An acquaintance of mine self identifies as a Reformed Christian, who is currently investigating the claims of the Eastern Orthodox Church. In a recent discussion the question, through the course of a few different kinds of questions, was leveled at me: On what basis do you reject the Eastern Orthodox Church. More than once I was asked to explain what I have studied that lead me to that conclusion. I started to think about it, and I think that perhaps the perspective was misguided.
You see, in most cases, we don’t reject a thing based on a comprehensive and conclusive study of that thing. More often than not we reject a given idea or proposition based on the fact that we affirm a contradictory stance.
In my case, I believe that the Reformed expression of Christian faith is the most faithful and authentic, and accurate expression of what the Bible teaches. Even more specifically, I would argue that the particular expression that is codified in the Westminster Confession of Faith is the most accurate.
That means that the basis upon which I reject the claims of the Eastern Orthodox Church, or the Roman Catholic Church, is not that I have surveyed the entirety of those positions and found them wanting. Rather, it is that I have accepted a contrary position.
This should not be all that unusual for a person to understand. We do it every day to varying degrees. I reject the idea that God does not exist NOT because I have surveyed every possible “place” that God could exist and validated that he does not in fact exist, but rather because I accept the contrary position.
Now, this does not mean that I believe that Westminster theology is correct in every area. Nor does it mean that I believe that it is incapable of being incorrect. In fact, there are some places where I think the Eastern Orthodox tradition actually does a better job of expressing certain truths (admittedly, I think that these are primarily linguistic and terminological issues more than substantive issues).