What is the Meaning of "Orthodoxy"?

C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,005

The Meaning of "Orthodoxy?

  1. What is it?
  2. Are there different types?
  3. Is it limited to the church and/or the Bible?
  4. Who authorizes orthodoxy?
  5. Does orthodoxy need religious body blessings?

Any thoughts? These and other questions may be asked in one's determining truth. CM

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  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,005

    The term orthodoxy has long been ambiguous. From its initial meaning of "right belief" or "right doctrine". History has shown it first meaning was and now understood in more recent centuries as "that form of Christianity which won the support of the overwhelming majority of Christians," i.e., the form of Christianity which had developed by the end of the fourth century A.D. and which Robert A. Kraft calls "Classical Christian Orthodoxy". Is it a guide or a crutch? What says ye? CM

    SOURCES:

    • -- Rudolf Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament. 2 vols., trans. Kendrick Grobel (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1955)
    • -- William E. Hordern, A Layman's Guide to Protestant Theology, rev. ed. (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1968), p. 1.
    • -- Robert A. Kraft, "The Development of the Concept of 'Orthodoxy' in Early Christianity," in Gerald F. Hawthorne, ed., Current Issues in Biblical and Patristic Interpretation. Studies in Honor of Merril C. Tennev Presented by His Former Students (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975), p. 47.
  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 466

    Whenever I hear the term Orthodox/Orthodoxy being used in Christian setting I tend to assume that what is being referenced is a congregation that accepts Miaphysitism(Oriental Orthodox Church) or a congregation that follows the Byzantine Rite and embraces dyophysitism(Eastern Orthodox Church/Orthodox Catholic Church). Why? Because all the Christian (Catholic and Protestant) I know off the net have used the term Orthodox. Are there other ways to interpret or use the term Orthodox off course.

    Grace and Peace

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,005

    CM response:

    Thanks Mitchell,

    "I hear the term Orthodox/Orthodoxy...I tend to assume...is a congregation that accepts Miaphysitism (Oriental Orthodox Church)..."

    This term begged me to look a little deeper into it. I found that after the council of Chalcedon, eastern bishops challenged the western doctrinal understanding of orthodoxy headed by the bishop of Rome on the two natures of Christ. They supported a Monophysite or Miaphysite theory of Christ‘s nature.

    • Monophysitism is the Christological position which holds that Christ has only one nature: the fusion of the divine and the human.
    • Miaphysitism is the Christological position which holds that in Jesus Christ divinity and humanity are united in one nature without separation, confusion, or alteration (See Bondi).

    "... or a congregation that follows the Byzantine Rite and embraces dyophysitism (Eastern Orthodox Church/Orthodox Catholic Church)"

    During the latter half of the 16th and the early decades of the 17th centuries Protestantism entered a period of dogmatism, attempting to purge the Christian faith of all errors. The doctrinal controversies among the Protestant bodies as well as their common defense against Catholic beliefs, especially after they were defined at the Council of Trent, accentuated the need for confessional statements of faith. Thus the basis was laid for ...

    • Protestant orthodoxy with its emphasis on correct doctrinal beliefs. In this necessary task the authority of the Bible as the inerrant Word of God was taken seriously. However, there developed within Protestantism a greater concern for the orthodoxy of the letter over against the piety of the heart. People were asked to believe statements of faith, but the faith they were meant to safeguard often took second place. The Bible was approached mainly as an arsenal of proof texts for Christian doctrines, and a mechanical inspiration of the Bible was endorsed. The Formula Consensus Helvetica (1675) even asserted that the vowel points in the Hebrew text of the OT were as much inspired by God as the words of the Bible. This dogmatic approach resulted in coining the term Protestant scholasticism. "Scholasticism . . . essentially means an intellectual temper which may invade any subject in any age; in religion, it is the spirit of law overbearing the spirit of the Gospel."--Mackintosh, Types of Modern Theology: Schleiermacher to Barth, p. 9.

