Saturday, February 27, 2021

Adult Faith Formation, February 16th -- Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton, Session 6 -- Chapters 7, 8, and 9 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

 Note, Session 5 was cancelled due to extreme cold temperatures. Session 6 covers the material from session 5 as well as the final chapter and review.

GK Chesterton shows that any true reform or revolution requires a fixed ideal and objective truth. Furthermore, Christian Orthodoxy provides this ideal and truth which can reform the world. Chesterton's apologetic or proof or Christianity is that it alone makes man truly joyful!

Listen to part one online [here]!

Listen to part two online [here]!


Adult Faith Formation Series – Spring 2021 – Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton

February 16th – Chapters 7&8&9 – The Eternal Revolution, The Romance of Orthodoxy,

and Authority and the Adventurer

The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting.

It has been found difficult; and left untried. - GK Chesterton



I. Chapter 7: The Eternal Revolution

A. In order for there to be true progress, there must be a fixed goal or ideal toward which we strive.

B. Moreover, this ideal cannot be simply the exaggeration of only one thing. Rather, the goal must be a complex idea which is artistically combined – everything held together in proper proportion and balance.

C. Finally, for true progress, we must always be on the lookout for the tendency toward corruption. Things left alone do not remain pure, but decay. Thus, even when we have progress, there must always be the continual effort for renewal and reform.  Hence, the Eternal Revolution

[compare this with the last book of Ballad of the White Horse, “Scouring of the Horse”]

D. Chesterton notes that Christianity and Christian doctrine is the only thing that brings about the “liberal ideal” (of equality, love of neighbor, peace, etc).



II. Chapter 8: The Romance of Orthodoxy

A. Chesterton continues his argument that only Christianity can bring the world true progress.

B. He argues against some common heresies of liberal theology

            1. Materialism – the denial of miracles is not a truly liberal/liberating thought

            2. Pantheism/Immanentism – here, Chesterton points out how different Christianity is from                                     Buddhism

            3. Monism – if all are one, then there is no love of others

            4. Unitarianism/Mohammedanism – The “Lonely God” destroys society

            5. Fatalism/Determinism – if there are no consequences for our actions, then there can never                                     be true reform

            6. Arianism – If Christ is not God, then man has not be elevated. Human suffering and trial is                                     left below, and there is no path for true victory over death.


III. Chapter 9: Authority and the Adventurer

A. Here, Chesterton attempts to answer the question, “Why not just take what is good in Christianity, but leave the dogmas?”  or “Why do we need the dogmas? Aren’t the good morals enough?”

B. The Church reveals herself not merely to have been right about many and varied truths, she shows herself to be a “Truth-telling thing.”

C. Chesterton responds to common objections to the Church: Men are just like any other beast. Religion comes from primitive darkness. Priests make society sad. Christianity is weak. Christianity would drag us back to the dark ages. Christian people (like the Irish) are backwards and impractical. There is not reason to acknowledge the supernatural.  – Chesterton replies to all of these.

D. The great “proof” or “apologetic” for Christianity is that it makes man and the world joyful. Why be Christian? Because Orthodoxy Christianity is the only way to gain true joy!



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