What does the label "generous orthodoxy" really mean? Although I have applied this attractive yet elusive moniker to myself for years, I am still searching for an adequate definition and/or description of it. Well, just a few weeks ago one of my teachers humorously offered the following quote as a "mission statement for generous orthodoxy." I must admit, it may be the best statement on offer. Check it out:
"To become obedient to Jesus is actually to become obedient to God, not a conceived and imaginary God, but to a God as he is in his inmost essence, the gracious God, the god in whom we may believe. Jesus himself is the divine demand which confronts us as a genuinely compelling demand and which is also rigorous in the sense that it can be fulfilled only willingly or not at all; the demand upon us ourselves, which claims ours heart, and therefore the fulfillment of which really brings us ourselves into harmony with the will of God. Nothing that we can do in fulfillment of the will of God is higher and deeper than to love Jesus and therefore to keep his commandments - just because they are his, just because we cannot love him without keeping his commandments. We definitely fulfill the will the will of God when we do this. And whatever is done in line with and in the sense of this action even where Jesus is no longer or is not yet known; whatever bears in itself something in the nature of this action and is therefore an actual witness to the fact that Jesus lives and reigns and conquers, is definitely a fulfillment of the will of God. In all ages the will of God has been fulfilled outside the Church as well. Indeed, to the shame of the Church it has often been better fulfilled outside the Church than in it. This is not in virtue of a natural goodness of humanity. It is because Jesus, as the One who has risen from the dead and sits at the right hand of God, is in fact the Lord of the whole world, who has his servants even where his name is not yet or no longer known and praised. The Church can know and praise him. The Church can live in the consciousness of what is said to us. The Church can call all human beings to the consciousness of what has force and truth for all humanity. How great, then, is the Church's primary task and obligation: to realize for itself that the only thing which has truth and force is that in the fact that Jesus lives and reigns and conquers humanity is claimed by God!"(Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics II/2, pp. 568-569 translation revised and emphasis added)
This quote indicates that generosity is not some addition we add to our orthodoxy. Rather, we are generous because we are orthodox. The cosmic claim of Jesus Christ implies that he has servants outside the walls of the church. Therefore, as orthodox men and women, we actively and openly seek out his unwitting witnesses wherever they may be found.
Is this a minimally adequate description of generous orthodoxy?
If not, what are some other alternatives?
If so, what are some other insights that can be gleaned from this quote?