Christianity 201

June 26, 2021

Your Walk Should Match Your Talk

Discussions around the dinner table at our house this week centered on a church which does some rather odd things which appear to be out of character with the core values they say they uphold. The variance is often somewhat startling.

Four years ago we ran a blog post here which we called Doctrine and Behavior. At the time we linked to and an article they ran which used the proper theological terms, Orthodoxy (right beliefs) and Orthopraxy (right practices.)  They noted that,

…[C]orrect doctrine will lead to correct behavior, but the doctrine comes first. In Romans, Paul spends the first eleven chapters explaining correct doctrine. In Romans 12:1 he transitions to correct practice: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. The word therefore means that the instructions that follow are based upon the doctrine that has just been explained.

In Ephesians we see the same pattern. Ephesians 1–3 explain correct doctrine, and chapters 4–6 explain correct practice. Once again, Ephesians 4:1 makes the transition: As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. In the first 3 chapters, Paul has explained the calling of the Christian in doctrinal terms, and now he calls his readers to live in light of that doctrine.

In Titus 3:8 Paul pulls orthodoxy and orthopraxy together in one verse: I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God [orthodoxy] may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good [orthopraxy]. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. He does the same thing in Ephesians 2. Verses 8–9 emphasize the orthodox teaching that we are saved by grace through faith apart from good works: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Verse 10 completes the thought: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Once again, correct belief comes first, and out of that flow correct works. We are saved apart from works; God’s purpose in saving us is that we do good works.

In fact, the relationship between orthodoxy and orthopraxy is so strong that, if a person does not perform good works, it is doubtful that he believes the right things. First John 2:3–6 explains, We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”

As a rule, while we repeat original material here, I don’t do a second re-posting of others material (although that was four out of ten paragraphs) so I wanted to add something else to the discussion today, which follows.

One needs to be careful however, as just looking up orthodoxy and orthopraxy leads to websites oriented to how this plays out in Islam and Hinduism. In a sense, while we can’t send readers to those pages, it is what you want in a faith community; you want people whose actions match their stated convictions.

Which brings us to some closing thoughts by Liv Walton which appeared at Mars Hill Newspaper, which is connected to Trinity Western University. Clicking the header which follows will take you there.

Orthodoxy Versus Orthopraxy

Contemporary Christianity is constantly confronted with societal transformation.There are times, however, where transformation becomes a point of conflict amongst the body of Christ. There have been and always will be instances when the trends of cultures appear to be maligned with biblical text or the values one is taught to hold. How does the body of Christ, both institutionally and individually, handle the grey areas? What happens when orthodoxy isn’t the answer and it’s not as simple as the Sunday-school phrase, “be in the world and not of it”? Though generally overlooked, orthopraxy can and should be used to provide clarity in the way the body of Christ interacts with society.

Orthodoxy is most simply defined as “right belief,” which consists of authorized or generally accepted theory, doctrine or practice. Orthodoxy is held with great importance in the Protestant-Christian church and other branches of Christianity such as Catholicism. While Protestant-Christians do not contend that salvation is found through doctrine nor practice, having faith is not enough to qualify “right belief.”

As Matthew 7 says, one will know right belief when good comes from their practices. This concept is echoed in James 2:14-26, as well, when the author says, “faith without works is dead.” It cannot be refuted that orthodoxy important in contemporary Christianity, however, orthodoxy can easily turn into idolatry. In some instances, the theology of the body of Christ restricts, or places too much importance on, the practice of orthodoxy to service. It is not uncommon for faith-based circles to heap shame on those who do not volunteer at their church or within their community, judging their faith to be dead.

Orthopraxy is defined as “right practice” yet this idea of practice is not about practicing right doctrine. Rather, when orthopraxy talks about practice, it is talking about gospel living. Instead of focusing solely on saying and doing the right things, one should focus on the holistic message of the gospel, which is to love God and love others. Additionally, orthopraxy puts emphasis on liturgy (worship) that extends beyond Sunday services. When incorporating orthopraxy, one’s faith becomes a testament to God’s love and puts every individual on the same level. Christianity is not about who can serve the most at church or witness to the most people, but rather how one can love those around them in a way that edifies and uplifts others as fellow image-bearers.

