Rock and Sand
by Archpriest Josiah Trenham
T he title of this book originates from the teaching of Christ about the different houses, with the one founded on the sand collapsing but the one founded on the rock being secure. This metaphor outlines the key aim of the book, which highlights the differences between Protestantism and Orthodoxy and shows how the Orthodox Church is founded on the rock and the Protestant denominations on sand.
Rock and Sand approaches this task of explaining the differences between Orthodoxy and the various strands of Protestantism methodically. It starts by explaining the origins of the Protestant Reformation as arising through the faults of the Roman Catholic Church after the Great Schism. It proceeds to examine each Protestant denomination (Lutheran, Anglican, Calvinist etc.) or movement (Evangelicalism, Pentecostalism, Charismatic, etc.) and its history, and how it differs theologically from Orthodox Christianity.
One key focus of the book is to look at the interactions between Orthodox Christianity and the Protestant denominations. One instance is in the communications between the Lutheran Church and the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the 16th century for potential unification, where the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate responded in detail to the Augsburg Confession which stated the dogmas of Lutheran Protestantism and rejected any possible union.
This book is very detailed, with primary sources contained throughout the text and included as appendices at the back of the book. The author, Fr Josiah Trenham, is a convert to Orthodoxy from the Presbyterian branch of Protestantism and studied at a Protestant tertiary institution. His wealth of experience and knowledge is drawn upon in explaining the key tenets of the Protestant denominations to the reader.
All in all, this book is recommended as it provides insights into the unique Protestant way of thinking about God and allows the reader to appreciate the authenticity of Orthodox Christianity.
Source: Lychnos August/September 2019 edition