New Podcast: Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy



  1. Fr. Andrew,
    I heard your originals last year and you emailed me your handouts. This is a wonderful series. I am glad to see them on AFR!

  2. Dear Father Andrew,

    I looked on your church’s website and noticed that the series on Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy is being presented Sunday evenings at 6:30. I am an Orthodox Catechumen hailing from Protestantism, being familiar with Classical/Magisterial Reformation, Radical Reformation, and Modernl Revivalism. I spent time in each of these Traditions, Wesleyan/Methodist, Assemblies of God, Reformed Baptist and non-denominational.

    All along, my heart was yearning for something more. When I first encountered Orthodoxy by reading various Fathers of the faith, I increasingly became aware that Protestantism was an abridged version of Christianity, each only containing parts of the Tradition, but not the whole. Finally, I took the first courageous step and attended a Divine Liturgy. My heart was smitten! I was carried along in a way that grabbed a hold of every part of me.

    I live in the Broadheadsville area and have a desire to attend the presentation this Sunday, October 25. It would help me greatly due to the fact that my family and friends are from different strains of Protestantism.

    Would it be ok to call and get directions? I know the Allentown area well having lived there before moving to the Poconos. I just need more precise directions from the Superior Restaurant.

    I look forward to your response.

    In Christ’s Immeasurable Love,

    Darlene Griffith

  3. I listened to the first 4 podcasts – excellent teaching in a thorough yet succinct manner. I’m interested in attending next week’s presentation at your parish. Having come from Protestantism, I look forward to listening to the presentations on Reformed Christians. It would help me in communicating with my friends and family.

    Currently, I’m an Orthodox catechumen. By God’s grace, He has been drawing me to the Christian faith in its fullness for over three years now.

    Blessings to you on your journey toward the Celestial City.

  4. I liked your latest podcast. I was wondering if you had ever considered speaking on how heresy happens. It seems that in the all controversies online, there is much branding after-the-fact (plenty of folks love that word). But where does real heresy come from, how does it grow, what are it’s precipitous symptoms?

    I find it interesting in reading the desert fathers that many of them would accept unjust accusations against them–many very horrible things. But they would not bear being called a heretic.

  5. David,

    No, it’s not something I plan to cover specifically in these lectures. I do talk a little about what heresy is in the first episode, though.

    Heresy does, of course, arise in a lot of different ways. It is, at its heart, a spiritual problem—the refusal to see and accept the Truth when confronted with it. This is not the same as being honestly mistaken. True heresy is always a choice, and in its essence, it is a choice made with full knowledge of the truth. Those who are ignorant of it are not truly heretics, though of course they may believe in heretical teachings.

  6. I should have asked for your blessing, my apologies Father. I think that is a good custom to keep, even online (particularly for a first time post on your blog).

    The process of how heresy develops is still a mystery.

    I very much doubt anyone deliberately holds an opinion because they know it to be false. There must me some self-delusion going on here. And while it’s true that the Church is the ground and pillar of truth, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the individual’s disagreement with a particular recitation of some portion of that truth by his priest or bishop is a heretic.

    There are too many variables involved.

    Forgive the example; I still pray with protestants after my conversion to Orthodoxy. I was instructed to do so by my spiritual father for various reasons that aren’t relevant. Some Orthodox would say this anathematizes me. And they make a good case for such a position.

    Not to mention controversial topics like toll-houses or calendars. All of which are above my pay grade. 🙂

    Since you posit that heresy is a choice, a sort of rebellion, does my obedience to my spiritual father protect me from heresy? How far does that obedience protect?

    If I had lived during the Arian heresy I most definitely should NOT have obeyed my bishop if he were Arian. And in 710AD I might have thought I was a good Orthodox Christian by smashing my icons (particularly if born untimely and in an untimely house).

    I know this is beginning to look forensic in approach (which has it’s own problems), but different answers to this dilemma result in very different relationships with non-Orthodox or with other Orthodox when controversies arise.

