Right Faith (orthodoxy) and Right Action (orthopraxis)

There are two important elements to faith that one should hold onto, being orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Defined simply, orthodoxy is right belief while orthopraxis refers to right action. One essentially holds a position to be true with the other acts in accordance to right position.

Most assume that we need only faith to live in a manner that pleases God. They take verses such as John 3:16 and Romans 10:9, and apply this in a manner whereby belief and confession is tantamount to salvation. Biblically, however, this doesn’t hold true as the normative practice for a believer. James states: “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (2:17). Jesus himself states that “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15).

In like manner, right action without right belief can be misguided because of intentionality. Our own modern Christianity showcases extremely intelligent theologians, such as Bultmann and Rahner, who with good intentions reinterpreted traditional pre-Reformation theology. The result was that biblical truth (i.e. Jesus, the Trinity, and biblical authority) was sacrificed at the altar of relevancy, again all with the good intentions of trying to be relevant to modern culture. Ultimately, these theologians extolled religious action over the beliefs that make someone an actual “Christian.”

Consider that Jesus makes it clear that right action, without right intention leads to fruitlessness, as dictated by Matthew 7:21-23:

 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

Quite simply, our goal as Christians should be to pray and read the Bible. Then to do what the Bible instructs us and move forward as the Spirit leads us.

Right faith requires right action and right action requires right faith!