D. Oliver Herbel
THE CONVERSION OF FR. PETER GILLQUIST AND THE EOC TO THE ORTHODOX CHURCH FLYING TO BYZANTIUM
I was at home on the morning before the day of departure for Constantinople, helping feed our children breakfast. The phone rang. It was Bishop Maximos. His voice was that of a deeply disappointed man. «I don't know what has happened,» he said, «but the Archbishop does not want me to go. I'm recommending that Father Gregory Wingenbach accompany you in my place.» When Orthodox people joke about such sudden changes, they call it Byzantine Intrigue. This is when unexpected things happen at the highest levels of the Church, and nobody seems to know the reason why. It was all new to us. And the joke was not funny... We have since been told that a few Greek Orthodox clergy along with a Greek government official were adamantly opposed to our going to Constantinople and to entering the Church. They reportedly felt we would somehow «water down» Orthodoxy in America to a pop version of the ancient faith and not be supportive of retaining a commitment to Hellenistic culture in the parishes. One report suggested we were out to «take over the church.»... After the Liturgy [of the Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios and his synod], we received the antidoron – the blessed bread [which is not to be confused with the Eucharistic bread] – from the Patriarch. Fr. Gregory quickly explained in Greek who we were. By now the Patriarch had already been fully informed about us. Though we knew that it was highly unlikely that our whole group could have the dialog with him that we had come for, we expected at least a brief courtesy visit. But no such visit materialized. Instead the Patriarch and his synod of Metropolitans exited the church, leaving us standing alone… We gathered in the board room at the Seminary the morning after our arrival in Boston. I have never been more grateful in my life that a meeting was not preserved by tape recording. It was the closest we ever came to collectively turning our back from the Orthodox Church. But to forsake the Church, you must also forsake the faith, and we could not do that. We knew too much. Besides, there was no place else to go.308
During the 1970s and 1980s a group of evangelical pastors, many of whom had been associated with Campus Crusade for Christ, began questioning the legitimacy of parachurch ministries.309 Their exploration led them to the doors of the Orthodox Churches, upon which they knocked until finally let in. Most of the other converts in this dissertation were welcomed in the Orthodox Church at the outset.
According to the standard published narrative, the former Campus Crusade group had to experience rejection at the highest level (the patriarch of Constantinople) in an offensive manner before hearing a welcoming voice from another corner of Orthodoxy. Peter Gillquist's book Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith remains the primary and most popular published narrative through which one may assess both his own conversion and that of the majority of the denomination known as the Evangelical Orthodox Church (EOC). One can also find shorter complimentary essays written by other former EOC members and scattered across the Internet.310 A closer look at additional sources, including many important unpublished sources, however, will show that such an assessment is a selectively presented perspective. The conversion involved a difficult shift from restorationism centered on the early church of the Christian East to the Orthodox tradition.311 More precisely, American restorationism became the vehicle by which the former EOC members turned to the Eastern Orthodox tradition, a turn that was not nearly as easy and straightforward for them as their carefully crafted narratives attempt to portray. The leader of this group of evangelicals was Peter Gillquist, who served as an archbishop of the EOC. His narration of the trip to Constantinople, undertaken by the leaders of the movement, encapsulates their journey. Their entry into the Orthodox Church took dedication and commitment to overcome not only concerns of some members of the Orthodox Church, including the Patriarch of Constantinople himself, but the reasons for those concerns – the EOC's own ecclesiastical habits and dysfunctions. Although some members of the EOC trickled into the Orthodox Churches earlier in the 1980s, in 1987, approximately 1,700 members of this same group of about 2,200 later joined the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America and formed the Antiochian Evangelical Orthodox Mission (AEOM). Of the remaining 500, many entered Orthodoxy in subsequent years. Today, the EOC continues to exist only as a very small denomination with approximately about one dozen churches and a monastery of two nuns.312
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE EOC AND THE ANTI-TRADITIONAL TRADITION
After spending the earlier part of the 1960s intrigued with what they were reading in the Book of Acts, some of the leaders in the Campus Crusade for Christ movement (including Peter Gillquist, Jon Braun, and Gordon Walker) used an annual meeting in the summer of 1966 to begin investigating the New Testament Church. By 1968, Gillquist was tiring of the parachurch movement and desired to find that New Testament Church: «Our impetus came from our dissatisfaction with being parachurch – a category we found neither in Scripture nor in church history. In evangelizing college campuses we saw a magnitude of initial response to Christ on the part of the students, but we did not see sustained results.»313 To put it another way, «the name of the game, we decided, was not parachurch but church.»314 Gillquist omitted another dimension, which was the combination of intra-evangelical disputes and a changing understanding of church authority (toward an increasingly authoritarian view) among those who would eventually come to form the core leadership of the EOC.315 Nonetheless, Gillquist's dichotomy between church and parachurch was an operating distinction for him and one that was fully entrenched by 1979: «Just as it would be a bit aberrant for me to be a place-kicker or a tight end, yet refuse to be a part of a visible football team, so it is equally strange how we have been content to be teachers or evangelists outside the boundaries of the Church.»316 He also described such a situation as «a disconnected arm.»317 Gillquist had experienced the parachurch model as a schismatic enterprise rather than either a group of ministries united within a single church or a means of directing students to a particular church. In 1968, his tolerance with such a situation had reached its breaking point:
It was February of 1968, and I was speaking on one of the satellite campuses of the University of Wisconsin, in La Crosse. Walking from the student union back to the dorm room where I was staying that evening, I sensed a specific nudge, a still small voice saying, «I want you to leave.» When I reached the dorm, I telephoned Jon [Braun] at his home in California. «I'm through,» I announced, not sure what else to say. There was a long silence on the other end. He finally said, «So am I.» I mailed in my resignation letter later in the week. The exodus had begun.318
The following summer, Braun and Gillquist called together many fellow ex-leaders in the movement and began searching for the New Testament Church. Gillquist's description of this is shaped by biblical allusions. He considered their journey an «exodus,» and wrote, «the Church was the answer, but not any church we had ever seen.»319 Their search continued over the span of several years and in 1973, at a publisher's convention in Dallas, a large group of people formed a network in order to find or re-establish the New Testament church. Although Gillquist claimed the group numbered 70, and no formal records were kept, a more likely number (one consistent with other sources) seems to be 55.320 The number 70 does make a nice allusion to Luke 10:1–6, however, where Jesus called and sent 70 apostles.
Later that year, a group of men divided among themselves topics to be studied from the New Testament and early Christianity. Jack Sparks would investigate worship, Jon Braun would research church history, Dick Ballew would review doctrine, Gordon Walker determined to check whatever they found «against the Bible,» Ken Berven and Ray Nethery volunteered to help with church history, and Gillquist was selected to be the overall administrator.321 As Gillquist wrote about the meeting, «our motivation was to be the best Christian people we could be, to be a twentieth century expression of the first century Church. ... We had agreed on the front end to do and be whatever we found that the New Testament Church did and was, as we followed her through history.»322 Their starting point was the American anti-traditional tradition of restorationism. They believed they could discover the New Testament Church and become that. By 1973, they had, however, begun to set aside a more Protestant notion of history, which emphasized discontinuity and the need to recover something supposedly lost, and in 1975 they formed the New Covenant Apostolic Order (NCAO), committed to finding the New Testament Church. They had accepted a more Orthodox or Roman Catholic view of church history, which emphasized historical continuity and a belief that any period called «dark ages» may not, in fact, have been devoid of the light of the church, the body of Christ. This could be seen in their willingness to trace the New Testament Church historically.
What they had not yet accepted, however, was the full implication of that: an Orthodox/Catholic view of apostolic succession. Instead, they retained a particular Protestant ecclesiology. This could be seen in the manner in which they developed their ecclesiology, or church governance, during the 1970s. The group attracted negative attention in the 1970s and 1980s because of this. One observer, relying upon interviews with defectors and published and unpublished brochures and papers, noted that although they claimed to accept «apostolic succession,» they did not accept it as a historical, physical manifestation, but as a spiritual one, «in that those today who follow apostolic teaching and practices are the true successors.»323
Tradition did not yet mean, for Gillquist and the NCAO, an ongoing, lived continuity, that «living tradition» one may find articulated by modern Orthodox theologians. Gillquist and the others had begun to realize that an ongoing continuity of some sort was important but they had not yet accepted that it must be found in a concrete, lived tradition. On the one hand, they understood themselves to be a part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, seeking out other parts of this church, but on the other, some still claimed to be «rebuilding the Church of the living God.»324 It would take time for the transition in their understanding of church history and ecclesiology to move beyond American Protestant restorationism.
In the summer of 1975, the group gathered together once again to report and reflect on their findings. Gillquist called the week «painful,» and it seemed to have been so right from the start. He objected to the very first report on worship by Jack Sparks, who noted that the earliest sources pointed to a liturgical worship.325 In fact, each report caused much consternation and discussion among the men. The church history report of Jon Braun noted the early presence of bishops.326 Church history played an important role in their discernment, for the filioque dispute as well as concerns regarding the role of the papacy led the leaders of the group to view 1054, a date given as the formal separation of the Eastern and Western churches, as a fork in the road. They chose to side with the church that conserved an uninterpolated creed and a conciliar episcopacy – the Orthodox Church. Richard Ballew's doctrine report concentrated on Christological issues.327
The group left their meeting committed to continuing on their journey. Their findings caused problems among their followers, however, as the men began to change their preaching, teaching, and worship to accord more closely with what they had found. Gillquist noted, «people did leave us as we began to preach and practice this real or sacramental view of holy communion.»328 Nonetheless, they implemented a liturgical worship patterned after what they believed they found in Justin Martyr, instituted a hierarchical governing structure, and on February 15, 1979, they changed their name to the «Evangelical Orthodox Church» and formed the EOC as a formal denomination.
One should be careful not to assume that the hierarchical structure and liturgical worship was consistent with Orthodox Christianity. The manner in which they formed the EOC demonstrated restorationism, even while seeing the Orthodox Churches as somehow having continuity with the early Christian Church. Rather than seek ordination from an already existing church body, the leaders of the EOC formed a circle and laid hands on one another. In other words, the same group of men who could acknowledge a historical apostolic succession within the Orthodox Churches believed that within their particular rite, they had received «Charismatic Apostolic Succession» directly from the Holy Spirit himself.329 In both cases (ecclesiology and liturgies) the NCAO-EOC took an approach that better exemplifies American restorationism than the Orthodox tradition.
