Steve Taylor, in his book “The Out of Bounds Church,” quotes Robert Webber who says:
“There is a term in the ancient churches that catches the power of the idea that experience precedes thought. It is lex orandi; lex credendi; est. the rule of prayer is the rule of faith. Another way of stating this truth is , “show me how you worship or live and I will tell you what you believe.” In the modern world this axiom got turned around. It was always “get your theology straight and then your praxis will flow from it.” In the postmodern world we are rediscovering that experience precedes reflection.”
I (Miguel) happen to disagree. To me, our praxis does flow from our theology. Proposition leads to action, action leads to experience, and experience clarifies truth. The post-modern christian may want existentialism and experimentalism to precede what becomes normative practice, but we know that rarely produces biblical fruit. See Proverbs 21:2, Proverbs 12:15, Judges 21:25 etc.
Let me offer a third way. This is only a thought, but perhaps Orthodoxy (Theology) & Orthopraxy (Practice) are “simultaneous.” Kenda Creasy Dean says,
“faithful belief and faithful practice are the two lungs of Christian Discipleship. You can get along breathing on only one lung, but you can’t breathe very deeply, and you don’t live as long or as fully as when you use both lungs, which is clearly what God intends.”
Our lungs breathe in tandem. While Kenda’s quote doesn’t necessarily speak to this point, perhaps the Spirit breathes life into our spiritual lungs in like manner. Perhaps our theology and practice are to operate in tandem and simultaneously. What do you think?
A few questions:
Should our praxis (practice) flow from our theology?
Does “our experience” ever trump biblical proposition?
Can theology & practice be simultaneous?