Spiritual Formation

Orthodoxy, Othopathy and Orthopraxy

Two wonderful quotes to make you think.

“to balance orthodoxy (right beliefs) and orthopathy (right affections) and orthopraxy (right actions). . . these are the three movements of the healthy, growing spiritual life. This balanced path of growth–changing the mind and heart in order to change the outward actions–keeps us from the deadly trap of self-deception in which we believe, but do not grow, in Christ.” (Bruce Demarest, Satisfy your Soul (Colorado Springs: NavPres, 1999), p. 29.)

The deepest kind of transformation takes place in us when we become so deeply impressed with God and His purposes in and through our lives that our will, our volition, becomes engaged in the process of change and growth. (Richard Averbeck)

Author: Steve

I love to study the Bible and I love to engage with others in learning. I had been privileged to do this on a regular basis through church ministry and through part-time teaching at a local Bible colleges. Helping individuals learn to feed themselves through their own study of God’s Word is joy-giving to me. Influencing groups to do life and church from a biblically grounded, theologically faithful perspective is my passion.


  1. For those reading this, Steve and I are absolutely on the same page on this as we’ve taught about the “heart” together. But I feel compelled to respond to Bruce’s statement.

    I agree with the main thrust of what Bruce is saying. But I am concerned that his quote equates “right affections” (in the first sentence) “with changing the heart” (in the next sentence). This is a misunderstanding of the biblical term “heart” which creates several problems in his book. The heart includes more than emotions / affections. Actually, it includes thoughts/beliefs as well as intentions/motives (Heb. 4:12), and desires Ps. 37:4. It is a place of commitments (Mt. 22:37 / Prov. 3:5) and so involves the will. When the heart is equated with emotions, we lose so much biblical understanding.

  2. “orthopathy” –sometime called, “orthokardia,” which focuses on the “affections” or “heart.” Though “orthopathy” is the preferred term and was used by some of the great theologians of the past–like John Calvin, John Owens and Jonathan Edwards.

    Their use of “affections” (best typified in Edwards classic, Religious Affection) does not refer to just “emotions.”

    A short definition would be something like: affection is the inclination of the will, not glandular, physical, fuzzy feelings. Affection is that which moves us to do with our wills what we believe in our minds.

  3. I submitted to quickly.

    My first comment, was not to defend Demarest, but to show the true context of the terms in the quote I posted.

    Understanding the terms from their historical definition–would support what George is say, that the heart is more than just feelings.

    It relates to the central control center, the volitional aspect.

    The three terms then aim to create a balance. Right beliefs and right actions are empowered when the will is involved.

    But the “heart” (OT) or “mind” (NT) is not void of emotion.

    It is true when we boil the “heart” down to emotions, it leaves us with a fickled subjective concept. But unless the whole person is involved, including our emotions, depth of change will not happen. Emotions must be submitted to the will, but they may also strengthen our will.

    Other clarifications George?

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