Again, from the same defunct blog (of mine) as my last post:
I said in the last post (broken link) “And this is the only saving grace that Christianity has — its heretics.”
If it were only for the so-called “orthodox” like Augustine, Jerome, Luther, Calvin, Christianity would be dead.
Arius, Nestorius, Pelagius, Arminius, Socinus, and a whole bunch of so-called “heretics” whose names escape me; without them Christianity would be dead.
Rigid orthodoxy has a fossilizing nature. It turns off the brain. It outlaws thought. The heretics are the intellectual vitality of the tradition. They are the ones that raise the questions, and pose solutions to those question; and many times their solutions are good. And if the heretics didn’t raise the questions, and provide their own solutions, the orthodox wouldn’t have ever touched those questions. The orthodox can’t squash a question that was never asked. The orthodox can’t hide from a truth that was never made plain. Orthodoxy’s function is to hide the truth, but without heretics digging for the truth, how would the orthodox know what to hide?
Without Arius, Christianity would be dead. If Trinitarianism were the only option, so many churches wouldn’t exist. And if all Christians agreed its either believe in the Trinity or leave Christianity behind — if Arianism were not an option — at least half of Christendom would be Jewish or atheist or whatever it would be.
Without Pelagius, Christianity would be dead. If determinism were the only option, if it were accepted by everyone in Christianity that you must either be a determinist or leave Christianity behind, then at least half of Christendom would be Jewish or atheist or whatever it would be.
Christianity’s very survival is dependent on the heretics. The heretics give it an air of respectability that orthodox does not have, has never had, and never will have.
The orthodox like to think that there was this golden age of orthodoxy when everyone believed their nonsense, and then came the dreaded enlightenment and rained on their parade. But the fact is it never worked that way — nobody ever believed in orthodoxy but murderers. The reason it seemed that so many were orthodox was because the murderers in control of governments forced people on pains of death to pretend and play at orthodoxy. But in their hearts, even the majority of the orthodox have always been heretics.
Even the staunchest of Trinitarian preachers in his heart of hearts — if he could only put the fear of ostricization aside — is an Arian.
Even the staunchest of Determinist preachers in his heart of hearts — if he could only put the fear of ostricization aside — is a Pelagian.
Even the staunchest of Penal Substitutionary Atonement preachers in his heart of hearts — if he could only put the fear of ostricization aside — is a Socinian.
If it were not so, he would have left Christianity already, for only “heresy” has any vitality to it.