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 Re:

Brother Phil,

I think you may be missing the point that Compton is trying to bring up. He may sound idealistic but I think you can be assured that he is "grown up" in the faith and not saying that doctrine or intense knowlege and study of scriptural doctrines or themes is a waste of time.

I think that he is simply stating that revival (if indeed it can happen) cannot happen if we all stay within our own theological camps throwing theological mudballs at each other. What he is expressing is that we must look to our core doctrines as a means of connection to other factions of the Church. The supposition he makes is not to link ourselves with openly practicing Homosexuals who have fooled themselves into the belief that they can also be included in the body, but rather that we can overlook our particular views on subjects like "Predestination" or "Once saved, always saved" types of arguments and concentrate on each other's commitment to Christ as the Nexus of our connection to one another. Thusly, we attain the "community of believers" that the Lord wants us to be. I myself am involved in a multi-denominational prison ministry called Kairos and have served in the prisons alongside Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Nazarenes, United Methodists, Lutherans, Charismatics, and the list goes on. Do, I agree with the doctrinal teachings of all of those churches? No, of course not! But we, all of us, who go into the prisons are hoping to taste something of fellowship with Christ in the faces of the prisoners and we are NEVER disappointed.

One of the most powerful things about that ministry in the eyes of the prisoners is the fact that all of us from these various denoms and non-denoms actually serve Christ side by side without quarrelling about minor doctrinal differences. We go in there and give testimony to how Christ has changed our lives, and we are like Paul when he said, "I preach Christ and Him Crucified". That is what we do, we focus on the major doctrinal points of the church and avoid the divisive and the ministry of Christ to the prisoner is accomplished with all the glory one could ever desire from a revival/church service.

My example is just one practical example of that "Nexus" point that Compton is begging for. What he is also suggesting is that there may, indeed, be many Nexus points or places where we (the Church at large) can meet, connect, and minster together powerfully as we place our denominational Credo's down for the greater Credo's we all share (i.e. Salvation in Christ alone, Christ crucified, buried, ressurrected, ascended, and soon coming King, etc...).

Again, he is not suggesting that we personally divorce ourselves from any of our own personally attained beliefs about any of even our minor beliefs and convictions about the periferal doctrines or interpretations of scripture but rather that we are willing to lay at least "some" of it down, at certain times and at certain "Nexus" points, in order to perform the works that which Christ himself has called us to do, not to mention the ascension into the community that we "ought" to be.

Please don't miss the point he's trying to make. Certainly, being didactic is appropriate and constructive in some situations but being didactic can be equally damaging in other situations. For example, Paul went to visit some of the Brothers in the book of Acts and participated in a good and proper Temple worship session with some Jewish believers. He even participated in some ritual washings (Old covenant practice). He could have become extremely didactic at that point and preached a sermon to them about how Christ has washed us once for all at the Cross, but he refrained because this was his "Nexus" with the Jewish believers in that location. He opted to maintain his fellowship with them over his own personal doctrinal positions. He practiced what he preached in Romans 14 and realized that perhaps the faith of his Jewish brothers here was not in error but perhaps just a little weak and so he "put up with those whose faith is weak". Just an example for you from scriptures. There you go, didactic effectiveness.

In Christ,
Steve
(Picky400)

 2005/3/1 12:48
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
I think you may be missing the point that Compton is trying to bring up. He may sound idealistic but I think you can be assured that he is "grown up" in the faith and not saying that doctrine or intense knowlege and study of scriptural doctrines or themes is a waste of time.


Steve
I think you may be missing the point that I was discussing :-), but I'll wait to hear what Mike Compton has to say. I think you have interpreted my post as a challenge to MC. It was not, just a widening of our conversation.


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2005/3/1 13:43Profile
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re: Irreducable Complexity

I thought I might try to improve my earlier point Admittedly I am probably in over my head but I do feel there is something worth wrestling with here. This may explain to some why I identified myself favorably with 3 certain church "movements" despite my personal misgivings.

