Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Brief Carl Trueman review of "The Heresy of Orthodoxy"

It's one thing to work through the historical situation of the early papacy, and show how the thing was *not* there, not in the Scriptures, not in the belief or practice of the early church. It's quite a different thing to reconstruct what *was* there. And that's one of the things I like so much about this work, "The Heresy of Orthodoxy."

Carl Trueman has written a very brief review of this work that I wanted to pass along:
the authors are both New Testament scholars; and their book tackles the influential thesis of Walter Bauer, that what came to triumph in early Christianity was not some primeval orthodoxy but merely one competing vision of Christianity among a host of others. It just happened to be the one that won…

In such a context, this book is a gem, giving both a summary of the Bauer-Ehrman thesis and offering good, solid evidence of its manifold flaws. In the process, the authors deal with the development of the canon, textual transmission, and the relevant bibliography for those who wish to read further. It also has a very helpful concluding chapter (albeit, in my opinion, too brief -- like young Twist, I wanted more cultural criticism, Beadle Kruger!) on why the work of such as Ehrman and Pagels, with its emphasis on diversity, is so appealing in the contemporary cultural context. The book is also thoroughly footnoted throughout, giving plenty of pointers for further reading. All in all, an extraordinarily helpful volume.
Keep in mind as you're reading this, as you see the words "Bauer/Ehrman thesis" or "the flawed thesis of Walter Bauer," you can substitute "the flawed thesis of Newman's development" or "the flawed assumptions about the earliest church made by Roman apologists today."

The work is a sound, biblical based, historically accurate response to all of those things.


Pilgrimsarbour said...


I e-mailed Carl with a link to your post; wanted to encourage him with your positive comments. I'll mention it to him again on Sunday if I don't hear back from him before then. I didn't want this post to go unnoticed in the midst of all the hoopla attending the "Big Issues" being discussed on your other post(s).

Blessings in Christ,


Pilgrimsarbour said...

BTW I just (finally!) posted the rest of the sermons in Carl's "Judges" series to date. You can check them out here.

John Bugay said...

Hey Tim -- thanks for noticing this. Tell him he's prompted me to listen to the Summa, now that I'm done with his history course!

(I'm also in the middle of an RTS course on the Pentateuch and Joshua - so Judges will be a natural follow-on to that!

Pilgrimsarbour said...

You are now done with his history course--are you a student at Westminster?

If you are, then I won't pursue your comments with Carl as that may be seen as "kissing up to the Prof." and could be quite detrimental to your relationship with him! ;-)

John Bugay said...

Tim, there no kissing up here. I just listened to his course through iTunesU. I wish more of his stuff had been posted there.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Whew! Now I feel better that I didn't put you in theological jeopardy! :-)

And now I'm going to have to check out iTunesU. Thanks for telling me about it.

John Bugay said...

He's kind of hard to find there. WTS does not have a lot of stuff posted, and his Medieval Church History course does not seem to be in one place.

RTS, however, has an excellent iTunesU selection of courses. I've followed many of those, and I'm hoping they put up even more.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Interesting note:

Earlier today I spoke with Carl's wife. She informs me that he is away at the moment and is having a Bible study with Chuck Norris' business partner. Norris is, as you may or may not know, a solid and outspoken evangelical Christian. I don't know if he's Reformed-- probably not, and I know nothing about the business partner.

Crazy and small Christian world...

John Bugay said...

It's that thing about "six degrees of separation" or something like that. You are "six degrees of separation" from just about anybody in the world.

(Incidentally, are you familiar with LinkedIn? LinkedIn works on that same principle).

John Bugay said...

One more thing, Tim: since you know him, have you ever heard his line, "being born an Englishman is like winning first prize in the lottery of life"?

I almost died laughing when I heard that one.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Yes, I've heard of LinkedIn but don't know much about it. And oh yes, Carl has dropped that famous line on us. We're a congregation with a number of Canadians and Brits and other Social Democrat sympathisers (we typically avoid talking politics too much!). And I'm sure I have that recorded on some sermon somewhere, perhaps even in the Judges series.

As it is I saw him tonight and he was pleased to hear that someone was giving him positive feedback.

Be sure to read Dr. Trueman's Hurt Mail at my site. It's really just an extended link to an article he wrote at Ref 21. You'll understand why I make sure he gets positive feedback when I come across it!

By the way, if it is agreeable to you, please feel free to contact me by e-mail. I am very interested to hear more about your spiritual journey through Catholicism and beyond. If you don't want me to know your e-mail, that's absolutely all right with me. No obligation on your part.