Think of the standard theological debates in Western Christianity: Is conversion a matter of divine grace or human free will? Are theological disputes to be arbitrated by appeals to the Bible or to church tradition? Do the church’s authority and unity cohere in the pope, in a set of bishops, or in assemblies of the faithful?
These sorts of questions expose a traditional line of demarcation from which Catholics and Protestants generally break in opposite directions. Yet in none of these cases do Eastern Orthodox Christians feel obliged to choose sides. That’s a key reason why theologians in the West have recently been looking to Orthodox theology for help in getting beyond their theological impasses.