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 has been delayed a bit and will be coming out from Eerdmans in November. (The Subject Index took a lot longer for the author to prepare than had been planned!) This book is the product of almost 20 years of work. It 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

The conservatives
Monday, August 10, 2015

Some of the best "conservative" culture critics (David B. Hart, Ross Douthat, Barton Swaim) are considerably more "conservative" than I am in many respects, but I really enjoy and profit from their take-no-prisoners stance on things. In this short piece, Hart identifies the dark view of human nature that I share and that both the biblical outlook and classical Christian doctrine (St. Augustine as case in point) support.  Here's the link:

When such a view is combined with a robust love of life, a sense of humor, and a passion for justice, it's mostly on target, in my opinion.

Caveat: Don't trust Hart on Calvinism. He doesn't like it, and worse, doesn't understand it. I don't think he's familiar with Calvin himself, but only with the later caricatures.


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