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Theological Term of the Week

“The body of essential biblical teachings”;1 “whatever teachings …  are sufficiently faithful to Christian principles that Christians should accept as fellow Christians those who adhere to them.”2

  • From scripture:
  • Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 1:3 ESV)

    Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:16 ESV)

    Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, [2] and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

    [3] For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, [4] that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures … . (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 ESV)

  • From A Biblical Guide to Orthodoxy and Heresy by Robert Bowman:
  • How, then, should we define “orthodox”? We might define it as “whatever teachings and practices are sufficiently faithful to Christian principles that Christians should accept as fellow-Christians those who adhere to them.”

    To put it simply, whatever religious teachings and practices are not heretical are orthodox, and vice versa.

    Notice that we have not said that all members of churches which teach heresy are lost. This is no more true than saying that all who are members of churches which teach orthodoxy are saved. In saying that people are heretics, or that they are following heresy, we are not pronouncing judgment on their eternal souls. We are saying that if they follow those heresies consistently, they will certainly be lost. Conversely, in saying that someone is orthodox we are not saying that they are necessarily true Christians with the assurance of eternal life. We are saying that if they follow orthodox doctrine as the basis of their life (and thus trust in Christ alone for right standing before God) they will be saved.

Learn more:

  1. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry: Orthodoxy
  2. Apologetics Index: Orthodoxy
  3. Robert M. Bowman: Defining Orthodoxy and Heresy
  4. Mark Dever: Discern Your Doctrine (audio)

Related term:

Filed under Isms

Do you have a term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.

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