Consider the truthfulness and orthodoxy of the following statements and actions:
“I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” – Mark 1
“He ran up and bowed down before Jesus…” – Mark 5
“She kept on shouting, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God who proclaim to you the way of salvation.'” – Acts 16
Acknowledging that Jesus is the Son of God: excellent.
Bowing down before Jesus as the Son of God: excellent.
Discerning that Paul and Silas are sent by God with his message: excellent.
And in each case, demonic.
Every word and action above were offered by people who were sadly and tragically demon possessed. Sometimes even a devil can tell the truth; he can, that is, if it serves his larger, lying purpose.
Statements and actions that appear orthodox and truthful can be the outcry of a misguided spirit. They might be ‘right’, but they can be a malignant, unloving, desperate scream designed to wound as an accusation rather than liberate with love.
Mere accuracy is not enough; orthodoxy and orthopraxy become orthodeadly in the hands of misguided truth-tellers who appear to care more about defending their positions than caring for those in pain.
The Church in the world is not present as a fearful wall against the wicked; it is not in the world as a capitulated community conforming to majority opinion; it is not in the world as a militant force looking to dominate the culture. The Church is a faithful, loving presence in this world bearing witness in word, deed, and power to the world yet to come. Fearful retreat, accusatory finger pointing, and political triumphalism aren’t part of the mission. Foot-washing most certainly is.
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