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Publisher's Summary

This audiobook has been made for three purposes. First, to provide the Orthodox listener with a competent overview of the history of Protestantism and its major traditions, from its beginnings in the 16th century to the present day. This overview relies heavily upon the Reformer's own words as well as the creeds of various Protestant faiths in order to avoid misrepresentation and caricature.

Second, to acquaint Orthodox and non-Orthodox listeners with a narrative of the historical relations between the Orthodox East and the Protestant West.

Finally, to provide a summary of Orthodox theological opinion on the tenets of Protestantism.

©2018 Archpriest Josiah Trenham (P)2019 Archpriest Josiah Trenham

What listeners say about Rock and Sand

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The rest of the story like Paul Harvey says

I grew up Protestant and encountered Orthodoxy 20 years ago. Just this year my wife and I have become catechumen and are to be baptized soon. Fr. Josiah is an excellent communicator and researcher. Rock and Sand will tell you the rest of the Protestant story. I studied religion. Both my undergrad and postgrad degrees are in the field of biblical studies. I’m familiar with the Protestant Reformation but now I’m learning what was left out of the curriculum I was taught. Rock and Sand is a journey though one of the most significant events in western civilization. It will help you see the underpinnings of why there are so many different denominations today. Respectfully presented and thoroughly researched Rock and Sand is a must read. Fr. Josiah is the author and reader of Rock and Sand and has done an excellent job at both. Many years!

12 people found this helpful

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A Pointed Appeal

AT A GLANCE:
If you haven't guessed by the title, the "Rock" represents the stability of Orthodoxy while the "Sand" represents the ever-changing nature of Protestant theology. This is a polemical work, and unashamedly so.

CONTENT:
The Protestant reformers are examined individually, with most of the time naturally going to Luther and Calvin's magisterial reformations. We are given a decent amount of historical context for each and clearly informed where their teachings diverge from historic Christian orthodoxy. The accounts are generally well-sourced and the arguments display a high degree of scholarship. Though combative, this is less a "Syllabus of Errors" and more like a selection from John Damascene. There is a clear admiration for Protestant evangelism and their high view of Scripture. The book ends with a set of letters and treatises on the topic dated 1672 - 1912.

NARRATOR:
Fr Trenham is an academically-accomplished archpriest in the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) with a focus on Patristic studies, especially St John Chrysostom. He was once a Calvinist and this is often apparent in his style; his tone is biting and his rhetoric forceful. His popular work and teaching engages American culture from a highly traditional perspective, framing Orthodoxy as a bedrock of reason free from modernist leanings and the development of doctrine. One of his stated goals is to avoid triumphalism and he succeeds at first, though beginning around Chapter 14 this goal is largely abandoned.

OVERALL:
If you've ever wondered what the historical Eastern Orthodox position is towards Protestantism, this is an excellent resource. It is unfettered by modern ecumenical tendencies and follows lines of argument supported by saints in the author's tradition. Granted, many Orthodox will take issue with his tone and how the emphasis strays from focus on Christian unity; nonetheless, I appreciate that Fr Trenham is willing to stare headlong at real ideological differences and bring them into the open rather than concealing or glossing over them.

9 people found this helpful

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Eye opening, charitably honest

This book contains a detailed historical record of the Protestant reform movement away from Roman Catholicism that began in the 1500’s. Protestant reformers Luther, Zwingly, and Calvin among others are studied in detail as well as their teachings.
The book is charitable in its critiques of the Protestant Reformers and praises the virtues of Protestant Christians, which are numerous. However, as the title suggest, the Protestant doctrines and teachings(as they are too numerous to count and seem to be ever evolving) is the house built on Sand and not on the Rock. The book enlightens to the path to finding the house built on the Rock and shows the reader the House Built on the Rock of the faith of the Holy Apostles as well as where to find her. Must read for all Christians in my opinion, especially for Christians on the West. I highly recommend this book and hope you are as edified as I was by reading it.

8 people found this helpful

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Comprehensive defense of Christianity

historians and theologians agree that Orthodoxy was and is the Faith passed down throughout the centuries, setting and maintaining the standard of what Christianity is. This book details the weaknesses and heresies found in Protestant groups, especially American types and why Protestants should question the origin and authenticity of what they believe. According to the author, these groups have reconstructed and reduced Christianity to a shadow. The main issue stemming from a reduction in understanding of Grace, leading to a reduction in Salvation, leading to anything goes Christianity abolishing the foundation delivered by the Apostles and Church Fathers. The author cites how the modern Protestant church groups lost their way setting aside ecumenical council and Canon aimed at protecting the laity and clergy from heresy and abuse.

