I want to point my readers to Phil Harland's review of my book, The Thirteenth Apostle. Phil is a fellow blogger and has some interesting things to say in regard to the book. I want to respond to his criticism that I use the term "apostolic" to refer to the "mainstream" church, and that this is anachronistic. We have not yet created language to discuss what actually was going on on the ground in the second century.
I hate "proto-orthodox" because of its connotation that these churches were "orthodox" when in fact they weren't. In fact, many of the main leaders of this church were later designated as heretics (i.e. Tertullian, Origen). I also hate "mainstream" because it suggests that there was a mainstream and everyone else was divergent. I find "apostolic" to be the least onerous because it suggests that these churches rallied around the twelve apostles and believed that their doctrines came from them directly, and it doesn't have any negative connotations in regard to other forms of Christianity.
If anyone has a better term to suggest, I'm more than open to hear about it, because I haven't the foggiest clue how to get out of this terminological dilemma! Thanks Phil for bringing this up.