Thursday, September 30, 2010

Terminology - Orthodoxy vs. Orthopraxy

In celebration of the month of October, which happens to be my birth month, here at The Old Dead Guys we decided to look at two contrasting words.  Now we acknowledge that they do not have to be contrasting but we also note that in every life there is a certain amount, to what ever degree, of disconnect between what we believe and what we actually do.  And it is here that we will find the contrast.

Webster defines Orthodoxy as:

- Soundness of faith; a belief in the genuine doctrines taught in the Scriptures.

- Consonance to genuine scriptural doctrines; as the orthodoxy of a creed.

An of course it finds its root in being orthodox which is from the Greek ‘orthodoxos’ meaning to have the right opinion and combines othos – right, true, straight + doxa  - opinion, to think.  So that if some one is orthodox we understand that they have a correct belief based upon the evidence at hand.  This certainly means that the term orthodox is not a theological term at all but can be, and should be applied to all sorts of disciplines whether it is sports, engineering, science, or mathematics. 

But what happens when our orthodoxy does not find its way into our everyday lives or orthopraxy?  Webster did not define orthopraxy so we went to Wiktionary where Orthopraxy is defined as:

- Correct practice or action.

Now we equally acknowledge that you can display a correct action without having a correct belief.  But what ever we make of these two words independently, in conjunction with one another they certainly mean that ‘praxy without a correct ‘doxy is most likely done in error but also that a sound ‘doxy without it working into a proper ‘praxy is certain to be in error.

Together they combine the right belief, orthodoxy, with right practice, orthopraxy so that they compliment each other and validate our belief in Christ (1 John 2: 3–6).  This is exactly what James is referring to when he rhetorically asks can the faith that does not produce works be the kind of faith you wish to rest your salvation on? (Jas 2:14-26).

As Christians, especially Reformed Christians the right belief about Jesus must be validated by being imitators of Jesus (Lk 9: 23).  So that the condition of coming to the light of orthodoxy is to do the works of God in orthopraxy.

So among us of the Reformed faith, is the term “the frozen chosen” deserved?

Hmmm…think about it.  


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