Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 28:55 (Autumn 2015)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Are You Saved? The Orthodox Christian Process of Salvation. Fifth Edition. By Barbara Pappas. Westchester, IL: Amnos Publications, 2006. 63 pp. Paper, NP.

Evangelicals often ask questions like, “Are you saved?” “What is meant by salvation?” and “What must I do to be saved?” But these questions are not normally asked by Eastern Orthodox parishioners. As William S. Chiganos explains in the introduction, “Until relatively recently, most of our faithful avoided such discussions because of lack of knowledge about the subject of salvation” (p. 11).

One can only imagine the spiritual darkness of a church where most of the “faithful” lack knowledge about the subject of salvation.

In any case, Barbara Pappas, a member of the Religious Education Commission of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, wrote the booklet to shed light on those questions. Unfortunately, she only succeeds in showing how contradictory and legalistic the Orthodox doctrine of salvation is.

The booklet is divided into three chapters.

The first chapter, “God’s Divine Plan,” begins with the question, “Are you saved?” Pappas describes the events leading to the fall of Adam and Eve and defines salvation as “the return to assurance of eternal life with God in the idyllic state that surrounds Him” (p. 17). Along the way, she makes some good statements. For example, here is what she says about the Mosaic Law:

The purpose of this “Mosaic” Law was to define sin by outlining perfection, that which was required to return to the presence of God. This experience would show man that he could never earn salvation on his own. Adam and Eve had one commandment to keep; now there were ten. In addition, there were 613 laws, each of which had to be kept precisely—to break one was to break them all...Man was caught in a never-ending cycle: he would inevitably break a law, bring the required offering, and go out and break another. This futile repetition continued until—finally—Jesus Christ offered Himself as the last living sacrifice on behalf of all mankind…God allowed His people to feel the

hopelessness of trying to save themselves through the Law” (pp. 18-19).

This is a good summary of the purpose and effect of the law. It demands perfection. It makes us realize that we are not perfect. It teaches us that it is impossible to save ourselves by works. Hence, Pappas goes on to write that we can only be saved by faith.

…all who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and accept and confess that He is the...

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