PREFORMING OUR THEOLOGICAL TASK 1. Write an essay, which sets out as clearly as possible your present understanding of the Christian Church and the Christian faith and life. Along the way, discuss how Buechner and English have/or have not been helpful to you in formulating your own statement. The Christian church has unique goals and purposes which, by definition, the world not committed to the Jesus, as savior does not honor or share. The church has been called to be a “people for Gods own possession” (Ephesians 1:13-14, 18, 2:19-22) uniquely reflecting His character and striving to do those things in this world that are important to Him. It is by the deeds that we do that we bring glory to God.
These deeds may not be extravagant or spectacular works in the sight of the worldthey may involve a few people or may, but they are always redemptive in nature, helping others to understand God and to experience salvation through Jesus Christ. We who call ourselves Christians have a choicea choice to have our lives defined by the calling to which we have been called or by some other calling. The danger today is that the choice is somewhat masked by other choices that also seem to be uniquely Christian. The politically correct academic world in which secular “political correctness” promotes an attitude of contempt for traditional Christian beliefs, the Christian churches attempts to bring all Christians into their particular fold, and the hyper-charismatic “renewal” movementeach with its own separate agenda. Some offer the Christian church success in different but sometimes similar ways (by appealing to emotional satisfaction rather than sound doctrine and reason).
Dr. C. Peter Wagner of Fuller Theological Seminary is very open about his belief that Christian theology is determined by experience. He endorses a “paradigm shift” in which Christians adapt a view of the world more in line with Eastern mysticism. It is the strength of each of the movements that should alert us that the convoluted thinking of our times leads us away from a true understanding of what God has given us in his written word. The church today is undergoing a major transition period, as churches strive to innovate a worship form more inclusive of GenXers and at the same time continue to attract the baby boomers. At the same time many congregations are suffering anxiety about change.
This fear of change is probably the major impediment to effective ministry in Christianity in the United States today. Some of the mainline churches, in efforts to reach the unchurched, have de-emphasized biblical teaching and watered down their Christology to the point of not being able to have any significant influence on those who attend. A disciple of Jesus today must be determined to discover what it means to follow the calling of God in daily life. In this aspect we receive help from the Holy Spirit in learning from Gods word, spiritual teachers and in the way we live our lives for God. The church today doesnt have to invent her mission today, but to serve the Lord and be faithful to the mission that has already been ordained by God.
In order to correct the understanding of Christianity there has arisen a zeal for evangelism and missions. This, in part, arises from a faith that is sacred and compelling. We must remember however, that the object is not to place everything in the middle between two extremes, rather to keep everything in its own proper proportion. It may be seen from teachings of liberal Christians in the early 19th century that being “saved” or “becoming a Christian”, in the liberal sense came to mean recognizing Gods love for us or accepting Gods assistance but not the salvation of a Holy God from the eternal consequences of sin through Jesus Christ. Many people today within the Christian community are determined to do what would have been unthinkable to earlier evangelical Christiansabandon traditional Christianity for “new Revelation”. This would imply a church today that has forgotten the apostolic testimony, the apostolic teaching, the apostolic example, and the apostolic charge; a church that has lost faith in its message.
Salvation to many has become simply a matter psychological adjustment or education. The remedy is to see God as the scriptures teach Him to bea Holy God with goals that can only be achieved as people humble themselves. The Christian faith and life has evolved back to the allegorical method of interpreting Scripture that was common during the time of the Protestant Reformation. When the Reformers objected to this method because those who practiced it frequently read into the Scriptures what they wanted the Scripture to say, they led the people away from the true meaning of Scripture. Today in our schools of theology and among our churches the tendency to impose an imaginative interpretation upon Scripture has become common again.
It is being practiced by those who label themselves “evangelical” as well as by “liberal” Christians who reject the full authority of Scripture. People have come to feel that if something is successful (in worldly terms) it is morally correct and /or evidence of the blessing of God. This is a belief that forward progress in all human affairs is assured, so that anything new is automatically better than anything old. The belief that truth is verified through feeling, so that if we are comfortable with a belief, it is thus true and it is confirmed by God. We can see that if all of the above occur than chances are there will be a receptive audience.
This does not necessarily mean that these three trends today are wrong, but that they themselves are not accurate measures of truth and spirituality. In many of our churches today there is being promoted the thought to non-Christians that they can choose what happens in Christian worship. They may soon go on to tell Christians what they can and cannot preach to them. This is not God honoring or God serving. Too …