Sunday, July 17, 2005

Response about the Emerging Church

Justin Tapp is correct about a couple of things, the church in America does not look like churches overseas, and furthermore a great deal of things we do at church are nowhere mentioned in scripture. However, I will have to say and I am not saying that Mr. Tapp is saying the opposite of this, but while Sunday School, "Church Clothes", hymnals, and organs are not mentioned in the Bible, there are many things in American churches that are done correctly. For starters, Paul tells us in the book of 1 Timothy about the organization of the church including Bishops, Elders, and Deacons. This letter was written after the churches Peter started in Acts. The Acts churches are 1st generation believer churches. However, Paul through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit knew that organization was required to prevent chaos. He tells that the Pastor should be paid. He talks about discipline and the Sacraments. While Sunday School or the day of the week meeting should take place I will defend the reason for the both. However, the rest of the things we do the music, and clothing I have come to think are a matter of taste to each congregation. Sunday School while not technically found in the Bible, is good I feel for the following reasons. First, it builds a since of community with the small group meetings. This helps the body of Christ. Small groups also field subjects and questions that may not be able to be addressed in corporate worship. They also help with accountability and with ministering to people in the church because the small group usually makes for more intimate relationships. As for the day of the week. I dont believe anyday of the week is particularly the the Sabbath. Jesus says that the Sabbath was created for man not man for the Sabbath. God knows we need a day off. In American society this day is Sunday because of cultural mores. The day of the week we devote to the Lord should be the day of the week we can devote the entire day. Thus in our culture, say Thursday wont work, but in China it may, I dont know. Church on Sunday is good in our culture because our society has been setup to have Sunday off from work, therefore, it makes for a good day to worship the Lord. I realize I have left some holes in some of my arguments because it is short. I hope some comments will fill them in. If not I will answer them as I have time.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Trying to figure out all this "emerging church" stuff... Reply soon

A very thought provoking post has been made by JTapp. I encourage all readers of this blog to read it as well. I will give my answer soon after I have given his post more thought.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Missons or Theology Part II

There appears to be some miscommunication in regards to my last post... allow me to clarify. I was not nor was the Internet Monk referring to how the missionaries are or are not trained in the denomination. I was instead talking about the general thrust or push, that which the denomination feels is most intergral to its being. Case in point is the "Everybody Can" slogan to win a million souls this year. This is a missional only, not theological, goal or push. My contention is that while the missional people such as Bobby Welch have contempt and distrust for the theologians, that good theology is indeed necessary before we can have any real missions impact. This is a witness centered drive by the Dr. Welch. Nowhere in the Scriptures will you find a call to witness and win anyone. This is the problem when theology is excluded from a missional push. However, if scripture is included in the missional equation we find that we are to indeed not witness but make disciples of the nations. Discipling is so much more than witnessing. Witnessing, especially when there is a human goal to be met is very shallow. Conversations tend to be short, involve total strangers, and if they believe the person talking with them may not know a church where to direct them, or perhaps may never see them again. Jesus knew when he said disciple that we were relational beings. He knew that we are far more influenced by someone who invests in us, cares for us, spends time with us. Just as He was with his disciples. These are the type of relationships we are to develop in order to truly disciple the nations. God will take care of the rest. We cannot make the Gospel "fast food". We have become lazy and do not want to take the time to develop the relationships that are necessary for effective discipling. When good theology precedes mission work then you have more effective servants for Christ and a healthier more scripturally based denomination.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Does it have to be Doctrine OR Mission??

It seems the Gauntlet is about to be thrown down in the SBC over the question of theology and its role in SBC life. The internet monk seems to be suggesting that the SBC has really never had any theology, and has been pastor led, with no time for theology. For the last 50 years of its history I agree, what theology we have had has merely been that God exists, he loves you, and your parents and pastor will tell you the rest. Go... Go quickly only with this knowledge and save others. This has been the battle cry of the SBC the last 50 yrs and this year was no different. However, there is a small but growing minority of people in the SBC just like Paul of Tarsus, who believe in doctrine first, to hold us together, and this will lead to stronger missions. The Seminaries of the SBC have the Great Commission as their mantra, interestingly, as demonstrated by the Convention this year we have no interest in discipling people. WIN them is what we are told. How to have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, through as discipling relationship... apparently not our concern. Let the pastors answer the tough questions, because we cant, we have been too lazy. With our, all missions no doctrine philosophy, we have become a denomination of congregants, who cant even answer the most basic of questions about our faith, and we refer to what our parents taught us, or our pastor. Interesting isnt it that the very thing we faught for in the Reformation... Sola Scriptura and preisthood of the believer, we have given up by saying the pastor can think about God for us. Sounds Roman Catholic doesnt it. No, I think a new doctrinal push in the SBC will be great, make us better missionaries, possibly change our reputation as the know nothing denomination and keep us from losing our members hand over fist to the cults. This will only come though, if we can get changes in the congregations' mindsets that they dont have to read their Bibles. Only when the members have a doctrine of any kind that they can defend, will we get a true missional movement that will make disciples of the nations