Was there always an orthodoxy?

Dr. Sara Parvis is a scholar of a theological hero of mine, Marcellus of Ancrya (some day, I’ll get that book), and cannot wait for her next publication in this area. For now, it’ll suffice reading occasional blogposts,

That key question, for example: was there an ‘orthodox’ Christianity before Constantine?

There are at least two ways of answering ‘yes’ to that question (I’ll leave it to others to consider how many ways there are of answering ‘no’). One is to say that it was always clear what Christians should rightly teach about Christ.

via Patristics and Christian Origins « Centre for the Study of Christian Origins.

One of the paradoxes which I see is that those who came long before 325 or 381, would they be considered orthodox? Hardly, if one followed closely to it. Further, biblically speaking, should there have been developed orthodoxy or is that a part of the developed orthopraxy… and what if modern scholarship shows that developed theology is dramatically different from the earliest Christian communities?

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7 Replies to “Was there always an orthodoxy?”

  1. I think Walter Bauer first argue this. He claimed “that the earliest and most authentic form of Christian belief was probably heretical rather than orthodox. Orthodoxy was a later development…which tried to suppress types of Christianity that had earlier been accepted as authentic.” (Alister McGrath, Heresy, 3)

  2. “and what if modern scholarship shows that developed theology is dramatically different from the earliest Christian communities?”

    I should think we're acting (orthopraxy) the right way if this is the conclusion. And that conclusion is a far cry from where I've started out. It's been a long fight to get here. Do we live in first-century Asia-minor or Israel? No. Is our culture struggling with the issues their culture struggled with? No. Therefore why should it be identical? Development out of Judaism into the Christological claims of the NT and Church are remarkable. Should that development be halted? Is it more correct for Christianity to become a system like the systems Jesus opposed?

  3. That is the question that few (more should) ask…should development be halted? If it was okay for it to be developed, then why should it be stopped now?

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