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The Way: What Every Protestant Should Know about the Orthodox Church Paperback – 1 Jul 1997

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Regina Orthodox Press (July 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964914123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964914124
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 1.4 x 22.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,263,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Carlton earned a B.A. in philosophy from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee. Mr. Carlton earned a Master of Divinity degree from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York. In 1993, he earned an M.A. in Early Christian studies from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. At present he is working as an adjunct instructor of philosophy at Tennessee Technological University.


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Format: Paperback
This book is of special interest to me as I "got saved" into an Evangelical church at the age of 19. I spent years defending the Protestant view of Scripture (well, my interpretation of the Protestant view of Scripture at least).

It wasn't until I began to take seriously Paul's words that the woman should have her head covered that I began to question Evangelicalism. This growing desire for Biblical literalism led me to the Anabaptists. A group that takes many of the passages of the NT literally including nonresistance, nonconformity, modest dress etc. Once I had questioned the group that had brought me into a relationship with God I believe it opened a door in my mind. Some might say it was a dangerous, potentially soul destroying door since it caused me to question the very faith I was resting in. But I could not shake the feeling that if Evangelicals were wrong about some things what if they were wrong about other bigger thing like the canon of the Bible or how a person is saved. This has led me to many many headaches and days of intense spiritual depression and anxiety. (To be continued)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9581cd68) out of 5 stars 35 reviews
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
By Kristian A. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is on the whole quite good. However, I do agree with some other reviews in that his view of the Protestant churches is quite narrow, stemming from the fact that the term "Protestant" is such a wide definition that its almost impossible to offer a critique of Protestantism without leaving out a great number of the 30,000 denominations.

I also think he could have been far more thorough on issues such as Sola Scriptura.

Many posters seem to be making some incorrect assertions though:

1. The Coptic Church is not part of the Eastern Orthodox Church, it is part of the Oriental Orthodox Church, which is something entirely different. The Oriental churches (Coptic, Ethiopian, Armenian, etc) broke away from the Orthodox Church in 451 A.D.

2. There is no division within the Orthodox Church. There are a number of self-governing juristictions (meaning they can elect their own Bishops and govern their own internal affair) which often differ in non-essential things such as language and music style. However, they have exactly the same Bible, the same Faith, the same Eucharist, etc.

3. "But which one is it then? Catholic or Orthodox?". This is a book about Orthodoxy and Protestantism, not Orthodoxy and Catholicism. There have been written a number of books on the latter subject.

4. Tradition bears witness to the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, as first among equals because Rome was the Imperial city at the time. The Orthodox Church accepts this 100% and if Rome and the Orthodox Church were ever to be reunited, the Pope would once again hold such a place of primacy. However, the Pope's primacy was place of honour only. He never had juristiction over the Eastern churches, nor was he ever infallible.

Primacy not Supremacy!
51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9582edc8) out of 5 stars A must for Evangelicals 11 April 2005
By P. M Simon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Whether you're seeking to become Orthodox or not, if you're an unhappy Evangelical Christian you should find a day to read this well-written and concise volume. It is very scripturally-based and the author does a good job of weaving his own story into the discourse. My wife, raised Freewill Baptist, found this book so stimulating that she devoured it in a few hours and had us off to Vespers at an Orthodox church within 2 days!

The Way's main failing point is that Carlton starts out nasty. Maybe, as a former Baptist preacher himself, he felt that was necessary to get our attention. But it is worth slogging past the first half-chapter and getting into his discussion. Several reviewers have dismised the volume because, well, they missed the point.

Carlton's big point is that Protestants broke from Rome and ostensibly sought to restore the original church of the apostles, but didn't even come close, and, in fact, that Church was there all along in eastern Orthodoxy. He documents this with records dating to 70AD!

Carlton's subsidiary point is that the reason for Protestant failure was that Calvin, Luther, etc. were actually strong individualists with preconceived notions and that Protestants have genrally followed their error of trying to make the church fit them, rather than the other way.

Carlton spends much time on the sola scriptura argument. While there is much to be said both ways, he does a good, meaty summary of the Orthodox position on the relationship and origins of Holy Scripture and Apostolic Tradition. Absent, unfortunately, is a good chapter on Sola Fide; as one Orthodox priest recently told me, "You Protestants and Catholics think it has to be either-or on everything."

So, yes, buy this book. It isn't perfect but it's an excellent, thought-provoking read.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9796dce4) out of 5 stars Good book IF you can get past inaccurate generalizations 3 Aug. 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As a Protestant (Lutheran background) considering/exploring the Orthodox church, I can honestly say that given all the books I've read on the subject, I can't recommend this one to those considering a conversion (at least not as a first read).
The book does contain some good information about the Orthodox church. However, it also contains some very inaccurate observations about Protestants in general (where on earth did he come up with some of this stuff?!?). I wish the author would have spent more time examining the positives of the Orthodox church rather than harping on his perceived negatives of all other denominations in existance. I believe that the author does not try to intentionally mislead. But, it is clear that his background and/or investigation of other Protestant denominations is very limited and subjective.
Despite all the above negativity in this review, I do think this book should be purchased (along with some of the author's other books). However, comments made that are not about the Orthodox faith should be taken with a grain of salt.
I appreciate an honest and blunt book. I believe this author to be very talented, but I hope that he will consider his tone in future books that he writes so as not to "turn away" those who may be genuinely interested in the Orthodox church.
35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95832570) out of 5 stars Excellent if Polemical 11 Feb. 2003
By Richard D. Lakey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Carlton does an excellent job of tracing the outline of his thought processes in his conversion to Orthodoxy, though I would have striven to be less strident and connect the dots a little better.