LITURGICAL SYNCRETISM, AUTHORITARIANISM, AND RESTORATIONISM
Although intended to be patterned after early Christian worship and with an eye to the Orthodox Christian liturgical practices, the liturgical worship displayed some EOC-specific syncretistic aspects. The beginning portion of the anaphora (the section of the liturgy that includes the offering of bread and wine) began with a greeting and response not found in any Orthodox Church.330 Likewise, communicants had their choice of «bread,» which could include cornbread, muffins, bagels, or anything else that could be classified as a bread.331 On at least one occasion, people who were late to the service because they were watching the children, were given bread from the kitchen even though the liturgy itself had been held in the living room with the breads in the living room (for the EOC operated out of small house churches).332 More oddly, perhaps, was that the EOC gathering would then take their elements and disperse to their homes and commune there, rather than commune together as a larger group. This manner of receiving the Eucharist was not only a sectarian feature, but should also be labeled «anti-traditional.» Traditional Eucharistic liturgies in liturgical churches (including Orthodox Churches) utilize the Eucharist as an expression of unity rather than a cause to disperse and commune in small groups. In this respect, the EOC was not so different from other restorationist groups in America. For example, Alexander Campbell, in his movement to find the New Testament Church likewise altered liturgical practices, even rearranging the furniture in the worship space.333
What set the EOC most strikingly apart from the Orthodox Churches in America, however, may well have been its ecclesiology, in which Gillquist himself played a central role.334 At least two investigative studies critiqued EOC ecclesiology for being authoritarian. Bill Counts's pamphlet for the Spiritual Counterfeits Project at the time highlighted some cases of spiritual abuse, such as threatening to order a person joining the EOC to divorce a spouse who was not ready to do so.335 The strong authoritarianism within one EOC community even led to a series of articles in the Gary, Indiana, Post-Tribune as an expose. Robin Fornoff, a writer for the Post-Tribune of Gary, Indiana, wrote a series of articles on the EOC community in Gary, Indiana, which was headed by Fred Rogers at the time.336 Although Rogers denied some of the accusations that led to Fornoff's report, Fornoff was able to establish the Church's heightened emphasis on «obedience,» the regular use of disciplinary courts, and that church leaders believed God spoke to them often and about detailed aspects of parishioners» lives, such as whom people should marry, whether they ought to purchase a car, or even whether they should discontinue medications, even life-sustaining medications.337 Even when the authority of the EOC leadership could not be exercised through spiritual courts and/or direct threats of shunning, manipulation was utilized, especially when dealing with those who were considering membership.338
Nor were EOC clergy immune to such mistreatments. Ron Zell served as the «deacon of music» for nine years for the church in Goleta, California, but was severely disciplined for requesting a vacation.339 Zell requested a vacation from his priests in April. When his request was denied, he appealed to Ballew, who operated as a bishop. Ballew upheld the priests» decisions and convened a spiritual court at which Zell was told he was wrong to question priestly judgment. According to Zell, he was even told that church leaders could discipline his wife or children without his permission. He was then «put out and cut off,» or excommunicated, from the EOC, and joined a Lutheran parish. He and his family remained shunned from the group, losing all their EOC friends. Another clergyman who left the EOC, Ray Netherly, received a letter signed by other bishop-leaders, including Gillquist himself, in which the leaders wrote that Netherly had been «deceived» and they decreed a prophesy against Netherly: «I am the Lord God... Cleanse the unrighteous ness from your midst… Do not make your relationship idols.... Acting upon this word we are wielding our swords in obedience to cut off that which is unclean in our midst.»340 The voice of the EOC leaders had spoken. Therefore, God had spoken. Therefore, Netherly was to be shunned. Jointly signed letters were the rule of the denomination and was justified, in the words of Jon Braun (who served as a bishop) because «you fail in your duty as an elder if you fail to be a "betrayer.» »341
According to Gillquist, the issue of authority was cast in terms of biblical interpretation. Referring to 2 Peter 1:20, which states that biblical interpretation is not to be a purely private matter, he wrote:
who is to determine what is orthodox? The answer is, the Church of Jesus Christ.... For there is one Church, and one faith and one Lord for all. To stand with a heterodox church which separates itself from the foundations of the One Holy Catholic Church, to stand in a faith outside the Apostolic Faith as determined by that Church, is to serve a Lord who is foreign to heaven itself.342
EOC authority was justified by an appeal to a particular kind of biblical understanding of authority. The EOC would eventually come to see this authority residing within the Orthodox tradition fully but during the 1970s and for much of the 1980s, the EOC itself believed this authority was given to its own leadership.
Although it could be debated whether one ought to consider the NCAO-EOC an authoritarian «cult,»343 an overly sanitized narrative, which one encounters from Gillquist and the other former EOC members who have published their conversion narratives, certainly fails to discuss the groups clear sectarian and cultish tendencies. Indeed, such sanitized versions make it easy to miss just how representative the group was of Americas anti-traditional tradition of Christian restorationism.344 For it has been a characteristic of American Christian restorationism that «the sense of innocence and self-righteousness that almost inevitably results from identification with the primordium has led in turn to coercion and curtailment of freedom.»345 Often, this is actually expressed as an ironic feature of American religious life, inasmuch as many restorationist groups developed in order to find freedom for themselves.346 As noted above, Gillquist had omitted other factors that led to the NCAO-EOC, which was intra-evangelical disputes. Within the Campus Crusade for Christ in the 1960s, for instance, the EOC, especially Gillquist and Braun, had reacted against the «legalism» of Bill Bright.347 In other words, when Gillquist told Braun in 1968 that he was «done,» it was not only because of his distaste for «parachurch» ministries, but also because of Bright's more rigid approach to ministry. The NCAO-EOC, led by Gillquist, therefore, lies squarely within American Christian restorationism's tendency to produce authoritarian expressions, even while the EOC was seeking freedom not merely from a strict leadership but also «parachurch» status itself.
At one point, in order to lay claim to being a legitimate church over and against a more sectarian existence, Gillquist had been instrumental in publishing a book by Jack Sparks through Thomas Nelson Press, in which Sparks labeled the Witness Lee and The Local Churches as a cult.348 Thomas Nelson was quickly sued and had to retract the claim. According to testimony from the libel litigation, Gillquist had been instrumental in publishing the book.349 Presenting others as «cults,» Gillquist and Sparks and the NACO clearly did not see the NACO in the same way that others had viewed it.
Gillquist even explained the change in name from «New Covenant Apostolic Order» to «Evangelical Orthodox Church» precisely along the lines of a shift from parachurch ministries to the establishment of a new church:
It may well be that denominations will continue on as sub-governments with the total government of the One Holy Church, confessing her common faith and worship. ... it was the will of God for us to adopt as our name The Evangelical Orthodox Church, a denomination of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.350
Shifting from an order to a church proved consistent with the struggle Gillquist was having with the notion of parachurch. The importance of a church/parachurch distinction was such an important aspect of the EOC movement that the adoption of authoritarian hierarchy should be placed within the context of this very struggle.351 What seems to have concerned Gillquist and his colleagues about the parachurch movement was that it was not ministerial arms within a unified church but, rather, independent entities unsupported by ecclesiastical oversight. Gillquist believed that hierarchical authority was an essential part of the Church.
One might wonder whether this concern for parachurch versus church isn't consistent with a trajectory of scholarly studies that have examined a trend toward more traditional religiosity by many Americans, especially since the 1960s.352 It has even been argued not only that conservative denominations were better at communicating what mattered religiously, but that the «demand» that conservative denominations placed on their adherents actually attracted members.353 Not all have found this thesis convincing, however, and have offered counter-examples and explanations.354 My findings here likewise question the thesis. Although the development of the EOC itself might be seen as lending support to that thesis, and one could argue that without such rigid conservativism, the former EOC members never would have become Orthodox, the full trajectory of the EOC-turned-Orthodox does not support it. The EOC's entrance into Orthodoxy actually required a journey of becoming less sectarian, authoritarian, and morally rigid. During much of its existence, though, the EOC remained in tension between the poles of sectarianism and Orthodoxy.
This tension between existing as an independent church and looking to the Eastern Christian tradition for its grounding could even be found within the public announcements of the establishment of the EOC. Gillquist could say, on the one hand, that one problem he had seen in the Campus Crusade ministry was that they and the students «weren't connected to the tradition of Christ,» and define that according to the historical creeds,355 while on the other hand claiming that the EOC's «dream» was «the restoration of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.»356 As this second claim suggests, however, the EOC's authoritarianism existed not for its own sake but in order to fulfill the moral component the group envisioned in the restoration of the traditional Church. For Gillquist and the EOC believed the universal church's calling was to create a «spiritual super race.»357 At this point, Gillquist was only willing to say that the Orthodox Church «had proximity to Christ... the Eastern church stayed closer to the truth than the Roman Church.»358 That EOC dream would change, but it would require time, further reflections, the indefinite tabling of their membership application to the National Association of Evangelicals, and dialogue with the Orthodox themselves, a dialogue that would include a dispute over whether and how EOC clergy should convert if they were not willing to wait for the group to be received en masse.
THE CASE OF FR. JAMES BERNSTEIN
One clergyman of the EOC who was ready and willing to make the shift into the Orthodox Church well before Gillquist was Arnold Berstein who, in 1981, wanted to leave to join the Orthodox Church in America as a layman.359 The EOC was not yet prepared for such a maneuver, as Gillquist wanted the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) to accept the EOC clergy as OCA clergy, as though being transferred from one Orthodox jurisdiction to another. Jon Braun believed having EOC clergy leave to become laymen would hurt the EOC's standing. When it became clear to EOC leadership that they could not prevent Bernstein from leaving, Robert Guio, an EOC bishop, wrote to Bernstein, in which he enclosed a letter of apology that Bernstein was to sign and asked Bernstein to write the central leadership (Gillquist, Jon Braun, and Jack Sparks) an additional letter of apology.360 The enclosed apology Bernstein was to sign included repenting for having met «secretly» with Fr. Michael Prokurat, an Orthodox priest. Although Bernstein had already informed Guio that Bernstein's entrance into Orthodoxy was to be seen as him «going ahead of you in order to prepare the way before you as your church moves towards entering the fullness of Orthodoxy,» Bernstein was told by the OCA to hold off his own personal conversion.361 For this reason, Bernstein's wife and children entered the Orthodox church first, on November 8,1981. Bernstein also drafted a 13-page letter, which he shared with OCA Bishops Dmitri and Basil. In that letter, he critiqued two problems he saw within the EOC: its authoritarianism and its syncretism.362 Against the former, he noted the case of the Donatists, rigorists who flourished as a separate church in North Africa in the fourth and fifth centuries and claimed that fear of punishment did not bring «lasting fruit.» He saw the sacrament of confession, as practiced in Orthodoxy, as an antidote to the «excessive emphasis upon use of directive authority.» Against syncretism, he claimed, «the road to true Catholicity does not lie in building bridges from the E.O.C. to other churches, rather it lies in having the E.O.C. cross the bridge that has already been built to Orthodoxy.»
