In fact, it really is important to know the truth, and it's also important to convey that truth humbly.
That's the concise message of "Humble Orthodoxy" by Joshua Harris, with Eric Stanford (published by Multnomah Books). In fact, the physical book itself models the message by the authors. Instead of stretching a single subject into a full-sized hardback edition, the photo above shows this small book in the palm of my hand.
It's a little hardback (just 79 pages in a mini-hardback format, and that includes a study guide in the back of the book) because the authors stick to the subject, one that needs to be broached by many in the church. Being right --- having orthodox beliefs --- matters. But so does how we communicate the truth of God's Word to others.
In 2013, the church is rife with arrogance and even mean-spiritedness in how some use their version of the truth to pummel others. Others are willing to fudge on the truth for the sake of "peace." What we really need in order to be the church unified on mission for Christ is humble orthodoxy.
"One of the mistakes Christians often make is that we learn to rebuke like Jesus but not love like Jesus," the authors write.
Harris and Stanford identify the problems surrounding a lack of both humility and orthodoxy and lead us in learning how we can harmonize knowing and sharing God's truth with genuine humility and graciousness toward others.
Anyone with a heart to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others would benefit from this book. It's a fast but worthwhile read that may help you be more effective in pursuing orthodox beliefs with the right attitude.
I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
The very title of this book, Humble Orthodoxy by Joshua Harris and Eric Stanford, made me think I needed to read it.
The subtitle, Holding the Truth High Without Putting People Down convinced me, because this strikes at the heart of every Christian.
In our day, this is one of the Church's greatest needs. We need Humble Orthodoxy.
Have you ever met the doctrinally sound man who manages to be repellent and unkind even when he is presenting the beauties of the Gospel? This is the attitude Joshua Harris calls "Arrogant Orthodoxy."
How about the very friendly, understanding man who listens well and speaks about God's acceptance, yet never makes anyone uncomfortable by checking their beliefs against Scripture?This is the attitude Joshua Harris calls "Humble Heterodoxy."
I know these extremes well, as do all of us probably.
Timothy and Paul did too. That is why Paul wrote the letter of 2 Timothy, full of instruction on doctrine as well as the Christ-like attitude the orthodox must hold. We need to first understand that it isn't about us, about being right. It isn't our Truth we are defending. It is about the Truth God has given us, and the Redemption He gives.
Timothy's legacy is our legacy: handling the word of God rightly.
In short, Doctrine is Truth God has given us to defend, and we have to do so in a manner worthy of Him.
If you only remember one thing from this book, it perhaps should be this line: It is possible to defend the Truth of Christ in a way that drives people from Him.
If that doesn't make you repent and mend your ways, what will?
Of course, just knowing that is not enough.
We must know that the same Gospel we are defending provides us with the ability to wage war to save souls, not destroy perceived enemies.
Then, by the power of Christ, we can be Humbly Orthodox.
Thank you to the authors and to Waterbrook's Blogging for Books program for sending me this book!
One of my greatest sins is how prideful I am when I am conversing with someone whom I disagree with. When I should be at my most gentle I am most hurtful. This is something that I am quite embarrassed about. I am not helping to build up fellow believers and worse than that I am bringing shame to the name of Christ. Sins that I ask forgiveness of often.
When sin remains I try to find passages in Scripture, sermons and/or books that deal with that sin. Fortunately a book has just been released that confronts my pride and exposes the root of my sin - Humble Orthodoxy by Joshua Harris.
Humble orthodoxy is the idea that we must have a right thinking about God (orthodoxy) and apply and discuss it humbly. He says this, "Christians need to have a strong commitment to sound doctrine. We need to be courageous in our stand for biblical truth. But we also need to be gracious in our words and interaction with other people." He goes onto say, "truth matters_but so does our attitude. This is what I mean by humble orthodoxy: we must care deeply about the truth, and we must also defend and share this truth with compassion and humility." That is my struggle, being humble gracious when interacting with others. I believe that it is a struggle that most of us have.
The statement he makes that cut me the most is this: "One of the mistakes Christians often make is that we learn to rebuke like Jesus but not love like Jesus." Isn't this so fitting of many people? I am this person. I can rebuke with the best of them but not love like Christ.
I know many people who have been hurt by people in the church because of the unloving way they were treated by them. And that is unfortunate and sinful.
With that said and equal sin is to be so humble that we don't confront sin. Harris says this, "There is nothing more unloving than to be silent in the face of lies that will ruin another person." Because the church has been so hateful in its presentation of the gospel it has almost abandoned any confrontation all together. The world has expected as much from the church. They want a loving church without being rebuked for their sins. As I mentioned earlier that is as sinful as being prideful in our disagreements.
How do we go from being prideful to being full of humility? Harris gives the following advice, "Don't be quarrelsome. Don't get sidetracked on secondary issues. Be kind. Be patient. When other people are evil, endure it while trusting God. When you need to correct someone, do it with gentleness." So simple yet so true. If we all got hold of this and applied it to every dealing with had with others the church would have more power in dealing with sin inwardly and in the world.
The reason we should be humble is because Jesus is humble (Philippians 2:8) and we should be like Christ. He is our motivation. He is our example. He is our goal. Harris spends much time on this which is so important in gaining a right perspective on our relationships with others.
To summarize the ideas in his book Harris says this, "That must always be the driving passion behind our pursuit of biblical orthodoxy. Not to prove ourselves more right or better than someone else but to better worship the holy God, the one who forgives and accepts us for Christ's sake."
This is a short book of 61 pages. You could read it in an hour or so. You may find that it takes you longer because you will stop often and meditate on what you have been reading. I am so thankful for a book like this. It has been needed for some time. I can't recommend it enough.
Humble Orthodoxy is a short but straight to the point book. Mr. Harris deals with the age old problem of how do you get truth across without putting people down. Grace and Truth. Each are essential and Jesus is the fulfillment of both. You can't have one without the other. Well, you can try but it's not very effective. This book gives a great introduction as to what happens when you focus too much on theology and then what also happens if you don't know any theology. Both can be hazardous. Humility is what it boils down to. Recognizing we are all in a spiritually desperate condition and the only one who can save us is Christ. There's no place for our own ego in that. This is a small book but packs a lot into it. I believe it is worth the time to read.
I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my review.