The "numerous factual errors" referred to by the previous reviewer are actually only disagreements between the author and the reviewer.

The author's statement that for Baptists "truth is what each individual says it is, and any attempt to suggest otherwise is a violation of individual freedom." Is perhaps strident in its tone, but IS factual; this is basic to the radical reformation. While it is true that Baptists state that truth claims must be judged against scripture, the proliferation of Baptist denominations and "non-denominational" fellowships underscores the authors point. To say that "Carlton has no idea what Baptists really believe" is simply the reviewers way of attempting to out-polemicize the Baptist seminary trained author.

The "numerous other deficiencies in this book" can be summed up by stating that the author is an Orthodox Christian and not a protestant like the reviewer.

BTW, the buttons below reviews have to do with whether the review is helpful, not whether you agree with the review.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95830774) out of 5 stars Pretty good book so far 29 Sept. 2009
By Efstathi Placidas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am only thru chapter 4 of this book. Interestingly, I am already a Catechumen and this book actually had nothing to do with me making that decision. Some background, I have been studying in a fairly dedicated manner, Reformed Theology and Calvinism for a couple years. I had gone through the Theology courses at [...] and listened to R.C. Sproul almost everyday. Add to that the fact I am a musician, and was in a Christian Metal band in HS, and have ALWAYS played guitar in the worship band of whatever Church was serving MY needs at the time. I thought I had it figured out, that the Bible was almost like this Holy Item that just fell out of the sky and it was the ONLY thing you needed to live your life as true Christian. Don't get me wrong, it is a great start, but a lot of people forget that the Bible was created by the CHURCH, and ecumenical councils, not the other way around. I was born into a protestant family, raised protestant, went to protestant Church ranging from a home church size, Charismatic, Traditional, Mega Churches that rival Disneyland, and even went to protestant private school. Last summer, I met a new friend who is Greek and we started talking, she did not preach or anything, but I was already feeling something very wrong about the Churches I had been attending. It wasn't so much that one did something way worse than another, or one had too much music, and one had too little, that was surface stuff I used to bounced from Church to Church. It was more the attitude it seemed to encourage in myself, and most of the others attendees I observed. The problem was when I noticed that the over all goals all of the protestant churches were trying to achieve, was to be "relevant" to the modern world. This manifested itself in everything; multiple venues of music like at churches like Saddleback. Starbucks coffee in the lobbies, etc.... I am sure you know what I mean. Don't get me wrong, its a great place to bring agnostics, and they will think its "cool". Unfortunately, what initially I thought were the coolest things about the Protestant churches, the music, the resources, the endless classes, the home groups, the video games for the kids, jamming in the worship band, didn't seem to amount to a hill of beans when I started thinking in terms of a Holy All Knowing creator of the Universe. Of all the Protestant Theologians, I think RC Sproul comes darn close in his Holiness of God series. I had an epiphany one day when I realized that ALL of this was designed to satisfy the individual need. "Honey, lets try that other Church, I liked the music better there. I liked that pastors sermons better. I like the fact they don't make us stand so much. I I I I I ..... unfortunately, this is the inevitable result of the course many (not all) but many, of these Churches have taken. So not being a Baptist, I cant relate so much specifically to that, but boy, I felt at times I was reading my own experience. So, this book was given to me by a Deacon at my Parish as part of the Catechumen class. I like it so far, it is very simple, and short enough to give to family members who can't fathom why you would not want to be protestant anymore. I am hoping to get into more Orthodox Theology books in the future. A couple of quotes to end this review turned diatribe; from a Priest and Deacon at our Parish. "Luther just traded one Pope for many", and "It is not what Protestants HAVE that is the problem, it is what they are lacking". Now when I go to Church, I go not to hear a great Worship band and check out how good the guitar player is, or cute singer girls. I don't go to GET SOMETHING from the sermon. Lord knows there is plenty of Christian radio if I want to listen to that.... I don't go for the coffee. I go to give Worship in the same manner as the Christians in the 1st Century Church did. And guess what! I was SEEKING, but a seeker friendly Church is not where God guided me. Imagine that.... So, this is a great book to start with, but don't end it there. There is also a good workbook style book called Dance of Isaiah, that is more a direct line by line comparison of Protestant, Orthodox and Roman Catholic beliefs and practices. Keep in mind Orthodox are Catholic, because they believe in one Holy and Apostolic Church. However, Orthodox are NOT Roman Catholic. Catholic means, Universal. The Church of Rome split away from Holy Orthodoxy during the great Schism. The Eastern Orthodox Church (old calendar), has remained, for the most part, unchanged. Anyway, Cheers!
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