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To quote from the 'Translator's Preface', written by Hieromonk Seraphim Rose, 1981: "One of the major advantages of this book is its simplicity of presentation. It was written not for academic theologians, but primarily for pastors, and thus it has a practical approach that is missing in many works of contemporary academic theology. In his theological writings, Fr Michael remains deeply rooted in the tradition of the Orthodox Church, not trying to supercede with his own private opinions any revelation that the Church has handed down to us.... his intent here is to write about exactly what the Church teaches -- what pastors can give to their flocks as the certain, unchanging teaching of the church -- and not about what is "disputed". There is a distinct wholeness in Fr. Michael's approach, which allows for no confusion over the Church's actual teaching. Another advantage of this book, especially for pastors who deal with converts to Orthodoxy from various religious denominations, is that it contrasts the traditional Orthodox teaching with the errors and innovations of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism."
And further "Fr. Michael is the last surviving graduate of a pre-revolutionary Russian theological academy (that of Kiev), and is therefore one of the few living contacts we have with the long-standing centers of traditional Russian theology, the direct inheritance of the Byzantine Fathers. Always faithful to the instruction of the Church, his actual "school" is, ultimately, the Church herself".
I love this book. I love this book because while it is scholarly, and in fact is used as a text at the Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, New York, it speaks to the heart. This is terribly important as Orthodoxy is a faith which speaks to the heart. "The soul... naturally seeks a personal God" (God's Revelation to the Human Heart, Fr Seraphim Rose, p6). "Why does a person study religion?... to come into contact with reality" (ibid, p 13), "a person must be in a religious search not for the sake of religious experiences, which can deceive, but for the sake of truth." (ibid, p18) "If you look at a textbook of Orthodox theology, you will find that the truth cannot be found by the unaided posers of man. You can read the Scriptures or any holy book and not even understand what they say.." When in Acts 8 (28-39) the angel of the Lord spoke unto Philip and told him to go south toward Jerusalem, and along the way he encountered the eunuch, the eunuch requested of Philip that he tell him what it meant. "There are several supernatural, mystical elements in this account... there was something else that affected him: not miracles, but something in his heart." (ibid, p 19)"When Philip spoke to the ethiopian eunuch, something in the eunuch's heart changed." This is the reason the eunuch was baptized and became a Christian.
This is how God reveals Himself to mankind, in a personal way, He speaks to our hearts. This book speaks to the heart. It is written in a personal, kind and loving way to tell the truths of the Orthodox Church. It warms the heart and inspires the faithful. That is wonderful, simply wonderful in a teaching book. There are many good theological books out there, very scholastic. However to find one which speaks to one's heart, this is a rare gem. I recommend it highly.