Orthodoxy alone is not enough

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I read this in Center Church by Timothy Keller

“It is, of course, possible to lose the gospel because of heterodoxy. That is, if we no longer believe in the deity of Christ or the doctrine of justification, we will necessarily slide toward relativism. But it is also possible to hold sound doctrine and yet be marked by dead orthodoxy (a spirit of self-righteousness), imbalanced orthodoxy (overemphasis on some doctrines that obscure the gospel call), or even ‘clueless orthodoxy,’ which results when doctrines are expounded as in a theology class but aren’t brought together to penetrate people’s hearts so they experience convection of sin and the beauty of grace. Our communication and practices must not tend toward either law or license. To the degree that they do, they lose life-changing power.”

In other words, it is possible to have an accurate grasp of theology but lose the gospel.

This is certainly not to imply that good theology doesn’t matter. But it does say that good theology is not an end, it is a means.┬áThe proper goal of theology is a right relationship with God.

For those of us whose worship traditions place an emphasis on Biblical teaching and preaching, we should ask ourselves if we are caught in dead orthodoxy, imbalanced orthodoxy or clueless orthodoxy as Keller lists them above.

The danger is real and I think there is a fairly simple test to determine how well we are doing.

Are people’s lives being transformed by the teaching/preaching in our church? Do we see vibrant life change in those who come to our fellowship?

For those of us who cannot process things when they are too complicated, Jesus simplified the law to two commands. Love God, love your neighbor.

If we are not helping people progress in fulfilling these two commands, we need to go back and figure out where we strayed.