Skip to main content

Humble Orthodoxy




Humble Orthodoxy by Joshua Harris

Joshua Harris, Pastor at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland is well known for his writings on the Christian faith that span the gamut from dating to theology.  His new book, Humble Orthodoxy is a short work aiming to bring together the twin ideas of humility and truth.  In too many cases, a desire to firmly hold onto the truth carries with it an arrogance that smacks of contempt for other Christian traditions.  Knee-jerk reactions run the spectrum from vitriol against Arminianism, infant baptism, Catholic tradition, and worship music.  This little book by Josh fills a void that is needed.  Rather than harping on individual doctrines or just humility, Josh wants us to think of the posture in which we hold our theological viewpoints. 

He writes, “Whether our theological knowledge is great or small, we all need to ask a vital question: What will we do with the knowledge of God that we have” (4)? Is knowledge made to be an instrument to pummel people who disagree with us or is it a way to love and serve the Lord Almighty?  Josh goes onto elucidate two avenues to humble orthodoxy that are not so helpful: arrogant orthodoxy and humble heterodoxy (6-8).  The arrogant orthodox kind is quick to hold onto right doctrine but act in an unkind and rude manner to others.  Whenever an opposing viewpoint is presented, someone who lives out arrogant orthodoxy will immediately respond with anger and harsh words.  On the other side, the person who is holds a humble heterodoxy is quick to point that he doesn’t believe every historic belief but is inclusive and open-minded.  He is sure to not blame others or offend the sensibilities of the culture, but is more willing to appear humble and kind.  The problem here is that of a watering down of doctrine for the sake of accommodating to the culture’s norms and values.  Bearing up under Paul’s wisdom in  2 Timothy, Joshua leads us to see that Paul was encouraging Timothy to be a bulwark for the orthodox faith while opposing others with gentleness.  There is a real connection here between right belief and right practice that shapes the way a believer should bear witness to his Savior, Jesus Christ.

In the chapter With a Tear in Our Eye, Josh points out that the elevation of theology for knowledge sake ultimately leads to ruin because we begin to build an edifice of our own image rather than worshiping God (26-27).  Idolatry comes in many forms, but the idolatry of knowledge destroys the desire to serve God with humility rightly.  So what is the right response?  Josh quickly points out the death of God’s sin is ‘the most humbling, human-pride smashing message in the world’ (29).  Recognizing the depth of God’s love for sinners, and the reality that we could not do anything to merit God’s acceptance, points us away from pride and to the Savior.  Furthermore, holding our truth about the Christian faith with humility involves repenting over our own prideful sin, coming to others asking their forgiveness and moving forward with grace.

I greatly enjoyed this book.  I think this book will be of great encouragement for anyone desiring to live a more vibrant and holistic Christian life. 

Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah Books and the Blogging for Books program for providing a copy of this book for review.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

the great spiritual migration

The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian D McLaren

Brian McLaren and his own pithy way brings to the foreground and emphasis on a new kind of Christianity. The kind of faith that Brian envisions is a kind of migration not been set in the bedrock of beliefs that is unmoving but rather shifting with both culture and with faith. His new book the great spiritual migration is exactly that, a pointed work that encapsulates a vision towards the future where Christianity is changing and its peoples lives are changed as well.

Brian states in the introduction, "but we also know that for a lot of people Christianity is malfunctioning, seriously so, and it's not pretty. This kind of frustration with conventional Christianity is what McLaren gets gets to at the heart of this message is concerned with a number of different clusters unbelief. One, namely that Christianity has been stuck in a set of propositions or beliefs that has controlled churches in the faith, rather then a spirit of love t…

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Growing up with the NIV, the NKJV was not a bible I was familiar with.  This new NKJV Study Bible takes all of the features of the Thomas Nelson Study Bible and makes them better.  Right out of the box I noticed that the Bible was considerably lighter than most study bibles I have read.  Further, the text font was much larger than most study editions, although I’m not quite sure of the size. The aquamarine color was a great touch and the Bible was finely put together, enduring the wear of many coming years of use.
Why is this Bible worth the purchase?  First, the study notes were great for extra handling of particular confusing and messy areas of Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments.  Yet, the study notes aren’t an obstruction to the reading of the biblical text.  Clearly, the editors have taken great care in making the text stand out and the notes illuminate certain themes and areas of Scripture.  Second, the NKJV takes into account all t…