Orthdoxy vs. Orthopraxy

Orothdoxy vs. Orthopraxy

In one of my previous blog posts, I introduced to you to an idea that I call the Gospel Road System. The Gospel Road system is a term I’ve coined to describe the evangelism system of the local church. When it comes to establishing an effective evangelism system in your local church, you must have a secure foundation upon which you can build the road. When building a gospel road system, like building and engineering a physical road, one must dig past the topsoil and get down to a solid footing. I call this bedrock. Digging past the surface and finding bedrock allows the road to be built upon a solid foundation. For a church, this bedrock for the Gospel Road System is the church’s theology for evangelism.
 
The goal of establishing the bedrock is to dig past the soft overlay and dig down to what you really believe. I call this your orthodoxy. Orthodoxy relates to right beliefs or right theology. Often churches want gimmicks or silver bullets for growth and evangelism. I call this a church’s “orthopraxy.” Orthopraxy refers to the right actions. I’m of the opinion that our orthodoxy—right thinking—should influence our orthopraxy—right actions. Many churches look for an orthopraxy that is not driven and influenced by their orthodoxy. A strong orthodoxy regarding souls and evangelism is key to a church’s development of their orthopraxy of outreach.
 
We must get down to the very basic building blocks of our theology of evangelism. We know that Jesus came to seek and save that which is lost (Luke 19:10). This post is going to give you a biblical framework for ground zero regarding lost people—the basics. Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of Green Bay Packers, once said, “Don’t tell me about trick plays or new formations. When the crisis in the game comes, I want to know one thing: Does my team know how to block and tackle?”
 
In other words, does my team know the basics? Do they have the right orthodoxy to influence their orthopraxy?
 
John 3:16 states that, “for God so loved that world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
 
God’s personal orthopraxy was shaped by his orthodoxy. God believes that if someone does a not believe in him he is lost (orthodoxy). If he is lost, he is perishing (orthodoxy). Because he believes this, he sent His only Son to die on the cross (orthopraxy).
 
A Biblical Orthodoxy of Lostness:
What does the Bible say about those who do not believe?

  • The Bible describes lost people as being “led away to death… as those staggering toward slaughter.” Proverbs 24:11
 
  • The Bible notes that lost people are not just lost. They are “separated….from your God.”  Isaiah 59:2
 
  • Matthew declares that lost people are “living in darkness…” and are living in “the shadow of death.” Matthew 4:16

  • John states that these lost people are “…condemned already” (John 3:18). Why? “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life” (Romans 6:23).

  • John’s Gospel goes on to declare that, “Whoever rejects the Son will not see life,” and that “God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36).

  • Paul, in 1 Corinthians 1:18, reaffirms the words from John 3:16 when he writes concerting the lost as, “those who are perishing.”  

  • Paul announces the lost are, “without hope and without God” (Ephesians 2:12).

  • Paul tells the Thessalonians in his second letter that the lost “will be be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

  • In Revelations, it is revealed that the lost will be “thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).

Now that is quite a disturbing list regarding the Lost. These verses are the basic building blocks of ones’s evangelism orthodoxy. Let’s take it a step further. Read this statement below adding in the blank the name of a person you know who is lost.
 
_________________ (name of the person you care about who is lost) is being led away to death…is separated from God…will not see life…is under God’s wrath…will be punished with everlasting destruction…will be shut out from the presence of the Lord…will be thrown into the lake of fire.
 
This is why:
 
“It is not God’s will that any would perish, but that all would come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
 
These are the bedrock principles for a biblical orthodoxy regarding evangelism. With this bedrock principle firmly established, our orthopraxy (building the Gospel Road) can stand the test of time. Evangelism must come from a firm biblical foundation.
 
Note: I included this theology of Lostness in a message recently at True North. Click here to listen to the podcast.
 
True North Church works hard building Gospel Road Bridges into our community during Christmas. There will be several upcoming blog posts dealing with our “True North Orthopraxy.”

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