The Gospel according to Heretics: Discovering Orthodoxy through Early Christological Conflicts - eBook
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Vendor: Baker Academic
Publication Date: 2015
Since what Christian doctrine denies can be as important as what it affirms, it is important to understand teachings about Jesus that the early church rejected. Historians now acknowledge that proponents of alternative teachings were not so much malicious malcontents as they were misguided or even misunderstood. Here a recognized expert in early Christian theology teaches orthodox Christology by explaining the false starts (heresies), making the history of theology relevant for today's church. This engaging introduction to the christological heresies is suitable for beginning students. In addition, pastors and laypeople will find it useful for apologetic purposes.
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Pastor JimMaricopa, AZAge: 55-65Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5Helpful and InterestingOctober 31, 2015Pastor JimMaricopa, AZAge: 55-65Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4I must confess I am no church historian. Like most Pastors I have been more concerned with the teaching of the Bible than the history of the church. However, I wanted to read this book precisely because of my lack of knowledge on the subject.
The author deals with 10 heresies, after introducing the subject of orthodoxy and heresy. In his introduction he reports to revise our view on the subjects. He states that he is attempting to revise or reinterpret the heretics in light of the postmodern condition (p. 7). His says the approach is that of impartialness, although true objectivity is impossible (p. 10). He admits that the terms orthodoxy and heresy are both contested and illusive terms, and do not give precise definitions. Two factors must be considered: First, we must remember many of these heresies were formed before the books of the biblical canon were fully established. Second, the claim of the heretics was that they were orthodox. His purpose is to look at how each heretic and teaching came to be seen as unorthodox (p.17). At the end of the book he makes a good concluding observation: Orthodoxy is a response to heresy, and heresy is an attempt to be viewed as orthodox (p. 247). Is this not true today? He tries to get beneath the embellishments of the opponents of these labeled heretics, which is the source of most of what we know of these men and their views. At times he seems a little too dismissive of the orthodox defenders writings against these heretics. He views the heretics as mistaken more than spiteful. That there views were more inadequate views of the gospel (p. 248); not necessarily a denial of it (although that is the case as well).
He endeavors to boil the early heretics down to their primary errors. There are ten early heresies he examines:
1. Marcion and the doctrine of Supersessionism, with God of the New Testament supersedes the God of the Old Testament.
2. Ebion and the doctrine of Adoptionism, which viewed Jesus as simply human.
3. Gnostics and the doctrine of Docetism, that Jesus is God simply looking like man.
4. Sabellious and the doctrine of Modalism, hold that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are just costumes of God.
5. Arius and the doctrine of Subordination, that Jesus is almost God.
6. Apollianaris and the doctrine of Subhumanism. Christ has a human body, but a divine soul or mind.
7. Nestorius and the doctrine of Dyoprosopitism, God the Son is a different person who inhabits man Jesus.
8. Eutyches and the doctrine of Monophysitism, Jesus is half God and half human.
9. Iconoclasts and the doctrine of Antirepresentationalism, holds a nonincarnate Jesus.
10. Muslims and the doctrine of Reductionism, that Jesus was a prophet, not God.
Forms of these heresies are with us today. Thus, it is important to know and see their roots are longstanding in the history of the church, they rarely go away. Heretics are good at mixing the truth with what is false or inaccurate. Wilhite holds that which heresies presented an inadequate gospel; they did do a service to the church in that heresies helped formulate what was orthodox. (This seems to be the underlying thesis of the author). Heresies may not be equal, but they are equally dangerous by the perverting Christ and His gospel.
I found the book informative and interesting. There are times I felt the author was a little too hard on those who stood up against the heretics, and a little soft on the heretics. It is reader friendly and will give an insight both in understanding these heresies and the development of orthodoxy in the early church. It is a helpful work.
I received this book free from Baker Academics for the purpose of reviewing it. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
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