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The Orthodox tradition is arguably the most faithful representation of early Christianity in existence today. Yet despite a quarter billion adherents---including growing numbers of evangelical converts---it remains unfamiliar and mysterious to many. Payton's sympathetic, evenhanded introduction illuminates Orthodoxy's fascinating history, theology, and practice. Dispelling common misperceptions, he explores the riches of this ancient faith. 240 pages, softcover from InterVarsity.
The Word Guild 2008 Canadian Christian Writing Awards winner! "Do they really pray to icons?" "Why do they use incense?" "What do they believe?" To many people, the Orthodox Christian tradition (or Eastern Orthodoxy) seems unfamiliar and mysterious. Yet this tradition is arguably the most faithful representative of early Christianity in existence today and numbers roughly 250 million adherents worldwide. What's more, a steady stream of evangelical Christians has been entering the Orthodox Church in recent decades. Isn't it time we gained a deeper understanding of Orthodoxy? In Light from the Christian East, James Payton gives us just that. With a sympathetic eye and even hand, he ushers readers into the world of Orthodox Christianity--its history, theology and religious practices. In doing so, he clears away the confusion and misunderstandings that often prevent non-Orthodox Christians from fully appreciating the riches of this ancient tradition. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in Orthodox Christianity.
James R. Payton Jr. (Ph.D., University of Waterloo, Canada) is a professor of history at Redeemer University College, Ancaster, Ontario, Canada. He has studied, taught and been in dialogue with Eastern Orthodoxy for many years and is the author of a number of articles on Orthodoxy and Protestant-Orthodox relations. Another area of interest for Payton is the Reformation on which he has written many articles and book reviews. Some of his works cover subjects such as John Calvin, Martin Bucer and the influence of the Reformation in Ukraine. He is very involved in ministry to Eastern Europe, serving from 1998-2006 as executive secretary of Christians Associated for Relationships with Eastern Europe, and since 2006 as president.
"For anyone interested in learning more about Eastern Orthodoxy, James R. Payton, Jr. leads his reader on an informative tour through the theology and practices of this tradition. Payton deeply appreciates what he finds in the Orthodox tradition and urges his Western readers to do the same."
"James R. Payton Jr. has written a clear, concise and appreciative introduction to the unique contributions of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. I was glad that I read his book."
"Payton provides a sympathetic introduction to Orthodox theology for Western Christians, especially Protestants. His aim is not merely to inform, but also to enrich and deepen Western theological traditions and faith practices."
" Light From the Christian East can illuminate the pathway of our Christian pilgrimage and help us better recognize how to journey through this life to the hope set before us."
"For Evangelicals interested in understanding Orthodoxy, Paytons book is an excellent study, it will also give many a better idea of how outsides might look at our own faith."
"One of the best introductions available to the Eastern Orthodox Church and its theology. The comparisons and contrasts make for fascinating reading and clearly illuminate the main issues. This book will find its way into many syllabi."
"James Payton has combined his thorough familiarity with Eastern Orthodoxy--her history, theology and practice--with a gracious and respectful sensibility, and produced a book that is inviting, accessible and more content-rich than an introductory work is expected to be. Light from the Christian East is an excellent book."
"In a day when people look to the Far East for truth and light, Dr. Payton suggests that they consider the Christian East as well. This ancient tradition gets us away from the weary Catholic-Protestant split and opens up rich possibilities for fresh reflection. This book feeds one's soul and quickens one's intellect."
"This is a lucidly written, highly approachable book that highlights some of the key distinctions between the 'Christian East' and the 'Christian West.' It shows the theological thinking of the Orthodox East to be the best-kept secret in the West. It will invite other studies that will rightly seek to draw the lines a little less sharply, but such responses will benefit greatly from the clarity of Payton's preliminary exposition."
"This is a book for those who want a more comprehensive vision of the Christian faith without feeling the need to convert to the Orthodox Church. It ably and accurately provides information on major themes in Orthodox theology while inspiring readers to embrace all that is holy and right within it."