Today we are studying Latin American Theology, primarily Liberation Theology, and Dr. Siu mentions how in Latin America their focus is on orthopraxy, or correct practice of Christianity, while in Western cultures (the US and western Europe) we are concerned with Orthodoxy, correct belief. Both are problematic.
If we focus on Orthopraxis without orthodoxy then how do we know it is orthopraxy? I think that orthopraxy is that which flows out of orthodoxy, but this also is a problem. In the West we know what to believe, we logically assent to orthodox formulations of the nine major doctrines which make up our systematic theology. However, we tend to state them in such a way that logical assent is both the beginning and the end of our theology. “if you just believe in Christ you will be saved”. However, Christ called us not just to “believe” he called us to be like Him. In fact in the very early church we know that the “Christians” were not then known as Christians but as “followers of the way”, we find the first reference to “Christians” in Acts 11:26. While I do not have a problem with the term itself, and in fact love the term, there is a reality that is brought out byt using the term “follower of the way”.
We do not follow a system of beliefs only, we follow the God-man Christ Jesus. It is our goal to be like Him. It is and should be our goal to have orthopraxis as well as orthodoxy. It is the system of doctrines and beliefs which help us to understand and govern how we live but the ultimate goal is orthopraxis, which flows from our orthodoxy.