Monday, May 01, 2006

Orthodox or Authentic?

not blogged for a while but they may now come like UK buses...the saying is you wait for one for ages then three come at once! We shall see

a number of things have lately made me think a lot about what we consider 'orthodox' and why. A writer on Israel heard on radio talking about how ideology was the big problem, those who held no ideology were open to peace and reconciliation, as opposed to those who did. Perhaps I wondered they held a different ideology, but I got the point. A day or two later someone quoted the adage 'doctrine is what you kill for but faith is what you die for'.
my suspicion is that these sayings speak into a place we all increasingly inhabit. A place where we are called to opt for certainty or challenge and have to discern where is God in all this.
it has been said that Mission is always connected to the 'heretical imperative' not I think meaning some abandonment of all that has been 'Christian' but rather a realization that mission always calls us to the new, not in opposition to the old, but out of it, out of it's trajectory if you like, but forward into the 'heretical' because it has not been orthodox before.
I suspect mission id never in this way 'orthodox' but always 'hereteical' - the two BTW are opposites, orthodox and heterodox.
But can the heterodox be authentic? I suspect it can indeed often is the authentic tradition of Christ and God's mission. Do I mean that simply by being heretical it must be authentic? Not at all. To be 'authentic' it needs to be connected to what has gone before. The point is though that the truly authentic witness follows the Christ pattern in which that which conventional doctrine condemns is in fact the way forward. To embrace the potentially heretical becomes the most authentic way to be Christian when the desire to affirm the orthodox can become the pharisee tradition that Jesus, the Jewish heretic, so often opposed.

what we so often perhaps fail to grasp is that Jesus might well come today in such a way, condemning our orthodoxy as Pharisaic and condemende by the church as a heretic.

the challenge then may be to live authentically, and this is not to make Christ as we would wish but follow him, in all the challenge that involves, as he was and is and will be. and that may not look 'orthodox'


Sally said...

Definetly need to read this through a few have sparked off lots of thought and I AM SUPOSED TO BE WRITING ESSAYS!!!
Thanks as always you make me think!

Steve said...

Get back to the essays Sally! but do send your thoughts later!

Steve said...


sorry to be slow at replying I've been away. love the name tag but whay are you the 'baddy'?
but to the question. OK didn't say anything about burning or getting rid of 39 articles or the creed. what i am talking about is how we relate to such pieces of the authentic tradition. my suggestion is that Christianity is not about laws or rules, or fixed for over interpretations of belief or practice. we come from the past tradition and must own it but we move on, not BTW in that we necessarily become 'better' or 'wiser' but we understand the faith afresh in each age. for me the christian faith is about the fulfilling of the OT propehsy that law would become written on the heart as a work of the Spirit. it becomes somethign fresh in each age as we are lead by the Spirit, all creeds are for their day, they are not 'replaced' or 'renounced' they just open up new vistas in each age. the challenge as i think you rightly percieve perhaps is 'how do we remain authentic when there is so much reinterpretation' ,y response is how did those who wrote the gospels or the creeds, or the 39 areiclaes or whatever remain 'authentic'? they clearly don't simply copy each other, or say 'it's all be written already in X so read that' no each are peopel lead by the Spirit building on what they have recieved and going on to represent, that is re-present, it in their age. authenticity lies in ackowliding the builfding blocks and living in unity , as much as any can, with the Spirit who inspires the body of Christ, but that will always mean new ideas, new doctrine and new expression of faith and church. to maitian what has been is i beleive to cease to be authentic, just as it was for the Phairsees, once the divinely inspired prophets and martyrs of God. the faith is always i think only authentic if it is incarnate afresh in each generation.

Adge said...

Aren't you confusing "Heterodox" with "Heretical"? "Heterodox" simply means teaching beyond the boundaries of the orthodox tradition - that seems to be what you mean. "Heretical" means beolging to one religion while claiming to belong to another - spiritual dishonesty. I can't believe you want that.

Adge said...

Aren't you confusing "Heterodox" with "Heretical"? "Heterodox" simply means teaching beyond the boundaries of the orthodox tradition - that seems to be what you mean. "Heretical" means beolging to one religion while claiming to belong to another - spiritual dishonesty. I can't believe you want that.

Steve said...
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Steve said...

there is quite a lot written about the 'heretical imperative' it might help to see, even if you feel they too are using language wrongly. try looking at the northumbria Community who have a link on why they adopt the term. the term probably originates with Peter Berger, The Heretical Imperative (Garden City: Anchor Books, 1980),. Berger reminds us that the word Heresy comes from the Greek verb hairein, “to choose.” and that to be a heretic is to chose something other than the postition you are told to take. so i'm not sure of your defintion. heterodox BTW comes from hetro which means different and is as you suggest not therefore the same as heretical. so i think heretical is the word i want to use as it was for Berger and is for the Northumbria community. but i certinaly don't mean beleiving one thing but claiming to belong to a religion that believes someting else. hope that makes sense.