Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Orthopraxy, or right practice, is considered by the contemporary American Church to be of greater importance than orthodoxy, or right doctrine. The message to American Christians from many Christian spokespersons is this: what you believe about God is not as important as your outward conduct, how you treat other people. In Theology That Matters: How True Orthodoxy Empowers Orthopraxy, Caleb Friedeman demonstrates that all truly Christian conduct is always preceded by correct knowledge of Biblical Doctrine. In a selection from his article which appears on the Asbury Seedbed website, Caleb Friedeman discusses Paul's instructions to Timothy in 1st Timothy:

"As much as we would like Paul to expound exactly what this sound doctrine is, he doesn’t. Instead of spelling it out for us, Paul highlights the difference between false teaching and sound doctrine by contrasting the fruit they bear (1:4-6). Whereas sound doctrine is associated with 'love that issues from a pure heart,' the aberrant teaching distracts people from godly living. His emphasis is not an idiosyncrasy of this passage alone. As Paul returns to this theme of sound doctrine throughout the epistle (4:6-16; 6:2-10), the pattern holds. Paul never gives a systematic treatise of what Timothy is supposed to teach, probably because Timothy knows the essence of it. By the end of the epistle, we know two things about this sound doctrine: (1) it accords with the gospel, and (2) it agrees with the words of Jesus. What Paul talks about much more is the fruit that this sounds doctrine produces in the lives of believers."

Caleb Friedeman has a B.A. in Ancient Languages from Asbury University and an M.A. from Wesley Biblical Seminary in Biblical Literature. Further details concerning his academic and ministerial experience appear in the article.