Despite the internal EOC tensions as well as the attempt by the OCA and EOC to retain a dialogue, Bernstein's 1982 conversion (after his wife and children) proved prescient for Gillquist and the rest of the EOC together with him. In Becoming Orthodox, Gillquist had noted how important the «New Testament church» was to him personally, and five years after entering the Orthodox Church, Gillquist wrote as much again when he retold his story in an article for Christian Century.363 Yet a shift in the thinking of both Gillquist and the EOC leadership slowly occurred. When doing their earlier research in the 1970s, they had focused on the first 200 years of Christianity and, at times, incorporated sources from the first four centuries. They also developed the belief that the same church that existed as the Church in the New Testament must have continued down through history somehow and so they began to wrestle with the idea that perhaps it exists somewhere physically and not just spiritually. Restorationism was turning to lived tradition.
GILLQUIST AND THE EOC SEEK ENTRY INTO THE NAE AND THE ORTHODOX CHURCH
Around the same time that Bernstein left the EOC, Gillquist was connecting the New Testament Church to a concern for Christian unity in a new way. «Will we continue our march toward realtionship [sic] with the historic Church, or will we be content to simply be [sic] an isolated, sectarian schism from the One Holy Church?»364 Gillquist was not alone, for others in the EOC felt similar pain at being in schism, or parachurch, as evidenced from another 1981 EOC article comparing the parachurch movement to a parasite.365 This concern for being in the Church continued to guide Gillquist: «The choices for us are neither a Churchless Christ nor a Christless Church! Instead, we are called by God the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to come to know and love the Lord Jesus Christ in His Church.»366
In conformity with their desire to be officially part of the Orthodox Church, the leaders of the NCAO-turned-EOC developed relationships with the Orthodox Churches, beginning in 1977.367 Initially, the group made contact with the OCA through Fr. Alexander Schmemann, an influential American Orthodox theologian who taught at St. Vladimir's Seminary from 1951 until his death in 1983, Bishop Dmitri, a long-time bishop of the diocese of the south, and Fr. Ted Wojcik.
While the EOC nurtured these relationships, the denomination also sought membership within the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). In October 1984, Gillquist wrote to the administrative board of the NAE, asking that the EOC be admitted for membership. The executive committee discussed the situation, requested feedback from the board at large, and presented Gillquist with a request to respond to four concerns: (1) whether the EOC's beliefs in the Eucharist were close to transubstantiation, (2) the EOC's authoritarian «shepherding,» (3) an emphasis on apostolic succession, and (4) whether the EOC was «in a state of flux both in doctrinal position and organization.»368 In addition to discussions within the executive committee, members of the board at large also expressed these concerns. These concerns formed the basis for the four points Gillquist was asked to address.369
Gillquist authored a response of just over four pages, which he sent to the NAE's executive director, Dr. Billy A. Melvin.370 In essence, Gillquist responded by: (1) emphasizing a change of bread and wine «in mystery» rather than «a substantive or even chemical change»; (2) arguing that their authoritarianism is often «distorted,» whereas they simply seek «a New Testament sense of righteousness»; (3) claiming that apostolic succession was «an undeniable fact of Church history,» something into which the EOC believed it had entered through its commitment «to those forbearers of the faith;» and (4) explaining that the EOC developed a commitment to early Christianity and was fully committed to being accepted by the Orthodox Churches. This last point betrayed their American restorationism. As Gillquist had put it:
we moved to a new love for the historic faith and to a sense of appreciation for the early Church... we gained a new understanding of the frustrations of so many of the Reformers, and what it was they were after... our days of pilgrimage are essentially over. From here, we desire to be received intact into the larger Orthodox Church.371
Gillquist and the EOC believed they had discovered what the historic, early Church taught, to such an extent, in fact, that they knew what the Protestant Reformers themselves had really been after. Although one might wonder how they could truly know that, such presumptuousness does indicate the extent to which they believed they had achieved a true restoration of the early church. Furthermore, it is expressly stated by Gillquist that by late 1984 there was no question at all about the future of the EOC – it was looking to enter into an Orthodox Church, a subtle but important shift from just a few years before, when it was seeking to be recognized as an already existing Orthodox Church. Nonetheless, Gillquist and the EOC hoped not to «sever» their evangelical «roots.»372 To put it another way, the EOC, though trying to find a way into the Orthodox Church, was hedging its bets. In April, Melvin wrote a letter to Gillquist informing the latter that, «After due consideration, a motion prevailed to table the matter.»373 The EOC's check for $150 was returned as well. Initially, Gillquist asked for a reason, but the response (in June) was merely to quote a portion of that previous meeting's minutes and to invite him and fellow EOC leaders to the NAE convention to be held in 1986 in order to begin developing a relationship. The NAE did not trust the EOC.
At the same time that the NAE rejected the EOC's membership application, the EOC was engaging in dialogue with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. By 1984, they had already begun discussing their situation with Bishop Maximos of Pittsburgh, the Greek Orthodox bishop of that city, who encouraged them to take their case to Constantinople. Their desire to enter Orthodoxy under the auspices of the patriarch of Constantinople occurred when they harmed their relationship with the OCA because of their willingness to accept a priest who had been disciplined by Bishop Dmitri. When Dmitri learned of this, he cut off the official dialogue, leaving only Frs. Alexander Schmemann and Ted Wojcik, members of the OCA committee in charge of dialogue with the EOC, willing to speak to the EOC.374 In other words, the EOC continued to straddle both sides of the Protestant-Orthodox divide, accepting Orthodox clergy but still believing they could be accepted as a fully Orthodox group and integrated into the Orthodox Church. The trip to Constantinople, as recounted above, proved to be a disaster. Indeed, it would be difficult to find another contemporary example of the Orthodox Church displaying a less welcoming response to an interested group of Christians seeking to enter the Orthodox Church. As we have seen, though, Gillquist was told the Greeks did not trust the EOC to integrate properly and we also know the Greeks had learned of some of the authoritarianism within the EOC, a fact that seems to have affected the Greek response even though Bishop Maximos dialogued with the EOC after learning of this.375 This left the EOC dejected. Gillquist used the word «despair.»376 Upon their return to America, the disappointed group met with Archbishop Iakavos at Holy Cross Seminary in Brookline, Massachusetts. The archbishop informed them there was no plan to bring them into the Greek Orthodox Church as a group.377 The EOC had refused to let go of their restorationist ideals when dealing with the OCA, the NAE, and the Ecumenical Patriarch. Doing so had led to their humiliation in Constantinople. They were running out of options.
Despite their dejection, and likely out of desperation, they followed through with a previously scheduled meeting with Metropolitan Philip, the leader of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, which was under the Patriarch of Antioch, Patriarch Ignatius IV, whom they also met.378 The meeting proved to be the beginning of a close relationship though contrary to Gillquist's published narrative, more work had yet to be done.
Gillquist wrote that Metropolitan Philip requested a report from them on how they would like to enter the Church, which they then wrote and gave to him.379 In his efforts to overemphasize Philip's role in the EOC conversion, Gillquist omitted a key series of events, indeed perhaps the series of events that finally made their conversion possible, on a practical level.380 Jon Braun had visited New York for a wedding in January of 1986 and stayed at St. Vladimir's Seminary, as the EOC leaders were wont to do when in the New York area. He asked Fr. Thomas Hopko, the seminary's dean at the time, to come out and spend several days with them in order to help them determine how to enter the Orthodox Church, which they were still wanting to do.381 Hopko agreed on two conditions (that he first get Metropolitan Theodosius's blessing for such a trip and that after visiting with them, he write a memo for Bishop Maximos of Pittsburgh, Metropolitan Philip, and Metropolitan Theodosius).
From Friday, February 14, through Monday, February 17, 1986, Hopko visited them. Hopko described the visit as filled with intense conversations «from morning to morning» concerning many various theological, evangelistic, and ecclesiological issues.382 One of the characteristics of the group at the time, Hopko noted, was that they still believed that they should enter as a group in order to serve as some sort of cohesive missionary arm of an Orthodox Church because they believed they could help carry «real Orthodoxy» to America. Despite the rejection in Constantinople, American restorationism was still a factor. This is not to say that Hopko questioned the doctrinal teachings of the EOC, for he explicitly stated that on the questions of the Trinity, the saints, sacraments, and so on, they were fine, but he did take pains to note that Orthodoxy is a «living Tradition,» outside of which all else is an «abstraction.»383 Following their time together, Hopko wrote up a report, sent it to the EOC leaders for their feedback and approval, and then sent it on to the three bishops, recommending that the EOC be judged on its current existence rather than past behaviors.384 Hopko’s overall judgment was one of tempered enthusiasm, to the point where he suggested that perhaps the EOC would be in a position to create a new eight tone cycle for Orthodox hymnography, a cycle that would be more inviting to those accustomed to Western styles of music.385 Of the three bishops, only one responded – Metropolitan Philip.
Philip invited Hopko out to the Antiochian Archdiocese's headquarters in New Jersey and had an intense meeting with Hopko concerning the memo. During this meeting, it became clear that Philip was going to accept the EOC into his church, but it also became clear that two points in the memo were objectionable to him. Two points in particular «enraged» Philip. The first was a proposal for a commission of EOC scholars and liturgical theologians to develop a common agreement for acceptable liturgical practice by the EOC.386 The second was a proposal for the formation of a pan-Orthodox committee to develop a systematic method of receiving and ordaining the EOC clergy, so that even though one jurisdiction (here, the Antiochians) would be receiving the group, bishops from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and the OCA could be present as well.387 To these, Philip informed Hopko (with a little shouting and fist thumping) that he (Philip) knew how to serve liturgically, so the EOC would learn to serve Antiochian style, and he knew how to receive people into the Orthodox Church and could do that just fine without any other bishops help.388
In 1987, Metropolitan Philip brought the EOC into the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. The former evangelicals received the designation Antiochian Evangelical Orthodox Mission (AEOM) with the calling of bringing Orthodox Christianity to larger segments of the American society. As such, the members of the AEOM were merged into the Antiochian Archdiocese, but allowed to maintain their publishing house (Conciliar Press) and a sense of identity and cooperation for the express purpose of converting non-Orthodox Americans to Orthodox Christianity.
Gillquist and the EOC had to let go of their restorationist notion that they truly were a «denomination within the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church,» as their letterhead and various publicized statements claimed, but they had negotiated some level of acceptance and autonomy as a group. This created a syncretism of sorts and helped to sustain an anti-traditional mentality among some former EOC members. Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (AOCANA) was ultimately willing to grant this arrangement, though it meant stepping outside the traditional practices of the Orthodox Churches, which simply would have integrated the EOC immediately into the normal diocesan structures. Furthermore, rather than holding many ordinations for the clergy of the EOC (who had to enter Orthodoxy as laymen), Metropolitan Philip performed a mass ordination. In short, the recommendations that Hopko had suggested were largely ignored by Metropolitan Philip.
