The root meaning of the word in Greek is “Correctly Believing.” If one holds that we do not yet have all the answers, and that not everything we believe now to be right is indeed right, one will not hold to strict orthodoxy but one will be open and flexible, like a willow. Even for someone who believes they see perfectly clearly and their brother is blind, the question arises not only how to bend them to our point of view, but also how to best get along on our interconnected planet.
While it’s common knowledge that many Christians disagree, it’s not always known that these disagreements have been going on since Christianity began. Sometimes, creeds were developed, to distill “right beliefs” in a nutshell. Historically, they’ve had mixed results. Although they did help in clarifying and simplifying truth for believers, they were also at times a stumbling block in a nonbeliever’s path to faith, stifling discourse and healthy questions. Worse, they’ve divided Christians.
One early creed that caused such division was adopted at the Council of Chalcedon in 451AD and held that Christ’s two natures were “inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably… in one person and one substance, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son.” Some felt this stance was theologically flawed, and that Christ’s nature was a unity, a single nature. And disagreements gave rise to riots at the time, finally splitting the church into the Oriental (Armenian Apostolic, Coptic, Ethiopian, Syrian) and Orthodox Churches.