Christine Caldwell Ames explains that the content of the Christian faith has always been a matter of debate.
One of the challenges, certainly, that both medieval heresy and medieval inquisition grappled with is, very simply, what is the content of the Christian faith? And I think what is most remarkable about medieval inquisition is that it is that debate – what is the content of the belief of the Christian faith, and who determines that? This is another very lively question. Who’s in the position, who has the power to determine what is the content of the Christian faith?
But they are all, I would say – whether it’s a heretic who is going back to the New Testament, who is having it translated, say, into his vernacular language, or an inquisitor who is going through and reading the scriptures together with, say, canon law – what we see is a thoughtful attempt to determine what we might call the real message of Christianity. But it is impossible for them certainly to arrive at any kind of consensus. And what we see over the history of Christianity is, again, this tension between moving towards such a thing that is orthodoxy and what is believed by everyone, everywhere – this ideal of orthodoxy, because it is an ideal – that is juxtaposed with a diversity of Christianity. And the diversity and the orthodoxy, both are making an appeal to the scriptures.