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Commonplaces

Piquant excerpts lifted from Touchstone editors' own reading & listening.



Men often willfully isolate and emphasize one side of a double truth, because for various reasons they are determined to see one side only; and by so doing they miss the meaning, and fail to realize the full consequences, of the truth with which they are concerned. In these days we do not like to talk about orthodoxy and heresy; or if we do, we are apt to assume that orthodoxy is only another name for the bigotry of ignorance, and that heresy is synonymous with fearless devotion to truth. We ought, however, to look at the right meaning of the words, and behind the words to the things they represent, and to recognize that the things they represent have vital and eternal issues. . . . The heretical temper may show itself in defense of the articles of the Creed; and the spirit of orthodoxy may co-exist with ignorance. All depends on line of development, and not on degree of progress. . . .

The history of the church affords many examples of heretical tendencies in ultra-orthodox circles. Most famous heretics were not assailants of Christian truth as a whole, men who had assumed an utterly un-Christian standpoint, but zealous Christians whose orthodoxy was narrow and one-sided, who out of devotion to one truth, or to one side of truth, resolutely refused to look at any other. . . . The attitude of mind which invariably leads to error and inefficiency pounces on a pet principle, isolates and exaggerates it, and is hysterically blind to every other.

Frederick Joseph Kinsman
Catholic and Protestant (1913)


Christianity Commonplaces #9 May/June 2020

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