Why the Divide Between Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy?

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Think Apologetics. Tabernacle of David considers this resource trustworthy and Biblically sound.


In recent years there has been a lot of discussion about the connection between orthodoxy (what Christians believe/right belief), and orthopraxis (how Christians are to live). These two orthos are intended to work in harmony with one another. Sadly, however, there seems to continually be a great tension between some Christians that tend to emphasize one side of this equation over the other.

Some say those who that have solely focuses on orthodoxy (correct belief/doctrine), lack love and their witness isn’t what it needs to be. After all, if people have true beliefs, shouldn’t it match up with our living?  The problem is no Christian will ever totally reflect the character of Jesus and they will fail at times to live out their faith. We aren’t in the glorified state yet. We are all in the process of sanctification (becoming like Jesus), in this present life.

When someone such as myself engages devout followers of other faith’s, in most cases, the apologetic discussions tend to focus on something in their belief system that is erroneous. For example, if Muslims say Jesus never died, that is a huge issue.  Granted, nobody wants people of any faith to harm anyone else and we want to be treated with dignity and respect. All faith’s have some commonality in this area.

But as I have said before, would you want to become a Mormon, Muslim,  Hindu, or Buddhist, if the followers of these faiths were kind, moral, loving, and showed charity? Is a pragmatic test all that matters? Or, do you want to know if the claims of each faith line up with reality? Is Allah a real God? Are there really 300 million gods? Did Joseph Smith really receive a revelation that led him to write the Golden Plates? The list goes on.

Do you know how important truth is to your daily existence? Think about it for a minute. You rely on truth every day of your life! For example:

  1. You rely on your people to tell you the truth every day. If they tell you the bus arrives at 6:30 and it really arrived at 6:10, you probably will miss the bus.
  2. You rely on your teachers to tell you the truth. If they tell you that you will have a quiz on chapter 2, but you arrive the next day to find out that the quiz is on chapter 4, you may flunk the test. Whether it was a lie or a mistake, you really needed the truth.
  3. People rely on banks to be truthful about how much money they have.
  4. When we buy a car, a computer, or a phone, we rely on those that sell us these items to be truthful with us about whether it works or not.
  5. We attempt to rely on politicians to tell us the truth about what policies they want to have Congress pass so that our country will be a better place to live.

So my point is it is virtually impossible and also unnecessary to try to make a dichotomy between orthodoxy and orthopraxis.

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