I liked Picky's reference to Paul and the submission to Jewish ritual. I think that touches on the subject.

First, how could we remove doctrinal instruction and teaching from our gospel message? I hope no one would ever think that someone as wordy as myself would be afraid of some good old fashioned homily!

Others have expressed this issue better. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wondered about a "religionless" Christianity...where we would not have to practice religion to have saving faith in Jesus. He felt that asking a 20th century man to start thinking about himself in religous terms is placing dishonest burdens upon him. Afterall, it wasn't that man's fault he was born into an age of scientific purism and cultural pluralism.

We are fond of saying that Christianity is a relationship not a religion but Bonhoeffer's suggestion still catches me off gaurd. His aim is reassuring; in order for a prophetic Christ to be made manifest to a godless world we must preserve the gospel even at the expense of our beloved expressions of it. This is what it means to serve in the 20th century. Just as Christ was a man for others, post-modern Christianity must be for others.

If all of this sounds like dreaded liberal or social Christianity then maybe our gospel has become too didactic and is fit only for our churches.

We should spare people our religion in order to confront them with a secular Jesus whom they can not hide from. If our message is that Christ has overcome the sin of the world, then we must overcome evil for others by taking up the hard work of bettering men's lives. "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!" must be illustrated with positivism and not piety. This is what I meant by wondering if our revivalist heroes have become idols. They brought a powerful new form of preaching to both Europe and America. Our message also must come in a powerful new form.

Borrowing a question from intelligent design I ask "can we uncover a trustworthy Gospel that is irreducibly complex."? If we love God and all men from every tribe, we must recover the simplest saving faith message that does no dishonor to God and no deception to men. I think this is what Paul taught.

Since Bonhoffer's death the evangelical church, at least in my country, has grown more religous; a conservative restoration reflex in the face of irreligion and immorality. We have a scripted apologetic for every obstacle to our theology. In an age of skepticism and higer criticism, we are too nervous to let intelligence people have their doubts. I think this is also being too didactic.

Regarding our divisional doctrinal systems...they were important for the past 200-500 years and so I am alittle disoriented that they seem less important to me now. I am mindful of Paul's warning to Timothy about keeping sound doctrine but I doubt he was talking about the truckloads of exegesis, traditions, myths, and opinions we fight for.

I heard a story about the apostle John in Ephesus at the close of his life. He was too weak to speak publicly for very long, but
often the younger men would carry him in and he would say to the congregation,"Little children, love one another." Apparently that got on some people's nerves who craved "deeper" things enough to complain, asking him why he repeated these instructions so much. John answered, "Because it is the Lord's command, and if it's all you do, it will be enough."

Like the world has come of age, I think the church has come of age. Let's do away with childish things, and put our big boy pants on. ;-) It is inevitable because Jesus asked the Father, "that they may be one as we are one."


MC














_________________
Mike Compton

 2005/3/1 16:26Profile









  I love this!

Bro Compton,
this is great and so true!

Quote:
If he comes as a holiness preacher the baptists will reject him, and if he comes as a pentacostal then the charismatics will look down on him. If he comes from the third world, the northern hemisphere will not clothe and feed him. If he comes from the east, then the west will debate theology with him.



I'm a Jew, and sometimes I think, feel....that my people have always SAID they want Messiah, but Whoever came, they would kill...HE CAME, and they refused to see Him.

What they wrote about a humble one-eyed black man, who had a scarred face from the ravages of smallpox, they excoriated William Seymour, and you know where some of the most vituperative comments were from?....the "church".

Same thing with a mighty apostolic figure like John Sung....you read his diaries, and 90%..maybe 95% of his persecution came from the lukewarm half dead elements of the "church", intent on protecting the orthodoxy. it's sad.

I went to a house gathering here, it was a bunch of renewal types, Holy Ghosts 'drunks', and it was grievous, and there was something that did NOT ring true....but you know what? lil ole Neil isnt gonna dictate terms of revival to God, I'm gonna let God be God! (lol) betcha He's happy to hear that.

