"When standing before God and looking at one's soul; its numerous wounds, illnesses and infirmities should be recognized... often demons appear to the mind with images of brilliant successes when actually there was severe loss." ~ Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov

 

 

Content Summary

This is the perfect book for Protestants seeking to understand Orthodox Christianity and for the Orthodox Christian who wishes to be armed with the biblical answers to Protestant challenges. Often, when a Protestant inquires about the teaching, life, and practice of the Holy Apostolic Church, definitive answers are elusive. Protestants demand that responses are backed up by verses from Sacred Scripture, and in West of Jesus the Orthodox Christian will possess a "handbook" by which replies to Protestants and backing from Sacred Scripture exists. Consequently, this work gives compelling discourse in support of Holy Tradition - to the Protestant Holy Tradition has become confined to but one of its four strands (gone is Apostolic teaching, the Church, and Church Fathers) - by pointing to the one aspect (Sacred Scripture) that Protestants proclaim as proof of all of Holy Tradition's elements.

The text focuses on fruits - "You will know them by their fruits... a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit" (Matt. 7:16-18) - of Protestantism, including the novel sola scriptura mentioned supra; a Protestant contention that the Bible alone suffices to illumine the believer's life in Christ. As is evident, much of Protestantism condems Holy Tradition and reduces also the Holy Sacraments to mere symbol:

Under the title of "Communion," Divine Liturgy became in Protestantism a vacant rite that functions to only remember the Lord Jesus Christ's death.
Baptism simply serves as but a public confession in Christ among Protestants (not the literal death, burial, and resurrection with the Savior that Scripture announces (cf., Col. 2:12)), while Chrismation has been discarded.
Confession (The Sacrament of Repentance) has, in Protastant domains, been condemned as heretical.
West of Jesus shows exactly where in both Sacred Scripture and Church Father writings: (1) a real "putting on" of Christ occurs (during baptism), (2) the Holy Spirit is given (at Chrismation), (3)confession to a spiritual father is essential and required (4) Divine Liturgy encompasses the actual Body (for eternal life) and Blood (for remission of sin) of the Lord Jesus Christ and involves the entrancing by Him into our interior realm for purification.

Any Protestant looking at Orthodox Christianity must start his/her voyage by reading this book! Moreover, any Orthodox Christian who seeks to understand Western Christian errancies will want to study West of Jesus in detail so that what has been believed everywhere, at all times, by everyone, can be more readily grasped and then shared with others.