Dr. Bradley Nassif is an Orthodox Christian, scholar, and trusted spokesperson for Orthodoxy, known especially for his ecumenical involvement and active role in Orthodox evangelism. Raised within the Orthodox Church as a Lebanese-American, Dr. Nassif also spent some time worshipping in the Evangelical tradition in his youth. His experience in both realms has made him a pioneer in Orthodox-Evangelical relations. His life experience, combined with his knowledge of Orthodox faith and history, places him in a unique position from which to articulate the Orthodox faith to a diverse audience.
Dr. Nassif is currently Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at North Park University in Chicago. He has been a teacher for the Antiochian House of Studies, and the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute in Berkeley, California. He serves as a consultant for Time and Christianity Today magazines. Dr. Nassif holds a Ph.D. from Fordham University where he studied with the late Fr. John Meyendorff. Additionally, he holds a M.Div. from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, a M.A. in New Testament Studies from Denver Seminary, a M.A. in European History from Wichita State University, and a B.A. in Religion and Philosophy from Friends University. He is a member of Holy Transfiguration Antiochian Orthodox Church in Warrenville, Illinois.
You can also listen to Dr. Nassif teach via his Simply Orthodox podcast at Ancient Faith Radio .
by Bradley Nassif , Ph.D.
The purpose of this brief, and incomplete, reflection is to focus on the centrality of the gospel in the ministry of a bishop. It is not intended to promote a partisan perspective on any issue facing the contemporary Orthodox Church – Antiochian, Greek or O.C.A. It simply spotlights what the calling of a bishop is to be.
I want to be clear that this article is not a response to the recent discussions of the Antiochian bishops or the Holy Synod. It is a timeless reflection -- a positive statement -- of what the primary work of a bishop should be, regardless of his geographical location or the time of history in which he lives. It is vitally important that we understand the bishop’s calling because the gospel of Jesus Christ lies at the very center of his ministry among us.
The Bishop’s Apostolic Mission
The apostolic mission of a bishop in the Eastern Orthodox Church can be summarized in five points.
1. Preach the Gospel. All bishops are to proclaim and interpret the gospel of Christ to the church and to the world.
Bishops should be elected largely on the basis of their knowledge and ability to skillfully communicate the Holy Scriptures. St. John Chrysostom is the prime example of such a bishop.