The Many and the One: The Interface Between Orthodox and Evangelical Protestant Hermeneutics (1)
It is the thesis of this paper that Orthodox and evangelical hermeneutics have a great deal in common. In each category, the similarities outweigh, the differences. The high view of Scripture, the acceptance of the historical veracity of the biblical texts, the emphasis on the inspiration of the sacred authors and the divine origin of biblical revelation-all these demonstrate that Orthodoxy and evangelicalism possibly have more in common than any other two groups in Christendom. Brown speaks of an experience at Harvard in which the only ones who understood the concept "initiated into the mysteries of the faith" were the Orthodox scholar Fr Georges Florovsky and the evangelicals among the student body.(62) This would also be true in most of the categories discussed in this paper (especially between Orthodoxy and the high church segments of evangelicalism).
This is not to minimize the differences. Both sides have strengths that could be of value to the other. Both sides have much to learn from the other. The desire of this paper is to stimulate further ecumenical dialogue so that the Church of Christ might be enriched and strengthened. Truly the goal of all dialogue as well as all hermeneutics is that the Church might grow in the knowledge and the love of our Lord. This can best be accomplished when "iron sharpens iron" and those who worship and serve the Lord begin to challenge and learn from one another.
1. This paper is an outgrowth of a presentation to the Society for the Study of Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelism at Wheaton College, September 25, 1993. I would like to thank Keith Wells, a member of the Society and reference librarian at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, for his invaluable help in researching this paper.
62. Brown, "On Method and Means in Theology," 14-48.