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FREE: Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton Download and Review

Portly, fun loving, witty G.K. Chesterton decided to write this book as a companion volume to his book heretics.

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Portly, fun loving, witty G.K. Chesterton decided to write this book as a companion volume to his book Heretics. Since Heretics had criticised contemporary philosophies, Orthodoxy was written to present an alternative viewpoint, and is therefore both affirmative in tone and autobiographical in many places.

A sampling of his chapter titles gives some idea of Chesterton's sense of fun as well as his unusual approach to the matter of Christianity. Chapter one is "In Defense of Everything Else" (one pictures Chesterton with a whimsical, impish smile on his face as he wrote this). There are also chapters on "The Suicide of Thought", "The Ethics of Elfland" (a really superb chapter), "The Maniac", and "The Paradoxes of Christianity". In this easily readable book (only 160 pages in the small paperback edition), Chesterton shows that theological reflections and philosophical ruminations need be neither boring nor incomprehensible. This was jolly good fun to read, being both funny and intellectually stimulating.

Orthodoxy by G. K. ChestertonOrthodoxy (fiction)
G. K. Chesterton (Author)
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Those who have read Chesterton realize that he is the sort of man with whom the world is blessed every 100 years or so. A master writer and wry philosopher, Chesterton provides in his book Orthodoxy one of the best summaries available concerning the life in Christ. Even though he found God calling him to the Church of Rome, readers from a wide range of backgrounds - evangelical Protestants of all "flavors", fundamentalists, Eastern Orthodox, Episcopalians, Baptists, Pentacostalists, Lutherans, and yes, Roman Catholics - will discover new insights into their walk with the Christ.

Chesterton has the ability to make us see things anew. In Orthodoxy, he helps us to see the Church in a new way, and he helps us to see afresh the One who founded His Church - Jesus Christ. The book is not an apologetic for Roman Catholicism, but rather one for orthodox Christianity itself.

Chesterton is simultaneously a master of the written word and one who knows his Master. To borrow a phrase (applied to something else, but applicable here) of Richard John Neuhaus, Chesterton is a "singular grace note in God's creative purpose". For those who have not read Chesterton, Orthodoxy is probably the best place to start, followed by The Everlasting Man, followed by the delighful (and insightful) Father Brown stories, followed by ...
If you have read the more famous C.S.Lewis' books on philosophy and theology then you may be in the market for some more from the period and genre. Perhaps GKC is little earlier, but the idea is the same - a well educated chap appeals to our sense of common sense and sets out a simple explanation of deep and complex matter. The surprise comes early. GKC can't resist a good line, whether it builds the argument or not. Some of his comical moments would be worthy of P.G.Wodehouse.

With these classics, there are two levels at which you can read. The content is fine at face value. Enjoy! At another level, it's great to see how the arguments have dated along with the language. In the case of C.S.Lewis, he explains to us that a man is the boss in a marriage and a woman must obey, and justifies this asymmetrical model with the brush-off, "Someone has to be right all the time, otherwise, how would they finish a disagreement?"*. I can't imagine anyone printing that in the 21st Century!
Chesterton is hard to take at times; his irritating metaphors and play on words can grind one down. But, what is extraordinary is that this book is so relevant to the "now". He has grasped the nettle of modern relativism and said: "no, accipio crucem Christi; I believe in the Trintiy of princely might": "it is utterely rational for me to so believe". A definite "must" for anyone who wishes to deal with the issues of modernity and faith.

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