Friday, May 13, 2011

"The Heresy of Orthodoxy"

The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture’s Fascination with Diversity has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity. Andreas J Kostenberger and Michael J. Kruger (2010) Wheaton, IL: Crossway

The desire for diversity is taking on new meaning throughout Christianity; and trying to unearth what the early churches really believed takes top billing. With new books published on the popular level by Bart Ehrman again telling an avid readership that the Bible is full of errors, and cannot be trusted, and we only have an “orthodox” Christian church because of a ruling Roman church redacting what we read…( I meant to do that!)

As Bible believing Christians, are we again to be left stuttering without answers? Do we have to concede to consumerism, to be driven in our beliefs by majority vote? Kostenberger and Kruger write:

“…Like in the days of the judges, everyone does what is right in his or her own eyes, but unlike in the days of the judges, this is not meant as an indictment but celebrated as the ultimate expression of truly enlightened humanity. All is fluid, doctrine is dead, and diversity reigns. Not only in restaurants and shopping malls, but even in churches and houses of worship, what people are looking for is a variety of options, and if they don’t like what they see, they take their business—or worship—elsewhere. Consumers control which products are made, children are catered to by parents, students determine what is taught in our schools and universities, and no one should tell anyone else what to do—or at least not acknowledge that they do. We live in an age that prides itself on its independence, rejection of authority, and embrace of pluralism. Truth is dead, long live diversity! (p 15-16)

And with that start, Andreas Kostenberger and Michael Kruger proceed to refute the skeptical stance first put forward by Walter Bauer and rehashed by Bart Ehrman of this idea of diversity in believes within the early “churches” of fledgling Christianity. This idea that 1. first were the heretical-diverse beliefs and 2. later the orthodoxy was imposed on all believers.

This intense read covers all the bases, from when the early heresies got their start, what the meaning of cannon is, copies and circulation of scrolls and codices, and tampering…all covered in a great scholarly book…and this is a must-read for apologists/evangelists, pastors and teachers, to be able to answer the questions that inevitably will come up with “young” Christians who read Ehrman first…not to mention the host of ‘new Atheists’ who enjoy Christian “bashing.”

At only 235 pages, you can read this one in one sitting, and for those of us who write a lot of paper, this is a huge resource to keep on your book shelf.

OK, now that you are done reading this…order your own copy…right now!

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