Generous Orthodoxy  

The word ortho-doxy (Greek for "right doctrine") has both positive and negative connotations. In a culture that prizes what is iconoclastic and transgressive, orthodoxy has come to sound constricted and unimaginative at best, oppressive and tyrannical at worst.

The position taken on this website is that we cannot do without orthodoxy, for everything else must be tested against it, but that orthodox (traditional, classical) Christian faith should by definition always be generous as our God is generous; lavish in his creation, binding himself in an unconditional covenant, revealing himself in the calling of a people, self-sacrificing in the death of his Son, prodigal in the gifts of the Spirit, justifying the ungodly and indeed, offending the "righteous" by the indiscriminate nature of his favor. True Christian orthodoxy therefore cannot be narrow, pinched, or defensive but always spacious, adventurous and unafraid.
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Latest News

Fleming's book has gone to the publisher

Posted: Thursday, March 5, 2015

Fleming's book The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ will be coming out from Eerdmans in early September. This book is the product of almost 20 years of work, is designed for pastors and preachers, inquiring lay people, and perhaps seminary students. It is not an academic book, despite its academic pretensions! As the time of publication approaches, I will offer information as to how it might be used in congregations.

Eerdmans has given the book a full page in their fall catalogue. You can see it by clicking on this link:

Recent Ruminations

The college that refused to die
Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Someone in New York greeted me recently by saying, "How's it going at the most famous college in the country?" That may be a slight exaggeration but there certainly has been an astonishing amount of coverage in the major newspapers (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post) with evocative photographs and almost breathless text.

I met Teresa Tomlinson, the mayor of Columbus, Georgia, who gave the commencement address at Sweet Briar College in June, and I'm not sure I have ever seen a woman with such stunning oratorical and political gifts. She's been the Winston Churchill of the rescue effort, mobilizing words and sending them to war. She is now the new chairman of the board at SBC.

Teresa Tomlinson giving her speech at Sweet Briar

Sweet Briar, in my day and no doubt afterwards, was always known for its powerful alumnae support. I had almost forgotten that. The alumnae are now the saviors of the college. This tiny, rural, Southern liberal-arts college, often the recipient of jokes about its name, its May Court, and its supposed "riding major," was a powerhouse after all. It makes me proud of women. I think quite a few of us alumnae are a bit ashamed of the way we played dead when the announcement was made about the college closing. I have not been feeling emotional or nostalgic about Sweet Briar for decades, but that's changed now; this paragraph from the Roanoke newspaper brought a mist to my eyes:
"In a strange, wonderful way, what nearly killed Sweet Briar might make it stronger. It certainly gives the school a big, fat talking point. Other colleges have closed and their graduates weren’t able to save them. Sweet Briar’s did. Stone [new president] says he’s gotten inquiries from prospective students and faculty who were interested in the school because of what happened, not despite it. 'There’s something special here,' Stone says."
I am only sorry that the new president is a man. I was always so proud of the fact that almost all the presidents had been women, including especially the founding president and the four presidents after her, till 1970 when there was a man for a few years. His wife drove a lot of people crazy. My cousin Ross Dabney, who was professor of English for many years, writes in his memoirs that she complained to him about Isaac Bashevis Singer being asked to speak at Sweet Briar. She thought he was too rarefied. When asked whom she would prefer, she suggested (to the speechless horror of Prof. Dabney) Barbara Walters.

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Latest Tips From the Times

Christian love in action
Saturday, July 25, 2015

We should not romanticize or idealize any church. That includes the New Testament church of 2000 years ago, and, as I keep reminding myself, it includes the African-American churches. Sin worms its insidious way into every human heart and every human community.

And yet. I met a young white woman the other day who lives, by choice, in Harlem and attends a black church. She says that her (white) mother taught her that the African-American churches live closer to the heart of Christianity than any of the white churches. After reading about "Mother Emanuel" in Charleston, and after reading this story today (link below), I can't disagree.


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