As it turned out, the American anti-traditional tradition and the Orthodox tradition were on a collision course even on the issue of EOC ordinations. In October 1986, Metropolitan Philip wrote to Metropolitan Theodosius of the OCA, inviting him to send a representative to the mass ordination of many of the former EOC clergy389 As Philip put it, «a representative from the Orthodox Church in America will give the Evangelical Orthodox Church the feeling that they are belonging to the whole Church.»390 Theodosius responded by affirming that he would send Fr. Alexander Federoff as a representative but cautioning that «while the canons, I am told, do not forbid "multiple» ordinations, the traditional practice of our Church prohibits them.»391 Philip took offense to the advice, writing, «no patriarch alone and no bishop alone can express the mind of the entire Church. Only an Ecumenical Council. . . please do not feel compelled to send any representative.»392 In April, Metropolitan Philip submitted a letter of resignation from the Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary.393 Fr. John Meyendorff, the seminary's dean, had received a copy and the seminary faculty quickly met and petitioned Theodosius not to accept the resignation.394 Philip had been sent a copy and responded to Meyendorff in which he claimed the advice from Theodosius «puzzled me beyond measure» and had been told the OCA synod had voted to allow each bishop to make up his own mind regarding the practice of multiple ordinations.395
At this point, Theodosius worked quickly to heal what could have become a de facto schism between the two jurisdictions. He sent copies of the correspondence to each of the bishops on the OCAs synod, informing them of the misunderstanding.396 That very same day, Theodosius wrote two letters to Metropolitan Philip. In the first, he recounted Philip's sermon at the funeral of Fr. Alexander Schmemann, former dean and noted liturgical theologian of St. Vladimir's Seminary.397 Theodosius remarked on how Philip had emphasized Schmemann's desire to see the seminary continue and asked Philip to withdraw his resignation. In the second, Theodosius clarified that OCA synodal discussions about multiple ordinations were never regarding whether such could be seen as «valid,» but simply regarding the bishops» own practice and views and therefore there was no decision regarding whether to be in communion with the AOCANA.398 He also reminded Philip that Federoff had been assigned as the representative and thanked Philip for the hospitality shown to Federoff at that time. After considering the situation during the month of May, Philip finally responded, withdrawing his resignation.399
With the reestablishment of relations between the OCA and the AOCANA, the EOC had entered into the Orthodox Church peacefully despite the ordination dispute. Gillquist and the EOC had been on a long journey, one that started by utilizing the American anti-traditional tradition of restorationism and ended by entering into the Orthodox Christian tradition. The manner in which this journey commenced, however, presents the Orthodox tradition as an ironic subset of American Christian restorationism even though the Orthodox Church itself would never make such a claim for its own tradition. Nonetheless, the Orthodox tradition became precisely such a subset, functionally, in that the EOC used the Eastern Orthodox Church as a rallying point for its own independence. Having tired of «parachurch,» especially one under strict direction by Bill Bright (Campus Crusade for Christ) the group formed (ironically) an «excessively authoritarian»400 independent denomination claiming to side with the Eastern Orthodox on questions of dogma. Through its restorationism, the EOC engaged in syncretism (in its liturgical practices and understanding of hierarchy) and claimed to be using sources such as Justin Martyr's description of the liturgy and Photios» arguments against the filioque to establish an Eastern Orthodox church independent of the other Orthodox Churches. The EOC's attempt to have its denomination recognized and its unwillingness to disband during the conversion process demonstrated just how difficult of a shift it was for Gillquist and the EOC to accept that they needed to do as Bernstein had done and admit they were an independent, non-Orthodox entity. Doing so meant both viewing themselves analogously to the parachurch standing they had in Campus Crusade ministry and the NCAO of the 1970s and accepting tradition as something embodied and not just spiritual. Although the narrative Gillquist constructed (along with other former EOC members) appears written to convince one that the EOC had simply been merely one evangelical denomination that came to realize the importance of tradition and started wondering where it could find the continuity of the New Testament Church, a more careful assessment reveals something different. The EOC had established itself independently, and self-consciously so, in conformity with American Christian restorationism, and attempted to use the Orthodox tradition itself in that process (by borrowing liturgical practices, certain dogmatic claims, and imitating the Orthodox hierarchical governing structure). The acceptance of the Orthodox tradition as an embodied tradition only came later after engaging that very Orthodox tradition – only after realizing that the Orthodox Churches did not view themselves through the same set of restorationist tinted glasses the EOC had been wearing.
THE DECONVERSION OF THE EVANGELICAL ORTHODOX CHURCH FROM THE ANTI-TRADITIONAL TRADITION
THEIR CONVERSION TO ORTHODOXY DID not mean that Gillquist and the Evangelical Orthodox Church (EOC) rejected everything from their parachurch and EOC days. George Liacopulos noted that the evangelistic vision of the Antiochian Evangelical Orthodox Mission (AEOM) (the group formed from the EOC leaders» mass conversion) in the Antiochian Orthodox Church demonstrated that «a conscious decision has been made to reappropriate some aspects of Evangelical praxis within an Orthodox framework.»401 Daniel J. Lehmann highlighted the presence of an Antiochian Orthodox mission at Wheaton College.402 In his article, he quoted Peter Gillquist as having told him:
We'll use the same low-pressure, aggressive evangelism approach: knock on doors, make phone calls, give witness to students. All of us have a sense of territorial imperative. St. Paul had it in bringing the Christian faith to Israel. Our fathers were evangelicals, and our desire is to bring the fullness of faith we have found in the church to our roots.403
As Lehmann implied, evangelical Christians in Wheaton were about to get a taste of their own medicine, Orthodox style. Gillquist consciously brought his evangelical fervor with him during his quest for the New Testament Church: «The true evangelical never sees this commission as reduced to preaching and witnessing alone, but presses on to baptism and the teaching of the holy faith as well, to the building of the Church.»404
This same sense of mission had been present earlier when Gillquist's group shifted from the New Covenant Apostolic Order (NCAO) to the EOC. «Our name is aptly descriptive. We are evangelical, ardent tellers forth of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. We are orthodox, insisting that our doctrine square with that biblical faith of the historic Church… And we most assuredly are Church!»405 By having found the church of Christ in the Orthodox tradition, Gillquist had placed his concern for evangelism within the context of tradition. The evangelical fervor remained as the EOC became the Antiochian Evangelical Orthodox Mission (AEOM). «Phase I had to do with the Orthodox immigrants coming to these shores... Now it's time to break through the national barriers and spread this Old World Church throughout the New World. That's Phase II.»406 Not only did Gillquist speak of a «Phase II» for Orthodoxy in North America, his Becoming Orthodox served an implicit evangelistic goal as well. Far from simply recounting the spiritual journey of a group of evangelical Christians into the Antiochian Orthodox Church, Gillquist devoted one-third of the book's contents to apologetics, providing answers to typical Protestant objections against Orthodox Christianity407
Because this evangelistic fervor, however, went hand-in-hand with the other anti-traditional elements of the EOC, tensions and difficulties were bound to happen. In fact, if one follows the trajectory of the Evangelical converts beyond 1987, one encounters three events that demonstrate precisely that the EOC had initially viewed and used the Orthodox tradition in a manner consistent with American Christian restorationism: the Orthodox Study Bible, the remarriage of Joseph Allen, and the Ben Lomond crisis. Analyzing these three events demonstrates that the AEOM encountered anti-syncretism from the Antiochian Archdiocese and underwent a subsequent deconversion from their pre-conversion identity, which had included a purposeful liturgical syncretism and self-proclaimed dual identity as simultaneously Evangelical and Orthodox Christian.
THE ORTHODOX STUDY BIBLE
One of the most significant projects to develop out of the AEOM was the Orthodox Study Bible, a publication of the New King James Version of the Psalms and the New Testament, with Orthodox commentary and prayers and a lectionary.408 Although Gillquist and the editors chose to use the New King James Version in order to be able to publish through Thomas Nelson in a way that avoided copyright issues, the criticisms centered not on the failure to provide an actual Orthodox translation based on a group of Orthodox scholars, but on the commentary and prayers the editors inserted. Ephrem Lash, a noted translator of Orthodox liturgical texts, critiqued the study bible on several points.409 Lash not only highlighted translation difficulties with the New King James Version, he expressed concern about the feel of the publication, noting that prayers to the Theotokos (Mary, the Mother of God) were omitted, the lectionary contained errors, and the commentary at one point included a blanket statement against any and all spontaneity in the early church. The latter point might be marshaled to demonstrate that the former EOC clergymen had overzealously worked to put their past behind them, since EOC parishes did utilize spontaneity at times, especially regarding prophecies and disciplines they believed came to them from God in order to lead their congregants. The lack of Marian devotion, however, does possibly show that the former EOC members had yet to come to terms fully with Orthodox liturgies and prayer life. Despite critiques such as these, The Orthodox Study Bible has sold over 75,000 copies and received the endorsement of the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America (SCOBA).410 In 1992, on the eve of the study Bible's publication, Gillquist even claimed, «I will not say that there were, and in some cases still are, no barriers or obstacles to be overcome [for Western intra-Christian converts entering Orthodoxy]. I will say dogmatically, however, that the wedding of these two cultures has worked.»411
THE JOSEPH ALLEN AFFAIR
The timing of that claim (March 1992) proves intriguing not only in light of the publication of the study Bible, but also in light of a controversy that was tearing through the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (AOCANA) at the time, the Joseph Allen affair. On November 4,1991, Fr. Joseph Allen sent a letter to his parish, St. Anthony Orthodox Church, in which he addressed something that had «provoked so much talk, judgement [sic] and gossip» – his remarriage.412 Allen, whose wife had died, stated he needed to remarry because he could not imagine living any other way and informed the parish that it was up to his bishop, and his bishop alone, who was Metropolitan Philip, to decide whether Allen could remain a priest. In February, 17 clergy, former clergy of the EOC, not including Gillquist,413 signed a letter addressed to Metropolitan Philip, asking him «not to permit this violation of the Scriptural and Canonical tradition of the Church... should reinstatement occur, we believe it would seriously hamper the fulfillment of your desire for Orthodox unity in America and the bringing in of new churches.»414 In other words, one month prior to Gillquist's claim that the integration of the EOC had «worked,» nearly 20 former EOC clergy were attempting to hold their metropolitan bishop to Orthodox canonical standards.
