Home > Christian Authors, church life, doctrines, S. Lewis Johnson, Uncategorized, Worldview > Orthopraxy and Orthodoxy: Practical Christian Living AND Doctrinal Worldview Instruction

Orthopraxy and Orthodoxy: Practical Christian Living AND Doctrinal Worldview Instruction


For today, a follow-up to the Jerry Bridges conference post, concerning what is taught in the local church:  the balance between sanctification / practical Christian living, and discipleship & instruction in the Christian worldview.  As noted in the previous post, Bridges emphasizes holiness and sanctification — which is fine so far as it goes, provided we keep a balance that includes strong doctrinal teaching.

As an example:  in the Saturday night message Jerry Bridges favorably presented the story of a pastor who had been asked when he was going to do a sermon about homosexuality.  The preacher’s response was that he had no plans to do so, since he didn’t have any homosexuals in his audience, at his local church, and so homosexuality wasn’t a relevant topic for that congregation.

Yet as I’ve learned in the last few years — from listening to the preaching of John MacArthur, S. Lewis Johnson, Dan Phillips and others — a local church should also be instructing the people regarding biblical and real-life issues and a proper Christian worldview. A disciple is simply a student, so true disciples are learning not just orthopraxy, how to walk and grow in their personal sanctification, but orthodoxy.   After all, none of the individuals attending that local church may be homosexual, but in our increasingly anti-Christian society it is increasingly likely that the people in the local church may have at least some contact with others who are either homosexual or who advocate homosexuality.  Ironically, the morning brunch Q&A at that same conference included several questions from people about this very topic, including how to respond to others who favorably discuss homosexuality.

The discipleship part of a local church involves equipping the saints to understand the issues, to really understand the biblical response to said issue and not be led astray by the clever arguments put forth in the secular media.  This is also why John MacArthur occasionally delivers very good messages regarding the Christian and voting in political elections, and why preachers do, at least some of the time, teach concerning the issues of the day.

Even in S. Lewis Johnson’s day 20+ years ago, when the homosexual agenda in society was not nearly so advanced as today, he addressed the topic in this message, noting the purpose of such a message:

The reason I want to do this is because many of us, I’m sure, are not acquainted with some of the sophisticated arguments that have been advanced, by some thinking people even, to support the idea that homosexuality is a legitimate style of life.  We’ll talk more about the details of it, but it is possible to defend this in way that would be confusing for the general evangelical, and difficult to counter so far as many of us are concerned, because we haven’t even bothered to discover the reasons why homosexuality is presented as something like a third sex by the homosexual populous.

As I am now listening to S. Lewis Johnson’s 1 Corinthians series (1994), I especially see how a preacher can directly teach about current social issues and our worldview, in an actual expository verse-by-verse Bible book series.  Now in 1 Corinthians 6, it is interesting to hear SLJ address social issues still with us: our litigious society of lawsuit-happy people; homosexuality; and the 1990s ecumenism of the Evangelicals and Catholics Together movement – and all in one message expositing 1 Corinthians 6:1-11.

  1. Truth2Freedom
    April 24, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Reblogged this on Truth2Freedom's Blog.

  2. Neil Schoch
    April 24, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    A world wide famous preacher in the US whose name I won’t mention once declared on secular TV that he would not teach on homesexuality or abortion in his church in case there was someone involved in these things in his congregation who might be offended by the topic.
    How terribly sad. All preachers and teachers will have to give a special account to the Lord (Hebrews 13:17 and James 3:1), as will all believers (Romans 14:12).
    “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17) so we must teach the truth of God’s Word on all subjects, but in a gracious way.
    When both aspects are involved in our teaching the Holy Spirit will bring conviction in the hearts of sinners, and they will be moved by the grace of God to a life of obedience, if only they will listen to the Holy Spirit who convicts men of sin.

    On a similar note two Jehovah’s Witnesses men came to my door just recently. The leader was formerly from a mainstream church but was influenced to join the JWs because he could not understand the crucial concept of the Triune God. JW’s get many converts due to a lack of doctrinal teaching in mainstream churches, and that is very sad.
    It is absolutely crucial that we preach all truths and equip each believer o be able to share these vital truths with others.
    I trust and pray that the man will accept my invitation to come and study God’s Word on this subject.
    God bless!

    • April 25, 2013 at 8:00 am

      Thanks, Neil. Yes, I often think of James 3:1, especially with so many shallow, superficial teachers, especially ones that insist on allegorizing, coming up with their own ideas of what a passage means.

  3. April 26, 2013 at 3:06 am

    I find the topic of homosexuality to be quite important to address to young people since they will have friends, classmates, coworker and teachers who are homosexual or advance this agenda. Not teaching it is to be unfaithful to the task of discipleship in all that He taught us. Thank God for faithful preachers

    • April 26, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      Well said, Jim, and yes, a good point about the importance in teaching young people, due to the great presence of homosexuality in our society especially in their daily lives. And even middle-aged adults (parents of young adults), such as at the Brunch Q&A, were bringing up the subject — how much greater the task of discipleship, that which has sadly been neglected by superficial, orthopraxy-only teachers.

  1. April 29, 2013 at 1:20 am

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