

    I always figured I did talk straight, but I am sure its hard to tell when you are busy looking down at people. I suppose I am just silly in thinking that standards matter. I thought the point of putting forward someone as being in a position to know was that they were a more reliable means to get to the truth than guessing and therefore the reason was some given training they received. But I suppose a broken clock can be right at least twice a day.

    I never claimed there was some inference from having a degree to being right, though the funny thing is that the probability does raise a bit over simply guessing.

    Since you’re just rehashing intro stuff you committ many of the same basic historical mistakes and some theological ones too. Of course, if you’re plain jane vanilla stuff is all you’re doing, then I suppose I have to wait for the material from your “significant research.” After all, degrees don’t prove a thing, right?

    I think as someone who has been Orthodox for a fair amount of time I am aware that I don’t agree with everything written by some other Orthodox person. That by itself doesn’t imply that I am wrong or that you are correct or that they are.

    Frankly, I don’t think you know a good number of Orthodox academics. And my bishop and proto-presbyter don’t seem to think I misrepresent my Church’s teaching. But hey, given that you’re an outsider with no specialized training doing that “plain jane vanilla stuff” I am sure you’d know better than they would.

    I’ll just wait to hear the rest of what you have to say before I compose a post. But to be honest, I don’t think you or the writers here would find it acceptable, morally or academically for someone with as little first or second hand familiarity to speak about the Reformed tradition the way you speak about the Orthodox tradition, especially in light of the “plain jane vanilla” errors you make.

  9. Uri,

    Do you feel that they give a more extensive treatment or arguments and that is why you asked if I had heard them? Did you have something specific in mind?


  10. Perry,

    You don’t talk straight, and we all figured this out a long time ago. As for your pedantry about “significant research,” Uri was blurbing his show, nothing more. It isn’t an academic treatise. It is a series of introductory questions.

    But I did interact with a few pieces of “significant research” of course, namely the historical work of both Michel and Timothy Barnes, the theology of images and the temple from Crispin Fletcher-Louis (I didn’t have the time to mention Peter Brown’s work on the iconoclastic controversy, but it is supportive as well), and the views on Augustine of the Fordham Conference, all of which contradict your positions.

    So just say you disagree and don’t pull this other teary-eyed song and dance.

  11. Uri Brito says:

    Perry, the term “significant research” was one that I used. Perhaps Steven would not use the same phrase. However, someone who has attended Orthodox Churches, who is theologically trained, who has known folks who left the Reformed Faith to the Eastern Orthodox Church, who has interacted in various forums with orthodox adherents, who has done official lectures on the topic, who has read Orthodox writers, attended conference (s) on Eastern Orthodoxy, I tend to describe this as “significant research.” Find me someone who has studied Reformed Theology for two years and fits all those categories, and I will gladly interact with him.

  12. Steven,

    Actually I am quite direct. As for your ad populum of “we all” well, I’ll just leave that aside.

    I didn’t claim it needed to meet the standards of a peer review journal. I was talking about plain fairness and credibility. Again, I don’t think you’d accept someone representing Calvinism as credible with equivalent experience.

    Asserting that all of those sources disagree with me isn’t a demonstration. Take Michel Barnes work on the notion of divine power. If you’ve read the book, the debate between Eunomius and Gregory turned on the notion of energy and how it was distinct form essence, which is the entire point of his delving into the pre-platonic and platonic history and the Hippocratic medical tradition. There’s nothing there that is in the main contradictory to my claims.

    The Augustine conference with 9 participants or so and all but three weren’t even Orthodox and one of the three is a Thomist. So you’ve been to one conference. Woopie. I see you’re doing the “credentials” approach now.

    And as you know, doctorates mean nothing, the arguments matter. And there are plenty of academics both here and on the continent that think the perspectives you attempt to advance are poppycock. And?

  13. Uri,

    He’s attended Orthodox Churches? Really? For how long? Hours or minutes? Which ones? Somhow I think you could count them on one hand after the loss of a couple of fingers.

