Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Trinitarian Theology and From The Pew

The following is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to somebody starting a blog ministry that explains part of the reasoning behind my blog, From The Pew:

Now for the thing I mentioned to you about one of my basic ideas. It's a bit long, but please bear with me. I am an unashamed Trinitarian, and believe the doctrine of the Trinity can be practically applied to how the church operates, and how we as individuals fit into both the church and the kingdom. The basic premise is this: God is both One God, and three persons simultaneously. Neither is more important than the other. God as One is no more important than God as Three, and vice versa. We see this philosophy of the One and Many in many areas of life. The whole and its parts, unity and diversity, community and individuality, a team and its players, the body of Christ and its members. When Paul said to be imitators of God, I think he meant more than our personal attention to Christlikeness. I believe there is much value in structuring our churches, our organizations, and many other areas of life after the pattern of the Trinity. While the Scriptures don't explicitly demand this, God's structures for these things that are revealed in Scripture do follow this pattern. Paul asserts that the body, for example, is made up of diverse members, each with unique functions, and that we should all exercise our gifts, individually, for the sake of the body. No one member or type of member is more important than the other members. The body isn't an eye, for how would it hear? Etc.

Human history has been full of attempts to make either the whole or its parts most important. Communism on the one hand versus radical anarchy on the other. An authoritarian heirarchy in the church on the one hand, where the rulers are in control (community is most important), versus radical individualism seen in the American evangelical church on the other (individuals are most important). When the One is stressed above the Many, individuals aren't important, and can be easily dismissed. Think Roman Catholicism's church structure. Or many legalistic churches where the narrow official church doctrine governs all, and you can just leave, or we'll kick you out, if you don't agree with us. When the Many is stressed, unity is lost in favor of doing what you feel is right. Many constructs in history also stress both the One and Many, but they are held in tension with one another. "Nobody better tell me what to do, but I think everybody else should be forced to believe what I do." With God's structure, both the One and Many are held together in harmony, not in tension.

This is one of the foundational ideas of my blog, From the Pew. I state as my subtitle, "Because for too long it has been coming from the pulpits, seminaries and denominations." Little room has been left in many of our modern churches for individual thought and development of doctrine. They control the beliefs, and the believers have no choice but to be swept along with the tide. This is where I think the blogoshpere is and will continue to be used by God in the future for obtaining the proper balance of church and its members. A community of believers has been created that is not controlled by the "learned." Church leaders could stand a little instruction from those in the pews, because we have been gifted by both the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit. In the story of the blind man in John 9, the blind man witnessed to the Pharisees about Jesus' healing powers. When they refused to believe him, he answered, "Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet he opened my eyes." (John 9:30) The Pharisees replied in v. 34, "'You were born entirely in your sins, and are you teaching us?' And they put him out." They were unwilling to learn.

This is where I think your idea of using a blog to spread the truth about the state can be valuable. Many pastors and other church leaders are out there blogging, too, and quite frankly, a number of them are listening. There are also many lay people coming to truth and doubting some of the beliefs of their churches in regards to the state. I am optimistic regarding the future of the doctrine of the state as it relates to both the church and individual believers.

I hope this helps you in seeing what I'm wrangling with on a daily basis as I live my life in the presence of other believers and an unbelieving world. It does no good as a witness to the lost to tell them they have to obey the state no matter what. They merely see the chruch in bed with the state. Some abundant life! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. Keep in touch regarding the progress of your project.

No comments:

Post a Comment