The reason for the concerns across the entire Antiochian Archdiocese were due to several aspects of the case. First, the Orthodox tradition interprets St. Paul's admonition in 1 Timothy 3:2 to apply to the entire life of the cleric. No priest or bishop may have been married more than once.415 Second, Allen's second wife, Valerie, was a divorcee. Moreover, Allen had counseled her and her previous husband, Gregory Maloof, through their divorce. During that time, Allen suspended (Gregory) Maloof from serving within the altar as an assistant, excommunicated him until the divorce settlement was agreed upon, and advocated for a settlement that heavily favored Valerie Maloof.416 Once people learned of the relationship between Allen and Valerie Maloof and their impending wedding, the situation divided the parish and the archdiocese. At one point, Maloof took it upon himself to write to Metropolitan Philip in a desperate attempt to defend his reputation and seek proper resolution.417 The situation also came to involve the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), because Allen was the professor of pastoral theology at St. Vladimir's Seminary and the seminary fired him once the case came to light.418
Metropolitan Philip responded in a manner that could have only come across to some as giving the former EOC clergy a taste of their own medicine. He answered the letter from the former EOC clergymen by writing them: «the depth of my disappointment... exceeds the joy which I experienced when I received you . . . you have aligned yourselves with some of the very same scribes and pharisees who condemned me ... because I had the courage and compassion to receive you.»419 He outlined several points in his defense, relating to the theme of taking on pharisees and scribes (in an attempt to label those who disagreed with him as legalists), challenged their knowledge of the tradition (demanding to know, by mail, what canons and Scriptures he violated) and noted, «I thought you were going to missionize America. Except for Peter Gillquist, unfortunately, you have not done much.»420 Fr. John Weldon Hardenbrook then wrote to Philip, stating that they would be willing to take up the task of explaining which doctrines and canons had been violated «if you believe it would be of service.»421 Rogers, who had been so authoritarian in Indiana, took it upon himself to write up such a report, because, as he put it, «my heart and conscience would not let me rest.»422 The letters did not solve the situation, with people other than the former EOCers likewise raising concerns,423 prompting Philip to issue a letter to the all the clergy of the diocese ordering them «to cease any further discussion and communication regarding this matter.»424 Moreover, Philip removed the Antiochian Archdioceses seminarians from St. Vladimir's Seminary (so that they then had to attend either St. Tikhon's Seminary in Pennsylvania or Holy Cross in Brookline, Massachusetts) and suspended several clergymen who refused to serve with Allen at the same altar.425 Allen wrote a small paperback defending his position and Metropolitan Philip maintained Allen's assignment at the parish.426
What makes the case important to the conversion of the EOC leaders is not so much the behaviors of Allen and/ or Metropolitan Philip, but how the EOC leaders themselves responded to the situation. The way in which Allen groomed his relationship with Valerie and how Metropolitan Philip supported Allen's marriage to her challenged both poles of EOC emphasis (obedience and rigoristic living) by placing them in tension with one another. Without intending to reduce all former EOC leaders into one of two groups, one can observe that in general, the response of the former EOCers broke down precisely along that fault line.
On the one hand, the seventeen signers of the letter to Metropolitan Philip clearly emphasized moralistic Christian living: «A major reason we and our faithful came to Orthodoxy was the refuge it provided against the doctrinal and moral relativism of our times.»427 To these signers, the Orthodox tradition was seen as a means of breaking from the pluralistic chaos around them, in keeping with the EOC's desire to restore the New Testament church and avoid a «parachurch» existence. Therefore, the Joseph Allen affair challenged one of the core ways in which the EOC had existed within (and utilized) the American anti-traditional tradition of restorationism. Here, before their very eyes, was evidence that the moral relativism affecting the larger society could deeply affect the Orthodox Church as well, to the point where a priest and professor of pastoral theology and a leading archbishop could be seen as engaging in (and defending) unethical conduct within the ministry. Although others within the Archdiocese also believed ethical and canonical violations had occurred, what uniquely hit the signers of the letter to Metropolitan Philip was that the Orthodox moral tradition was supposed to have been the means by which they broke from the moral chaos around them, indeed, even from that anti-traditional tradition itself.
On the other hand, the former EOC clergy who did not sign the letter emphasized obedience, questioning, «who were we to be talking about what was traditional and canonical when we had been there for such a short time?»428 The EOC had established a strict authoritarian structure as a means of furthering a rigoristic Christian life and to break from the relativistic chaos they saw around them, as so many American restorationist movements had done before them. For these EOC converts, which would include Gillquist, the emphasis upon obedience and authority was primary and therefore, they felt the former EOC leaders had no right to question and challenge the authority of Metropolitan Philip. There were priests within the Antiochian Archdiocese who decided not to challenge Metropolitan Philip further because they felt, in light of the suspensions and «disciplinary actions» Philip had already enacted in some cases, that there was no way to win the battle and so losing their priesthood and livelihood was not worth the stand.429 For at least some of the former EOC clergy who did not sign the letter, however, the reason was not fearing a loss of livelihood but rather obedience. In fact, in light of the timing of his claim that the integration of the EOC into the Antiochian Archdiocese had «worked,» it would appear that Gillquist was demonstrating that very obedience.
THE BEN LOMOND CRISIS
The Ben Lomond crisis would likewise raise the question of obedience and directly confront the anti-traditional tendencies latent within a former EOC parish in Ben Lomond, California. The crisis itself is better documented than the Joseph Allen affair, with some key documents online and one brief scholarly treatment having been published about a decade ago.430 Not too long after the Joseph Allen affair, the AEOM realized the former EOC leadership had differing views on issues and could no longer function the way it used to function. In 1995, the AEOM requested that Metropolitan Philip disband the AEOM as an independent vicariate and integrate the parishes into the archdiocesan structure, which he agreed to do.431 This placed Ben Lomond under the direct supervision of Bishop Basil, and then, in 1995, under the direct supervision of a new bishop, Bishop Joseph.
The parish encountered a series of difficulties that precipitated a division, beginning in September of 1996, when Bishop Joseph informed Hardenbrook that he (Bishop Joseph) would need to relocate or laicize many of its 29 clergymen and regularize the parish's liturgical practices.432 On November 14, a Thursday, Bishop Joseph met with the parish clergy and informed them that none of them could exist as «part-time» clergy so those who were working secular jobs either needed to cease that work, with the possibility of being transferred, or accept to be laicized.433 Many clergy interpreted this as a rejection of the Pauline model of a worker-priest.434 On Holy Friday during the following spring, Bishop Joseph visited the parish and informed them he did not want to laicize any of the clergy after all, even though Hardenbrook had been meeting with the clergy for months to help with their discernment.435 Bishop Joseph then asked Hardenbrook, after the meeting, to join him for lunch but since it was Holy Friday, Hardenbrook was keeping a strict fast, in conformity with Orthodox praxis. In fact, Hardenbrook and his parish had been emphasizing the ascetic tradition within Orthodox Christianity, including keeping the liturgical fasts, and this invitation to lunch affected Hardenbrook's view of Bishop Joseph.
The relationship continued to worsen. In August 1997, Bishop Joseph issued a directive regarding liturgical conformity, which affected the Ben Lomond parish because the parish had been utilizing some Russian and Greek liturgical musical settings and practices and following the advice of Fr. David Andersons understanding of liturgical history.436 For Hardenbrook and his fellow clergy («the Presbytery») at that time, it was difficult. «We have tried, as American Orthodox, to embrace as our own the best that the various Orthodox traditions have to offer, rather than simply copy one particular expression of Orthodox worship.»437 What the clergy had articulated was the syncretistic approach to liturgies that had always exemplified the EOC and stood as a testament to its existence as a «restoration» of the New Testament church. The anti-traditional tradition was alive and well in Ben Lomond. A small group within the parish, however, disagreed with this statement and turned to Bishop Joseph, hoping he would follow through on enforcing the changes.438 As with Bishop Antoun’s 1993 letter on Metropolitan Philip's behalf, a stalemate was reached regarding the liturgical developments but the tensions remained and were, in fact, about to explode.
On February 6, 1998, Bishop Antoun informed Fr. David Anderson by phone that Anderson was being transferred to an Antiochian parish in Chicago.439 Anderson had been on loan from the OCA to serve the Ben Lomond community and reminded Antoun of this. Anderson also had an elderly mother who was unable to care for herself and the parish was caring for her, something Anderson believed he could neither afford nor do if transferred to Chicago. For most of the clergy of Ss. Peter and Paul in Ben Lomond, it was too much. Hardenbrook called emergency meetings in which he described tensions that had been building and, for the meeting of the priests, went so far as to chair the meeting himself and reduce the priest-representative for Metropolitan Philip to the role of an observer.440 The resulting decision was that they faxed a letter, outlining their grievances, and requested a release from Metropolitan Philip in order to join the OCA.441 Two days later, Metropolitan Philip sent a fax in which he «laicized» both Anderson and Hardenbrook and suspended the other signers of the petition.442 These final actions caused a rupture within the community between those who wished to follow the bishops (the minority) and those who wished to pursue things as they had been doing (the majority). Eventually, the majority formed a splinter group and sought refuge at a local parish of the OCA, where they did not formally join the OCA parish but only used the building to hold their own liturgies. Spiritual courts were granted but not successful for the Ben Lomond clergy. Metropolitan Philip also sued the parish for the buildings, a suit he won because the court noted it could not decide on internal church matters, the Orthodox Church was hierarchical, and therefore the hierarchy possessed control of church properties.443 When the OCA bishop, Bishop Tikhon, requested that the majority-splinter group worship together with the OCA parish, a few joined the OCA parish but most of the group decided to look elsewhere, hoping to preserve their strong sense of community.
At that point, Hardenbrook and his supporters sought a haven under the missionary presence of the Jerusalem Patriarchate in America in which they formed a parish and eventually some of the clergy were able to serve as Orthodox clergy once again.444 Metropolitan Philip dictated that even though the churches of Jerusalem and Antioch were in communion with one another, none of his clergy were to serve together with any of the former EOC members who were now serving as clergy under the Patriarch of Jerusalem.445 The Jerusalem Patriarchate has since removed itself from the jurisdictional scene in North America, having transferred its parishes to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has created a vicariate for Palestinian/Jordanian Communities in the United States. Despite the fact that the AOCANA is in full communion with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, Metropolitan Philip has decreed that the clergy of the Antiochian Archdiocese are not to concelebrate with the clergy of this vicariate.446
What makes this event important for understanding the EOC conversions is that the crisis shows how the Ben Lomond parish's anti-traditional tendencies, forged in its restorationist past, remained even after Orthodoxy. Lucas claimed the willingness of Hardenbrook's group to break from the Antiochian Archdiocese «betrays the group's Protestant and congregational roots.»447 In light of the Antiochian bishops» abrupt heavy-handedness and inconsistent reasoning, the personal difficulties faced by working clergy and David Anderson, and the EOC's own history of authoritarianism (which was hardly congregational), such an assessment proves too simplistic, but Lucas made an important observation.
