Answering Orthodoxy: A Catholic Response to Attacks from the East
What if there’s a better Christian religion than Catholicism? One that has true apostolic doctrines, a more beautiful and ancient liturgy, and freedom from all that “pope” baggage—and valid sacraments, too.
That’s what apologists for Eastern Orthodoxy are selling. In a time of uncertainty and confusion for many Catholics, Orthodox challenges to the Church’s history, teaching, worship, and authority structure have been drawing Catholics away in hope of greener pastures in the East.
But those thinking of jumping off the barque of Peter toward the siren song of Eastern Orthodoxy—and for Protestants who’d like Catholicism’s historical pedigree without all the mess—need to think twice. In Answering Orthodoxy, Michael Lofton (Reason & Theology Podcast) shows why, with a thorough and critical refutation of Orthodox attacks against the Church.
Formerly Eastern Orthodox himself, Lofton has the knowledge and experience to uncover the flaws in the most common anti-Catholic arguments from Orthodoxy’s top advocates. From intricate doctrinal debates to the historical flubs and foibles of the popes, right on down to the basic understandings (and misunderstandings) of the sacraments Catholics and Orthodox share but don’t always agree on, Answering Orthodoxy shows where Orthodox attacks go wrong. In so doing, he not only strengthens Catholic conviction in the truth of the Faith, but also shows the Orthodox that there’s not as much distance between them and the Church as they might think, and unity with Rome might be closer than ever.
Whether you’re frustrated with today’s Church and find yourself attracted to Orthodoxy’s antiquity, beauty, and religious rigor, or you’re just looking to learn the best Catholic responses to Orthodox arguments, Answering Orthodoxy will equip and edify you.
"Michael Lofton’s Answering Orthodoxy is a trenchant analysis of the apologists for Eastern Orthodoxy who claim to represent the views of the ancient Church regarding its hierarchical structure as established by its founder Jesus Christ. Lofton brilliantly shows how both Scripture and Tradition testify to the Roman Primacy of universal jurisdiction being an essential element of the Church’s visible unity and catholicity, and one acknowledged from its beginnings by Popes and bishops, Ecumenical Councils, Fathers, and Saints. Objective history manifests the one and only Church established by Christ to be the Catholic Church in full communion with the Apostolic See of Rome." - Dr. James Likoudis, Author, The Divine Primacy of the Bishop of Rome and Modern Eastern Orthodoxy
"In this book, author Lofton answers the seemingly difficult questions about the uniqueness of Catholicism, and even uses the writings of the more reasonable Orthodox scholars against those who still cry heresy and shake their fists in the direction of the west." – James L. Papandrea, Professor of Church History and Historical Theology, and author of Handed Down: The Catholic Faith of the Early Church
"Michael Lofton deserves much credit for this thoroughly-researched and well-argued defense of the Catholic faith in response to the objections of the Eastern Orthodox. It’s sad that many Eastern Orthodox Christians—who share so much in common with Catholics—continue to bring up the same old arguments against papal primacy, the Immaculate Conception, and the Filioque. Michael Lofton has studied these objections, and he responds to them with intelligence, rigor, and sound historical-theological analysis." - Robert Fastiggi, Ph.D. Bishop Kevin M. Britt Chair of Dogmatic Theology and Christology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, Michigan
"Michael Lofton has produced an unusual book, a passionate apology animated by affection, gratitude, admiration, and a deep desire for understanding and unity. He refuses to leave this important conversation to the angry and ignorant fringes (on all sides), and so he is willing to risk their rage. He is also willing to risk the offense that will come when none was intended. No one wants to provoke an enemy or hurt a friend, and these are the forces that usually inhibit the conversation. Jesus prayed John 17:11 aloud so that we, and not only his Father, might hear it and respond. I'm grateful to Mr. Lofton for doing so." - Mike Aquilina, author, The Fathers of the Church
“Not many Catholics are familiar with the tragic familial divisions between the myriad of Byzantine Orthodox churches and the Catholic Church that have persisted now for centuries. As a result, these Catholics may find themselves confused by the frequently polemical objections and posturing they encounter in books, articles, and social media. Michael Lofton, whose own personal story involves traversing this sad division, has produced a volume that offers clarity from a Catholic perspective on the issues that divide. Written in an accessible manner, he demonstrates not only a compelling Catholic answer to these objections, but also a more irenic path forward towards the unity Jesus Christ desired for all of His disciples in His one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.” - Fr Daniel Dozier, Executive Director of God With Us Online and Author of 20 Answers Eastern Catholicism
Softcover, 198 pgs
In brief: Just as "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" became the Catholic apologetic standard for Evangelical Fundamentalism, this work now stands as the standard for Catholic apologetics engaging Orthodoxy (or the many Orthodoxies). While I have several books in my library *comparing* Orthodoxy and Catholicism, and some which address specific issues in great depth - this is the only book which takes a comprehensive approach. The author tackles 30 common objections raised by Orthodox apologists against Catholicism. The book is segmented into three clear sections: Doctrinal Attacks, Historical Attacks, and Liturgical Attacks. Throughout the work, the author approaches the subject with clarity and charity (being formerly Orthodox, and still much enamored with the Eastern liturgy). While I was already somewhat familiar with the subject, and many of the works of the authors cited (Meyendorff, Manoussakis, Fr. Damick, Schmemann, et. al) - I was surprised at how clearly and concisely the author used their words to prove his points. Context was provided at every step, making this a great book for beginners - but it was not lacking in depth, even given the breadth of topics covered in a relatively brief space for a nearly 1,000-year-old debate.
This book is very useful as a handbook to consult on apologetic issues on the Catholic-Orthodox debate. In contrast to most in-print books covering Catholic-Orthodox issues, this book covers a wide breadth of issues while remaining accessible and concise enough to be picked up by your average layman. Often-times, the answers to these sorts of questions can only be found in documents and parts of history which are obscure to most people and would be hard to find without the guidance of scholars, such as Michael Lofton. Here, a plethora of sources are brought together and presented with historical context to defend the Catholic position in light of common Orthodox objections.