    Sure he’s theologically trained in the Reformed tradition, not the Orthodox, which means he is speaking outside of his area of expertise. He’s known I believe one family which converted, perhaps a few others, but it hardly qualifies him as someone who is well informed. Gosh, at least Letham’s atually did some work. And why don’t you ask those people who left the Reformed tradition for Orthodoxy that he knows how well he understands it? What do you think they will say? As for his “official lectures” well that just brings us back to the original problem, whether he’s a credible source or not, so it seems like question begging. And he’s attended a conference on Orthodoxy which was hardly representative of Orthodox theology as I noted above.

    I didn’t ask if you’d interact with someone with an equivalent background, but if you’d present them as a credible source of information for your own tradition. I doubt it. So someone who has never been a Calvinist, been to a conference about it with only three participants being Calvinists and one of those was say an Amyraldian, who has read a few books and is theological hostile to Calvinism, you’d be happy and take that person as a credible source of information about Calvinism and a responsible and fair act by those who put such a person forward as informed? C’mon.

  14. Uri Brito says:

    Perry, I am making those arguments…not Steven. Will you cut the pugilistic act?

    The fact that I can read anger in every word you have typed means that you are very insecure. After all, why waste several comment posts with someone who in your words, has no credentials?

    If you are attempting to minimize Steven’s work, in order to draw attention away from his content, I think the stats on the show prove you have already lost. Thanks for your interactions.

  15. Uri,

    I’d think it best in this medium to not impute emotional states. I am not angry, its just annoying and a little disappointing.

    As for stats, well a quip from P. T. Barnum comes to mind.

    But I think if you are honest with yourself you’ll admit that this isn’t being fair minded.

  16. Uri Brito says:

    Perry, I think if you believed a tradition was dangerous to one’s spiritual well-being, you would be duly passionate against it. We do our part.

  17. Uri,

    That much is true, but being duly passionate against something you think is false doesn’t seem to speak to the issue of being fair and treating others as you wish to be treated. So again, I think the point has been missed. I didn’t complain about your or Steven being “duly passionate” against Orthodoxy. I spoke to putting forth someone as something of an expert to represent another point of view when in fact they are not. It is misleading to your listeners and doesn’t treat people as you would wish to be treated. Of course I suppose I shouldn’t complain since it makes it easier for me.

    In any case, this response doesn’t actually engage the criticism I gave.

  18. Perry,

    This is a little embarrassing, but I do think it should be pointed out that there are things called libraries, which contains books and journals which people can read. One doesn’t have to be best buddies with your gurus to “do a little work.”

    Now, you actually don’t know me too well, so I could say you are “outside of your expertise,” but I’d prefer to say you are just wrong here. I could give you a list of the books and journals I read, but it really does seem pretty childish (and you’d find ways to dismiss them as obviously not relevant). You could have just said, “Steven said X, but that is false.” Then we’d have something to talk about. You didn’t do that though.

    And no, I’m not interested in dueling blog series. Maybe James White or Steve Hayes will take you up on that instead. They are more your style anyways.

    I hardly threw the book at Orthodoxy in this first lecture, by the way. In fact, the one issue that I really critiqued was icons, in which I explained that Orthodoxy makes a series of distinctions, but that the Reformed do not accept these as validly protecting 2nd commandment concerns. No misrepresentation there.

    But as folks can see, you mean by expert, “Orthodox folks with whom I agree.” Well, you are right, I don’t meet that criteria.

  19. I agree that the situation is quite embarrassing and I wish I didn’t have to be the one to point it out. I don’t consider people like Golitzin, Louth, Barnes, Bradshaw, or Behr to be gurus, but perhaps you do. Perhaps you take someone like Bavink to be non-guru material. In any case trying to poison the well with terms like “guru” isn’t really profitable.

    And of course I am sure you are capable of reading journals as well as parts of books on google. That by itself isn’t sufficient to show that this is an area of competence of expertise for you.

