- Pathfinder

Reply To: Are there elements of ancient and/or modern Near Eastern Christianity that are present in your own church/faith life? If so, what are they? If not, would you be open to implementing any?

Joshua Johnson

I plan to, and to some extent do already, incorporate elements of Near Eastern Christianity in my faith. First of all, I have long believed in the catholicity (from a Greek word that means “whole/entire/universal”) and universality of the Church, even though I was raised Protestant. While I am not a member of the RC Church, I do consider myself a little-c catholic in the sense that I am a member of the global, universal church, and consider myself to be in communion with them (even if, ironically enough, I may not be admitted to some of their communions). I am a member of the church universal, and so all the saints of the church (East, West, Irish, Middle Eastern, Egyptian, Levantine, etc) are part of my religious heritage. Second, I wouldn’t say that I pray or worship (yet, at least) in a specifically Eastern sense, but I do find myself drawn to Eastern liturgy. The Aramaic Lord’s Prayer shown to us by Professor Cochrane was a breath-taking and awe-inspiring sight to behold and to hear. Thanks to the Internet and music and video sharing, I am also able to listen to Bulgarian Chant, which is an entirely “other” and captivating experience to behold from a Western-reared perspective. I highly recommend looking up Bulgarian or even Arabic Orthodox chants on YouTube. Third, I value the broader biblical canons of the Eastern churches. While Protestants have 66 books, the Orthodox (and Catholic) have 70+. One specific Eastern group, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, has 81 books in their canon! This includes the Book of Enoch, the Book of Jubilees, and Josephus/Josippon, and many other books which Westerners have never even heard of. The Ethiopian Bible has never been translated into English, nor has it ever been published as a single collection in Ethiopian. It is wild to think about that there are books in their Bible that are not even in most editions of their Bible! (It would be like if our Bibles came in multiple volumes, but not everyone had to access to all the volumes!) There is a website dedicated to publishing the full Tewahedo bible in English, but they still don’t even have all the books and they don’t have many translators https://ethiopianorthodoxbible.wordpress.com/. Unfortunately, not many people read Amharic or Ge’ez. In light of that fact, I would hope to be able to read those languages some day in order to educate myself on this matter further. The Ethiopian Church also has a lot of other amazing facts, such as rock-hewn churches, the Ark of the Covenant, and claiming to have the Solomonic dynasty!