Sunday Quote, theology

Sunday Quote!- Heresy as the Historical Loser?

h-mcgrath Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Heresy as the Historical Loser?

Alister McGrath’s book, Heresy: A History of Defending the Truth was a great read when I read it around two years ago, so I decided to reread it and get my notes in computer form. Almost immediately I began to discover reasons I enjoyed it so much. For example, McGrath notes that heresy has garnered much excitement and interest of late. Many see ancient heresies as something worth reconsidering, perhaps in light of losing by chance. He writes:

In this view, the distinction between heresy and orthodoxy is arbitrary, a matter of historical accident. Orthodoxy designates ideas that won, heresy those that lost. (3, cited below)

The rest of the book is dedicated to the history of heresy and how it interacted with orthodoxy. What do you think, though, of this notion that the distinction between heresy and orthodoxy is arbitrary? Could it be that orthodoxy is merely a historical accident? McGrath, of course, argues that it is not.


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Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Book Review: “Heresy: A History of Defending the Truth” by Alister McGrath– Check out my review of McGrath’s book.


Alister McGrath, Heresy: A History of Defending the Truth (New York: HarperOne, 2009).



About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick is a Lutheran, feminist, Christ-follower. A Science Fiction snob, Bonhoeffer fan, Paleontology fanboy and RPG nerd.


One thought on “Sunday Quote!- Heresy as the Historical Loser?

  1. While I have not read this book, it sounds like a book worth reading. As for the question, I believe heresy would be that which does not line up with the truth. Now, if mankind is the measure of truth, then the assertion that heresy is merely the historical “loser” in an argument makes perfect sense. But, if God exists, and is, by definition of his existence, omniscient, then heresy is anything which does not line up with what God knows to be true. Of course, if I were a humanist (which I am not), I would judge this definition of heresy to be, well, heresy.

    Posted by Greg | June 30, 2014, 6:40 AM

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