The Cruelty of Heresy

An Affirmation of Christian Orthodoxy

C. FitzSimons Allison

Jan/1994, 200 Pages, PAPERBACK, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

ISBN-13: 9780819215130



Ancient heresies have modern expressions that influence our churches and culture, creating cruel dilemmas for today’s Christian in the form of error, sin, and various distortions on orthodox faith. In Cruelty of Heresy, Bishop Allison captures the drama and relevance of the Councils of the fourth and fifth centuries and shows how the remarkable achievements of these early struggles provide valuable guidelines for believers today.

C. FitzSimons Allison is Bishop of South Carolina, retired, and former rector of Grace Church, New York City. He is the author of The Rise of Moralism, Fear, Love, and Worship, as well as Guilt, Anger, and God. He is also Honorary American Canon of St. AndrewХs Cathedral, Aberdeen, Scotland.

"...deserves to be used, and if it is successful only in showing how thoroughly existential the creeds are, how fraught with profound implications for the moral, spiritual and social life of the believer, it will do good."
--The Rev. Martin Smith, reviewing for Episcopal Life, Aug/Sept 1994

"This book is important reading for ministers and for all who seek a deeper understanding of authentic Christian orthodoxy."
--Focus newsletter, May 1994

"This book should find a home on the desk of every clergyman and Christian layman wrestling with the truth of historic Christian orthodoxy, not only in the Episcopal Church but in the broader Christian community as well." --David W. Virture, Editor of H.O.P.E. Newsletter

"This book argues that the reigning orthodoxies of our day are largely updated versions of cruelly deceptive understandings of Christianity, rejected by the church in the first centuries...It is, in effect, an interestingly written history of Christian doctrine combined with an analysis of the present religious situation, which is both accessible to the general reader and stimulating to specialists."
--George Lindbeck, Pitkin Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology, Yale University

"...a sound, helpful book on the early heresies and on the remarkable achievements of the ecumenical councils of the fourth and fifth centuries that had to deal with them...a valuable book..."
--Don S. Armentrout, reviewing for Sewanee Theological Review

"[Allison] blends the learning of a church historian with the experience of a pastor to produce a book that is both intellectually stimulating and spiritually enriching...[Allison uses his] delightful ability to shed light on a puzzling argument by the insertion of a vignette from contemporary life...establishes a clear theological perspective from which to understand the intellectual and spiritual roots of real human problems."
--Richard H. Belser, reviewing for Jubilate Deo, February 1994

"In this valuable work, we see a theologian-pastor at work."
--Donald Coggan, reviewing for Theology, November 1994

"Bishop Allison has combined a lifetime of scholarship and pastoral experience in this remarkable, readable work...He vividly describes how the two human tendencies toward self-centeredness and escape from the difficulties of life--both very popular today--always distort the gospel...Invaluable reading for any minister of the gospel, those who are preparing for Christian ministry, and all who seek a deeper understanding of authentic Christian orthodoxy." --Joseph Cardinal Bernadin, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago

"Enlivened by anecdote, and marked by a willingness to name names, The Cruelty of Heresy should be welcomed as substantial teaching from a bishop worthy of his historic office...He shows that heresy is not only a matter of the mind but of the heart and the will, with disastrous consequences for the moral and spiritual life." --Geoffrey Wainwright, Robert E. Cushman Professor of Christian Theology, Duke University

"In a time when many traditional churches are drowning in a morass of new polysyllabic heresies, it is a delight to find this spirited defense of orthodoxy...I hope it will do for this generation what Chesterton and C. S. Lewis did in the first half of this century--make orthodoxy both nourishing and exciting." --David H. C. Read, Editor-in-Chief, The Living Pulpit

"This book is less a celebration of orthodoxy than a serious warning of how the classical heresies present serious dangers to the faithful when they emerge as modern options for the Christian who seeks to articulate his or her understanding of doctrine, specifically doctrine as it is encapsulated in the classical creeds." - Donald F. Winslow for Anglican Theological Review

"It is rare to find a book about the history of doctrine which is so concerned about the mission and growth of the Church." - The Anglican Digest

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  • Theology
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