The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture’s Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity by Andreas J. Köstenberger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow! That is what I must say about this book.
As one who is interested in apologetics and New Testament studies, I was interested in writing a review of this book. I approached it as one would approach a textbook: with trepidation. I felt it would be scholarly- it is; I felt it would be dull- it is not. This book is well written, interesting, scholarly, and all in all a very good book.
The authors are men who are convinced that the Bible is God’s Word and reliable and take great care in demonstrating this while going against the current of popular culture and so-called scholarship.
The main issues with which the book deals are the issues of orthodoxy, the development of the NT canon, and textual transmission. They show us from Scripture itself, the early church fathers, and other sources that there was indeed a standard of faith that was held to in the early church. There was variation, but there was a standard of truth. There was orthodoxy in the early church.
They move from the issue of orthodoxy vs heresy to showing that the canon was not something that was decided upon in the fourth century by certain power mongers and then imposed upon everyone else. In fact, the authors demonstrate that the NT writers themselves understood that they were writing Scripture. The churches recognized that the four gospels were authoritative proclamations of the truth and also acknowledged the various epistles and apostolic works as being of God. This happened gradually as the various books were written and traveled from place to place, but it happened in the late first century and early second century. They explain that the process of canonization was not a decree that was passed, or the decision of a council, but a general receiving of the NT by the churches and their accepting the NT as inspired of God and authoritative.
Finally, the authors show that the NT has not been lost in transmission. Far from being lost, we have an embarrassment of riches in NT studies because of the multitude of manuscripts that we possess today. Though there are a few places where textual variant leave us in doubt of the exact text of Scripture, we know that we have a reliable NT text today. In fact, we can be assured that our Bible is the Word of God and is essentially the same as it was in the days of the early church due to the excellent manner in which God providentially preserved it for us.
I am convinced that this book will stand the test of time. Though written as a response to some particular voices of today, this book’s worth is seen in that it defends and upholds the timeless Word of God. Bauer is gone, and Ehrman shall soon be gone, but God’s Word lives forever. So, too, will this book abide as an excellent defense of the authority and reliability of the NT.
I received this book free from Crossway. Providing me a free copy in no way guarantees a favorable review. The opinions expresses in this review are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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