What is the test of orthodoxy for Churches and Christians? How do we know who is ‘kosher’*?
In the book of Acts it was quite simple. When people showed that they had been filled with the Spirit of Jesus it was obvious that they were believers. In Paul’s letters (Romans and 1 Corinthians) he seems to suggest that if you can say, “Jesus is Lord” you are ‘sound’.
In the days of persecution the Christians developed secret symbols to identify each other but they still remained simply profound and remained centred on Jesus – for example the ‘icthus’ fish is an acronym for ‘Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Saviour’.
So what has happened in Church history to get us to where we are today? Some Christian groups will not allow others to work with them unless they will sign up to a lengthy, detailed statement of faith that not only speak of Jesus but 101 other doctrines. In fact I am not sure Jesus could sign some of them! Others seem to determine orthodoxy on the basis of someone’s view of women in ministry, same sex marriages, or whatever the latest controversial theological issue is. Perhaps if we are honest the test of orthodoxy today is ‘do you agree with me (because I am right)?’
If that is the case, today I want to affirm my unorthodoxy and go back to the simply profound New Testament statements. Is Jesus is your Lord? Is his Spirit at work within you? Woohoo – me too!
End of story.
If we disagree about other issues, let’s have an honest conversation about that, perhaps even agreeing to disagree, but let’s resolve not to let it divide us. If we share Jesus as Lord, if we are filled with his Spirit, then that ought to be enough didn’t it?
Be blessed, be a blessing
*Yes, I am aware of the irony of using that word to talk about orthodoxy of Christians
I refer you to the funniest religious joke by Emo Phillips, quoted in this early bloggage.