    Which of the two above do you see greater light, better yet, truth? CM

    SOURCES:

    • Roberta C. Bondi, Three Monophysite Christologies: Severus of Antioch, Philoxenus of Mabbug and Jacob of Sarug, Oxford Theological Monographs (London: Oxford University Press, 1976)
    • W. H. C. Frend, The Rise of the Monophysite Movement: Chapters in the History of the Church in the Fifth and Sixth Centuries (Cambridge: University Press, 1972)
    • Mebratu Kiros Gebru,―"Miaphysite Christology, a Study of the Ethiopian Tewahedo Christological Tradition on the Nature of Christ" (M.A. thesis, University of Toronto, 200)
    • Iain R. Torrance, Christology after Chalcedon: Severus of Antioch and Sergius the Monophysite (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 1988)
    • Philip John Wood, ― "Foundation Myths in Late Antique Syria and Mesopotamia: The Emergence of Miaphysite Political Thought, 400-600 A.D." (Ph.D. diss., University of Oxford, 2007).
  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 466
    edited February 27

    Greetings CM,


    Protestant orthodoxy

    Off, of the net I have never heard anyone use the term orthodoxy in reference to Protestantism. To be clear I usually associated the term 'Orthodoxy' when used in a Christian setting with particular denomination of Christianity (and then only as a label or name no other significance!) mostly because that is what was/is in common parlance in my experience (Your experiance may be different and that is cool). I haven't attached any claims to truth people using the term to identity others or themselves with the term Orthodoxy. If, anything did come to mind it would be that people using the term are following some tradition.

    This term begged me to look a little deeper into it

    I think it is great you looked up both Monophysitism and Miaphysitism, but I am curious why you left out the position mentioned in my post above that is held by Eastern Orthodox Churches known as dyophysitism? Most of if not all of the Orthodox churches in geographical area of the globe I live in are Eastern Orthodox/Orthodox Catholic. I do not in any form or shape embrace dyophysitism but since some christians I have met do I was hoping to see what your source had to say about it.

    Which of the two above do you see greater light, better yet, truth?

    Neither because:

    (1) the term orthodox has no significance to me other than being a label that is used to identity a particular Christian denomination or association. A Christian denomination/association by the way that I am not a member of. (although I assume you knew this already)

    (2) I have I never heard of 'protestant orthodox' before and I would have to study about this/these terms and the associated sects particular denominations, or groups that hold to this before I came to any conclusion on whether or that I believed they had/have the truth.

    Thus far in my life I have experienced illumination and found truth when I turned to God in Prayer and to study through Ad Fontes. Of, course there may indeed by other ways of finding truth or testing truth claims that I have not tried, yet.

    Grace and Peace

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,005


    @Mitchell said:

    I think it is great you looked up both Monophysitism and Miaphysitism, but I am curious why you left out the position mentioned in my post above that is held by Eastern Orthodox Churches known as dyophysitism? Most of if not all of the Orthodox churches in geographical area of the globe I live in are Eastern Orthodox/Orthodox Catholic. I do not in any form or shape embrace dyophysitism but since some christians I have met do I was hoping to see what your source had to say about it.

    @ CM response:

    Sometime I am accused of giving too much or addressing that appears not requested. What I shared was just an example of what's out there. For good measures, here are the rest. Let me start with the one you felt I "left out", that is "held by Eastern Orthodox Churches known as dyophysitism". Could it be that this teaching is right was right under nose cloaked in Nestorianism?

    (a) Nestorianism (Dyophysite) -- The belief that Christ had two contrasting natures that did not mix a Human one and Divine One Or Christ exist as two personalities a human and a Divine Logos one.

    • Nestorius was the patriarch of Constantinople in the fifth century. He was trained in Antioch of Syria and affirmed that Jesus had two natures, one fully human and one fully divine. This view deviated from the orthodox one nature view of Alexandria. Nestorius’ main concern was the title “mother of God,” given to Mary. Nestorius was opposed by Cyril of Alexandria and, by implication, his own Antiochian training. Antioch was the headquarters of the historical-grammatical- textual approach to biblical interpretation (shows promise).
    • Nestorianism which was condemned at the third Council at Ephesus, in 431, arose out of Constantinople. It was more specifically condemned at the fifth General Council at Constantinople in 533. The union between the divinity and the humanity of Christ was relative and since each nature in Christ is at the same time person, it was here that the peculiar difficulty arises. The union was in the last resort only nominal and they had two persons in Christ, a divine and a human one (Harnack, Vol 4, 1961:168). Nestorianism had been regarded as a heresy because its indwelling view of incarnation brought about a very loose connection between the  divinity and humanity of Christ. 
    • Alexandria was the headquarters of the four-fold (allegorical) school of interpretation.
    • Nestorius was ultimately removed from office and exiled. 

    (b) Monophysitism -- The belief that Christ had only a Divine nature/person in him.

    (c) Miaphysitism -- The belief that Christ nature/person is both 100% Divine and 100% Human at the same time or he is a harmonious union of the Divine and the Human.

    (d) Eutychianism -- The Christ is of the same essence of the father, but not of the same essence of humanity. However, Christ has a truly divine nature, and a human nature only that he is using a human body. His Divine nature is able to easily overtake or override the fleshly human nature.

