Generous Orthodoxy  

The word ortho-doxy (Greek for "right doctrine") has both positive and negative connotations. In a culture that prizes what is iconoclastic and transgressive, orthodoxy has come to sound constricted and unimaginative at best, oppressive and tyrannical at worst.

The position taken on this website is that we cannot do without orthodoxy, for everything else must be tested against it, but that orthodox (traditional, classical) Christian faith should by definition always be generous as our God is generous; lavish in his creation, binding himself in an unconditional covenant, revealing himself in the calling of a people, self-sacrificing in the death of his Son, prodigal in the gifts of the Spirit, justifying the ungodly and indeed, offending the "righteous" by the indiscriminate nature of his favor. True Christian orthodoxy therefore cannot be narrow, pinched, or defensive but always spacious, adventurous and unafraid.
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Latest News

Fleming's new book, Advent: the Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ, has been a runaway best-seller

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2018

For a couple of weeks just before Advent there were no books to be had. Eerdmans rushed a second printing (or whatever they are calling it these days). The very best place to get Advent now is at where you will find a warm welcome, a good discount, and speedy shipping. Advent is upon us, and it is not a long season, so move fast on this if copies are needed. The book is already being read and taught in England and Canada as well as the United States.

Fleming is a regular now on the very popular “Crackers and Grape Juice” podcast. Look for “Fridays with Fleming”

Posted: Monday, March 13, 2017


A very knowledgeable recommendation of The Crucifixion, from London

Posted: Monday, February 20, 2017

"I'm Fleming Rutledge, and I approve this synopsis, from London, of my book The Crucifixion."

Fleming's book The Crucifixion has been named the Book of the Year (2017) by Christianity Today

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2016

Here is a link to the webpage with the announcement.

The Crucifixion by Fleming Rutledge crosses the pond

Posted: Friday, May 27, 2016

The Church Times is a widely read publication of the Church of England. The May 27 issue contains a review of Fleming's book along with two others. Here is an excerpt from the review by Dr. Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester:

"The most substantial of these books is The Crucifixion, by the veteran US Episcopalian [sic] priest; Fleming Rutledge. A gifted preacher and spiritual writer, this is her theological magnum opus of 600 pages. Don’t let the length put you off: this is pure gold, reminiscent in style of Ken Leech at his best. The book is at once profound and preachable. A preacher will find material, and illustrations, for many sermons. Any Christian would find it uplifting, and academic theologians will see just how theology can best be put at the service of the wider Church. Her main dialogue partner is American Christianity, which evades the cross, as it comes packaged “as inspirational uplift — sunlit, backlit, or candlelit”. Not that the cross can ever be interpreted without reference to the resurrection, but this must be as a conjoined paradox rather than as a balance or neat sequence. If there is a central motif in this restless and multi-faceted book, it is that Jesus Christ represents, and enacts, God’s apocalyptic entry into creation in order to confront and destroy the powers and principalities of evil, supremely in the confrontation that the cross portrays. Hence the importance of its public dimension. The cross is not just an ugly death but a public ugly death."



The Crucifixion wins Best Reference Book award

Posted: Friday, May 13, 2016

Dick and Fleming Rutledge are shown with Professor Deborah Hunsinger and Professor George Hunsinger of Princeton Theological Seminary at the Episcopal Conference Center in Oviedo, Florida, where both women won Best Book awards from the Academy of Parish Clergy. Prof. Hunsinger's book, the Best Book of 2015, is Bearing the Unbearable, which puts trauma theory to work in the service of the gospel. Fleming Rutledge's book, The Crucifixion, won as Best Reference Book of 2015, so designated on account of its heft and comprehensiveness. George Hunsinger, who has won many awards himself, wrote an endorsement (aka "blurb") for Fleming's book. It was a wonderful reunion of colleagues.

The Episcopal New Yorker interviews Fleming Rutledge about The Crucifixion

Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2016

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The Crucifixion was reviewed on the Reformed-ish blog by Derek Rishmawy, who calls it a “beautiful piece of theology”, ideal for pastor-theologians.

Posted: Monday, February 29, 2016

Commonweal, the highly respected Roman Catholic magazine, has given Fleming's The Crucifixion a prominent, positive review:

Posted: Sunday, February 28, 2016

The reviewer, Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, associate professor of theology at Boston College, calls the book a "remarkable" and "monumental" work, and closes by echoing "the chant Augustine heard in the Garden: tolle, lege: take up and read! Rutledge’s volume wonderfully celebrates the triumph of redeeming grace: the crucified Messiah, Jesus who is 'the wisdom and power of God.'"

The Christian Century featured a very positive review of The Crucifixion:

Posted: Saturday, February 27, 2016


Fleming presents her new book at the Ecumenical Institute in Baltimore:

Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The photo shows Michael Gorman, of the EI, responding to her presentation. The copy is by David Neff, retired editor-in-chief of Christianity Today.