Orthodoxy and orthopraxy are not meant to stand alone. When one places all emphasis on orthodoxy, servitude becomes a false idol; and, when all the emphasis is on orthopraxy, the body of Christ and important practices such as communion can more easily be lost. However, when a balance of both is reached, believers are able to look at the world with more love. Grey areas and societal transformation become an opportunity for individual growth through God and the work of the Holy Spirit.

In the days ahead, ask yourself, ‘Does my walk match my talk?’

You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder (James 2:14–19).

August 17, 2018

Daniel: A Trajectory of Consistency and Faithfulness Towards God

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:32 pm
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Today we’re introducing you to “a freelance writer, wife, and mom,” whose blog is titled My Way Home. I read several different articles before choosing this one to feature here at C201. Click the title below to read at source.

The Man Who Walked the Line

Daniel in the lions’ den is perhaps one of the most beloved Bible stories of all time, especially by children. I’ve taught it a number of times through the years, and Daniel’s great courage and the miracle of the lions’ closed mouths never fails to thrill.

But another aspect of Daniel’s life came to mind today when I was considering what to highlight in the life of this faithful man.

In Daniel 6, Darius the king formed a group of one hundred twenty princes, and over those, three presidents, of whom Daniel was chief. Daniel was so revered by Darius that the other leaders grew jealous of him and concocted a plan to get rid of him.

Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.

Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. – Daniel 6:4, 5

Daniel was a man of such integrity that his only apparent “weakness” was his faith.

So, the princes and presidents tricked Darius into signing a law requiring everyone in the kingdom to pray only to the king for thirty days.

Those who petitioned “any God or man” (Daniel 6:7) would be lion fodder.

Plot a graph of Daniel’s deeds throughout his life, and you’ll find a straight line connecting each point. Though his life was punctuated with the miraculous and the dramatic, Daniel himself was a steady, straightforward sort, solid as a rock in his faith. He never showed fear, never seemed to consider any alternative other than the right one, even when facing death.

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. – Daniel 6:10

Daniel just kept doing the same thing he had always done.

He had always prayed three times each day in front of his open window, and he continued to do so immediately following the new decree. His habits and character were so reliable that the men who plotted his demise were certain of their success.

And they were right. As we know, Daniel was caught, convicted, and cast among lions. But God saved his life, and his adversaries were tossed to the lions in his stead.

I will certainly strive, as Daniel did, to maintain godly habits, come what may. Sometimes, the habits of prayer, Bible reading, church attendance, Christian fellowship, and even blogging are what will keep us heading onward and upward in the valleys of our Christian lives.

Do you have a teenager in the house who would benefit from something like C201, only written by a teen for a teen? Today’s writer’s 13-year-old daughter, who calls herself Bible Blogger Girl has just launched Teen, Meet God.

July 23, 2012


Anyone who has worked with mathematical or scientific formulas knows that often there is one factor which is known as a “constant,” sometimes represented by the letter kConstancy, or if you  prefer, consistency, should be the mark of every Christ-follower. People should see our ‘k-factor.’ Today’s post is ‘borrowed’ from Daily Encouragement, my go-to click that starts most days online. It appeared there under the title Delilah Road.

“After this it came about that he (Samson) loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah” (Judges 16:4).

“When he (King Darius) had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?’” (Daniel 6:20).

I just read the inspiring story of a businessman who took a bold, principled stand against the grain of political correctness and confusion abounding in our land. When criticized rather than backing down from his convictions or capitulating he merely stated, “Guilty as charged.”

Wednesday, on the way to the shore, we passed a road sign in New Jersey that caught our attention and prompted some good-natured teasing in our van. Delilah Road is a most unusual name and I can’t help but wonder if it was named after a real person or even the Delilah written about in the Bible. I teased my friend Jesse and said, “We must not go down Delilah Road.” (The ladies amened that in the second row!)

