The Joy of Orthodoxy
There are fewer things more joyful than talking about our faith. It’s the stuff which keeps us together. Traditional, historic, evangelical, Christ-centred faith – preservation of orthodoxy, for want of a better name – is why Renewal Fellowship exists.
What exactly is orthodoxy? In the view of the Oxford English Dictionary, it’s “belief in or agreement with doctrines, opinions, or practices currently held to be right or correct, esp. in religious matters.” Orthodox, in this context, is defined as “Right, correct, true; in accordance with what is accepted or authoritatively established as the true view or right practice. Of, belonging to, or in accordance with the accepted theological or ecclesiastical doctrines of a particular religion, etc.; (also) designating practices or beliefs conforming with these.”
To which I say, Amen.
Here’s what it means to me.
Orthodoxy is the belief that there is only one complete way to connect to God and it’s by believing in His one and only Son, who lived a sinless life and died as punishment for my sins. (This is anathema to those who belong to this world, which is controlled by the fallen angel Satan.)
Orthodoxy is the belief that while I am absolved from my sins, I will continue to fall short of God’s holy expectations. But I am continuously forgiven. We live in a dualistic universe in which forces of light and darkness are currently at war. It is this unseen spiritual drama which is at the root of humankind’s brokenness and dis-ease.
Orthodoxy is the firm belief that the only cure for our ills, spiritual and otherwise, is a deep and abiding connection with God by walking with Christ and aided by the person and power of the Holy Spirit.
Orthodoxy reminds me that God adopted us into his own family through Jesus Christ.
Orthodoxy is a safe place. It’s the home built on a rock; the storms of life will not wash it away. It’s the reminder that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.
Orthodoxy is the reminder that storms and change are part of creation. Science, technology, systems, music and style of worship are continuously evolving and advancing. They can all change while remaining rooted to the foundation.
Orthodoxy is the reminder that someone far greater than us put this world into motion. We were created in God’s image as stewards of creation. I do not own my body, let alone the planet. And while everything is permissible, not everything we do is good.
Orthodoxy is our shelter from the untethered human condition, fickle and fraught with emotion. We give way to the loudest voices whose coffee shop, chat box messages tickle the fancies. Anger and emotions rule, whether it’s in traffic, a crowded public gathering or even in church. It’s why new laws are written all the time in response to our ceaseless desire to find loopholes leading to success. God’s holy laws exist for this very reason, as a guard against the human heart. Jesus knew all about this and didn’t trust us because He knew human nature.
Orthodoxy is a solid investment. Penny stocks can be propelled by greed into overnight fortunes. Then we are chilled by cataclysmic losses. Orthodoxy is the blue chip stock or well-managed company. I can sleep at night.
Orthodoxy is the antidote to humanism. Human effort alone will fail because it’s ultimately inward looking. Those who are committed to being submitted to the Lord know the answer will not and cannot be found in our secular culture, which promises much and delivers little.
Orthodoxy is the realization that our earthly problems won’t be solved overnight. It points to eternity, where there are no more tears. It’s a glimpse at The Kingdom, where there are no churches because the Lord God and the Lamb are its temple.
Orthodoxy is the real deal.
Orthodoxy leads to orthopraxy, where correct belief leads to correct practice. Abiding isn’t always easy. We are constantly tempted. Abiding discipline brings the peace of Christ, which is a joy to behold. It is my strength.
Orthopraxis is a witness to the vitality of right teaching. One follows the other. It’s why, for centuries, the church adhered to the theology which mirrored, as closely as possible, the way and and the truth exhibited by the Lord’s life. In the whirlwind of life, something needed to be permanent. We need that unmovable anchor, that steel cable attached to the rock.
Joy is the shaking ground when the Israelites welcomed the Ark of The Covenant back into their midst. Joy is the feeling of freedom after making a conscious decision to deny the flesh. Joy is the feeling after being corrected by the Lord. The Joy of the Lord is my strength and shield. Joy is John the Baptist jumping in Elizabeth’s womb. Joy is the sound of angels when a sinner repents. Joy is the love of God when we obey his commands. Joy is the knowledge that the Lord is with us always, to the end of the age.
How joyful are those who fear the Lord — all who follow his ways! (Psalm 128:1)
So how do you define orthodoxy and joy? Let’s talk about that at the next Renewal Café, a Zoom community which meets to share our frustrations and joys, our good news and our challenges – all in a safe space. This Café will be a potluck of sorts. Feel free to bring a story, a witness or a piece of Scripture which speaks to you.
The next Café takes place Thursday, February 2, 2023, at later times this month:: 4:30 p.m. Newfoundland; 4:00 p.m. Atlantic; 3:00 p.m. Eastern; 2:00 p.m. Central; 1:00 p.m. Mountain; noon Pacific.
Seating is limited so register early. RSVP at <firstname.lastname@example.org> and we’ll send you the link.