Orthodoxy, Abouna Zacarias, and the Trinity

Folks in the West don't usually think about the Orthodox churches' missions to Islam very much. In fact, most Western Christians don't know the first thing about Eastern Orthodoxy.

One of various Orthodox churches is the Coptic Orthodox Church. For those of you who knows something about church history, they are one of the non-Chalcedonian churches. That is, they did not accept the Definition of Chalcedon (451 AD) wherein the Church said that Christ had two natures, one human, and one divine. He did not have some mixture of natures, nor was one eliminated or subsumed into the other.

The Coptic Orthodox Church is based out of Egypt, and they are by far the largest of the existing churches in the lands of Islamdom.

Now there is one Coptic priest named Abouna Zacarias. (Abouna is simply Arabic for 'our father' and is the title used for a priest here.) He is a brilliant scholar of Islam and is hands down the best-known apologist for Christianity in the entire region.

If you would like to read some of his work here is a link. He is here tackling what is probably the single hardest issue one could think of: The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Need I say that, technically speaking, the majority of Western Christians (Roman Catholic and Protestant) are probably heretics? I mean that if you keep asking questions about the Trinity and about the divinity of the Son you will generally run into a heresy. That is not because they want to be heretics of course, they simply have not read the early definitions and creeds on the matter. And the pastors who are responsible for teaching them? Unfortunately, the evangelical distaste for Catholicism led to a distaste for church history, and well, if you don't know where you come from you simply don't know who you are. So many of the pastors are ignorant of Trinitarian theology, even at a basic level.

Want to test your knowledge? Try this: name five heresies related to the divinity of Christ or the Trinity.

In any case, kudos to Abouna Zacarias for addressing these questions in an intelligent and direct way. He does not skirt around the fact that he is not a Muslim or that he does not believe in the Quran or Muhammad, as do many Western Christians when they discuss these questions. God bless him and his ministry


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