It’s interesting that we saw the sign as we were headed in the direction of Atlantic City just before we got on the Garden State Parkway and down the shore about ten miles to Ocean City, which is very different than Atlantic City!

Delilah was the temptress who beguiled Samson. (See Judges 16).

Today let us consider two famous Bible characters, both who had great potential. The first person, Samson, had faltering faith and is more famous for his weaknesses than his strengths. The second person, Daniel, is one of the sterling characters of the Bible who consistently served God in his worship and lifestyle as characterized in the phrase from the daily text, “your God, whom you constantly serve.”

This is a remarkable testimony from the lips of an observant secular king! Daniel had spent his entire adult life in the service of a series of secular kings and had acted with absolute integrity. His enemies were unable to bring a charge of any dereliction of duties for “they could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent” (6:4). They finally found a way to trap him in regard to his religious convictions yet he faithfully stood the test. He faced a hungry den of lions rather than compromise his lifelong, steadfast walk with God.

Today I want to especially take note of the phrase, “your God, whom you constantly serve.” Daniel had been faithful to the king in regard to his employment. But the king noticed something additional. Daniel had demonstrated his faith in God with continual service. This was toward the end of Daniel’s long life, after being removed from his homeland during the Babylonian exile and his conscription into service, first for King Nebuchadnezzar and his son Belshazzar of Babylon, and at the changing of the kingdom, under Darius, king of Persia. His early resolve not to defile himself with the king’s food established a pattern of lifelong, uncompromising obedience to God’s commands (1:8).

What do those around you observe in your life?  Are you steadfast in your walk? Is your testimony consistent with your lifestyle or are you like a chameleon trying to blend into every setting. By the grace of God and with a resolute heart we will be faithful to His cause even when we’re in the minority. After all it’s been that way throughout the generations, so why do we expect it to be different for us today? In agreement with the Psalmist I pray in earnest, “Oh that my ways may be established to keep Your statutes!” (119:5). Will you join me?

Daily prayer: Father, though there are many ups and downs, highs and lows one thing we hope others observe about our life is that we are continually serving our Lord and Savior no matter what. May we never sell out to appease others or due to fear regarding the consequences of our public stand for You. More important than what is spoken about us on this side are the words we long to hear You say in the hereafter, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joys of heaven…” How we look forward to that future blessed event, through the mercy of Jesus our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen.

 ~ Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

June 4, 2010


I don’t want to get legalistic about posting here, but I missed yesterday, which is odd because I spent the day at home, the car never left the driveway.   I’ve only missed one other day since starting this; it’s easy to get distracted.   Unnecessary distractions.   I’m trying to remain faithful to this because I see faithfulness as a virtue worth cultivating on an ongoing basis.

When I think of the opposite — unfaithfulness — I often think of Jesus and his disciples in the garden of Gethsemane.

Mark 14: 37Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

39Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.

41Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come.

Maybe it was the wine.   The passover meal included four instances of “taking the cup;” although the gospel accounts record, at best, only two of these.   Four glasses of wine would do it.   But the same translation, NIV, has the equivalent of verse 40 saying, “he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow.” (Luke 22: 45) (Sorrow, or grief over his clear delineation of his death, or at least, his impending ‘leaving them.’)

Anyway, for me, at 11:50 last night when I realized I’d missed a day, it was the same type of voice saying, “Could you not write a few lines; embed another worship song; find a quotation?”   I guess your definition of faithfulness may vary.   Here’s The Message on the Luke verses:

37-38He came back and found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, you went to sleep on me? Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert, be in prayer, so you don’t enter the danger zone without even knowing it. Don’t be naive. Part of you is eager, ready for anything in God; but another part is as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”

39-40He then went back and prayed the same prayer. Returning, he again found them sound asleep. They simply couldn’t keep their eyes open, and they didn’t have a plausible excuse.

I guess sometimes when distractions keep us from sticking to a spiritual discipline, we really don’t have a plausible excuse.

Here’s a final verse from Matthew 25 (NIV):

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’