There were clearly elements to the Ben Lomond crisis that displayed a continuity with the EOC's previous placement within the anti-traditional tradition. Syncretism, a concern Bernstein had raised when he left the EOC in 1981, had continued within the Ben Lomond community, only represented through liturgical syncretism. Toward this end, Ss. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, had specifically sought Andersons guidance, and utilized Orthodox practices and musical settings from differing traditions and periods in church history, including practices based on attempts at what might be considered «historical reconstruction,» which itself clearly demonstrates a restorationist tendency.448
Another feature of the community had been an emphasis on monasticism and the ascetic tradition within Orthodox Christianity. The clergy wore cassocks regularly, in contrast to the Western clergy shirts and suits preferred by Metropolitan Philip. In his defense, Hardenbrook even cited, as one of his grievances, a time when Bishop Antoun derided «Elder Ephraim,» an Orthodox monk who has been founding monasteries in America based on a highly rigoristic, fundamentalist approach to Orthodoxy.449 Hardenbrook remarked, «One can easily see why the Antiochians have never raised up a monastery over the last 100 years in North America.»450 One can see in this emphasis a continuation of the efforts of the old EOC to foster a strict Christian moral life, in contrast to the prevalent morality in the surrounding society. The former EOC's authoritarianism likewise played a role. Although a minority within the community accepted the oversight of Metropolitan Philip and Bishops Antoun and Joseph, the majority remained loyal to their leader from their EOC days. The prior bonds of authority remained stronger.
If one steps back and surveys all three difficulties in the integration process (the study Bible, the Joseph Allen affair, and the Ben Lomond crisis), a deconversion from the EOC's prior restorationism is firmly established. The study Bible's commentary and prayers evidenced a hesitancy to embrace the prayers of the Orthodox Church asking for the intercessions of Mary and the saints. In some places, oversimplifications seemed intended to present an apologia for how the EOC converts experienced the Orthodox Church (e.g., a lack of liturgical spontaneity).
The Joseph Allen affair demonstrated the EOC's emphasis upon a rigoristic approach to the Christian life, to the degree that 17 former EOC leaders were willing to challenge the metropolitan's decision to waive the traditional Orthodox teaching concerning clerical remarriage and dismiss the ethical questions arising from the specifics. One can see this within the very letter itself, in which they claimed that a central reason they had turned to Orthodoxy was to avoid the moral relativism they saw in society at large. Their response was more than merely objecting to Metropolitan Philip's decision and Allen's behavior (and indeed, Antiochian clergy and laity who had not been members of the EOC objected as well). Their response was directly related to their journey grounded in the anti-traditional tradition. It is just as telling to note that some former EOC leaders accepted the decision out of obedience. When no other Orthodox jurisdiction had been willing to accept them as a cohesive unit, Metropolitan Philip had been, and for that, he earned the strong loyalty of many of the former EOC leaders. The obedience and loyalty that EOC leaders professed to one another and that members owed to the leaders was, in some cases, transferred to Metropolitan Philip. This loyalty may be seen in the clergy who, like Gimmaka, did not believe they were to question Philip on this. It may also be seen in Gillquist's writings. His narratives of the EOC's conversion are sanitized and give such a prominence to Metropolitan Philip that the instrumental work of Fr. Thomas Hopko is completely ignored.451 He said the conversion («wedding») had «worked» even while the Joseph Allen affair was tearing through the archdiocese.
The Ben Lomond crisis highlighted the previous restorationist existence of the EOC as well. Hardenbrook, who had written against Metropolitan Philips decision regarding Allen encouraged his parish to pursue a more ascetic approach to the Orthodox faith than was typically followed within the Antiochian Archdiocese. His parish also retained and developed syncretistic liturgical practices, many of which were intended as reinstating previous historic practices. The majority of the parish also remained loyal to Hardenbrook, who had been a key leader for them while in the EOC. Even when they finally had to leave the Antiochian Archdiocese, they sought to remain a rather independent, cohesive group, though they did find a way to remain within the Orthodox Church and currently reside within the Greek Archdiocese.
The emphases and practices that characterized the EOC were utilized by the EOC when they looked to the Orthodox tradition. By latching onto the aspects of the Orthodox tradition that already characterized their particular expression of restorationism, the EOC conversion set the stage for a confrontation between an anti-traditional tradition of a restored church and the lived tradition of the Orthodox Church. The Antiochian Archdiocese embodied an anti-syncretistic approach and expected the former EOC members to adhere to Antiochian praxis, something that was only successfully done after much difficulty.
* * *
Peter E. Gillquist, Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt,1989), 146–152.
A parachurch organization is a faith-based organization that is not under the direct oversight of any one tradition, denomination, or church. Such entities maybe businesses, non-profit organizations, or even private associations.
The version of the EOC conversion journey described in this book is the one to which he referred me when I asked in telephone conversations (in 2007 and again in 2009) about his journey. He had mentioned a «great documents» file but did not have it readily available either time. Unfortunately, the possibility for follow-up conversations no longer exists, as Fr. Peter Gillquist died on July 1, 2012.
It should be noted that although I provide a «fuller» picture here, many former members of the Evangelical Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church into which they converted (the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America) are uncomfortable discussing events related to the Evangelical Orthodox Church's integration into Orthodox Christianity. The reasons for their hesitancy are varied, ranging from not wishing to discuss painful events to a fear of reprisal from fellow Orthodox clergy, including Metropolitan Philip, the leading Antiochian bishop in America. For this reason, much of the correspondence I cite below will not cite any particular archive. In those cases, obtaining the materials was difficult and in those cases, I had to agree not to name those who provided them.
See http://evangelicalorthodox.org/site/our-churches/ (accessed January 18, 2013).
Gillquist, «Evangelicals Turned Orthodox,» Christian Century 109:8 (1992), 242.
The evangelical background centered on the Campus Crusade for Christ and the Christian World Liberation Front. Evangelicalism in the Berkeley area was a dynamic enterprise in the 1960s. For more information on this background, including those who would develop into leaders in the Evangelical Orthodox Church, see Adam Scott Parsons, «Everyday Apocalyptic: Radical Politics and Evangelical Society,1969–2000» (doctoral dissertation, Syracuse University, in progress).
Peter E. Gillquist, «Presiding Bishop’s Corner,» AGAIN 2:4 (October-December 1979), 2.
Becoming Orthodox, 20–21.
George Peter Liacopulos noted that another member who was present thought about fifty-five men had gathered. See George Peter Liacopulos, «A Comparative Study of Selected Orthodox Missiological Approaches Emerging in Contemporary American Society» (doctoral dissertation, Princeton Theological Seminary, 1995), 168. This is the same number given by Ron Grove, who was allowed to spend time with the newly formed Evangelical Orthodox Church and participated in their liturgical life to quite an extent and got to know its members and leaders. See Ron Grove, «Authenticity and Discipline in Isla Vista: A Study of the Evangelical Orthodox Church,» paper delivered at the Southwest Anthropological Association in Santa Barbara, March 21, 1981.
Gillquist, «Presiding Bishop’s Corner,» AGAIN 2:4 (October-December, 1979), 29.
Ibid., 21, emphasis in the original.
Bill Counts, The Evangelical Orthodox Church and the New Covenant Apostolic Order (Berkeley: The Spiritual Counterfeits Project, 1979), 2–3.
Liacopulos, 169, citing AGAIN 1 (October-December 1978), 12 and 13.
Gillquist, Becoming Orthodox, 33–34.
Ibid., 38. Ron L. Zell, who served as the EOCs «deacon of music» claimed the EOC lost a lot of people from this, more than Gillquist and others indicated. Zell made this point in discussions with the author on February 13, 2013.
This was relayed to me in conversations and emails by Fr. James (Arnold) Bernstein, Fr. Ted Wojcik, and Ron Zell. Zell in particular remembered the phrase «Charismatic Apostolic Succession» being important and repeated often.
Ron Grove, «An Orthodox Perspective on the EOC,» unpublished paper for an anthropology class, dated September, 1983. Grove offered this as a supplement to his conference paper given two years earlier.
Ibid. Grove asked about this practice and was told kitchen elements were «part of» the living room elements and therefore equally the body of Christ, though he was also told that the kitchen elements in this way were like antidoron. Antidoron is what remains from the loaf of bread after the celebrant removes the portion that is to be consecrated within the liturgy itself. As Grove noted, «At the least, the EOC is confused about Orthodox eucharistic practices.»
See Grant Wacker, «Playing for Keeps: The Primitivist Impulse in Early Pentecostalism,» in The American Quest for the Primitive Church, ed. by Richard T. Hughes (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1988), 196–219.
I am not the first scholar to have discussed this. Bruce Wollenberg analyzed the group and noticed a «lust for authority.» See Bruce Wolenberg, «The Evangelical Orthodox Church: A Preliminary Appraisal,» Christian Century 97:23 (1980),701–702.
See Robin Fornoff, «Ex-members call Glen Park church a cullt,» Post-Tribune, March 30, 1980; «Healing by faith called extremist,» March 30,1980;» "Prophet» now calls church a cult,» Post-Tribune, March 31, 1980.; and «Members confirm some church extremes,» April 2, 1980.
According to Fornoff’s findings in «Healing by faith called extremist,» Rogers once ordered a diabetic to cease his medication because Rogers believed he had healed the man. When a parishioner noted that the man was showing symptoms consistent with diabetes, she was removed from the community and «shunned.» Fred Rogers followed the majority of the Evangelical Orthodox Church in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America and currently serves St. Barnabas Orthodox Church in Lexington, South Carolina, as Fr. Gregory Rogers.
See Richard Ballew, Kurt Speier, and John Sommer to Carol Barnett, May 11,1979. In this letter the three men wrote, «How could the integrity of your commitment dissolve so quickly, so easily? The Lord hasn't changed his mind. We haven't changed ours. This behavior [questioning whether to join] is so unlike you, Carol. It seems as though someone has bewitched you. Whoever they are, they will bear their own judgment.» Notice that according to this letter, the Lord's «mind» or decision and theirs is one and the same.
The description of what I outline here may be found in Ron Zell to Dr. Howard, February 7, 1984, and Ronald L. Zell to Bishop Maximos of Pittsburgh, February 18, 1984. Both letters contained the same outline of events, though the letters differed slightly in phrasing. «Dr. Howard» refers to Dr. Thomas Howard, author of Evangelical is Not Enough, and one of the collaborators with Gillquist and others in support of an effort by Robert E. Webber in 1977 to call evangelicals to a more historically conscious and liturgical expression of Christianity.
Qtd. in Counts, 4.
Peter E. Gillquist, «Believing What is Right,» AGAIN 2:1 (January-March 1979), 1, 7.