There's a point to my blitherings, ummmmmm......When the Holy Spirit gave me a vision of a prayer tent, ala 1st century at our post-modern country fair, the only ones who expressed ANY interest (outside of an annointed Tutsi woman believer who lives in Nairobi) were those renewal types.....they are the ones who are gathering a Christian drumming circle, the ones who are organizing a "dream-interpetation" team.

is that stuff I get into?

no, but so what, I get into doing the Father's work, and He says to call His lost sheep, and if drumming circles, and dream interpations will draw the lost to drink from the Living Water, and give it up to the Lamb of God...then lets go! lets make church!

that church might be in tent, that church might be four souls in an old office trailer lit by flourescent lights praying all night in the Spirit, in tears....

we need more tears, we gotta quit eating our young.

This Christian faith is new to this Jew, but I have noticed that the church loves to munch on its young and on the fallen of its elite, loves to cast stones, and furrow its brows and yammer on about "moral values".

we need more tears.

I love your writing bro, God's gave you the gift of a fine mind and the ability to see thru the haze, and say it with tact and love.....don't stop, press on.

 2005/3/1 16:28
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
Others have expressed this issue better. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wondered about a "religionless" Christianity...where we would not have to practice religion to have saving faith in Jesus. He felt that asking a 20th century man to start thinking about himself in religous terms is placing dishonest burdens upon him. Afterall, it wasn't that man's fault he was born into an age of scientific purism and cultural pluralism.


I've never been able to trust Bonhoeffer. He wrote some very quotable stuff but I can never touch the spirit of the man. I can understand that we need to be able to preach the gospel in the language of those who need to hear. We can see that in Acts 17 very clearly. Not a single Bible verse, but this is evangelism and not church.

The church is not a house for 21st century, post-modernist man, but for God. The only person who needs to feel at home there is God. It is His house, at his personal disposal. My preferences are irrelevant, so are cultural preferences. The question for 'church' is what kind of place will God feel at 'home' in?

Does the church exist to perform evangelism, or is the purpose of evangelism to prepare the sinner for the gathering of the saints? in other words the first steps towards becoming 'church'? Perhaps the question we really need to pursue is 'what is the church'? Then we can decide if it is succeeding or failing. How could we answer that question until we know its purpose?

The proclamation, or kerugma, is infinitely translatable. The teaching, or didache is very precise.


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2005/3/1 16:44Profile
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
We are fond of saying that Christianity is a relationship not a religion but Bonhoeffer's suggestion still catches me off gaurd. His aim is reassuring; in order for a prophetic Christ to be made manifest to a godless world we must preserve the gospel even at the expense of our beloved expressions of it. This is what it means to serve in the 20th century. Just as Christ was a man for others, post-modern Christianity must be for others.

What exactly are our 'beloved expressions of it'? How differently can you express it and it still be gospel? I am ready to abandon man made 'beloved expressions' but I am not ready to abandon propositional revelation, and post-modernism can never communicate with propositional revelation because it believes there is no truth and no means of communicating it. It believes that truth lies in the listener, where the gospel believes that truth lies in the speaker.

Post-modernism says real communication is impossible; truth is what is truth to me irrespective of what you said. What kind of gospel can we communicate to such? It doesn't matter what you said, what matters is how I feel? This is the kind of spiritual hedonism that Paris Reidhead spots so accurately.

The gospel says Jesus Christ is Lord, this is the spot where you kneel! It cannot compromise with its hearers, its power lies in its faithfulness to its commission.


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2005/3/1 16:56Profile









 amen

brother Ron, you wrote:

The gospel says Jesus Christ is Lord, this is the spot where you kneel! It cannot compromise with its hearers, its power lies in its faithfulness to its commission.


(the quote thing doesnt work on this puter)

amen! This is a grand thread.......

in my lack of knowledge . I believe the key to church lays in the apostolic calling of Acts 6:4

"and we will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word."

for me, and TO me that is half the thrust of my personal burden and the foundational "to-do"s of the church, the other is

"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified".

