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Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith [Paperback]

by Peter E. Gillquist
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 1, 2001 0962271330 978-0962271335 Revised
This is the story of a handful of courageous men and their congregations who risked stable occupations, security and the approval of life-long friends to be obedient to God's call.It is also the story of every believer who is searching for the Church. Where Christ is Lord. Where holiness, human responsibility, and the sovereignty of God are preached. Where fellowship is more than a covered-dish supper in the church basement. And where fads and fashions take a backseat to apostolic worship and doctrine.This is a book, for Orthodox Christians, looking for ways to bring new life to their own Churches. It's also a book for those completely dissatisfied--those on their own search. And it's a book for Orthodox Christians, looking for renewal.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter E. Gillquist is an archpriest and chairman of the Department of Missions and Evangelism for the Antiochian Orthodox Church of North America.He is a popular speaker and author, and is publisher of Conciliar Press. In the 1960's he was regional director for Campus Crusade for Christ. He has authored numerous books, including Love is Now and Coming Home.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 191 pages
  • Publisher: Conciliar Press; Revised edition (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0962271330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962271335
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
75 of 80 people found the following review helpful
By zonaras
_Becoming Orthodox_ by Peter Gillquist is a first-person account of the spiritual journey of a group of evangelical Christians over a period of fifteen years to their reception into the Antiochian Orthodox Church. Many of them had been involved in Campus Crusade for Christ during the sixties and had remained in contact with each other during the seventies as they founded churches around the US. They agreed to study Church history to find out what the original New Testament Churches practiced. They noted from early Christian documents such as the writings of the Church Fathers that the Church had Bishops (ordained by the Apostles themselves), a hierarchial structure, Tradition, liturgical worship, communion as the literal Body and Blood of Christ, inscense, icons, the use of "Father" in addressing Priests, the veneration of the Virgin Mary as Theotokos ("God-bearer") and the Sign of the Cross. In examining the Schism of the Church in 1054 between Rome and the East, Gillquist and his fellow pastors acknowledged that Rome had erred in its Papal claims of universal authority over the Church, and the Western alteration of the Creed which originally stated that the Holy Spirit only proceeded from the Father, when now the Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (known as the "Filioque"). Gillquist and his affiliated group of churches, which they had labeled the Evangelical Orthodox Church, sought to join one of the Orthodox Churches in America. They were unsuccessful in meeting with the Patriarch of Constantinople, but they were reviewed and accepted by the Patriarch of Antioch and the Antiochian Archdiocese in North America. The style of this book is remarkably easy and engaging, especially when it comes to the discussion of the "Filioque" in the Creed, and appears to be quite popular among both Orthodox and non-Orthodox readers, which is one of this book's strengths.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
BECOMING ORTHODOX is a personal testimonial by Fr Peter Guilquist written to track the conversion of nearly a thousand Evangelical Protestants to Orthodox Christianity in 1987. This mass conversion was one of the biggest events in modern American Orthodoxy, and Fr Guilquist's book paints a vivid picture of the theological wrestling and jurisdictional complications which ended in the reception of the converts in the Antiochian Orthodox Church.

Fr Guilquist and many other leaders of this movement started their Christian occupations in the 1950s and 1960s as activists for Campus Crusade for Christ. They travelled widely, trying to organise rallies at such universities as the uber-liberal Berkeley and Roman Catholic Notre Dame. Their focus was entirely on bringing young people to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, not on building community, which they saw as denominationalism. Over time, however, they became jaded by their work, because many converts fell away after the initial dedication. They understand the need for a Church which would provide lasting support. Yet, they had no idea what such a church should look like.

