Friday, May 3, 2013

Humble Orthodoxy by Joshua Harris

Pride seems to manifest itself in many ways in my life. But one place I tend to see pride in my own heart time and again is when it comes to doctrine. I think most of my theology is correct. I assume you do as well. That is one of the reasons why Humble Orthodoxy by Joshua Harris is such a needed book for me (and probably for you).

In 2010, Harris wrote Dug Down Deep, a book on why theology is important. The last chapter of that book now serves as the basis for Humble Orthodoxy. It has been taken and expanded on to make its own book. The point of this book is that while we do need to stand for the truth of God, we shouldn't be a jerk while we do it. Harris says,
"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" (3-4). 
I cannot tell you how many times I have related to people when the subject of certain doctrines came up, with arrogance. Still to this day, I think I have a much stronger argument biblically. But I really do not think I pleased the Lord in those conversations. In most of those situations, I found myself in the pursuit of truth . . . for truth's sake. Not for the glory of God. And certainly not for the good of other people. Again, Harris diagnosis many of my intents when he writes:
"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 alone . . . If we make a good think like correct theology the ultimate end--if being right becomes more important to us than worshiping God--then our theology is not really about God anymore. It's about us. It becomes the source of our sense of worth and identity. And if theology becomes about us, then we'll despise and demonize those who oppose us" (25-26).
That is not what I want. Do you? I want right theology. I want to teach truth. I want to hold the gospel and other biblical doctrines with security. I do believe the Bible is written in such a way that we can understand it and apply it to our life. I just don't want to do any of these things so that I look better or smarter than someone else. I want to love people while I teach the truth.

When I received this book in the mail, I quickly realized that I could read it in a few hours at most (it is only just over 60 pages). But I also realized that the implication of this book will never be so easy. It will probably take me a lifetime to fully understand. His point at the end of the book is very fitting and helpful to close out my thoughts:
"Something that helps me in my pursuit of humble orthodoxy is to remember that one day in heaven there will be only one right person. It won't be me. And I'm sorry to say so, but it won't be you either. It will be God" (54). 
I received a copy of Humble Orthodoxy by Joshua Harris from Multnomah for review.

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