Sunday, February 9, 2014

Dogma vs. Heresy

“What we call today dogma, appeared only when heresy came to threaten the experience of the ecclesial truth. The word heresy means the choice, selection and preference of one part of the truth to the detriment of the whole truth, the catholic truth. Heresy is the opposite of catholicity. The heretics absolutized just one aspect of the experiential certainty of the Church and so inevitably relativized all the others…

…The Church reacted to heresies by making out the terms of her truth, by defining, that is, her experiential expertise. It is very characteristic that the first designation that was given to what today we call dogma was a definition, that is, a limit, a boundary of truth. Today’s “dogmas” were the definitions of the Ecumenical Councils – those theoretical decisions which formulated the truth of the Church, fixing a border between this truth and its corruption by heresy”. [1] 

[1] Yannaras, Christos, Elements of Faith – An Introduction to Orthodox Theology, (Edinburgh, T&T Clark, 1991), p.16

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