Defining Orthodoxy Relationally: 'It Takes More Than Correct Doctrine to be Truly Orthodox'

Orthodoxy Relationally Defined

Defining Orthodoxy Relationally

“Objective historic theology is Reformation theology.  It is historical evangelicalism.  It is historical orthodoxy.”  So says John MacArthur (Charismatic Chaos: 32). If John’s lips are moving, there’s a good chance I don’t agree with much of what’s coming through them! The narrow and sectarian nature of that statement is appalling. But John is just following in the footsteps of his spiritual forefather, Martin Luther.  Luther said that in the history of the church no one–not Augustine, not any of the Church Fathers–NO ONE other than himself–ever understood “pure doctrine.” He called everything before himself “great darkness.” (Table Talk: §530)  

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Individualism and the Kingdom – A Clash of Cultures: 'Monday Morning Musings - November 16, 2020'

At the foundation of Western thought, political and religious, are certain presuppositions about the supposedly self-evident nature of human existence as “individuals.” Individualism as a belief system referring to the “autonomous self,” is not a value found in Christ’s kingdom. Ephesians 4:25 says: we are “of one another, members.” That is, our existence is social. The life of Christ and his kingdom is only fully experienced socially. This is threatening to deeply held Western cultural values, but none-the-less, Christianity 101.


Copyright 2020. Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. For video and audio resources, sign up as a student here. You will find a mix of both free resources and those with cost. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this blog article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you.

That Dog Won’t Hunt: 'The Hypocrisy of Ethic-less Christianity'

The Dangers of Ethic-less Christianity

That Dog Won’t Hunt – The Dangers of Ethic-less “Christianity”




So, once upon a time you “asked Jesus into your heart.” You are good for heaven, but I am supposedly hell-bound if I haven’t done the same. 

Yet after years of “being a Christian”  you :


  • Cheat on your taxes.
  • Steal supplies from work.
  • Get to work late and leave early.
  • Do as little as possible at work and try to get paid as much as you can for it.
  • Lie, manipulate, gossip, and slander
  • Pursue more and more and more money. Making money is the center of your life.
  • Are stingy with your time, talents, and money. Your goal in life is the American dream, not Jesus’s kingdom.
  • Are not generous with your finances.
  • Oppress your employees by paying them as little as you can.
  • Don’t fulfill contractual obligations. You hire lawyers to get out of your commitments.
  • Are a racist or a misogynist or homophobe.
  • Do not keep your word. Your promises and commitments are meaningless.
  • Are hateful to those who are different.
  • Are exclusive, elitist, separatist.
  • Are indifferent toward the poor and the oppressed. You think they just need to “get over it” or “get a job.”
  • Are contentious, combative and discordant in the assembly of the saints.
  • Are contentious, combative and discordant on the job.
  • Are contentious, combative, discordant and self-centered in your marriage and in the home.
  • Are unmoved by others suffering.
  • Are angry, embittered, and unforgiving, quick to take offense.
  • Are vindictive and vengeful.
  • Are lazy, irresponsible, immature, and self-centered.
  • Are unloving toward people in your church and in the world (1 John says you do not know God if that is the case, regardless of whatever “saving prayer” you muttered years ago).
  • Justify the egregious behaviors of your self, your friends, and your political heroes, but demand behavioral consistency in others and your enemies. You want and expect grace for yourself, but dish out condemnation and performance expectations on others–thus, not understanding grace at all. 
  • Are confident in your Bible knowledge and are over-bearing with  others about it.
  • Rejoice at others pains and sorrows as “judgments from God.”
  • Do not ask for forgiveness nor repent for anything. It is always the other person’s fault. You are a victim.

. . .  but you are “saved” and “going to heaven when you die.”

Well, you are not doing much good for anyone but yourself while you are still here. 

The world and our culture are fed up with this kind of hypocritical “Christianity.” Ethic-less Christianity is a humanist myth.

If any one is in Christ, that person is a qualitatively new creation.

The new birth starts with a transformative act, the new creation. It continues in transformation every day, so that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal body (2 Cor. 4:11 – Note: not in heaven in the sweet by and by when we die. )

A typical gospel presentation in a Western Evangelical church today is so out of balance with over-emphasis on spiritual metaphysics of what happens in the invisible realm regarding salvation, that the matter of being a new kind of human while we are on this planet is not only ignored in some brands of hyper-Protestantism, but also taught against as “irrelevant.”

I have had scores of Evangelical and Fundamentalist  “believers” tell me that our behavior  is allegedly irrelevant because Jesus was “God in disguise” (an egregious and inaccurate cliché) and that we cannot expect to be like Him. He is  supposedly not our example in our behavior because “He was God and we are not.” In that line of thinking, He is only relevant for what He has done for us as “God.”  I have heard these type of things over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. 

