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Thank you, this is a great and also insightful observation. On a slightly different tack.We do have a certain predisposition towards orthodoxy, Hellenism and modernity have created an unhealthy ‘bent’ towards all things being seen in black and white absolutes, In her book “The great Emergence” Phyllis Tickle, speaks at length about this very issue. When I look at the Hebrew origins of the faith (move over Constantine) the emphasis seemed to be on orthopraxy. Orthodoxy doesn't lead to the 'right' behavior. In his book 'The Scandal of an Evangelical Conscience' Sider observed that the Church in the US has a significant number of Christians who have divorced behavior from belief, Orthodoxy doesn’t have the power to bring about change, but merely shows one where it is most needed. I realize this is not the point you making, so please forgive me for such a serious digression.

insightful thoughts mark, ties in well with my post grad on a perceived othodoxy of what church is as what limits the missionary imagination and contributes to the gavitational pull, wish you had posted it a couple of weeks ago before I submitted the diss;-)

WOW, Mark, what a very insightful post that succinctly nails what has been floating around in my head for a long while. THANK YOU!

The more I think about it the more I think that "orthodoxy" is inherently local (in time and place) only grace is universal so only grace is a sure enough foundation for church, worship etc.

Gold - absolute pure gold!

I think I understand the word somewhat differently. For me, its not about whether we are in sync with one another on everything. Its about whether we are in sync with one another on the essentials.

As for what orthodoxy (lit: right worship) actually is, I find a good exercise is to line up the big 3 traditions - Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant - and observe what they actually agree on. Things that pop up quickly are: the divinity of Jesus, the New Testament as revelation, the emphasis on faith and love, remembering Jesus through a shared meal (of some sort) and an initiation ritual of baptism (or some sort). These traditions all agree on these things. Groups that don't, such as the Mormons who say God the father was once a human and use alternative scriptures, or Christopagans who worship Mary as a Goddess, are rightly identified as unorthodox. To draw the definition even tighter, its about whether you can affirm that Jesus is Lord.

I find that it is very helpful to have some sort of understanding like this when in conversations with non-Christians. Amongst Christians who are questioning non-essentials, yeah I can understand that some want to question the nature of orthodoxy. But what is often not said or even recognized is that there is still an underlying understanding that Christ needs to be central to your theology for it to be meaningfully called Christian. Amongst non-Christians though, particularly amongst teh completely unchurched, the implicit needs to be made explicit.

People also tend to mix truth and error to teach people, and insist it is wrong.

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