For example, Fr. Mel Gimmaka, who had been a bishop within the EOC and currently serves as a priest at St. Innocent Orthodox Church in Everson, Washington, claimed in a phone conversation on January 19, 2013, that the extent of the authoritarian behavior varied from location to location and that the parishes in California and Gary, Indiana are not necessarily representative of every EOC parish, though he acknowledged that the use of spiritual courts and an emphasis on authority was an aspect of the EOC as a whole. Recent scholarship has also cautioned against using the label «cult,» pointing out the role news media and pop culture have had in providing definitions of «cult» over the years. See, for example, Lynn S. Neal, «They're Freaks! The Cult Sterotype in Fictional Television Shows, 1958–2008,» Nova Religio 14:3 (2011), 81–107 and Joseph Laycock, «Where Do They Get These Ideas? Changing Ideas of Cults in the Mirror of Popular Culture,» Journal of the American Academy of Religion 81:1 (2013), 80–106.
Although Gillquist wrote the book that has become the standard narrative for the group, others have published similarly sanitized and selectively edited accounts. For example, Fr. Gregory Rogers, who was Bishop Fred Rogers of the EOC parishes in Gary, Indiana, has posted a short narrative online, available at http://www.christisrisen.org/evang-to-orthodox.html (accessed January 21, 2013).
Richard T. Hughes and C. Leonard Allen, Illusions of Innocence: Protestant Primitivism in America, 1630–1875 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), 79.
Ibid., 205. This irony is a central theme highlighted throughout the monograph.
Rev. Gene Selander to the Executive Committee of the National Association of Evangelicals, October 3, 1984. National Association of Evangelical Papers (SC-113), Wheaton College Special Collections, Wheaton, Illinois. See also John G. Turner, Bill Bright & Campus Crusade for Christ (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008), 212–213.
Jack Sparks, The Mindbenders: A Look at Current Cults (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1977).
Documents from the case, including the retraction published by Thomas Nelson in major newspapers across the country may be found at http://www.contendingforthefaith.org/libel-litigations/mindbenders/ (accessed March 1, 2013).
Peter E. Gillquist, «Presiding Bishop’s Corner,» AGAIN 2:1 (January-March 1979), 2.
Liacopulos, 182 and 187. In particular, Liacopulos cited Mike Reagan, «What Orderly Living Means to Me,» AGAIN 1 (July-September 1978), 11 and Jon E. Braun, «Share the Vision, »AGAIN 14 (1991), 28–29.
On this, see Dean M. Kelley, Why Conservative Churches are Growing: A Study in Sociology of Religion (New York: Harper and Row, 1972).
See, for example, Lawrence R. Iannaccone, «Why strict churches are strong,» American Journal of Sociology 99 (1994),1180–1211 and Rodney Stark and Roger Finke, Acts of faith (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000).
See Joseph B. Tamney and Stephen D. Johnson, «The Popularity of Strict Churches,» Review of Religious Research 39:3 (1998), 209–223; Joseph B. Tamney, «Does Strictness Explain the Appeal of Working-Class Conservative Protestant Congregations?» Sociology of Religion 66: 3 (2005), 283–302; and Gary D. Bouma, «The Real Reason One Conservative Church Grew,» Review of Religious Research 50 (2008),43–44.
See George Vecsey, «New Group Combines Evangelism and Orthodoxy: Ritual and Tradition "A Spiritual Super Race,’» New York Times, March 11, 1979.
See «New church body formed,» Chicago Tribune, March 11,1979.
Vecsey, March 11, 1979.
In addition to the correspondence I cite here, I base my account on a corroborating telephone conversation on January 19, 2013, with Bernstein, who is now known as Fr. James Bernstein and is a priest in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Jeremiah Crawford, friends with Bernstein, also left the EOC at this time and currently serves as a deacon within the Orthodox Church in America.
Robert Guio to Arnold Bernstein, October 12, 1981.
Arnold Bernstein to Robert Guio, an undated letter written sometime before Guio’s October 12 letter.
Undated letter of Arnold Bernstein to Robert Guio. This letter would have been written sometime in mid-October.
Peter Gillquist, «Evangelicals Turned Orthodox,» Christian Century 109:8 (1992), 242–245.
Peter E. Gillquist, «Presiding Bishop’s Corner,» AGAIN 3:3(July-September 1980), 2. Here, Gillquist was responding to Wollenberg, cited above for critiquing the EOC as merely another form of American primitivism. Gillquist took Wollenberg’s assessment seriously, arguing that the task for the EOC was not simply restoring the New Testament church within the EOC, but getting the EOC to enter into communion with the Orthodox Churches, also seen as expressions of the New Testament Church.
Weldon Hardenbrook and Terry Somerville, «Parachurch or Parasite?» AGAIN 4:2 (1981), 2.
Peter E. Gillquist, «Editorial: Christless Church or Churchless Christ?» AGAIN 5:3 (1982), 2. Emphasis is in the original.
Gillquist, Becoming Orthodox, 61.
Billy A. Melvin to Peter Gillquist, December 21,1984. National Association of Evangelical Papers (SC-113), Wheaton College Special Collections, Wheaton, Illinois.
Two members who wrote to the executive committee were Gene Selander and Donald B. Patterson. Selander had been involved with the Campus Crusade for Christ and feared that the authoritarianism of the EOC meant the EOC leaders had «become what they once opposed – and perhaps even more severe.» He also expressed concerns regarding transubstantiation and consubstantiation as well as apostolic succession. See Gene Selander to the NAE Executive Committee, October 3,1984. Patterson expressed concern over the EOC's authoritarianism and lack of charity toward other evangelicals. See Donald B. Patterson to Billy A. Melvin, November 19, 1984. Both letters may be found in: National Association of Evangelical Papers (SC-113), Wheaton College Special Collections, Wheaton, Illinois.
Peter Gillquist. «The Response of Peter E. Gillquist, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Orthodox Church to the Four Questions Posed by the Board of Administration of the National Association of Evangelicals.» National Association of Evangelical Papers (SC-113), Wheaton College Special Collections, Wheaton, Illinois.
Billy A. Melvin to Peter Gillquist, April 10, 1985. National Association of Evangelical Papers (SC-113), Wheaton College Special Collections, Wheaton, Illinois.
This event was shared with me by Fr. Ted Wojcik in an email exchange. Bishop Dmitri led the committee and Frs. John Meyendorff and Michael Prokurat also served on the committee.
See Ron Zell to Bishop Maximos of Pittsburgh, February18, 1984, cited above. In conversations with the author, on February 13, 2013, Zell stated that on more than one occasion, he had been told by Greek Orthodox clergy that his case was known by the Greek Orthodox hierarchs.
Gillquist recounted their moods as «varying degrees of despair» (Becoming Orthodox, 152).
Fr. Thomas Hopko was visiting Holy Cross Seminary at the time and verified that they were «dejected.» He stated that the EOC had a meeting with Archbishop Iakavos. Gillquist mentioned a meeting (151) but did not mention Archbishop Iakavos» declaration. Hopko admitted to standing outside, not too far from the door, which, because of the loudness of Iakavos and others, enabled him to hear much of the meeting (in conversation on January 25, 2013).
Gillquist, Becoming Orthodox., 153–157.
Gillquist stressed Philip’s role even more in Metropolitan Philip: His Life and His Dreams (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 255–272.
The entirety of this narrative was recounted to me by Fr. Thomas Hopko on January 25, 2013.
According to Hopko, «I was involved in at least 25 hours of formal dialogue and discussion during the visit, not counting conversations during meals, traveling, informal gatherings and periods of relaxation.» Thomas Hopko, «Reflections on the EVANGELICAL ORTHODOX CHURCH and its entry into full communion with the Orthodox Church,» Report Sent to Metropolitan Maximos, Metropolitan Philip, and Metropolitan Theodosius, February 1986, p. 1. The report is available in the personal archives of Fr. Thomas Hopko.
Ibid. Hopko made many suggestions throughout the report, noting a lack of «living Orthodox involvement» (3), or that «living Tradition.»
Ibid. See p. 2 where Hopko wrote «In evaluating the EOC one must be careful to test what the church is doing now, and not what it may have done in earlier days» (emphasis in the original).
This can be seen in proposal «J» on p. 9, where Hopko recommended liturgical harmony «with all Orthodox churches.»
Hopko had outlined a regularized step-by-step approach to reception of the EOC clergy and laity in proposals C through G on page 8.
It is worth noting that Hopko had written that «each local community, however, should have only one archpriest or protopresbyter, and not more than one presbyter per fifty or so people, unless missionary efforts require it.» Metropolitan Philip chose, rather, to bring the EOC clergy into the Antiochian Archdiocese en masse and only later to press for a redistribution of the EOC clergy, an issue that would affect things later in Ben Lomond, California.
Metropolitan Philip to Metropolitan Theodosius, October 12, 1986.
Metropolitan Theodosius to Metropolitan Philip, January 30, 1987.
Metropolitan Philip to Metropolitan Theodosius, February 2, 1987.
Metropolitan Philip to Metropolitan Theodosius, April 8, 1987.
V. Rev. John Meyendorff to Metropolitan Theodosius, April 15, 1987. Though unstated in the letter, one of the central reasons was almost certainly financial, as the seminary would have had difficulty making up for the lost revenue brought in from the attendance of the Antiochian seminarians. The Antiochian Archdiocese paid for the students» tuition in full.
Metropolitan Philip to V. Rev. John Meyendorff, April 21, 1987.
Metropolitan Theodosius to the OCA Synod, April 29, 1987.
Metropolitan Theodosius to Metropolitan Philip, April 29, 1987.
Metropolitan Theodosius to Metropolitan Philip, April 29, 1987 [Letter 2].
Metropolitan Philip to Metropolitan Theodosius, June 2, 1987.
To use the words of Fr. James Bernstein from our conversation on January 19, 2013.
Liacopulos, 203–203. Liacopulos notes the adoption of methodologies from the Church Growth Movement.
Daniel J. Lehmann, «Evangelizing the Evangelicals,» Christian Century 105:30 (1988), 916–917.
Peter E. Gillquist, «Presiding Bishop’s Corner,» AGAIN (n.d., October-December 1981?), 2.
Peter E. Gillquist, «Presiding Bishop’s Corner,» AGAIN 2:1 (January-March 1979), 2.
Peter E. Gillquist, «Editorial: Phase II,» AGAIN 11:4 (December1988), 2.
See pages 65–131.
The Orthodox Study Bible: New Testament and Psalms, New King James Version, Peter E. Gillquist, Project Director, Alan Wallerstedt, Managing editor (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1993). The study Bible is now available with a complete Old Testament, but one that has simply adopted the New King James translation and tweaked certain passages to make them conform with the Septuagint rendering, since the Septuagint is the liturgical Scriptures of the Orthodox Churches.
Ephrem Lash, Review of The Orthodox Study Bible in Sourozh 54 (1993), 42–49.
See Matthew Francis, «The Orthodox Study Bible and Orthodox Identity in North America,» Canadian Journal of Orthodox Christianity 2:2 (2007), 37–55, available at http://www.cjoc.ca/pdf/Vol%202%20Sl%20Francis.PDF (accessed February 15,2009).
