Get your Daily Encouragement with the Jesus Minute
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When I was going through four years of seminary, I was always disturbed by all of the doctrines (the teachings) we were taught to memorize as THE RIGHT BELIEFS. The bothersome part was that I knew several others who were studying the same Bible and were being taught a different set of doctrines as THE RIGHT BELIEFS. The question comes down to: Who is interpreting what THE RIGHT BELIEF is?
A simple examination of the term “orthodoxy” offers some hints as to the origin of THE RIGHT BELIEFS. The Greek word, orthodoxos, means to have the right opinion or the true opinion of a given belief. Note that interpretation is a person’s opinion.
Following the time of the apostles, there was fierce and often politicized debate in the early gatherings of Jesus followers on many issues. Christology (the study of the Christ) was a major focus of these debates, and was addressed at every one of the first seven ecumenical councils. The second through the fourth of these councils are generally entitled “Christological councils,” with the latter three mainly elucidating what was taught in them and condemning incorrect interpretations. Most of the debate over the Christ had to do with the two natures-one human and one divine. The resulting tensions led to schisms within the church as early as the second and third centuries.
The primary issues were about two extra-biblical terms-the trinity and the hypostatic union (the union of the human and divine natures of Jesus into one person). These issues were debated heatedly for centuries and are still being debated today. And, throughout the centuries people were horribly divided, sometimes to the point of persecuting or putting to death one who was deemed to have embraced THE WRONG BELIEF or man-made interpretation.
But, even though, people killed one another over these differences of man-made opinions, there is something more important than the heresy battles that is missing. And that which is missing comes from the words of Jesus, Himself. Think it over and we’ll unpack it after the weekend.