There is a tradition in which Christian orthodoxy is heralded by its ability to position and explain later movements and expressions. One of the more recent forms is how Orthodoxy can help us understand modernity as a sort of parody or parasite of traditional orthodox Christianity. The other common line is how earlier heresiology is still able to account for so many contemporary Christian distortions, that orthodox has tremendous explanatory power.
I have been sporadically reading through Iranaeus’s Against Heresies and to be honest it does have a fairly strong explanatory power. It can account for any number of current liberal, new agey, esoteric, intellectual, or even scientific expressions of faith. This ability is typically considered a strength of orthodoxy, that is has a prior position of observation and validity. However, does this not point to the veracity and non-instituitional sustainability of particular heresies? Now I know this can lead to the argument that just because something endures does not mean it is worth enduring. Sure. I never said that there would be no discernment involved. Should it not be worth considering how it is that certain forms can endure, mutate, and be dispersed without the aid of centralizing and potentially violent forms discursive structuring? If there is to be a theological model of divine participation wouldn’t this be a better place to look?