Apologetics Index

Orthodox, Orthodoxy


The body of essential biblical teachings. Those who embrace them should be accepted as Christians. The opposite of heresy. Adj.: “orthodox.”
– Source: A Biblical Guide To Orthodoxy And Heresy, Christian Research Journal, Summer 1990, by Robert M. Bowman.

Note: the term can also refer to orthodoxy in other religions. In the case of Islam, for instance, the above definition could be adapted as follows: “The body of essential Quranic teachings. Those who embrace them should be accepted at Muslims.”

However, this entry deals with Christian orthodoxy.

Difference between Orthodoxy and orthodox

Note the distinction between “Orthodox” (with a capital O) and “orthodox” (spelled with a capital O only at the beginning of a sentence). The former refers to a religious movement, while the latter signifies a theological term.

Orthodox Christianity: Generically the term orthodox refers to traditional, conservative forms of Christianity, upholding the traditional Christian beliefs about God as a Trinity and about Jesus Christ as taught in the church’s early creeds. In this sense orthodox Christianity includes conservative Roman Catholics, and Protestant, evangelical Christianity, and is opposed both to liberal Christianity within Christian denominations and to the teachings of the cults.

More specifically, the term Orthodox (with a capital O; or, Eastern Orthodox) refers to the state churches of Eastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean who split with Roman Catholicism of the West largely over the issue of papal authority.
– Source: Orthodox Christianity, Index of Cults and Religions, Watchman Fellowship


The term “unorthodox” means “departing from orthodoxy in some measure, though not necessarily embracing explicit heresy.” 1

Orthodoxy Is Not Necessarily a Clean Bill of Health

It should be noted that some individuals, movements, organizations, churches and denominations are faithful to biblical teaching and to orthodoxy only to a bare minimum.

Many who adhere to the bare minimum of biblical orthodoxy also promote aberrant, unorthodox, extra-biblical and/or otherwise unbiblical teachings and practices – and some even descend into heresy.

Some individuals, churches and movements whose Statement of Faith appears orthodox nevertheless in practice deny and/or change one or more of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith (see: cult of Christianity).

Others who claim to subscribe to biblical orthodoxy are so far off in other teachings and practices that their ministries have turned spiritually abusive.


Christian A Biblical Guide To Orthodoxy And Heresy, Christian Research Journal, Summer 1990, by Robert M. Bowman.


  1. Definition from: “A Biblical Guide To Orthodoxy And Heresy, Part One: The Case For Doctrinal Discernment” (an article from the Christian Research Journal, Summer 1990, page 28) by Robert M. Bowman.

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First published (or major update) on Sunday, January 7, 2007.
Last updated on February 29, 2016.

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