Jesus said: You will know who is His by their behavior (fruit) . . . not by their faith confession. 

This is not about moralism and perfectionism. Both are bondages. This is not about works righteousness, earning favor with God by behavior, or policing each other.  Anathema on all that sort of thing. This is about living in relational reality and integrity with one another on planet earth.  The issue is one of authenticity before an observing world, not our “forensic status before God.” When our failures are evident–and they will be for all of us– God has made a way not only to be right with Him, but also with our fellow human beings. It is called contrition, repentance, sorrow, asking forgiveness . . . and moving on.


Copyright 2020. Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. For video and audio resources, sign up as a student here. You will find a mix of both free resources and those with cost. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this blog article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you.

Dear Christians: Your Behavior Matters: 'The Perils of Christian Celebrity - Meditations on Living or Dead Faith'

Failure, Sorrow, and Redemption

Christian Celebrity and Our Responsibility

So, another Christian celebrity’s egregious behavior has made the national news.  He has “fallen” in sexual immorality. Sadly, there is no real news here. This will always happen in a “give us a king (celebrity)” culture that values fame and talent more than character. But it is not just an individual responsibility issue.

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Christian Business Ethics – A Challenge to the Christian Business Person: 'Don't Slander the Lord in Your Business Dealings with Others'

Christian Business Ethics

Christian Business Ethics

I have been a follower of Christ for forty-two years. For thirty-four of those years I have been self-employed. Fewer things are more offensive to unbelievers, and more undermining to the Lord’s testimony in the earth, than vocally “Christian” business people whose true God is the love of money and whose business ethics resemble more of Bernie Madoff and Martin Shkreli than Jesus Christ. Being a Christian in business is more than having a fish sticker on the bumper of your business vehicle. It is having a Jesus stamp on your heart.

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Supporting Equippers – Part 2 – Establishing Us in Christ: 'Guest Blog by Loren Rosser'

Supporting Equippers: Establishing Christ the Foundation

Supporting Equippers: Establishing Christ the Foundation

If someone were to ask me to place a monetary value on the equipping I have received in my life it would be impossible to come up with a number. What value does one place on being grounded in Him?  Coming up with a monetary value is impossible because the things of the Spirit are worth far more than those of the temporal. Yet the scriptures are clear these gifts I have received have economic value. This blog is the second of a four part series by Loren Rosser and is posted by permission.

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The Bible and the Church: 'Truth Needs a Body'

Truth Needs a Body

The Bible and the Church: Truth Needs a Body

There was a Body before there was a Christian “Bible.” This is a threatening fact for many. It is none-the-less, an indisputable historical fact. The implications can, and have been, argued for centuries, but the fact cannot be.

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A Miracle of Radical Grace: 'A True Story of Grace and Supernatural Power '

Miracle of Radical Grace

Miracle of Radical Grace

I am very suspicious of many anecdotal tales of miracles. I believe in the modern day manifestation of miracles. I have seen miracles with my own eyes and I have been a participator in some cases. HOWEVER,  I do not believe that the cause of Jesus and His kingdom is helped by inflated, inaccurate, sketchy, “show time,” and overtly fraudulent claims to the miraculous. If anyone cares, I can personally  connect you with the individual involved in the following true story of a miracle of radical grace, who can verify it.

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Idealism Without Action: 'A Deceptive Dead End'

Idealism without Action - A Deceptive Dead End

Idealism without Action – A Deceptive Dead End

Anyone can wax eloquent about what could, or should be, versus what currently “is.” Idealism without action is a delusional dead end. Preachers, teachers, prophetic types, “apostolic visionaries,” dreamers, philosophers–whatever your language tradition might call them–are particularly vulnerable to irrelevant idealism. It is better to incarnate imperfection, than to romanticize about a never-seen ideal.  Jesus can do a lot with folks who will simply “get to it” imperfectly, rather than “talk about it” ideally.

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Spiritual Covering: 'A Doctrine of Demons'

Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual Covering – A Doctrine of Demons


Like sequels to a lousy B-grade horror movie, bad ideas  often get recycled in the Body of Christ. It happened again for me this week in a painful phone conversation with a dear, damaged, soul.  The bad-penny doctrine I am referring to is the concept of absolute submission to an alleged “spiritual covering” as a necessity for your spiritual welfare and advance. The spiritual covering is allegedly embodied in your pastor/leader, etc. This issue has been hit hundreds if not thousands  of  times over the years by myself and other authors and bloggers. As confirmed by my phone conversation this week, like a zombie, it just won’t die.  For Jesus’ sake, and for the well being of His church, I am going to briefly hit it again here.

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