In the early 1970s these former CCC leaders came together to begin a study of what the Church looked like in the decades after Pentacost, using only the Bible and early Fathers, so that they might form a community mirroring it entirely. They found that the early Church was liturgical, retaining a Judaic structure of worship after the expulsion from the synagogues, and that it was built around the Eucharist, which was seen as no mere commemoration but as a true mystery of faith. They discovered that the Church had a three-tiered division of authority, with bishops defending the faith, and priests and deacons serving the flocks of faithful.
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68 of 81 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Of mixed emotion... December 30, 1999
While the enthusiasm expressed in this work is encouraging, as is the energy witnessed in its expression, it is nonetheless wanting in the extent of its content.
Written while the author and his colleagues were new to Orthodoxy, it expresses much more of the 'coming home' sentiment and excitement than it does a detailed description of Orthodox theology or the Church. It is the author's 'conversion experience,' and not so much a discussion of what he was converting to, that is the focus of the work.
Yet this book will still find a strong readership in those who are from a Protestant/Evangelical background and are considering Orthodoxy, or are simply intrigued and interested in it. From that perspective, 'Becoming Orthodox' offers insights that will strike close to home, and address many of the issues that are encountered when viewing Orthodoxy from such a background.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for what it tries to do September 22, 2006
This is the story of how a group of 2,000 Evangelicals end up converting to the Eastern Orthodox church, and it's written through the eyes of one of their leaders, former Campus Crusade for Christ leader Peter Gilquist.


1. It's a narrative, and it's an easy read. For folks who don't want a lot of in-depth arguments, history, etc., this book will be a fair introduction to Eastern Orthodoxy.

2. It's enthusiastic, personal, and engaging. Gilquist has the convert's zeal as he writes, and it's quite infectious. He's obviously been deeply affected by his journey, and his enthusiasm makes this book a page-turner.

3. He shows how he and his peers handled typical Protestant stumbling blocks to Orthodox faith & worship (Mary, Saints, Icons, Liturgy, Tradition, etc.).

4. He writes about Eastern Orthodoxy using religious language the way Protestants do. (In otherwords, he's comfortable talking about "being born again," etc.) So, for a Protestant inquiring into the Orthodox faith, this book will be fairly easy to understand and pose no cultural or language barriers.

5. When he and his peers reach a point where they must decide between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, the reasoning they use isn't just knee-jerk, anti-Catholic polemics.


1. While he does show how he and his colleagues reasoned their way into Orthodoxy, he hasn't set out to write air-tight cases for Orthodox beliefs and practices. He's simply trying to show Protestants that Orthodox beliefs are reasonable. So, those looking for more serious and complete argumentation will need to turn elsewhere.

2. He began his journey as a disillusioned Protestant.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars ok read
It is a good story of how several found their way into the Orthodox Church; but what I was looking for was a book that explained, more carefully and explicitly, what the Orthodox... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Paul Henry
5.0 out of 5 stars The most important choice I have made
Very clear and easy to understand. I am on a journey from Calvary Chapel and this is where I have landed, back to the beginning, with Jesus and His church from 2000 years ago and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by James N.
3.0 out of 5 stars An Anabaptist Perspective
I, being a conservative Mennonite, read this book from an Anabaptist perspective. I am aware that Father Gillquist wrote this book to RCs and Protestants, not to me. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Rodger
1.0 out of 5 stars A pharisee in Christian clothing
Gillquist is no less than delusional regarding the oneness of the body of Christ and the "Orthodox" church. Read more
Published 6 months ago by David Bush
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter Gilquist: A Man
I am a big fan of Peter Gilquist - first Orthodoxer to come on my show on Satan's Own Radio Station, KPBC back in the day. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Kevin Bryn Bullard
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for those new to Orthodoxy
I was a protestant reasearching Orthodoxy. Most of what I was finding on-line was very theologically heavy. Peter Gillquist made learning about Orthodoxy very easy to understand. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jeremiah
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! Very similar to my own experience.
I appreciate where this man is coming from. I too started to feel there had to be something more to the true Church of God. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Andrew
5.0 out of 5 stars A Page Turner
This is a fine book chronicling the journey of 2,000 evangelical Protestants to the ancient faith of Orthodox Christianity. Read more
Published on February 22, 2012 by Pierian
5.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing must for the evangelical protestant seeker.
For the faithful evangelical who feels there must be something more, or that we have drifted from our origins in the faith. Read more
Published on August 24, 2011 by Sojourner Knight
3.0 out of 5 stars A Somewhat Interesting Spiritual Journey
In the last few years I've been investigating the Orthodox Church and so have picked up this book to read. Read more
Published on May 6, 2011 by Ronald C. Payne
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