Picking back up with my reading of Why We’re Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be) by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck, DeYoung discusses the position (if they so be so inclined to allow themselves to be boxed in) many emergent church leadership hold regarding orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

DeYoung points out that historically, Christians have been concerned about orthodoxy (right belief) and orthopraxy (right living).  However among the emergent movement there is a view that sees orthodoxy and orthopraxy as being one in the same.

DeYoung quotes Brian McLaren in an article from the July/August 2005 edition of Modern Reformation.  When McLaren was asked what is orthodoxy and who gets to define it McLaren answered, “It’s a virtue, and it’s Christlikeness…. Orthodoxy itself is a practice…. So ethics comes first, then doctrine comes second, and witness flows out of that.”

Peter Rollins in his book, How (Not) To Speak of God writes:

Orthodoxy is not longer (mis)understood as the opposite of heresy but rather is understood as a term that signals a way of being in the world rather than a means of believing things about the world.

Can right living come before right belief?  Is it even possible to live right without first having a right belief?  I don’t think so, and we get some insight into this via the Apostle Paul.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect, (Romans 12:1-2, ESV).

How are to know what is good and how to be a living sacrifice?  Where can we know how not to be conformed to the world?  The will of God.  Before we can enter into non-conformity we first must have our minds renewed.  Knowledge and belief come before action.  I seek to live rightly because of what I know and believe about God.  Belief does matter and always comes before any changes in how we live.

 

12 comments
  1. As we are called to place our trust in Jesus, to have faith in Him and His completed and sufficient work, belief must come before practice. Without belief there is no salvation, for practice alone can never achieve the standards demanded but a just and holy God.

    I cannot see these as not being separate.

  2. As we are called to place our trust in Jesus, to have faith in Him and His completed and sufficient work, belief must come before practice. Without belief there is no salvation, for practice alone can never achieve the standards demanded but a just and holy God.

    I cannot see these as not being separate.

  3. As we are called to place our trust in Jesus, to have faith in Him and His completed and sufficient work, belief must come before practice. Without belief there is no salvation, for practice alone can never achieve the standards demanded but a just and holy God.

    I cannot see these as not being separate.

  4. Surely the demons of hell believe and shudder? Their right belief does not save them. What Rollins is arguing, as a dialectic theologian, is that such a division between belief and action is fundamentally flawed.

  5. Surely the demons of hell believe and shudder? Their right belief does not save them. What Rollins is arguing, as a dialectic theologian, is that such a division between belief and action is fundamentally flawed.

  6. Surely the demons of hell believe and shudder? Their right belief does not save them. What Rollins is arguing, as a dialectic theologian, is that such a division between belief and action is fundamentally flawed.

  7. Well, that’s because they are demons, they know that God exists. They had that knowledge and yet they chose to rebel against Him.

    Romans 10:9 – “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will then be saved.”

    There shouldn’t be a division between belief and action, I’m not advocating that. I’m actually preaching this weekend on James 1 – “be doers of God’s word.” My argument is that belief comes before action. But unfortunately belief with Rollins is altogether marginalized.

  8. Well, that’s because they are demons, they know that God exists. They had that knowledge and yet they chose to rebel against Him.

    Romans 10:9 – “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will then be saved.”

    There shouldn’t be a division between belief and action, I’m not advocating that. I’m actually preaching this weekend on James 1 – “be doers of God’s word.” My argument is that belief comes before action. But unfortunately belief with Rollins is altogether marginalized.

  9. Well, that’s because they are demons, they know that God exists. They had that knowledge and yet they chose to rebel against Him.

    Romans 10:9 – “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will then be saved.”

    There shouldn’t be a division between belief and action, I’m not advocating that. I’m actually preaching this weekend on James 1 – “be doers of God’s word.” My argument is that belief comes before action. But unfortunately belief with Rollins is altogether marginalized.

  10. “My argument is that belief comes before action” (Shane)

    True…but even belief needs to be defined better. Belief is not all the mouth work we can do on a subject – it precedes it (as in thought) – but belief is what we do concering whatever it is we think about something. They are so inter-connected – it’s like emotion and the physical being (in one human person) – they are one and effect one another.

    For example, I can say that I believe in living a responsible life – as in working for a living to play my part in society and to my family – but if all I do is sit on welfare and ‘say’ this stuff – do I truly believe it? No. Maybe at some point I will – but it seems more like convincing myself I believe it than actually doing anything about it.

    That’s how I see faith – what you believe is evidenced by your actions (its a no fail system really). When Jesus mentions you can tell a tree by its fruits – he wasn’t lying…you can tell what someone believes by their actions – not what they say. Many good Christians believe all the right things – but does that tell me who they are? No. I am witness to their actions to me and others – then I will decide what it is they truly believe.

    Societyvss last blog post..The Problem With Sin…is SIN?

  11. “My argument is that belief comes before action” (Shane)

    True…but even belief needs to be defined better. Belief is not all the mouth work we can do on a subject – it precedes it (as in thought) – but belief is what we do concering whatever it is we think about something. They are so inter-connected – it’s like emotion and the physical being (in one human person) – they are one and effect one another.

    For example, I can say that I believe in living a responsible life – as in working for a living to play my part in society and to my family – but if all I do is sit on welfare and ‘say’ this stuff – do I truly believe it? No. Maybe at some point I will – but it seems more like convincing myself I believe it than actually doing anything about it.

    That’s how I see faith – what you believe is evidenced by your actions (its a no fail system really). When Jesus mentions you can tell a tree by its fruits – he wasn’t lying…you can tell what someone believes by their actions – not what they say. Many good Christians believe all the right things – but does that tell me who they are? No. I am witness to their actions to me and others – then I will decide what it is they truly believe.

    Societyvss last blog post..The Problem With Sin…is SIN?

  12. “My argument is that belief comes before action” (Shane)

    True…but even belief needs to be defined better. Belief is not all the mouth work we can do on a subject – it precedes it (as in thought) – but belief is what we do concering whatever it is we think about something. They are so inter-connected – it’s like emotion and the physical being (in one human person) – they are one and effect one another.

    For example, I can say that I believe in living a responsible life – as in working for a living to play my part in society and to my family – but if all I do is sit on welfare and ‘say’ this stuff – do I truly believe it? No. Maybe at some point I will – but it seems more like convincing myself I believe it than actually doing anything about it.

    That’s how I see faith – what you believe is evidenced by your actions (its a no fail system really). When Jesus mentions you can tell a tree by its fruits – he wasn’t lying…you can tell what someone believes by their actions – not what they say. Many good Christians believe all the right things – but does that tell me who they are? No. I am witness to their actions to me and others – then I will decide what it is they truly believe.

    Societyvss last blog post..The Problem With Sin…is SIN?

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