    (e) Apollinarianism -- the claim "that Jesus Christ was not a real man, but not totally divine either." 

    (f) Adoptionism-- the belief that Jesus was a normal human who was divinely adopted and/or that he was a man who later become divine.

    SOURCE:

    http://www.theopedia.com/apollinarianism


    Eleven various ideas and doctrines were promulgated during the early centuries of Christianity, satisfy your knowledge and curiosity 

    1. Arianism-- denial of God-head of the Son.
    2. Macedonianism-- denial of the divine personality of the Holy Ghost.
    3. Apollinarianism-- denial of perfection of human nature of Christ.
    4. Nestorianism-- belief that Christ had two natures and was two persons Christ was born, and divinity united itself to humanity after ward.
    5. Eutychianism-- belief that Christ had one nature compounded of divine and human.
    6. Gnosticism-- belief that from a supreme deity there issued a series of emanations.
    7. Docetism-- belief that the Lord's body was not a real human body, but only the appearance of it.
    8. Montanism-- a belief combining Zoroastrianism and Christianity.
    9. Sabellianism-- belief that the Trinity was not three persons but manifestations of one Person.
    10. Photinianism-- belief that Christ was a mere man actuated by the Logos.


    Some of the church Fathers who wrestled with these heresies included: 

    • St. Jerome
    • St. Chrysostom
    • St. Augustine
    • St. Basil 

    In one of his sermons, St. Augustine used Luke 14:2223, as a basis for these remarks:  

    "Whom thou shall find wait not till they choose to come, compel them to come in. I have prepared a great supper, a great house, I cannot suffer any place to be vacant in it. The Gentiles came from the streets and lanes: let the heretics come from the hedges, here they shall find peace. For those who make hedges, their object is to make divisions. Let them be drawn away from the hedges (Meyrick).


    Let them be plucked up from among the thorns. They have stuck fast in the hedges, they are unwilling to be compelled. Let us come in, they say, of our own good will. This is not the Lord's order, 'Compel them,' saith he, 'to come in.' Let compulsion be found outside, the will will arise within" (Schaff)

    I hope this help. CM


    SOURCES:

    • -- Frederick Meyrick, "Heresy," A Protestant Dictionary (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1904), pp. 261-263
    • -- St. Augustine, "Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament, No. LXII," tr. by R. G. MacMullen, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, ed. by Philip Schaff (New York: The Christian Literature Company, 1888), vol. 6, p. 449]
  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 466

    Greetings CM,

    What follows below is one quote from you post above this post.

    Sometime I am accused of giving too much or addressing that appears not requested. What I shared was just an example of what's out there. For good measures, here are the rest. Let me start with the one you felt I "left out

    Now, here is some feedback from me:

    I think it is great that you took the time to address my comment and to go beyond it to post the other historically held theological positions. Some people might hold these theological positions today unknowingly or at least not realizing that the beliefs that they hold to are not newly thought up ideas but were known, identified, and labeled long long ago.

    And another quote taken from the post above this one:

    Let me start with the one you felt I "left out", that is "held by Eastern Orthodox Churches known as dyophysitism". Could it be that this teaching is right was right under nose cloaked in Nestorianism?

    I think the above is close to the true of the matter. In general I would say that Nestorianism is actually cloaked in dyophysitism, or that Nestorianism an off shoot of dyohphysitism. All Nestorians hold to dyohphysitism, but not all those who hold to dyohphysitism are Nestorians.

    Wikipedia puts it this way:

    "Nestorianism is a radical form of dyophysitism,differing from the orthodox dyophysitism on several points, mainly by opposition to the concept of hypostatic union." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nestorianism

    Sabellianism-

    I am glad you mentioned Sabellianism as it is one of the nontrinitarian positions that is sometimes held today under other names/types:

    (1) Modalistic Monarchianism

    (2) Dynamic Monarchianism

    (3) successive Modalism

    (4) Synonmous Modalism (probably the rarest of the bunch and people who hold to this often think they are holding to the Trinity)


    A few others that sometimes get over looked: Binitarianism, Subordinationism, and Tritheism(this what many mistakenly think the belief in the Trinity is).


    Anyway CM you have compiled a very good list of various Christoliogical positions/theologies.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,005

    @Mitchell said:

    "Anyway CM you have compiled a very good list of various Christoliogical positions/theologies."

    @C_M_ responded:

    Mitchell,

    Thanks for the implementation of learning from one another and together. A part of your response clarified a point. "Something beautiful, something good" in these forums, what blessings! CM

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