1 Cor 2:2

Church: Jesus Christ, Him crucified, prayer, Ministry of the Word.

to me, thats what church should be, about and composed of.

 2005/3/1 19:00
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re: Philologos

Like I said, I might be in over my head abit!

The term post-modern is kinda trendy right now. Maybe I should avoid it. I am not post-modern in the sense that I do believe God has provided a universe where I can have real knowledge of his word. I hold to a confident epistemology...of some things.

By "beloved expressions" I am referring to our BELIEFS NOT IN THE GOSPEL BUT BELIEFS ABOUT THE GOSPEL. I may be painting myself into a self-contradiction but I cannot accept that all of my beliefs are true, however convincing.

That may be the "post-modern" part about me. Even though I know what I believe, I would rather believe your doctrine then be separate from you. In the end though I am not insisting in this type of thinking and I do not expect others to follow suit.

Quote:
What exactly are our 'beloved expressions of it'? How differently can you express it and it still be gospel?



I think there are many expressions for sure. The problem is that we might be guilty of a little slight of hand here. If only our gospel was so simple....
Quote:
...Jesus Christ is Lord, this is the spot where you kneel!



But of course you and I know differently. (Shhh! let's not tell anyone!) We think we are buying a pretty picture but really it's a puzzle with a dozen sets of instructions. Picking the right instruction means the difference between being a goat or a sheep!

Some preach the need for a second regeneration, while still others tell of a "full salvation". Some preach irresistable grace, while still others preach pelagianism. Some preach that believers can bring demonic curses upon themselves, while others preach that we are surrounded by God's power. Some preach that Catholics are idol worshippers, while Charismatics are practicing doctrines of demons. Some preach that Calvinism is a license to sin, while others preach that Calvinism is Paul's justification by faith message. Gosh, we can't even agree on the sequence of the doctrines' of salvation. And of course none of this confusion even includes the eastern church. To dismiss one of these beliefs is to slight great men of God.

Our planet is getting smaller and our different beliefs are trying to occupy the same space. If I see another book, radio, or website ministry dedicated to "exposing heresy", attacking brothers and sisters I have walked with, my heart is going to break! We can hope that this doesn't represent an epistemological crisis but our children are going to be more honest. (Even if they don't know what that big word means.:-P )

In previous centuries we might have been able to survive in local geographical regions of thought but the time is coming when the church will have to find ways of holding to individual convictions while at the same time letting them go. We need a new contract of that replaces skepticism in my brother with confidence in the Lord. (We can let the lawyers settle the details...)

Of course I am also concerned about heresy. Perhaps there are other heresies such as not esteeming one another in the name of Christ. I realize it's a messy problem, maybe impossible to fix because we each love our Lord to much to risk misrepresenting Him.

I liked Bonhoeffers "religionless" concept because it seemed to address this issue of asking people to repent of sanity at the same time we ask them to repent of sin. But in the end, Christ's prayer for us to be one may be a statement of heavenly reality only... which is fine I suppose.

Brothers, what are your feelings on this matter? (Do I need some more books to read? ;-) Should I wait for the Lord and his winnowing fork to set things straight perhaps?

Thanks Neilgin
Quote:
"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified".



Anyone who claims this verse is someone I want to associated with!

God bless you guys!


_________________
Mike Compton

 2005/3/1 19:54Profile
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re: quick note

Philo,

For what it's worth, I wanted to clarify something about the concept of a "post-modern Christianity." It's not that our Christianity should become post-modern which would be a disaster. Rather Christianity should provide a unified coherent message that speaks with glorious simplicity to a murky post-modern world.

Ironically, our present fractured and self-contradictory church is closer to being post-modern in nature. Imagine the reaction to a global people that are consistent in word and deed around the planet. The only coherency I can imagine now is a dying of everything we hold dear in our faith except unity with all who believe Christ crucified and ressurected.

