The Meaning of Orthodoxy
By Archbishop T. Creighton Jones
Presiding Bishop of the Orthodox Anglican Church of America and Metropolitan of the Orthodox Anglican Communion
I am sometimes asked questions about the true meaning of orthodoxy and how it affects the doctrine of our church. First of all, I think we must have a clear understanding of what doctrine means. Doctrine is the belief structure held by the church and taught to those who aspire to be included in its membership. Doctrine is often confused with discipline which is the way that we practice our doctrine or beliefs.
For example, I am often asked why the OAC does not ordain women to the priesthood. It is our belief (doctrine) that priests are “in persona Christi” which means that priests represent Christ on earth. Therefore to misrepresent Christ in the form of a woman would be completely wrong. So, the discipline of the church requires that we do not ordain women to the priesthood. The church has certainly elevated many women to sainthood and rightfully so. The blessed Mother Mary, as the mother of our Lord, occupies a very special place in the church. Women hold important positions in the governing bodies and organizations of the church.
This rather peculiar word, orthodox comes from late Middle English and from the Greek word orthodoxos (probably via ecclesiastical Latin), from orthos 'straight or right' + doxa 'opinion'. So, in simple language, it simply means straight or right opinion.
How then does the inclusion of the word orthodox in our church name describe who we are?
First of all, we believe that the Holy Scriptures are the inspired word of God and as such contain all things necessary for salvation. We believe that God’s word is right, straight forward and it is our opinion that the directives included in the Bible are to be followed by mankind without hesitation.
We believe that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman. Homosexuality is unnatural and an abomination to God. It is described in that way in both the Old and New Testaments.
… Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. (Lev. 18:22)
… For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. (Rom. 1: 26-27)
We also believe that only Godly men are ordained to the priesthood (for the reason described in the opening sentences).
If you feel comfortable in worshipping in a serious worship service that follows a beautiful and traditional liturgy handed down from the Old English Church, please join us.
++ Archbishop Jones
Sermons for this week and three previous weeks can be viewed on the "Weekly Sermon" page of this website.