By Elizabeth Prata
The thread of Christianity depends on a unity from one generation to the next of mutual understanding of our important words. Hence the Word of the Week.
The word orthodox comes from two Greek words, ortho + doxa, meaning “right opinion” or “correct thinking.”
In Christianity, it generally means adhering to the accepted or traditional historic Christian faith. Some see “orthodoxy” as that which is defined by the early ecumenical creeds which would include the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, popularly known in the West as the Nicene Creed, that was formally accepted by the second Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D.
Orthodoxy is the belief in the standards of accepted and true doctrines taught in the Bible. That which is orthodox agrees with Biblical teaching and the interpretation of the Christian Church. False religions are not orthodox. They are heterodox.
No one person is completely orthodox because that would mean they are completely correct in all their thinking about all that God has delivered for us to know. Only Jesus was totally orthodox in His thinking.
It is also true that as we define ‘church,’ which are really only segments of the one Church, no local church is totally orthodox, though all churches in the one true Church should be as orthodox as possible. The standard is higher for churches than it is for individuals, because the Spirit dwells in the church in fuller measure. However, without right thinking in highest standard, individual churches would cease to be a segment of the divinely given organization it is called to be.
But even as we see a microcosm of churches across Asia Minor in the first century, as viewed by Jesus in Revelation, none were completely orthodox.
Now and in the past, sme churches attempt to create creeds, declaring a standard of ecumenical orthodox thinking across denominations, and this is acceptable as a method of describing orthodoxy. Others drill down the doctrines of God to essentials, to which an orthodox denomination, church, or individual must adhere, and this is acceptable too.
The mystery of orthodoxy, in my opinion, is at most, difficult to define and at worst, impossible. But the soul knows it when it see its, and rejoices, Similarly the discerning soul knows when it doesn’t see it also.
One day, all will be perfectly orthodox as Jesus claims His bride from the world, raises us to His abode, and glorifies our body. We will know as we are known, and we will no longer see through a glass darkly. We will be perfectly orthodox.
Illustrating orthodoxy is difficult but I am going to use the biblical concept of straight vs. crooked this week. Straight, of course, representing orthodox.
The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked; no one who treads on them knows peace. (Isaiah 59:8)