04 August 2006

"The Sine Qua None of Right Worship And Fruitful Ministry."

From "The Orthodox Imperative" by Avery Cardinal Dulles in the current issue of First Things (not yet available online):

"...By the close of the first century, the bishops of the apostolic Church, ordained in apostolic succession were recognized as custodians of the faith. In the second century, Ireneaus and Tertullian speak of the "canon of truth" or "the rule of faith." It comes down from the apostles and is decisive for settling disputes about the content of revelation...

...The history of early Christianity could be described with little exaggeration as a constant struggle against heresy. Bishops met in council after council to protect the true faith from being overridden by human opinions and speculations. The councils hammered out the great doctrines of the Trinity and Christology in oppostion to the heresies of the time...

...Christians of later centuries owe a great debt of gratitude to the vigilance of the Fathers and their heroic labors to preserve doctrinal purity in the Church. Purity of doctrine is the sine qua none of right worship and fruitful ministry...

In the past, Christians have held orthodoxy in high esteem, even while sometimes disagreeing about what doctrines are true and sound. But the case is quite different today. The idea of orthodoxy has become suspect, and many consider that it is bound up with an authoritarian and fundamentalist mentality unsuited to the modern age..."

Cardinal Dulles must have been a guest at some Episcopal clergy gatherings.


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