Fr. Zechariah Lynch of Archangel Michael Orthodox Church
Love desires that the very best is given to a person. True Christian care and concern will seek that a person receives a full measure, “pressed down, shaken together, and running over” (cf. Lk. 6:38). As Orthodox, this love and concern should be manifest in the very standard and means of being united to Christ's Holy Church. Thus, the question of the proper reception of the heterodox into the Church is of paramount importance. It should be our deepest concern that the fullest measure is being given to everyone entering the Church and that a Patristic standard is being upheld and lived.
“On The Reception of the Heterodox into the Orthodox Church: the Patristic Consensus and Criteria,” published by Uncut Mountain Press, is possibly the greatest contribution yet in English to this most vital topic. A work of immense research, it explicates the Orthodox standard of reception of the heterodox from the writings and teachings of a multitude of saints, from the earliest centuries down to our own, together with the canons prescribed by Ecumenical Councils on the subject, as well as other Orthodox Councils. The reach is extensive and definitive. Its center is the Patristic voice and life of the Church of our Lord Jesus. And it is made readily available in this soul-profiting book.
Inescapably, the subject of the reception of heterodox is tied up with Ecclesiology, for one's view of the Church will inevitably influence how one understands the mysteries and their operations, which are given to the Church by Her Lord Jesus Christ. In our times there is an active goal to deconstruct the Biblical and Patristic understanding of Christ's Holy Church. The blurring of lines and compromise seem to be fashionable in some places these days. Thus, the greatest gift that may be offered to those wandering in the ever-mutable paths of heterodoxy, and who desire to unite with the authentic Body of Christ, is the steadfast upholding of the Truth of Holy Orthodoxy. Thus, true Christian love seeks that everyone entering the One Body of Christ will receive the fullness of reception into Her.
The book contains 20 chapters and sits at 442 pages. It is a book that is compiled with scholarly acuity and yet maintains a needed and grounded sense of spiritual sensitivity and feeling. Its concern is both the investigation of Patristic consensus and the pastoral salvation of souls. It is fitting for the bookshelf of scholars and fully accessible to the laity, that is, anyone rightly concerned with the proper reception of heterodox into the Orthodox Church. To date, this book is the greatest contribution to this crucial subject in English, and I hope it will bring further and greater clarity to the essential issue of the proper reception of heterodox and uniting them in the fullest measure of love through the mysteries, pressed down and running over, to the One Holy Church. It will, I'm sure, be proven to be an essential book for any well-rounded Orthodox library. I know it will get frequent use and reference in mine.
Fr. Zechariah Lynch
Find this book and other edifying titles HERE.