After I placed my faith in Christ, I began learning of the perspectives of those Christians I was in fellowship with. It wasn’t until many years later that I even learned the word, Orthodoxy. I was told by the leaders in that group that Orthodoxy is what our authority was. It was described to me as the basis for having faith in Christ. It was the essentials to being a Christian. Over the years I have come to see a different perspective and thus was labeled a heretic, in other words, I was accused of being a false teacher. Some have taken what was supposed to be the non essentials and made them into essentials. There’s always going to be a varied response to that and yet I find myself wondering…where is the grace in all this?
When Christ presented himself to me, he did not hand me a list of “essentials”, he simply embraced me in love…. everything else I learned came later. Something he has been discipled me in over the last few years is humility. It would be an incredible oxymoron to get a degree in humility as it is something that we humans can not achieve mastery in. However, my fellow minister, Monica Barden, pointed out that we can have degrees OF humility. Which means, we grow in humility and may find ourselves in different degrees of it. I’m not sure we can arrogantly claim to have a deeper degree in humility over another, for in the day we attempt to do so we may find ourselves so full of pride and totally blind by the beam in our eyes. I do think we can recognize when someone else’s humility surpasses our own though. We certainly can recognize that Christ is truly the most humble of us all.
Now lets get back to this idea of Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy is a word that many have come to accept as “right belief”. Within this realm are many beliefs in which they claim you must believe in, in order to be a “real Christian”. I have come to wrestle with this term Orthodoxy because it leads me to see pride involved. In the Orthodox view, the followers claim to be right and thus everyone else is wrong. This calls to my attention an argument of superiority and a serious problem with seeking to be a humble Christ follower.
Anyone who puts their faith in Christ becomes a Christ follower. Hence, they become a Christian. To attempt to disqualify someone as a Christian based on a set of beliefs creates a whole different realm of man led authority. When a person chooses to put their faith in Christ, that is all it takes to become a Christian. Everything else after that is theological study. Our academic education of all the diverse perspectives on the bible has nothing to do with our initial decisions to follow Christ.
I challenge the word and basis for Orthodoxy as an authority over who is Christian and who is not. I believe a better word for this group of people would be ‘Traditional’. The group that has followed their same old perspective of the Bible are Traditionalists. If they want to describe themselves as Orthodoxy then that is their freedom, however just because they claim to be Orthodoxy doesn’t mean they are. It also doesn’t mean they have authority to dictate to anyone else who is a Christian and who isn’t all based on their traditional views.
I am not against Christians who follow in their traditions, I’m just leery of them assuming authority over who is and is not a Christian. We are free in Christ and can follow him as HE guides us. When you place your faith in Christ, you then become a Christian. Everything else in your journey after that is called discipleship. So don’t worry yourself about what an “orthodoxy” group says to you about your journey in Christ. They are simply following an old traditional view and that is their freedom, they just do not have the authority to reject you from calling yourself a Christian.