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The time has come for someone to speak out in defense of orthodoxy and freedom.Both of them have been so derided by their enemies and so debased by their supporters that neither is recognizable any longer and the inseparable connection between them has been lost to the partisans of each.Trinity Sunday is the most appropriate of days, commencement at Valparaiso University the most fitting of occasions, and this magnificent gathering of scholars and Christians the most splendid of audiences for a reaffirmation of both orthodoxy and freedom.

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On the basis of a definition of orthodoxy and of freedom in terms of themselves and of each other, I want to propose three theses which seem to me to have a bearing upon the future of the church, upon the life of the university, and upon the careers of those young men and women who, after their graduation, will live under the sign both of the church and of the university, and, I hope, under the sign both of orthodoxy and of freedom. Orthodoxy is truly orthodox only when it is eager to encourage free and responsible inquiry, even into orthodoxy itself.

In the great debates of the fourth century over the doctrine of the Trinity, contrary to the usual impression, the orthodox or Athanasian party was the partisan of critical reexamination, while the heretical or Arian parties sought to defend the dogmatic status quo.

This generalization, which I think I can substantiate historically even though I would also have to qualify it rather carefully, suggests one of the lesser-known characteristics of authentic orthodoxy: its acceptance of, indeed its dependence upon, free and responsible inquiry.

Without such inquiry, neither the Nicene Creed nor the theology of St. The opponents of orthodoxy wanted to avoid inquiry, for it would only ask embarrassing questions.

They preferred the vagueness of old language to the honesty and precision of new language.

Heresy was, then, the use of old language to deny traditional doctrine, while orthodoxy was the use of new language to affirm it.

It is an ironic quirk that an orthodoxy which would never have been born without free and responsible inquiry has so oft en opposed the very process that gave it birth.

Loyalty to the authority of Sacred Scripture ought to have led to an eagerness for a thoroughgoing investigation of its text to find all the variant readings and to weed out those that were not authentic; in fact, many of those who professed such loyalty resisted the textual criticism of the Bible and still do.

Affirmation of the orthodox doctrine of God as “Maker of all things visible and invisible” should have produced enthusiastic support for the inquiry into these visible things of nature and their historical development; in fact, this inquiry had to proceed without such a blessing.

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