Paleo-orthodoxy (from Ancient Greek παλαιός "ancient" and Koine Greek ὀρθοδοξία "correct belief") is a Protestant Christian theological movement in the United States which emerged in the late 20th and early 21st centuries and which focuses on the consensual understanding of the faith among the ecumenical councils and Church Fathers.[1][2] While it understands this consensus of the Church Fathers as orthodoxy proper, it calls itself paleo-orthodoxy to distinguish itself from neo-orthodoxy, a movement that was influential among Protestant churches in the mid-20th century.[3]


Paleo-orthodoxy attempts to see the essentials of Christian theology in the consensus of the Great Church before the schism between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church (the East-West Schism of 1054) and before the separation of Protestantism from the Roman Catholic Church (the Protestant Reformation of 1517), described in the canon of Vincent of Lérins as "Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus" ("What [is believed] everywhere, always and by everyone"). Adherents of paleo-orthodoxy often form part of the Convergence Movement,[4] though paleo-orthodoxy is not exclusive to the movement. Paleo-orthodox Protestants have different interpretations of the early Church's teachings.[5]

Paleo-orthodox theologians

The dominant figure of the movement, United Methodist theologian Thomas C. Oden of Drew University,[6][2] published a series of books not only calling for a return to "classical Christianity" but also providing the tools to do so. The 2002 collection of essays in honor of Oden, Ancient and Postmodern Christianity: Paleo-Orthodoxy in the 21st Century (Kenneth Tanner, Christopher Alan Hall, eds., ISBN 978-0830826544) offers a glimpse into the work of some of the theologians active in this area: Robert Jenson, Christopher Hall, Amy Oden, Bradley Nassif, David Mills, Robert Webber, Geoffrey Wainwright, Carl Braaten, Stanley Grenz, John Franke, Alan Padget, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Richard John Neuhaus, et al. Similar approaches emerge in the theology of Marva Dawn (a Lutheran); Alister McGrath (a Church of England Reformed evangelical); Andrew Purves (a Presbyterian); Timothy George (Baptist); and Christopher Hall (an Episcopalian); J. Davila-Ashcraft (Evangelical Episcopal Communion); and Emilio Alvarez (founding Archbishop of the Union of Charismatic Orthodox Churches).[7][8]

See also


  1. ^ Tate, Dan (May 17, 2019). "After Modernity...What?! The Paleo-Orthodox Agenda For Theology 40 Years Later". Christ & Cosmos. Retrieved 2021-01-16.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b Wilt, Evan (December 9, 2016). "Founder of 'paleo-orthodoxy' dies". World News Group. Retrieved 2021-07-12.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "The term paleo-orthodoxy is employed to make clear that we are not talking about neo-orthodoxy. Paleo becomes a necessary prefix only because the term orthodoxy has been preempted and to some degree tarnished by the modern tradition of neo-orthodoxy" (Thomas Oden, Requiem, p. 130)
  4. ^ Post, Kathryn (2020-06-18). "Liturgy-hungry young Christians trade altar calls for Communion rails". Religion News Service. Retrieved 2020-06-24.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Bailey, Sarah (2014-07-22). "Tony Palmer, who captured Pope Francis' bid for Christian unity with a cellphone, dies after motorcycle crash". Religion News Service. Retrieved 2021-02-26.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Trueman, Carl (February 2015). "Paleo-Orthodoxy | Carl R. Trueman". First Things. Retrieved 2021-01-16.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ Alvarez, Emilio (2022). Pentecostal Orthodoxy. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 978-1-5140-0090-8.
  8. ^ Alvarez, Emilio (2022-07-03). "The Union of Charismatic Orthodox Churches". Liturgy. 37 (3): 28–35. doi:10.1080/0458063X.2022.2085966. ISSN 0458-063X. S2CID 251286283.

Further reading

Among Oden's works, either as writer or editor, in support of paleo-orthodoxy are:

Works by other authors: