Heterodoxy as Compelling Analogy

Samuel Gregg’s article blasting liberation theology illustrates why heterodoxy will always make for a compelling analogy.

He writes:

As time passes, liberation theology is well on its way to being consigned to the long list of Christian heterodoxies, ranging from Arianism to Hans-Küngism. But as Benedict XVI understands, ideas matter – including incoherent and destructive ideas such as liberation theology. Until the Catholic Church addresses the legacy of this defunct ideology – to give liberation theology its proper designation – its ability to speak to the Latin America of the future will be greatly impaired. [Bold mine.]

I am not pro-liberation theology (I am a pretty doctrinaire capitalist.) However, were I, and I saw that comparison to the Arian heresy, I could respond, “you mean liberation theology is as bad as the Christianity that Milton, Newton, Locke, Clarke, Price, Mayhew and many of America’s Founding Fathers believed in”? All of the aforementioned names either were or likely were Arians.

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4 Responses to Heterodoxy as Compelling Analogy

  1. tom van dyke says:

    I think by definition, heterodoxies are proved to be fads; otherwise they become orthodoxies of some sort. Non-Trinitarianism, called unitarianism, has become a “church” of only a few hundred thousand called Unitarian Universalism [the two churches merged in 1961], with the freedom to believe anything under the sun. Except Christian orthodoxy, of course.

    Of great interest to you, I think, would be Harry Emerson Fosdick, a very popular non-Trinitarian of the early 2oth century [and spokesman for anti-fundamentalism, also a product of those times], whose radio show drew millions of listeners.

    Now its possible that Fosdick’s influence is still felt in today’s “mainline” Protestant churches, which are drifting fast toward heterodoxy. Whether this will stick and these churches will survive is unknown at this time—the membership trends are down, not up. It’s either a fad or the beginning of some new orthodoxy. We’ll know in 100 years or so.

  2. Jon Rowe says:

    Thanks and duly noted.

  3. tom van dyke says:

    Non-Trinitarianism is a separate question from the political stuff re Romans 13. That’s the problem with Frazer’s thesis, making one big hash of it.

    Samuel Adams was as orthodox a Calvinist as they come, and more revolutionary than the rest of men.

    Bailyn and Whig theory could still be correct, mind you, that the Enlightenment “co-opted” religious thought. And Frazer could still be wrong at the same time, that “resistance theory” is contrary to the Bible and Christianity itself.

    Again, it’s one big hash, and it comes from his arguing theologically instead of via the history of political theology/philosophy. For as our friend Winispringer notes, the seeds of resistance theory can be found in Aquinas, and even most fundies would allow that Thomas was Christian.

  4. Alan Scott says:

    I think by definition, heterodoxies are proved to be fads; otherwise they become orthodoxies of some sort. Non-Trinitarianism, called unitarianism, has become a “church” of only a few hundred thousand called Unitarian Universalism [the two churches merged in 1961], with the freedom to believe anything under the sun. Except Christian orthodoxy, of course.

    Except that the Unitarian Universalists by no means represent the extent of Unitarian belief amongst Christians. Jehovah’s Witnesses come to mind, and I’m sure there are others. But I imagine that just like in the days of Milton and Newton and the rest, that most Unitarians are those who simply disagree with the Trinitarian doctrines of the denominations to which they belong.

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