MC


_________________
Mike Compton

 2005/3/1 20:31Profile
Smokey
Member



Joined: 2005/2/21
Posts: 417
Edmonton Alberta Cda.

 Re:

It makes no diffrence at all what preachers are preaching in a post modern world. Preachers are going to preach what they believe. It is no surprise to me, and anyone who is a "Christian" that preachers are preaching a smorgesboard of beliefs, and they can not all be right. Every era of church history has had its share of "preachers" preaching what they believe. We need to be aware that these "preachers" are the wolves in sheeps clothing that we have been cautioned about . Look at Matthew 7:15 and Acts 20:29. Also look at Romans 16:17&18 it is of the utmost importanc that you do not follow men, but Scripture, and the Holy Spirit.

Quote:

Compton wrote:
Like I said, I might be in over my head abit!

The term post-modern is kinda trendy right now. Maybe I should avoid it. I am not post-modern in the sense that I do believe God has provided a universe where I can have real knowledge of his word. I hold to a confident epistemology...of some things.

By "beloved expressions" I am referring to our BELIEFS NOT IN THE GOSPEL BUT BELIEFS ABOUT THE GOSPEL. I may be painting myself into a self-contradiction but I cannot accept that all of my beliefs are true, however convincing.

That may be the "post-modern" part about me. Even though I know what I believe, I would rather believe your doctrine then be separate from you. In the end though I am not insisting in this type of thinking and I do not expect others to follow suit.

Quote:
What exactly are our 'beloved expressions of it'? How differently can you express it and it still be gospel?



I think there are many expressions for sure. The problem is that we might be guilty of a little slight of hand here. If only our gospel was so simple....
Quote:
...Jesus Christ is Lord, this is the spot where you kneel!



But of course you and I know differently. (Shhh! let's not tell anyone!) We think we are buying a pretty picture but really it's a puzzle with a dozen sets of instructions. Picking the right instruction means the difference between being a goat or a sheep!

Some preach the need for a second regeneration, while still others tell of a "full salvation". Some preach irresistable grace, while still others preach pelagianism. Some preach that believers can bring demonic curses upon themselves, while others preach that we are surrounded by God's power. Some preach that Catholics are idol worshippers, while Charismatics are practicing doctrines of demons. Some preach that Calvinism is a license to sin, while others preach that Calvinism is Paul's justification by faith message. Gosh, we can't even agree on the sequence of the doctrines' of salvation. And of course none of this confusion even includes the eastern church. To dismiss one of these beliefs is to slight great men of God.

Our planet is getting smaller and our different beliefs are trying to occupy the same space. If I see another book, radio, or website ministry dedicated to "exposing heresy", attacking brothers and sisters I have walked with, my heart is going to break! We can hope that this doesn't represent an epistemological crisis but our children are going to be more honest. (Even if they don't know what that big word means.:-P )

In previous centuries we might have been able to survive in local geographical regions of thought but the time is coming when the church will have to find ways of holding to individual convictions while at the same time letting them go. We need a new contract of that replaces skepticism in my brother with confidence in the Lord. (We can let the lawyers settle the details...)

Of course I am also concerned about heresy. Perhaps there are other heresies such as not esteeming one another in the name of Christ. I realize it's a messy problem, maybe impossible to fix because we each love our Lord to much to risk misrepresenting Him.

I liked Bonhoeffers "religionless" concept because it seemed to address this issue of asking people to repent of sanity at the same time we ask them to repent of sin. But in the end, Christ's prayer for us to be one may be a statement of heavenly reality only... which is fine I suppose.

Brothers, what are your feelings on this matter? (Do I need some more books to read? ;-) Should I wait for the Lord and his winnowing fork to set things straight perhaps?

Thanks Neilgin
Quote:
"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified".



Anyone who claims this verse is someone I want to associated with!

God bless you guys!


_________________
Greg

 2005/3/1 22:57Profile





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