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Ugly Orthodoxy: How to Identify, Confess, and Rebeautify

Francis Schaeffer said, “There is nothing uglier than [Christian] orthodoxy without… compassion.” 

When I reflect on my own lack of compassion toward those with whom I differ or disagree, I confess that it stems from the absence of humility. And the absence of humility is a denial of true Christian orthodoxy. Because at its root, Christian orthodoxy is an exposition of Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV84):

5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!

Humility is a lot like love. It’s not a passive emotion that responds to goodness but a volitional posture toward others grounded in grace with the aim not to condemn but to bless—and often, at great personal cost.

Therefore, if I claim to hold historic, orthodox, biblical theological positions without a posture of humility, I am a hypocrite. 

And yes, in the flesh, I am a hypocrite. And it’s ugly. 

Thankfully, Jesus is not, which is why my personal testimony is that he humbled himself (actively, willfully, and sacrificially) unto death for a hypocrite like me. When that sinks in, I’m compelled to repent afresh of my insidious, self-righteous, spiritual and moral hypocrisy and extend the same compassion, mercy, and grace to others that I’ve received from my crucified and risen Savior.

The same can be true for other hyprcrites like me.

Let’s be honest about salvation by sheer grace and let the beauty of the gospel be the posture that adorns our profession.

A Resource for Those Who Teach in Any Context

If you teach Sunday School, a Bible study for adult or youth small groups, teach Sunday School, teach your kids as a homeschool parent, lead family devotions, are a missionary, serve as a camp counselor, etc., the principles in the PPGR Preaching System will give you a template that will help you create lessons that are biblically grounded, tethered to the cross of the risen Jesus, and applicable to real life.

Check out the PPGR Preaching System

Get more information about the PPGR Preaching System.