Orthodoxy and Heresy in the Church

In his course on the “Ancient and Medieval Church” at Covenant Theological Seminary, David Calhoun recommended the following texts For Further Study on the topic of Orthodoxy & Heresy in the early church (the annotations are his):

Jones, Peter. The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back: An Old Heresy for the New Age. 1992.

Shows how the gnostic heresy of self-deification has returned with a vengeance in the New Age

McGrath, Alister E. The Genesis of Doctrine. 1990.
A useful study of how Christian doctrine came into existence, by the prolific British historian theologian.

Orr, James. The Progress of Dogma.
Famous work in which the 19th century Scottish theologian argues that “the history of
dogma…is simply the system of theology spread out through the centuries.” pp. 21

__________ Quotes of Interest __________

“The age of the martyrs has a powerful attraction even to the casual reader; the age of the heresies leaves him bewildered and distressed. Yet the agents in both were discharging an equally necessary function. Both were upholding the truth of the gospel; the one against the power of the world, the other against the wisdom of the world. The martyrs had this advantage, that the force of their testimony was concentrated in one supreme moment, was expressed in one heroic act, which commands universal sympathy. The controversialists had to live through a protracted struggle and are judged by their utterances, and all their human weaknesses which the conflict remorselessly revealed.”
~ Mandell Creighton, quoted by B. B. Warfield, Selected Shorter Writings, 2: 214

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“The rejection of heretics brings into relief what your church holds and what sound doctrine maintains. ‘It was necessary for heresies to occur so that the approved may be made manifest’ (I Corinthians 11:19) among the weak.”
~ Augustine, Confessions, 7. 19

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“Christianity is not something utterly formless and vague, but has an ascertainable, statable content, which it is the business of the church to find out, to declare, to defend.”
~ James Orr, The Progress of Dogma, pp. 8, 9

* * *

“The errors of heretics…force us to deal with unlawful matters, to scale perilous heights, to speak unutterable words, to trespass on forbidden ground, compelling us to err in daring to embody in human terms truths which ought to be hidden in the silent veneration of the heart.”
~ Hilary of Poitiers, Hilary of Poitiers on the Trinity , 2, 2


In his book Orthodoxy and Heresy: A Biblical Guide to Doctrinal Discernment, Robert M. Bowman, Jr. recommends the following books:

Soothsayers of the Second Advent, by William M. Alnor

Creeds, Councils and Christ, by Gerald Bray

Heresies: The Image of Christ in the Mirror of Heresy and Orthodoxy from the Apostles to the Present, by Harold O.J. Brown

Unholy Devotion: Why Cults Lure Christians, by Harold Bussell

Foundations of Evangelical Theology, by John Jefferson Davis

The Necessity of Systematic Theology, by John Jefferson Davis

Christian Theology, by Millard J. Erickson

The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God: A Theology of Lordship, by John M. Frame

Evangelical Reunion: Denominations and the Body of Christ, by John M. Frame

Come, Let Us Reason: An Introduction to Logical Thinking, by Norman L. Geisler and Ronald M. Brooks

A Crash Course on the New Age Movement: Describing and Evaluating A Growing Social Force, by Elliot Miller

Witch Hunt, by Robert and Gretchen Passantino

Symphonic Theology: The Validity of Multiple Perspectives in Theology, by Vern. S. Poythress




Book Cover

(click on image)