What is Orthodox in One Mind is Heterodox to Most

, posted by A.M. Mallett

My recent discussions of heterodoxy vs. orthodoxy and the schisms inherent in any such discussion surfaced a common pattern I have observed among our Calvinist brethren. They seem to exhibit a narrow, almost myopic opinion regarding orthodoxy, defining it most often as entirely within the realm of Calvinist thought and creed.

Arminians, Baptists, Anglicans and others who refuse the dogma of John Calvin and Theodore Beza’s religious philosophy are deemed heterodox among the moderate sectarians — outright heretics in the minds of its polemical advocates. This is not a new phenomenon in the church. Franciscus Gomarus metaphorically burned down the church in his day and several of Calvinism’s leading lights have followed suit. Modern medievials have chased us with absurd slogans of “barely saved,” not realizing that such is the proclamation of the Apostle with regard to each and every one of us.

It is the price of ecclesiastics gone wild, and I suppose at the end of the day, the joke is on the purveyor rather than the victim. While not one of the great ecumenical councils, the Second Council of Orange is often cited by Calvinists as some sort of evidence against non-Calvinists with its semi-Pelagian pronouncements. What I find most interesting about that is the likelihood few of the young, restless and reformed have actually read the canons of Orange on their own. Consider what the Council had to say about Calvin’s cherished doctrine of predestined reprobation …

… We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema …

Perhaps an examination of what the term anathema infers is in order …