humble Orthodoxy by Joshua Harris

With a subtitle of “holding the truth high without putting people down”, this book was sure to be thought-provoking.  I know Joshua Harris from some of his other writing, but haven’t read any of his “deep” books on religious thought or beliefs or the way we live out what we believe.  This was my first.  I saw at the end of this book that it’s based on the first chapter of another book he wrote, and I may now have to check that one out too!

The author starts by asking a series of questions, including: “Do we have to choose between kindness and a zeal for truth?  Does embracing deeply held beliefs require that we let go of humility?” (pg 4).  His response is: “Here’s what I believe: truth matters… but so does our attitude.  This is what I mean by humble orthodoxy: we must care deeply about the truth, and we must also defend and share this truth with compassion and humility” (pg 5).  He then goes into a description of how we can do that, with examples from Scripture and the lives of people that many of us are very familiar with (Paul and Timothy).  He encourages us to be the kind of Christians who are willing to hold strongly to the truths we believe in, but who don’t use those beliefs to railroad others into believing the same thing.  People should be able to pick up on our beliefs by the kind of lives we live, not by hearing us “preach” to them, but they need to see consistent beliefs, and a life lived out of the convictions that we hold to.

Later in the book, the author talks about Moses and the time when the Israelites got so upset that they kept complaining about how they didn’t have water, and Moses asked God what to do.  God’s answer was to “tell the rock” to yield water for the people, and Moses, who was clearly very ticked off with the people, hit the rock – twice.  God still let the rock yield water, as the people needed, but Moses was in pretty big trouble for his disobedience.  The author says: “the error and sin of others never give me license to ignore the Word of God” (pg 42).  It’s just as true in our day as it was for Moses – other people might do things that make us really mad (and even for reasons that might be legitimate!), but we are still required to follow God’s word.  Not preach it to others, but follow it in our own lives.  What a good reminder that is – for all of us.

The book ends with a really great study guide that would be perfect for use on your own or in a small group.  It’s a great book, filled with things to think about and apply to our lives.  I would highly recommend it!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through the BookSneeze program, and was asked to provide an honest review.  The thoughts and opinions expressed here are completely my own.

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