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The Heresy of Orthodoxy

About the Course

How can I trust my Bible? How do I know the right books made it into the canon of Scripture? How do I know my English Bible accurately reflects the words in the original manuscripts? Maybe you have asked yourself questions like this before. The good news is there are answers. The book The Heresy of Orthodoxy was written to help provide these answers.

There are many people who have sown doubt about the trustworthiness of Scripture. In the academic world, Walter Bauer changed the shape of New Testament scholarship with the publication of Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity in 1934. You may not have heard of Bauer, but you perhaps have heard of Bart Ehrman, who has spent much of his scholarly career popularizing ideas that originated from Bauer. But as convincing as they may sound, neither Bauer nor Ehrman has given definitive arguments for their positions. In fact, if it were not for the current postmodern love of diversity, the Bauer-Ehrman thesis probably would have lost its luster a long time ago. It is this overarching issue that The Heresy of Orthodoxy seeks to address: “We believe it is that diversity, the ‘gospel’ of our culture, has now assumed the mantle of compelling truth—and this ‘truth’ must not be bothered by the pesky, obstreperous details of patient, painstaking research, because in the end, the debate is not about the details but about the larger paradigm—diversity” (18).

Part 1 of the book devotes specific attention to the Bauer thesis itself and compares it with data that Bauer neglects to examine: The New Testament itself. Part 2 addresses the concept of canon and provides evidence for God’s sovereign guidance in the process of the church’s recognition of the canon of Scripture. Part 3 looks at the reliability of the manuscripts and transmission of the biblical texts. We hope that this material will help undergird your faith in the Scriptures and allow you to engage the world with the hope of the gospel.

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