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Orthodox Christianity & Apologetics
"Orthodox" is a term describing correctness to a specific set of principles, ideas, or rules. The word orthodox comes from 2 Greek words. Orthos which means straight or correct, and the word doxa, which means worship or glorify.To be an orthodox Jew is to worship or glorify God correctly according to the beliefs of Judiasm. To be an Orthodox Christian is to worship or glorify God correctly acording to the beliefs of Christianity. To be an orthodox Muslim is to worship or glorify God correctly according to Islam. In summary, all three of these faiths mentioned could be false, but all three cannot be true. Christianity is historical and evidential and is the only true faith.
Any teaching within Christianity that goes against the Bible is classified as unorthodox or heterodox, thus it is unacceptable within the limits of Christian teaching. Moderate unorthodox teachings are known as aberrations, while maliciously unorthodox teachings are heresy, and are taught by false teachers and false prophets who have lined themselves both inside and outside the Christian Church walls. The Christian Church and the Christian Bookstore for the most part are a mixture of true and false teachings leaving the individual believer responsible for discerning which teachings are true, and which teachings are false.
Some unorthodox aberrations and heresies include, soul sleep, baptismal regeneration*, gospel in the stars*, word-faith*, health & wealth gospel*, slain in the spirit, endtime restorationism*, annihilationism, pergutory*, mariology*, gap theory, King James Onlyism, holy laughter, bible codes (ELS)*, universalism*, entire sanctification, modalism*, hyper Calvinism, and hyper Preterism*.
God has placed Essential Doctrines in the Bible that form the foundation for Christianity. Essential doctrines are the doctrines that separate Christianity from the cults, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Oneness Pentecostals (Modalists), Masons, Scientologists, Hyper Preterists, Hyper Calvinists, etc. Essentials include doctrines like The Trinity, The Nature of God, The Deity of Jesus Christ, etc. Complete unity within the church is absolutely necessary when it comes to Essential Christian Doctrine. Any group that claims to be Christian, and denies or deviates from Essential Doctrine, is by their own twisting of Christianity, a cult, theologically speaking. Other groups are classified as cults, sociologically speaking, when they use control tactics and brainwashing to keep their devotees subject to their heretical ideology. Controlling cults rarely teach orthodox doctrine. Scholars have discovered that God has used perspicuity in revealing His word, and in essentials God has made them concise and unambiguous leaving no excuse for false teachers to alter Biblical teaching.
Outside of Essential Christian Doctrine there are also orthodox doctrines which are non-essential to salvation. Doctrines like baptism, tongues, tithing, works, the Lord's Supper, or foot washing, are not necessary to be saved, and churches often differ in interpretation or even acceptance, such as with tongues, or infant baptism vs. believer baptism. These doctrines are either vague in the Bible or are not required for salvation, therefore the churches are not dogmatic about them. They are important doctrinally, and should be debated vigorously within the church, but to cause division over such, would be unbiblical due to God's deliberate ambiguity on these matters of faith.
Augustine (354-430 A.D.), known as the Father of Christian Theology, long ago coined a phrase (see quote below in bold) that has stood the test of time, and has been adopted as the Anthem of Apologetic Ministries to safeguard doctrine, yet allow for constructive debate.
'In Essentials Unity, in non-essentials Liberty, and in all things Charity'.
In Essentials we must have UNITY, and to divide with others who deny or distort Essentials is to enforce and maintain a safeguard against false doctrine, false prophets, and the spirit of anti-christ. Therefore to divide over Essentials maintains the pure message of Christianity. We are not to divide over secondary doctrines, therefore we are to allow for LIBERTY, and not to do so is to be divisive and an earmark of improper and immature discipleship. In all of our discussions, debates, and witnessing we are to always do so in CHARITY (love).
The word "APOLOGETICS" is taken from a Greek word which appears 1 Peter 3:15, and 12 other times in the New Testament. The Greek word "APOLOGIA", means, "to give an answer," "to give a defense," or "to defend." Our Apologetic (defense), is focused toward the correct teaching of the Bible as opposed to unbiblical or unorthodox teaching. Several things come into play in defending Christianity. Hermeneutics is the art and science of Biblical interpretation and one can hardly expect to master the Bible without applying hermeneutical principles. This science covers everything from learning from former church leaders of the past to developing literary skills in recognizing metaphors, figures of speech, hyperbole, anthropomorphisms, idioms, and other sorts of interpretive techniques such as the grammatical and historical context and the analogy of faith. Apologetics goes into the systematic Theological study of scripture covering basics like the Autographa, Christology, Soteriology, the Nature of God, the Trinity, the Person of Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit, Sin, Creation, Humanity, and the Death, Burial & Resurrection of Christ. Christian Apologetics is basically a radical and orthodox understanding & defense of Biblical Theology and is to be carried out in gentleness and respect in order to reach people, not repel them.
Orthodox Doctrines not essential to salvation
Baptism, tongues, tithing, works, the Lord's Supper, feet washing.Unorthodox Teachings in the church (* denotes heresy)
Soul sleep, Modalism*, Hyper Preterism*, Hyper Calvinism*, baptismal regeneration*, gospel in the stars*, word-faith*, health & wealth gospel*, slain in the spirit, endtime restorationism*, annihilationism, entire sanctification*, pergutory*, mariology*, gap theory, King James Onlyism, holy laughter, bible codes (ELS)*, universalism*.