Ugly Orthodoxy: How to Identify, Confess, and Rebeautify

Dr. McKay Caston
2 min readOct 23, 2023

Francis Schaeffer said, “There is nothing uglier than [Christian] orthodoxy without… compassion.”

When I reflect on my own lack of compassion toward other with whom I differ or disagree, I confess that it stems from the absence of humility. And the absence of humility is a denial of true Christian orthodoxy. Because at its root, Christian orthodoxy is an exposition of Philippians 2:5–8 (NIV84):

5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!

From this text we see that humility is a lot like love. It’s not a passive emotion that responds to goodness but a volitional posture toward others grounded in grace with the aim not to condemn but to bless — and often, at great personal cost.

Therefore, if I claim to hold historic, orthodox, biblical theological positions without a posture of humility, I am a hypocrite.

And yes, in the flesh, I am a hypocrite. And it’s ugly.

Thankfully, Jesus is not, which is why my personal testimony is that he humbled himself (actively, willfully, and sacrificially) unto death for a hypocrite like me. When that sinks in, I’m compelled to repent afresh of my insidious, self-righteous, spiritual and moral hypocrisy and extend the same compassion, mercy, and grace to others that I’ve received from my crucified and risen Savior.

The same can be true for other hyprcrites like me.

Let’s be honest about salvation by sheer grace and let the beauty of the gospel be the posture that adorns our profession.

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Dr. McKay Caston

I create resources to help folks tether their lives to the cross of the risen and reigning Jesus | www.mckaycaston.com