One day two men went to church to pray.
The first man was a shallow, uninformed evangelical. Everything about him shouted of squishy theology. He didn’t know or use big theological words. He watched Christian TV and thought it was deep. He bought books from the inspirational section of the bookstore. He attended one of those megachurches where the sermons are short and the worship leaders look like American Idol contestants.
The second man who went to pray was different. He was a Christian of theological depth and substance–this was obvious by the heavy study Bible he carried with him. He only read books by long-dead theologians. He subscribed to the podcasts of all the solid, gospel-centered expository preachers who didn’t tell funny stories or make jokes in their sermons. He felt cheated if a sermon was less than an hour long.
This second man began to pray. He said, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people–doctrinally ignorant, theologically clueless, superficial in their saccharine-sweet evangelicalism. I thank you that you have made me what I am: true to good doctrine, uncompromising on teaching, orthodox to the core.”But the first man would not even look up to heaven. Instead he beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
This short story was adapted from Jesus’ words in Luke 18 and found in Joshua Harris’ new book, Humble Orthodoxy.