"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « Picturing The Absurd | Main | The Gospel According to Galatians, Pt. 6: Justification by Faith Alone by C. R. Biggs »

    Not Right Teaching, But Right Living

    In our local newspaper on Sunday, there was a story about the emergent church, The title of the article is "Unchurched? Dechurched? Rechurched? Your prayers may be answered." Here is a quotable quote from Paul Metzger from Multnomah Bible Seminary: "These communities span the theological spectrum, drawing from ancient as well as contemporary sources of spirituality." He goes on to say, "For many of them, it's not about right-thinking or right-teaching, it's more about right-living."

    Does that not strike you as an odd statement? How can you have right living without right teaching or right thinking? It is not as if orthodoxy and orthopraxy are mutually exclusive. Yet a close look at the Text of Scripture would have us be aware that orthopraxy (practice) is dependant upon orthodoxy. That is why Paul, in his epistles begins with several chapters of doctrine before He gets into how we should respond to it (See Eph 1-3, 4-6; Rom 1-12, 13+). If we do not know who Christ is, then He simply becomes a wax nose conforming to the latest fashion and our religion becomes indistinguishable from other world religions of human effort.

    If the basis of our faith were orthopraxy more than orthodoxy then we could think wrong thoughts about Christ all day, as long as we remain well-behaved. This would amount to nothing more than a religion of behavior modification or moralism. The Scripture makes clear, however, that to the degree we think wrong thoughts about God, to that same degree we commit idolatry. If we reject what Christ taught about himself, in favor of only His teachings about how to behave and treat one another, then we strip the gospel of its substance and turn the grace of God into something about us. Our orthopraxy should, rather, arise our of what He has done for us. The new life in us animates our love for God.

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    Posted by John on October 17, 2006 12:28 PM


    The Christian faith is not a buffett where you pick and chose what to believe and how to behave. We are to submit both mind and body to Christ. To say He can have one aspect of our lives without the other is to deny the faith. Christians are to embrace right-thinking, right-teaching and right-living as they are all are befitting to the Lord.

    I hate it when folks try to divide things like orthodoxy and orthopraxy. You will find the same thing when folks teach that the meaning of Scripture is preserved but the words are not, as if the words themselves don't create the meaning. Words can be no more separated from meaning than practice can be from doctrine.

    Saying that orthodoxy is more important than orthopraxy is no different than saying that orthopraxy is more important than orthodoxy. That is, if you really believe that either orthodoxy or orthopraxy is important. If you do believe that orthodoxy is most important you will study that which is orthodox and will live out your life accordingly. On the other hand, if you believe that orthypraxy is more important you will look to doctrine to inorder to know how you should live your life. When it all comes down to it, they are equally important, if one is truly important to you the other by default will be important to you. You cannot truly have one without the other.

    Wouldn't it seem likely that reducing Christianity to simply living right is a cheap scape goat to elude responsiblity? After which moral subjectivism is not far off on the horizon.

    i believe right living which is synonymous with the righteousness of God is a product of an intimate relationship of obedience to christ,it's more than just a lifestyle but life of deeper absolute convictions on what is wrong and right.

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