|Volume 25 Number 6 June 2023
Gary C. Hampton
A church sign had the following, “Orthodoxy does not persuade.” The first thing I did was look up “orthodoxy” to be sure I understood it. “Orthodoxy” is a transliteration of orthodoxia, which means right opinion. In other words, it is right doctrine, as the word “orthodox” would suggest.
Is the sign right? Our Lord commanded His followers to go “…make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus expected His followers to teach others in a way to persuade them to become disciples.
Paul went to the synagogue in Thessalonica for three Sabbaths and “…reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ’…” (Acts 17:2-3). The whole idea behind the word “reasoned” is to put together an argument intended to persuade. In this case, it was to persuade men that Jesus was the promised Messiah.
Paul also reasoned and persuaded in Corinth (Acts 18:4). He told the Corinthian Christians that everyone must appear before Christ’s judgment seat to receive according to his or her deeds. “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…” (2 Corinthians 5:11).
Right teaching, as authorized by our Lord, demands that we persuade. The purpose is to make disciples for Christ by causing men to see Him as God’s Anointed. We must persuade.