Friday Five Interview: Joshua Harris
Can Christians be both humble and orthodox? We asked a popular pastor and the author of a new book.

For today's entry in the Friday Five interview series, we catch up with Joshua Harris.

Joshua is the Senior Pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland and the author of several bestselling books. His latest is Humble Orthdoxy.

Today we chat with Joshua and asked him to define "humble orthodoxy" and why he recently chose to reveal a very personal secret to his church.


Can you explain the idea of humble orthodoxy?

It's a simple idea, really. Truth matters, but so does our attitude. It's vital that we be committed to orthodox Christian belief, but we also need to defend and share this truth with compassion and humility towards others. I want to remind believers that to glorify Jesus we need both humility and orthodoxy—we can't choose one or the other.

Many who champion orthodoxy may not see the need for humility, and vice versa. Can we be both civil and courageous?

It's not easy. I know I certainly haven't arrived. But, yes, I believe we can be civil and courageous because it's what the gospel demands and Christ enables us to do. It's so important to see that Jesus' redeeming work for us is both the motivation and the engine of humble orthodoxy. Because the "truth once delivered" is so precious, out of love for a lost world we need to courageously contend for it and proclaim it. And because this gospel is of grace we have to make sure our attitudes and words and actions don't contradict the love and mercy we've received. God has loved us and shown us grace, so we can show grace to people who disagree with us. If we don't do this, we contradict and obscure the gospel with our lives.

This idea may be even more important in this Internet age. Would you agree?

Absolutely. There's a lot of "arrogant orthodoxy" online. The internet makes it easier to forget that we're interacting with human beings created in the image of God, whom Jesus came to seek and save. If someone is just a screen name, we can more easily justify words that are demeaning, disrespectful, and angry. We need to remember that we'll answer to God for our online words, too.

In the last few years you and the Sovereign Grace family have endured quite a bit of public controversy. What has this experience taught you?

It's been tough. Our church's decision to end our formal association with Sovereign Grace and the events that led up to it were very difficult—particularly because it played out on a public stage. These past two years have been the most challenging of my life both personally and in ministry. But as a local church, we see the difficulties of this time as the fatherly, loving discipline of the Lord. He's been refining and growing us through this in ways we never would have chosen, but desperately needed. There was pride in my own heart about our doctrine and methodology. I thought I knew better than other Christians and other churches. So the Lord has used this to humble me. I've also been the focus of a good bit of criticism, and that is helping to break my addiction to the approval and praise of man.

May 24, 2013

Displaying 1–4 of 4 comments

Paul Thompson

May 28, 2013  8:55pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am so tired of hearing people curse the lost world with anger and bitterness. I have so much hope for the the upcoming generations!! Thank you for being willing to go through what you have so you could offer up a humble orthodoxy. I like it! I like it alot! Thank you young man

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May 25, 2013  7:16pm

Thank you, Josh Harris, for speaking out. As a person who deals with victims of domestic violence and child sexual abuse, I know how difficult it is to admit it just to one person. How much more to admit it to your entire church? I watched the video where you talked about it, and I want you to know we are praying for you. Being open is such an important step. I'm sure you will have a positive powerful effect on other child sexual abuse victims.

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Samantha Nelson

May 24, 2013  1:15pm

Thank you for speaking out about your own abuse within the church. Please share The Hope of Survivors with other victims. The Hope of Survivors is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting victims of clergy sexual abuse, worldwide, of any faith. Thank you!

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Richard Christen

May 24, 2013  9:17am

The apostle said we are to hold the truth in love. Quite an assignment, almost as hard as loving our enemies. Paul surely held the truth, defended it, warned about adversaries and spoke sharply (Galatians 1) as he commenced his letter defending salvarion by grace alone. But he also urged patience, likened himself to a nurse caring for needy saints and even welcomed John Mark back into his god graces after refusing his association in ministry. I'd say he practiced what he preached (holding the truth in love) but didn't err as some do today by being full of grace while compromising truth. Paul was a velvet covered brick. Too many today are a lot of velvet but not much brick. Jesus was full of grace and truth (John 1:14) but that didn't keep him from excoriating the Pharisees as revealed in Matthew 23. I'd say today we all could well muster up courage TO SPEAK THE TRUTH in love, intent upon setting for the WHOLE cousel of God's Word. Too often we are respectors of men and therefore mince our words. Jesus and Paul didn't. Both died for truth's sake. Think about it: Jesus, the perfect One, who never misspoke, who always said the right thing in the right way, who so loved the world He paid for her sins, nevertheless, died at the hands of vicious sinners. Velvet there must be but getting hit on the head with a velvet covered brick still hurts and may even kill you!

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