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A Bitter Ex-Protestant

A classmate of mine has become good friends with Fr. Josiah as a result of reading this book but I am a bit unimpressed with the way the author has unfairly painted Fathers of the Reformation. It appears to me this book is a way for him to lash out against individuals he feels misled him earlier in life. I appreciate Orthodoxy very much and am saddened to see one of their priests speak so negatively of godly men to ease his own piety. At least this is how I receive this writing.

I am not sure this is an "Orthodox Appraisal" so much as a personal objection that eases his move out of Protestantism. Overall, his argumentation breaks down in many places by wide-sweeping generalizations but I am helped to know his feelings on the matter in that I can better minister to hurting ex-protestants in their newfound faith.

I prefer to direct the reader to what the Church has done right in light of the authority of Scripture and consensus of the Church. There are many bad marks to dig up on the Reformers as well as Medieval Christianity, Constinantinian Christianity, etc. I think this book would be written much more tastefully if it focused on the positive rather than attempting to blast the past with accusations and dishonest opinions.

I come from a former Alaskan ministry context where Russian Orthodoxy came with the slave ships to kill off the Natives and otters for furs in the late 1700s and 1800s and despise the dark and underhanded ways of "colonizing" the Alaska Natives, especially the Alutiiq people. After horrendous accounts of the Russians, they left the Island people with alcoholism and religion that proved nominal at best for the next few centuries. However, if I wrote a book on it I'd focus on the good God has done through the Orthodox Church in Alaska and encourage Christians in how to pursue future ministry among Alaska Natives I love dearly.

2 people found this helpful

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Strengthened my own faith

While I don't care for the dogmatic style of the author or his harsh repudiation of the protestant movement, the book does a good job of delineating the history and fundamental beliefs of the protestant reformers, the current religious movements their efforts have spawned, and those of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox church. His book helps me see how effective Satan has been in sowing confusion and division among those who seek to worship and follow God. My faith and conviction of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ has been greatly strengthened. I am so grateful.

2 people found this helpful

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Amazed!

Any person in search of answers about many things dealing with Orthodox Christianity this book is a MUST READ! Many things I felt about being Prostestant that was wrong is confirmed and explained thoroughly in this book. I thank God for the Author.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent

I would recommend Dan Carlin's Hardcore History podcast series called "Prophets of Doom" for a deeper dive into some of the Reformation-caused turmoil briefly mentioned in this book.

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Fantastically Accurate! Well Written! Fair!

This is a wonderful work! Fr. Josiah Trenham’s Presbyterian background (before conversion to Holy Orthodoxy) and scholarly study help provide a historically accurate account of the reformation and their personalities as well as a fair theological contrast of Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant faiths. Well written, well constructed, well thought out. The self narration adds to the overall work tremendously! Would love to see another work by Father Josiah on the schism of East and West and other works as well.

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A treat

I learned so much and Enjoyed every minute of this book. I would recommend to everyone interested in church history and the differences between Protestants and the orthodoxy.

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  • Clive Smart
  • 09-03-20

A tremendous detailed look at protestantism

Awesome read! The author himself reass it all. He is an ex protestant scholar and now orthodox priest. He digs deep and fairly into protestantism in its many manifestations. A treasure to fully understand this movement: its power and its fallacies. He also explores the lives of the various founders of the movement and their central beliefs. The study of the orthodox response: historical and actual is excellent.

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  • Book fan
  • 05-08-21

Back to the Apostolic church..

Rock and Sand...Sadly, the Reformation has led to so many different types of churches it really has become shifting sand in terms of doctrine.

The book is fair and accurate in its appraisal of Protestantism. The great strength of the Protestant churches has been in evangelism - something the Orthodox Church needs to improve on. However, with divisions within divisions and being largely cut off from over a millennium of church teaching you can never be sure what your local church will be teaching tomorrow.

The strength of the Orthodox Church is in it being rooted by Apostolic succession to the original church. It refuse to follow the culture and has survived domination by Islam and Communism. Living in an age where ethics, morality and belief change by the day the Orthodox Church appears the only refuge for Christians who want to keep the faith handed down by the Apostles.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-26-20

Factually accurate, but overly political

The information provided on the Protestant reformers and their ideas is accurate and detailed; and the ideas are considered, however uncharitably, from an Orthodox perspective. I was left with the impression that, yes, Orthodox teachings are probably closer to the teachings of the early church than Protestantism; but that these teachings aren't embodied by it's representative. i.e. the author of this work. The tone was just a little too polemical for my tastes; this led me to feel more ambivalent toward this audiobook than I would have liked.

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  • John
  • 04-23-21

Fantastic! Highly recommended

A fantastic introduction to the history of Christianity and how it spread through the West and how and why changes developed.
I am highly grateful for the work put in to make this information so readily available and accessible.

Highlights the Truth of the Holy Orthodox Faith.

Also a wonderful performance by the author himself. His passion for this topic comes through clearly with enthusiasm.