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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Thinking Right [Orthodox]

Apparently, there is some advantage to calling Jesus a heretic or unorthodox which I have yet to discover. I tried discussing this idea with such a person on his own blog. However, I couldn't figure out if I was being condescended, missing the person's attempt at humor, or if the person just writes on a wavelength entirely higher than mine. So, instead of clogging his comment section, I decided to post a view thoughts here.

The idea of orthodoxy is greatly missed by many today. Observing some general definitions, we see one states: having the right opinion.

Now, some will get downright giddy over this definition. It seems, from the Greek, that orthodoxy is merely an issue of opinion. Conspiracy theorists will immediately wonder if "the establishment" isn't beating the little man down. The double-minded will simply sit back, waiting for the majority decision on orthodoxy to shift. The opportunist will quickly look for a small group they can influence, pursuade and conform to their view...thus producing the orthodox view for that fellowship. If orthodoxy is simply opinion, then it is simply defined by who we ask.

But orthodoxy does not just mean "opinion." It means "right opinion," or "true opinion," or "straight opinion." We are not left to gather a caucus to determine orthodoxy. We are to search out that which is true, straight, right. But how can one do this?

It may behoove us to consider the approaching Reformation Day. Were the reformers the majority opinion of that day? Certainly not, for even today the Catholic church would boast more participants than the protestant church. So what makes there perspective (on issues concerning the gospel) orthodox? Their influence? Their philosophic genius? The fact that their opinon matches mine?

Or could it be that the genuine authority speaks on their behalf? It should not be considered coincidental that the reformation came at a time that the Word of God became more available. Men came to the true opinion when they understood the truth revealed in the text. They did not take a revote, finding they developed the majority opinion. They read the text and conformed their understanding to the text...the right/straight/true opinion.

So, could Jesus ever have uttered a word that would be deemed unorthodox? This would require one to state that Jesus spoke words that were not right and true. Thus leading one to C.S. Lewis' axiom: If Jesus spoke false words, He would have to be a liar or a lunatic...but He could not be Lord. A statement some may be willing to making, ironically leading them into heresy.[This is not to be confused with the question: Did Jesus ever speak words that some considered unorthodox? On several occasions, heretics {for they did not hold to the truth} picked up stones to kill Him. Some may have thought Him a heretic...but this did not make Him a heretic.]

Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints (Jude 3). That can't be done if the faith can't be known.

For me, it seems to make much more sense to label Jesus as orthodox and seek to conform my life to the standards of the Word, thus allowing the Holy Spirit to purge me of any unorthodoxy. [But if you want to wait and see what the majority position is...just remember, the Eternal Life always holds the majority opinion.]


  • At 8:49 AM, Blogger Zach Doppelt said…

    I think the thing that makes this discussion so complicated is that countless, if not the majority, of evangelical scholars are saying the church has overemphasized the authority of Scripture and the concept of orthodoxy.

    Many pastors and lay persons are buying into these ideas as well.

    Your statements are true about the word of God and Jesus Christ, but fewer and fewer agree with the very premises and foundations on which you base your discussion. I wonder what the next step is in restoring this orthodoxy?

  • At 11:25 AM, Blogger Sam Garber said…

    I think you might be thinking right but I can't help but think your thinkings' wrong

    I think I thought I'd write a song but I had to think it'd get to long so I thought to think I'm thinking write but then I thought

    I'd better off be thinking right about the fight to be walking in the rite so I just sigh and think my thoughts are thinking white

    While you're thinking right think where she is left who thinks to write on the rite of right

  • At 11:51 AM, Blogger Zach Doppelt said…


    I am presently reading a book edited by an an interesting pair. This book is "Tongues of Angels, Tongues of Men: A Book of Sermons."

    What amazes me is that this mix of sermons includes people with whom I agree, and many of whom I disagree, but regardless, there is a consistent and evident aim by the preachers, even to the time of the apostles, to maintain orthodoxy to some extent, and yes, even propositional truth. Some of them were just closer than others.

    Much of what is being labeled as products of modernity today have nothing to do with a particular historical period or context at all. Orthodoxy is timeless, even to the time of the Scripture.

    Does the church need to change certain attitudes? Yes! Has the church been missional before some of the latest movements? Absolutely! Read the works of A.W. Tozer, Charles Spurgeon, and John Bunyan and tell me they were not missional!

    I have come to the conclusion, Danny, as I have read various blogs, Web sites, and books, that some people's theological views concerning orthodoxy and their lack thereof are out of control! I apologize, because I should be using my own blog for this! Thanks Buddy!


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