Monday, September 21, 2009

from Moody to the Eastern Orthodox church

Interesting. Somehow I stumbled on a link today to this interview with John Maddex about his conversion to the Eastern Orthodox church.

I actually heard him speak in my senior year at Moody. He was an evangelical, and he was partly in charge of Moody Radio and also worked for years at Focus on the Family. I was shocked to hear his story. His daughter went to Moody and was dating a guy from Moody. This guy studied Eastern Orthodoxy in a history class and visited an Orthodox church in Chicago and pretty quickly actually was convinced of the truth of the church and soon drew Mr. Maddex's daughter with him. John talks about how uncomfortable he was with all this, but how he was resolved to talk it out and theologically convince his daughter and son-in-law to draw away from this new venture.

Turns out his other daughter and son-in-law, Wheaton graduates, soon also joined the Orthodox church. His wife desperately wished to join them and he quotes her saying that she felt like she had "worshiped for the first time in her life" at their church. It took a while for him to come around, and only by studying the early church fathers was he convinced of it all. Two years ago he finally resigned from Moody radio and now runs an Orthodox online radio station.

Hearing the interview today added one piece of information that surprised me - in his early years in Chicago and working at Moody radio he was involved in Addison Road Baptist Church. The church as he knew it is gone now, but it was dissolved into a church plant that was my church home while I was at Moody, and is now known as Missio Dei.

It's also strange because it turns out I babysat once for one of the daughters that ultimately led John Maddex to the Orthodox church. It was a one-time job but I remember it because I babysat so they could go to the midnight Pasca (Easter) service at their Orthodox church, and their pure excitement about the event surprised me. Up until then I'd never known anyone personally or passionately involved in the Orthodox church, and this is certainly the first time I've met someone that moved from the evangelical church to the Orthodox church.

'Tis fascinating. Really fascinating. I don't know enough about the Eastern Orthodox belief system.

4 comments:

weelass said...

Eastern Orthodoxy became very interesting to us while at Moody because of our History of Doctrine class with Quiggle, and particularly the book by Bishop Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way. I heard Moody banned him from using it later because it led to a lot of convertions to Orthodoxy. His class also led to Josh's interest in studying the Church before the great schism (Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Protestantism).

I recommend the book if you have not read it. It gave me another perspective on worship. It added a layer of mystery. I really appreciated their emphasis on victory and the resurrection whereas Protestants tend to emphasize the death and there tends to be sort of underlying defeatist trend toward sin, if that makes any sense.

Kacie said...

Well, at least three years ago they were still using The Orthodox Way in Quiggle's class, because Isaac read it then as well. He also loved it and I vowed to read it and still haven't. I visited the local Orthodox Ukrainian church near our apartment in Ukrainian village, but I didn't visit any of the recommended churches that are easier for visitors to understand and participate in.

It's all interesting to me - I've been reading up today on the difference between the catholic and orthodox churches.

Rachel Strietz said...

I am in Quiggle's class this semester, and we are reading Ware. So it is still alive and well!

Lauren said...

What little I know of the Orthodox church comes from a blog written by a young man of that belief (although he doesn't write anymore). While I don't know the theology, I was inspired and more then a little chastized for my own lack of dedication - he gave up a job, attending a much-anticipated lecture and several other things, because they interferred with the participating in the church. I may not agree with his beliefs, but I can not help but admire his dedication, his sacrifice and his solid heart. ~ L