    After all, no doubt the Coptic priest I met a few months ago is obedient to his bishop, as is the Catholic priest serving nearby.

    The reason I think my point is worth dealing with is that you characterize the “problem” of heresy in your talk in a sort of formula, “if you believe wrongly about God you cannot relate to God or become more like Him because your goal will be a distorted version”. Of course, all of us are somewhat mistaken that’s what apophatic theology is about. (the sort of Christian version of killing the Buddha)

    If you are now saying that isn’t not wrong belief, but deliberate wrong belief, that’s a different kettle of fish.

    I don’t mean to be argumentative. I’m genuinely trying to understand (that’s why I suggested this as a topic for a podcast).

    Pray for me, a sinner.

  7. Well, for whatever it may be worth, it’s all of those things together, but taken more in terms of a continuum than as a binary either/or issue.

    That is, heresy, whether deliberate or not, will impede or even reverse spiritual progress. Deliberate heresy is worse.

    Heresy qua heresy is not merely rebellion—it is rebellion against the Church’s teaching. Someone who is already outside of the Church (at least in some sense) is probably not rebelling against it. They may not even be aware of the Church’s existence.

    This is why we need to distinguish between heresy as a false belief and heresy as the act of a heretic.

    You are right that at certain points in history the majority in the Church were in some level of heresy. Knowing the Truth is not always an obvious process. Humble obedience of course helps to shield one from participation in the heretical act, but false teaching still has its consequences, even if followed out of ignorance.

    The question of the source of heresy must be addressed in terms of real persons. Arius was deluded, but his delusion was not out of humble piety—if we are Orthodox, then we must believe that rather nasty things our hymns say about him, i.e., that he really was consumed with malice and hatred for Christ.

    At the same time, many Arians (especially of later generations) who followed his teaching may have simply inherited it from their own parents and teachers. Their faith is still off the mark, but the consequences of their acceptance of the heresy are not as great as they were for Arius.

  8. Arius is a clearer case (good point about the hymns) than say, Origen.

    At any rate, I spoke (and still speak) out of confusion. I’m not taking any particular position, but inquiring to your better judgment on the matter.

    I would say I am an ignorant man, but I would feel like I was stealing a line from Father Stephen Freeman, who’s shoes I’m not fit to tie. 🙂

    Thank you for your thoughts.

  9. Bless Father, I found your broadcast on Sola Scriptura helpful for understanding the place of Scripture in the light of the Holy Tradition of the Church. As you are already aware I’ve included it on my blog which is dedicated to our new life in Christ. I’ve also added this new blog of yours to my blogroll to keep abeast of your literary activities and podcasts.

  10. Bless Father,
    I have listened (more than once) to each of your Podcasts on Heterodoxy and Orthodoxy. As a recent convert (chrismated April 11, 2008.) I am finding them instructive. I was raised in United Church of Canada, converted to Roman Catholicism as a teenager (received a B.Religious Studies in Catholic theology), eventually left the Roman church and joined a church which taught a Canadian version of a baptistic evangelical fundamentalist theology.
    All that to say that I have long felt like I had a foot in two worlds: I could not accept many things about the Roman church; I could not accept many things about the Protestant way.
    Shocked to discover Orthodoxy hiding in plain sight in our midst, I began (in middle age) to read about Orthodoxy (by various Orthodox authors), and also to bring icons into my home. Experiencing my first Holy Liturgy, I knew that I could place both my feet in this amazing – and obviously True – Church. Three months later, I asked our Priest to take me as a catechumen.
    I know very little except the realization that this is where God has been leading me all my life.
    Thank you again, Father, for your most able help to understand & unravel where I’ve been and how it is distinct from Orthodoxy.
    I would love to have the written form, if possible, to share with my husband.

  11. Susan,

    God bless you!

    The manuscript texts of these lectures are not really for publication, but I have made the handouts available for all the lectures at this link. I hope that is useful to you.

Comments are closed.