Sunday, January 4, 2009

Doing Church

Two essentials of my “doing church” have been the authority of inspired Scripture and the centrality and necessity of Christ’s substitutionary work on the cross. There are more, but these I have not departed from in my life. These essentials are not original to my thoughts as David Wells in “The Courage to Be Protestant” names them as the essentials held as the core of the evangelical movement, which began circa 1950.

As I read through Wells and I still am reading through Wells work, it is as if I were watching “Mr. Holland’s Opus” The plot of the picture paralleled my teaching journey, much as the evangelical movement parallels my church journey, each having aspirations and events that were similar.

My teaching time was spent in one venue, but my church journey encompassed many congregations. Most of these changes in congregation were due to moving. What I wanted to be sure of was keeping the essentials of my “doing church”.

There were encroachments on my others essentials which slowly came into play. My concept of congregational church polity, believer’s baptism, women’s involvement, millennial absolutes and mercies were challenged and I adjusted to the situation in as much peace as I could put forth. Well’s points out that diversity does not keep the central essentials in tact. Some things are lost and this lose permeates erosion. I might say that it can also strengthen a resolution.

From time to time I examine the possibility of change, to “doing church” in another venue. I am ever cognoscente of what I must give up and what I might take on. There are many tags out in the search area, such as: liberal evangelicals, charismatic, emergent, seeker friendly, missional, house church, etc. I am amazed at the hybrids and the “morphs”.
Juliet:"What's in a name? That which we call a roseby any other name would smell as sweet."
Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

What is in a name or a tag? A new spin, a gimmick, a smell, but not church. What should be considered should you need to “do church” anew?

Consider this:
Acts 2:42
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

I did not consider as a believer that I would pass through the number of changes that I have in changing churches, again most unintentional. I also stand disappointed at the hybrids and morphs and the confusion they engender.

Therefore, remember the essentials and beware the gimmicks?


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