    I don’t need to know you personally to know what your training is. Its not exactly a state secret.

    I didn’t ask if you were interested in a dueling blog series. As for James White and Steve Hayes, well, please don’t foist diploma millers like White on me, especially since he’s in your tradition.

    I never claimed you threw the book at Orthodoxy so that is irrelevant to the claim I did make. So far neither of you have actually engaged it.

    I don’t take expert to be co-extensive with people I agree with. There is nothing here or elsehwere that I have said that would indicate as much. So your accusation here is baseless. David Hart is an expert in theology. He has the training and experience and yet I disagree with him. The same goes for lots of other people such as Louth, Meijer or Jones. If the show would have had Lethem on or Fairbairn, this objection would not have been deployable.

    Moreover, given the times I have tried to engage you in “straight talk” you have simply deleted my remarks as it seems you are not interested in having a fair conversation with people who disagree with your views. So the shoe is on the other foot I’m afraid.

  20. Perry,

    You single claim, though far from brief, is that I am not an “expert.” That’s it. You alluded to me making misrepresentations, but declined to say what they were and indeed said that I said the same things that Letham would have said. Your last comment says that had Letham been on the show that it wouldn’t be a problem.

    So your objection is very simply that I an not an expert.

    Since it seems you are studying for an Introductory Logic quiz, please tell me, what’s the name of that fallacy?

  21. Oh wow, I just relistened to the beginning of this, and the hosts are very clear. They say that this is an introduction that can only “whet your appetite.”

    Perry’s entire complaint is that Uri said I have done “significant” work.

    This is dumb.

  22. Steven,

    No, I asked a question and got a dismissive answer. I asked what constituted “significant research.” Then I claimed, not misrepresentations, but “inaccuracies.”

    I said in general most of the material is a rehash so as to be incongruous with the presentation of yourself as having done “significant research.”
    If you’ve done “significant research, none of it seems self confessedly to be present in your talk. So it isn’t clear why you’d need to be presented in that way and why you here would need to present yourself as being in a qualified position to know. Unless of course your talk aimed at being more than the “plain Jane” material, which it wasn’t since none of the “significant research” seems to have made it in. Of course maybe “significant research” on Calvinism amounts to say reading some Sproul, and a smattering of other works in part, visiting an OPC and knowing someone who was once a Calvinist.

    If your presentation was just general material and a rehash of Ware, Letham, etc. I can’t see how reading works like that would qualify as “significant research” either.

    You content being not greatly different than Letham for example wouldn’t excuse the errors, but the difference is that Letham has done some research, published it and has competence beyond your own. Presenting someone like him in that way wouldn’t be misleading. So no, I didn’t commit the fallacy you think I did, but you made a nice straw man.
    One wonders why it would need to be said that you had done “significant research” unless one wishes to lead the listeners think that they were hearing an expert. So no, the objection was not that you lacked expertise, but that you were being presented as one.

    The other objection was that someone in your position would not be accepted as being put forward as knowledgeable and having done “significant research” on Calvinism if the roles were reversed. Consequently, it flies in the face of the golden rule and fair mindedness, which speaks to methodology.

  23. Perry,

    Methodology? After you, my friend.

  24. Again,

    Uri said that I have done significant work, referring to what I’ve done prior to the interview, and then the interview clearly said it was basic intro stuff. You can’t complain about us misrepresenting things when you’ve done nothing but that here.

    You have no idea about what I’ve read or what research I’ve put in, nor my other mentors and teachers, yet you speculate freely (and incorrectly). Is it golden rule time yet?

    If you had just mentioned something concrete, we could have conversed. It seems that you really had the one intention of discrediting me, in rather poor form at that.

    So I think we’ll just have to leave it at that.

  25. “You have no idea about what I’ve read or what research I’ve put in, nor my other mentors and teachers, yet you speculate freely (and incorrectly). Is it golden rule time yet?”

    A case in point,

    Besides, I know more people that know you than you think.

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