Peter E. Gillquist, «Sealed: Five Years Later,» AGAIN 15:1(March 1992), 6.
V. Rev. Joseph Allen to St. Anthony Orthodox Church, November 4, 1991.
Among the signers was Fr. James Bernstein, who had reconciled with many of his former EOC colleagues. The rest, however, were former EOC leaders who had entered as a group with Gillquist to form the AEOM.
Letter of Former EOC Clergy to Metropolitan Philip, February 7, 1992.
Canon three of the Quinisext Council, which met in 692, between the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils, to update canon law, legislated this traditional interpretation.
The details of this case may be found in H. Keith Mephodie Sterzing, «Orthodox Bishop Claims to Apply the Canons – Orthodox Question Application,» unpublished article, January28, 1993. This article underwent at least two significant revisions and he sent copies to Metropolitan Philip, Joseph Allen, and the board of trustees of the Antiochian Archdiocese, asking for any corrections on matters of fact to be sent to him. Sterzing attempted to get the article published on some Orthodox websites. To the best of my knowledge, no website published it and Sterzing himself seems not to have published the piece. As late as December, 1994, Sterzing was attempting to publish his researched expose on the website for the Orthodox Church in Americas Diocese of the West. It seems the copies that exist were those distributed in person or by mail.
Gregory Maloof to Metrpolitan Philip, April 6, 1992. Clergy defending Allen and Metropolitan Philip had been spreading rumors that Maloof had been unable to consummate his marriage to Valerie.
This is also documented in Sterzing's report.
Metropolitan Philip to the Seventeen Former EOC Clergyman, February 24, 1992. Emphasis in the original.
Ibid. Given his words to Metropolitan Theodosius a few years earlier, that «no bishop alone can express the mind of the entire Church,» one might expect that some former EOC members found Philips position in the Joseph Allen affair ironic but I have not seen evidence of this yet at this point, suggesting they either had forgotten or had not actually seen the written correspondence between the two metropolitans in 1986–1987.
Fr. John Weldon Hardenbrook to Metropolitan Philip, March 4, 1992.
Fr. Gregory Rogers to Metropolitan Philip, March 16, 1992.
See for example, Rev. Joseph Abud to Metropolitan Philip, March 30, 1992. In addition, Sterzing had received a copy of the letter from someone and took it upon himself to verify that one of Philip’s lines of defense was inaccurate. Philip had written that Metropolitan George Khodre of Mount Lebanon had done something similar for one of his priests. In fact, Metropolitan George had laicized the priest in question (Fr. Elias Abou Saba), whose wife had died in a car bomb, according to Orthodox canon law. Saba moved into another diocese and was accepted as a priest in that diocese by a different bishop. In that case, however, Sabba’s second wife was not a divorcée and therefore not someone Sabba had counseled and guided through a divorce to her husband immediately prior to their marriage. Furthermore, the Sterzing-Khodre correspondence demonstrates that Sabba’s case was an exception that proved the Orthodox canonical rule.
Metropolitan Philip to the Clergy of the Antiochian Archdiocese, April 9, 1992.
See Sterzing’s report.
For the book, see Joseph Allen, Widowed Priest: A Crisis in Ministry (Minneapolis: Light and Life, 1994).
Letter of Former EOC Clergy to Metropolitan Philip, February 7, 1992. It is worth noting that Fr. James Bernstein was one of the signers. His support for a firm moral and ethical stance help him reconcile with the former EOC leaders he had left back in 1981. Although shunned by the EOC at that time, the Joseph Allen affair enabled him to reestablish relationships.
In conversation with Fr. Mel Gimmaka, January 19, 2013.
One priest (from the diocese of Toledo and the Midwest) shared with me, for example, that a group of priests had agreed to gather and decide upon a course of action. When the meeting began and only eight priests were present, they ended the meeting and disbanded, knowing that Philip could too easily suspend and replace such a small number.
Charles Philip Lucas has produced a short summary and analysis of the difficulties found in Ben Lomond at the time. See «Enfants Terribles: The Challenge of Sectarian Converts to Ethnic Orthodox Churches in the United States.» Nova Religio 7:2 (2003), 5–23. A synopsis of the events, which is heavily dependent on Lucas» article, may be found at http://orfhodoxwiki.org/Ben_Lomond_Crisis (accessed January 22,2013). In addition, a handful of primary sources are available at http://benlomond.wordpress.com/ (accessed January 22,2013). Any citations to sources from that website will contain a reference to the document’s webpage.
See «Fr. John Weldon Hardenbrook's Defense,» a transcript of his defense at a spiritual court during the Ben Lomond crisis, available at http://benlomond.wordpress.com/1998/05/26/fr-john-weldon-hardenbrooks-defense/ (accessed January 24, 2013). According to Hardenbrook, EOC leadership had been in the practice of committing themselves to one another in strict loyalty «to death.» He came to believe this was no longer possible and others agreed and believed it was time for the AEOM to cease to exist as a continuation of the old EOC.
This was actually the second time this issue was raised. In 1993, Bishop Antoun, who often assisted Metropolitan Philip directly, wrote on Metropolitan Philip’s behalf, informing Hardenbrook that he and his clergy needed to be trained liturgically, so as to conform to practices within the archdiocese and be prepared to be called to serve elsewhere as needed. Hardenbrook and Jon Braun asked Bishop Basil to intercede and nothing further came of that particular request at that time. See «Fr. John Weldon Hardenbrook's Defense.»
Ibid. A corroborating account of these events was given to me by Fr. Don Berge, in a conversion on January 24, 2013.Lucas also provides a similar outline of events, see «Enfants Terribles,» 8–10.
Fr. Don Berge, in conversation on January 24, 2013.
Although this could have meant he preferred transfers over laicization, Hardenbrook understood the event to place the entire difficulty upon his (Hardenbrook’s) shoulders. See «Fr. John Weldon Hardenbrook’s Defense.»
Published as «Bishop Joseph’s Vision for Ben Lomond,» in Grapevine, the title given to the parish newsletter.
The Presbytery to Ss. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, August 28, 1997. Lucas had given the timing as May, but this note to the parish, which I have obtained, clearly is dated August 28 and discussed the liturgical changes as having just been received and made available in the parish newsletter, the Grapevine. Anderson was a priest who had graduated from St. Vladimir's Seminary and was on loan from the OCA to assist the Ss. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Ben Lomond, California.
Lucas, «Enfants Terribles,» 9; confirmed in «Fr. John Weldon Hardenbrook’s Defense.»
Lucas, «Enfants Terribles,» 9 and Request for Transfer to the OCA by the Ben Lomond Presbytery, February 12,1998, available at http://benlomond.wordpress.com/1998/02/12/initial-request-of-clergy-for-release-to-fhe-oca/#more-7 (accessed January 24, 2013).
Thomas Zell, «Once AGAIN,» AGAIN Magazine 21:1 (Winter 1999), 1–2.
Request for Transfer to the OCA by the Ben Lomond Presbytery, February 12, 1998, available at http://benlomond.wordpress.com/1998/02/12/initial-request-of-clergy-for-release-to-fhe-oca/#more-7 (accessed January 24, 2013).
Metropolitan Philip to Petitioning Presbytery, February 14,1998, available at http://benlomond.wordpress.com/1998/02/14/archpastoral-directive-depositions/#more-29 (accessed January 24, 2013). The claim to laicize Anderson is quite peculiar, since Anderson was simply a priest the OCA had loaned to the Antiochian Archdiocese. Technically, Metropolitan Philip could only renege the loan and send Anderson back to the OCA, where it would be up to Metropolitan Theodosius to decide what to do with Anderson (whether to discipline him or assign him to an OCA parish).
See The Opinion of the Superior Court of Santa Cruz for Metropolitan Philip v. Steiger (2000) 82 Cal. App. 4th 923 [98 Cal. Rptr. 2d 605] available at http://law.justia.com/cases/California/caapp4th/82/923.html (accessed January 22, 2013).
Fr. David Anderson, however, returned not to the OCA, but to the Roman Catholic Church, and serves as an Eastern Catholic priest.
Archpastoral Directive, May 2, 2003.
Archpastoral Directive, August 7, 2008. This was seen as a restatement of the earlier 2003 directive. One of the puzzling aspects to this directive, however, was Philips contention that «it has been clear since the disintegration of Orthodox unity which existed in North America since 1917, that the Arabic-speaking Orthodox people in North America have been exclusively under the pastoral care of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Archdiocese of North America. Similarly, the Greek speaking Orthodox people ... have always been under the pastoral care of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.» There never was jurisdictional unity in America prior to 1917 even though one could argue there should have been. See Matthew Namee,"The Myth of Past Unity,» paper delivered at St. Vladimir's Seminary, June 20, 2009, available at http://www.orthodoxdetroit.com/stvladimirswebinar.htm (accessed January 25, 2013). More puzzling, though, is the reference to languages and ethnicities, since the overwhelming majority of the Ben Lomond parishioners were former members of the EOC and, therefore, not ethnically Arab. Such a phyletistic approach is at odds with the narrative so often portrayed (of a metropolitan who unites and sees no room for ethnic division). See, for example, Bishop Josephs words claiming Metropolitan Philip never forgets that «we are an Orthodox Christian community, rather than a member of this or that ethnicity.» See «Metropolitan PHILIP in View of His Bishops,» available at http://www.antiochian.org/node/18574 (accessed January 24, 2013). Likewise, this was a theme in Gillquist’s book Metropolitan Philip: His Life and His Dreams. See, especially, Philip's 1984 sermon where he himself decried ethnic jurisdictionalism.
Hopko stated that some of the practices were so unusual by contemporary liturgical standards that one could not always concelebrate when visiting (in conversation, January 25,2013).
Archimandrite Ephraim, who served as an abbot for a time at the Philotheou Monastery on Mount Athos, is a divisive person. An Orthodox watchdog site has listed him, though no specific charges are mentioned (as is the case for other clergy and monastics who have been convicted of various crimes). See http://pokrov.org/display.asp?ds=Person&id=464(accessed January 26, 2013). One of the Ephraimite monasteries is currently being sued in a lawsuit that highlights the ways in which Elder Ephrem’s form of monasticism has become disruptive. See http://gotruthreform.org/nevins-demand-letter-and-important-attachments (accessed February 9, 2013).
See «Fr. John Weldon Hardenbrook's Defense.» This same emphasis on monasticism was cited by Fr. James Bernstein in my conversation with him, when he mentioned that many of the former EOC members had seen transitioning to the Antiochian Archdiocese as an opportunity to relax their previous rigorism but Hardenbrook and many in Ben Lomond were taken by the ascetic traditions of Orthodoxy.
Although Becoming Orthodox is a book-length narrative, it was not the only time Gillquist wrote of the EOC conversion. Another prominent narrative may be found in Metropolitan Philip, 255–272.