i am orthodox
I don’t have much use for the term Orthodox. I think it means “within the bounds of historic Christianity”, but those bounds have been moving ever since Jesus forgot to specify which disciple got to call all the shots. When Martin Luther broke away from the Catholic church, they shifted radically. At that point, he would have been called unorthodox. Today, it’s his intellectual heirs labeling people that.
That said, in just about everything that I think, I’m straight-down-the-line orthodox.
Nothing I will tell you about the nature of God, or of Jesus, or the scriptures, or the spirit, or the ecclesia, is outside the bounds of historic christian orthodoxy. But that doesn’t mean I won’t offend all kinds of people. Rob Bell is orthodox too, but he threw Twitter and the Christian world into uproar.
Last year I went to this conference at which all kinds of people were invited to participate, from liberal to conservative. A lot of people got up and talked about how we have to re-conceive of God, and be willing to let go of our antiquated ideas about what kind of being God is. Some of them even went so far as to indicate a kind of atheism, where they retained the use of the word “God” for convenience.
Then they got to the part of the conference in which they discussed their own backgrounds. Each one argued strongly that in a changing world, their denomination was still needed, still relevant, and must remain distinct and unique.
Then my friend got up. He explained how his own spiritual journey led him to leave his denomination of origin, and affiliate purely with God alone.
He was the most offensive speaker there.
Everyone was free to question everything up to and including God himself, and it was still orthodox. But question the idea that denominations should exist, that congregations are needed, that we need institutions of spirituality - and all hell breaks loose.
That kind of cues me in on where a lot of theology is coming from. It also lets me know where the lines are drawn - and just how much ire I stand to raise. So that’s why I’m telling you that I’m orthodox. And it’s why I think it’s important to think about our fundamentals.
What, to you, is the thing you can’t afford to change? What can you not afford to question?