Word of the Week: ORTHODOX / HETERODOX

27Nov

This week Pastor Nathanael Mayhew considers two related words: Orthodox and Heterodox. Simply put, Orthodox means "straight teaching" and Heterodox means "other teaching." These words have been used to descibe "correct" and "false" teaching in theology for centuries. While you won’t find either of these words in the Bible, you will find other words that mean the same thing. Instead of straight doctrine, we will find the phrase “good doctrine” or “sound doctrine”. Adhering to sound teaching or that which is “orthodox” is an essential criterion for the pastoral ministry (See Titus 1:7-8, and 1 Timothy 4:6). In contrast to “orthodox” teaching the prophets of the Old Testament, the apostles of the New Testament and even Jesus Himself warns of the danger of “heterodox” teaching. The apostle Peter warns: “there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:1). Notice the result of heterodox teaching - it is destructive! Jesus describes the heterodox teaching of the Pharisees as “leaven” which spreads (see Matthew 16:12), and Paul uses leaven (Galatians 5:9) and cancer (2 Timothy 2:17) as an example of how false teaching infiltrates and spreads. Some think that doctrine doesn’t really matter. God says otherwise. He says there is straight teaching (orthodox) and other teaching (heterodox), and it does make a difference. God has called us to: “Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Thank God that He has revealed what is orthodox through His prophets and apostles and also through His Son, so that we might know the truth. 

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