Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Reading the internet recently I've noticed that a large number of writers are very concerned about what is perceived as “the church”, and developing some worrying definitions, which often denigrate other fellow believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, and His finished work.

Those, whom I have no right to identify in any other way than genuine believers in Christ, whether traditional in practice or otherwise, are voicing concerns about the other.

Many religions are known to emphasize orthopraxy (correct action/activity), which is a system of meriting the favor of deity, whether that deity is the God of the Bible, or some other god.

In other words they are more concerned with what they regard as the “right way” to “do church”,and become very legalistic about the matter, heavily condemning those who don't do what they think ought to be done.

They have developed a legality of manner of acting or function.

As opposed to the orthopraxy of cults and false religions, the scriptures reveal a system of orthodoxy, whose first concern is with right belief.

There can be no doubt in my mind that right belief, if genuinely held,will lead to a manner of acting or function, which glorifies God and honors Christ .

When a group of people begin to meet on a regular basis, whether they like it or not, they are developing a ritual. Orthopraxy says that the developed ritual, is the only right way to practice that religion.

On the other hand orthodoxy can accommodate, a wide range of manner of acting or function, as long as the ministries of the people, in the many fields of "one another" mentioned in the New Testament, holding to that faith are not negated or prevented.

Orthodoxy, on the whole, subscribes to the Nicene Creed:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.
Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
If the truths in that creed have become living realities in your life and mine, then that is what binds us together as members of the Body of Christ, His Church, and NOTHING else.
Of one thing I'm certain, everything else flows from that!
I have some strong views which have developed during more than fifty years of preaching and teaching, and experience among congregations. These views regard  traditional church practice as well as the practice of other more modern expressions of the church, yet the conversations I'm reading make me very sad, and convince me we haven't learned very much
Whether you are part of a traditional church, a home church, or some other expression of the church gathered, you are my brother or sister in Christ, regardless of the expression of the church you belong to.
Regardless of what expression that is remember who you claim to be, and represent.
I think Paul's words to the Roman Christians are very relevant:
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. 

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