Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian authors his 49th book

Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian

By Rev. Kevork George Terian

Once again, the Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian surprises us with the publication of another interesting and instructive book that deals with two very important aspects of our Christian life: our vertical relationship with our Creator and Savior and our horizontal relations with our fellow man. As a veteran minister and an experienced professor, the author points out that these two vital relationships are interconnected. The close correlation between the two is very obvious and undeniable. This truth becomes crystal clear to us in Matthew 22:37, where Jesus links loving God with loving our neighbors.

For human beings who are by nature sociable creatures, relationships are necessary, important and unavoidable; however, our vertical relationship with God must precede the horizontal relationships that bind us to one another. God’s pure and unselfish love for us obligates us to show the same love to one another.

Vertical and Horizontal Relations is a bilingual book consisting of 43 articles, 29 of which are in English and 14 in Armenian. Written in an accessible style, the author’s own life experience helps him connect with his readers. The English part of the book deals with major Armenian and American holidays and holy days, as well as views on issues such as Christian growth and maturity, pastor and parish relations, home as the first school of life and other topics. He also renders a scholarly analysis of the four Gospels. 

In the Armenian section entitled Ooghahayatz yev Horizonagan Haraperoutyunner, Dr. Tootikian deals with a variety of theological, educational and patriotic subjects, conveying timely truths to his readers with deep pastoral sensibility and solid Biblical and cultural knowledge.  

The greatest tragedy of our age is that our vertical relationship with God has become the most neglected relationship on earth. We must be cognizant of the fact that it is this vertical relationship that gives us access to God’s eternal Kingdom. Establishing intimacy with God, through a perpendicular relationship, will make the existence of the spiritual world become a tangible reality for us. In Matthew 25:35-40, Jesus tells us that our acts of mercy, like feeding the hungry, providing clothes for the poor and visiting the incarcerated, are considered to be services that are rendered to Him. By alleviating human suffering, we honor Christ Himself. Our vertical relationship with God should intersect with our horizontal relationships with people.

While our relationship with God is based on faith alone, we are told, in no mistakable terms, that the way we relate to other people will have a direct bearing on our experience of Him.

In a very convincing way, Dr. Tootikian shows that our relationship with our Creator not only supersedes all of our human associations in importance, but also safeguards their moral integrity and preserves their unselfish character. In a nutshell, without establishing a close vertical relationship with God, it will be next to impossible to have healthy and robust interactions with our fellow man on the horizontal level.

Rev. Kevork (George) Terian is the Senior Pastor at Immanuel Armenian Congregational Church in Downey, California.

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Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.

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