Fleming's new book is published and available

Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ, is now officially in print. It can be ordered at a discount from Eerdmans directly, or from Amazon if you must. If you are a supporter of an independent bookstore, do ask them to order directly from Eerdmans. Eerdmans is superlative in speedy response and delivery, and they give substantial discounts to clergy.

This book about the cross of Christ is not like any other book presently on the market. It delves deeply into all the major images and motifs used in the Old and New Testaments to explain what is happening on the cross. That phrase, “what is happening,” is important. The crucifixion of Christ is not simply a spectacle to wonder at. God is doing something, something unique and cosmically effective, in historical time, at a specific geographical location intimately associated with his promises to the Jews. What is this thing that God is doing? This book attempts to answer that by reflecting in depth on what the Scriptures show us.

The book also attempts a close look at the problem of evil. There is no “answer” in this life to the problem of evil and suffering, but the suffering and excruciating public death of Jesus by torture is related to it in a way that is unique in religion and actually undercuts human religious ideas. The chapter called “The Descent into Hell” examines this matter in depth. Individual human frailty and sinfulness is addressed in the chapter called “The Substitution.” Social evil—war, violence, crime, oppression, racism, exploitation—is addressed particularly in “The Apocalyptic War: Christus Victor.” The entire volume is organized around the central proclamation of the gospel: the justification of the ungodly.

Several lay people have already testified that they are finding the book readable and engaging. To be sure, it is directed to pastors, preachers, and students, but it is also accessible to inquiring non-specialists. It can profitably be used by study groups, particularly by using the eight chapters in Part Two: The Biblical Motifs.

Recent Ruminations

Notre-Dame de Paris
Monday, April 15, 2019

4 PM, April 15, 2019

Off and on ever since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers, I have often imagined many possible targets for terrorists. I have imagined the destruction of the Metropolitan Museum, for instance, and everything in it. I have also, over the years since 9/11, wondered which building in the world would represent the greatest loss to humanity. I mentally ran through all the candidates—Westminster Abbey, the Taj Mahal, the Pantheon, Hagia Sophia—but I would always return in my mind to Notre-Dame de Paris as the building that would be the greatest loss to the world. I have specifically wondered what precautions were being taken to protect it.

I am truly thankful that it was not destroyed by a terrorist attack, but I am nevertheless inconsolable. The depth of my emotional attachment to Notre-Dame—it has drawn me back into its heart over and over during my life—has overwhelmed me. I have been literally sobbing off and on all day. I have nothing but pain in my heart. Grief for this building is different from mourning for a human being because it was the beating heart of Paris, a city whose allure has been unique for peoples around the globe. It angered me to hear the annoying, glib newscasters on television say repeatedly that it was “important to Catholics”…how extraordinarily stupid. Notre-Dame is important to humanity. The better broadcasters have begun to say that.

When I was about fourteen, I read Notre-Dame de Paris (aka The Hunchback of Notre Dame) by Victor Hugo. It made an indelible impression on me and I avidly reread it more than once. Much later, I learned that it was this book, more than anything else, which inspired the restoration of the cathedral after the depredations of the Revolution. It is particularly heartrending today to realize that it was restored again only a few years ago.

The interior of the cathedral, while beautiful and soaring with three great rose windows, was not really the secret of its magic. It was the location. Its setting at the ancient heart of this uniquely lovely city, on the Île de la Cité in the middle of the Seine, is what made it such an extraordinary sight, one which has never ceased to mesmerize visitors from everywhere on the globe. Of the world's cities, Athens and Rome are more ancient, and they have enduring power because of their place at the head of Western civilization, but Paris has beguiled the people of the world as no other. Its romance has never faded. The Seine, and the bridges over the Seine crossing the Île, have carried the life of the city since the early Middle Ages, and the great cathedral looming over it all has been its soul. That in itself is remarkable, since Paris has long since become a secular city, but the indistinguishable longing of the human heart for transcendent beauty has persisted and attached itself to the emblematic view of the flying buttresses on the eastern end of the building, seen from the river and the Île St Louis. It is that view, even more than that of the western façade, that conveys the singular combination of power and mass with floating delicacy that made it unique. My mother thought of Notre-Dame as a woman: Our Lady. I always thought of her as a mighty ship, afloat on her secure island, receiving the world into her wake and embrace. Of all the views I have cherished in my life, it is that view that meant the most to me.

The Guardian of Britain writes today: “It feels as though the very heart of France and the soul of Europe have been suddenly and viciously ripped out.” Even as the fire continues to burn today, people had already begun to talk of Europe again, the idea of Europe, and the fact of Christianity at the center of what “Europe” once meant when it dreamed of being its best instead of its worst.


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Latest Tips From the Times

I am shifting to Twitter!
Monday, January 23, 2017

I have decided to stop writing for this "Tips from the Times" feature on my website. From now on, I will simply reTweet articles that I think are notable, trying to be selective and not send too many. I have really enjoyed doing Tips, and I think there are some good pieces in my Tips archives, but I am spending too much time on it and--as we all know by now--Twitter is easier and more efficient, if not exactly mind-stretching! I will be able to put more effort into Ruminations. Many thanks to all my readers.

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