Orthodox, Beware

March 01, 2016

by David Garner

When my children need braces, I do not dole out $5000 to a heterodontist to wire their teeth randomly and recklessly. With a view to my children’s good, headgear and retainer wars are fought to ensure straight teeth, not crooked ones. If you break your arm and need your bone set, you do not Google “highly rated heteropedist.” You pursue references to secure an ortho doctor not a cross-town hetero alternative. You pay good money to return your hetero bone to its ortho state.
Until recent years, in every sense of its use, the prefix ortho- touted positive vibes. Though orthodontists and orthopedists today remain the standard expectation, their etymological cousin “orthodoxy” has fallen on hard times. Evidently straight bones and straight teeth are more important than straight theology. Negative rhetoric about orthodoxy has spewn long enough to infect the contemporary corporate—even the Church’s—psyche. Narrow and disgraceful, orthodoxy kills the soul. It is the passé stuff of the un-illumined, the ignorant, and the unkind. Those who profess orthodoxy are, by their existence, unloving and divisive, if not offensive and dangerous. Riding roughshod over others, orthodox believers hate, divide, and malign. Or so the bombastic lambast.

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David Garner

Dr. Garner (PhD, Westminster) is associate professor of systematic theology and vice president for advancement at WTS.

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