Mailbox Review: Humble Orthodoxy (3.5/5)

I received a copy of Joshua Harris’  Humble Orthodoxy gratis from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. Here are my thoughts on the book.

Joshua Harris holding the truth high without putting people down mutlnomah waterbrookThere is presently a palpable feeling among many in the Church that we must choose between humility and orthodoxy. On the one hand, doctrinal knowledge does tend to puff up, especially within the more theologically rigorous traditions of Christianity; the more right we believe ourselves to be, the more unbearable we can become—especially in an age of online discourse where a degree of anonymity makes arrogance even easier. On the other hand, we live in an age of serious cultural sin in which many liberal voices (even some within the Church) defend unrighteous lifestyles by couching them in language of justice and “equality,” and we are rightly aware of our biblical duty to stand up and speak up for the Lord’s truth. Josh Harris reminds us that we don’t have to choose, and offers some helpful and incredibly timely encouragement toward a “humble orthodoxy.”

In an expansion of the popular final chapter of a previous book, Dug Down Deep, Harris deals with the pastoral problem of ungracious theology, correctly identifying roots both in sinful self-aggrandizing tendencies as well as righteous zeal for God’s law. At the heart of the gospel, he argues, the two are easily reconciled. We can be humble in the manner in which we defend and present orthodox dogma without sacrificing the integrity of God’s word. As Harris aptly observes, “Instead of looking down on the unorthodox, how can we NOT want to humbly lead them toward the same life-giving truth that has changed our lives?”

This little book not only preaches humility but also practices it, being just 81 pages long (9 of which are study guide and probably not Harris’ own work), and smaller than a piece of toast. In fact, that is my greatest complaint about the book: Continue reading

A Defense for Reading Fiction

Russell Moore writes:

Fiction helps people honestly present those internal stories that people tell themselves, things they won’t disclose in, say, a debate or a non-fiction monograph arguing for their way of life. In fiction, a Darwinist can show you what it’s like to be scared that you’re living a meaningless life in a meaningless universe, but he can also show you where he finds those things, like awe and love, that he can only ultimately find in God.

Read the full article here.

Happy Birthday, Flannery O’Connor

In addition to being the feast of the Annunciation, today is Flannery O’Connor’s birthday! The brave southern writer, with eyes and imagination so keen she could find grace in the deepest darkness, would have been 88.

flannery oconnor, a good man is hard to find, flannery, southern novelist writer, catholic writer“The serious writer has always taken the flaw in human nature for his starting point, usually the flaw in an otherwise admirable character. Drama usually bases itself on the bedrock of original sin, whether the writer thinks in theological terms or not. Then, too, any character in a serious novel is supposed to carry a burden of meaning larger than himself. The novelist doesn’t write about people in a vacuum; he writes about people in a world where something is obviously lacking, where there is the general mystery of incompleteness and the particular tragedy of our own times to be demonstrated, and the novelist tries to give you, within the form of the book, the total experience of human nature at any time. For this reason, the greatest dramas naturally involve the salvation or loss of the soul. Where there is no belief in the soul, there is very little drama.”

-Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor

Back in Business

If you had practically forgotten that this blog existed, that makes two of us. I’m grateful to the folks who graciously began following it after a very meager initial offering several months ago, and can happily report the advent of new content soon and (Lord willing) for some time to come.