Tag Archives: theological
For years church leaders tried to convince us that being a hip, trendy, and relevant church was the key to doing church right. It was about professional bands, cool video graphics, and more ministry choices than you can fit on one bulletin page. But after many years and many failures even the well-respected church growth guru’s are admitting that it’s really about the preaching.
But not just any preaching. The trendy “talks” that cite one Bible verse then shares stories, jokes, and illustrations for 40 minutes are also failing. What people are really looking for is teaching from the Bible that expounds the Scriptures and connects them with daily life. In other words, expository preaching. What exactly is expository preaching?
If you want a picture of what a few progressive Christians want in a church, look no further than the writing of Rachel Held Evans. The picture presented by Evans is a combination of hipster religion and liberal social policy, aimed, it seems, at attracting young people that are otherwise more interested in social media and selfies.
I get it. The effort to create a brand of church that is marketable to the young has become popular; not with everyone, but popular nonetheless. So we have coffee shops, light shows, a ministry tailored for every member of the church, and an entire brand designed to set us apart from every other church in town.
Maybe I’m getting old, but those things are far less appealing to me today than they were 10 years ago. And, it seems, Rachel Held Evans is not really impressed with it either. She wrote an article that appeared in the Washing Post expressing her displeasure with modern attempts to make church “cool.” We would most likely find a great deal of agreement in our rejection of what many church-trend-followers claim is a cool church.
I can stand in solid agreement with the idea that less is more, smaller is better, simpler is more effective, and deeper is needed. The last thing we need in our churches is louder music, more lights, branding, and old people trying to wear skinny jeans. We could use a little more reverence, in-depth study, confessing sins, and the kind of fellowship that leaves you longing for more.
So Evans and I can find mutual agreement in our rejection of “cool” church. Where we tend to disagree is what that looks like and means practically. For Evans, it seems to be a sort of utopia that I’m not sure can exist in a sin-filled world. In her article, Evans shares several ideas that she believes is needed in the church today. They are:
The church of Jesus Christ has endured a host of theological debates and controversies over the centuries. One need only to look back in time to the debate over Gnosticism, or review the debate surrounding Pelagianism (to name just two) to see the scope of theological discussion the church has underwent.
While these heresies attempt to make a comeback once in a while – Gnosticism resembles new age teaching while Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism seem to always be lurking in the shadows of church history – the latest heresy to infiltrate the church is no less destructive.
The heresy of sexuality is causing just as great a disturbance in the church as any other throughout history. Denominations are dividing, churches are splitting, lines are being drawn and some are choosing to sit in silence. This new heresy is no less a doctrinal, theological, and moral issue than Gnosticism and Pelagianism.
Efforts to push a new sexuality complete with a new definition of family and marriage want to make sexuality about personal choice, identity, preference, or any other non-biological factor. The reality remains that gender and sexuality is an inherently biological factor determined at birth by no effort of the individual. For those that don’t believe the Bible this is can be a hard truth to handle. It leads to questions of “why am I attracted to the same-sex if it is wrong, or against nature?” Such questions are valid and not to be taken lightly.
The Theological Context:
From a theological, or doctrinal standpoint these words mean absolutely everything. Our entire Bible is written under the authority and inspiration of God.
2 Timothy 3:16 says “All scripture is given by inspiration of God…”
God, through the Holy Spirit inspired the authorship of the Bible. So if God wrote the Bible then we must first understand that before the Bible existed, God existed. God predates all things, history, time, theology, and the Bible. Our theology is based on God. Our doctrine is founded upon God. Without first understanding that God is the author of all things, our study of Scripture, theology, and doctrine is worthless.