Thursday, April 30, 2009

What I Used To Believe, What I Now Believe

Alan Knox at The Assembling of the Church continues a meme started by a friend of his named Lew at The Pursuit. The format of the meme is what one used to believe contrasted by what one believes now. Here is my list:

I used to believe that Romans 13 commanded believers to obey the state. Now I believe that it limits the state to punishing only a small number of sins that are also crimes, and that Paul cuts Caesar down to size (a common table waiter) rather than threaten believers who would dare drive 66 mph on the freeway.

I used to believe that one had to become a member of a church. I now believe that all baptized Christians are already members of a church simply by assembling with that church.

I used to believe in a pre-trib Rapture. Now I'm a postmillenialist who thinks that rapture theology is nonsense.

I used to believe that Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Arminians, charismatics and anybody attending a group listed in Walter Martin's Kingdom of the Cults couldn't possibly be a true Christian. Then I believed that people in these groups could be true Christians, but that their duty was to leave those groups. Now I believe that not only Catholics, Orthodox, charismatics and Arminians can be true Christians, but that the percentage of true Christians within Catholicism and Orthodoxy is probably the same as in Protestant churches.

I used to believe that one had to know the doctrine of justification by faith to be saved. I now believe that one is justified by faith regardless of whether one understands this to the same level I do.

I used to believe in Reformed theology. I now believe in reforming theology. [Clarification 05/06/09: I used to think of Reformed (past tense) theology as something already accomplished in the past by 400 year old dead guys. But, I've come to see a need for always reviewing old ways of thinking and doing things, and making changes where necessary.]

Come to think of it, most of my blog is about things I used to believe but now don't. Read on into my archives for the entire list.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Re-Thinking The Sunday Church Service (Part 11)

Read the entire series here.

In Part 7, I noted that the 1 Corinthians passage showed all the members of the assembly involved in edifying the whole body. The typical American church model, though, has one person - or very few - doing all the work on Sunday. This is made odd when a good deal of preaching is in telling the church attenders that they are a bunch of pew sitters that don't do much, and should get involved in helping the body.

So, a very many church people are hindered from doing the work of building up the body, then condemned for not doing the work of building up the body. I can see why so many people want to leave church.

Part 10 . . . . . . . . Part 12

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Re-Thinking The Sunday Church Service (Part 10) - Participatory Church Gatherings

Read the entire series here.

Alan Knox on his Assembling of the Church blog posts about a new website called Participatory Church Gatherings by Andrew Wilson (read the introduction here). [Update: blog link no longer available.]  Wilson quotes D. Martin Lloyd-Jones on questioning the sit-on-our-hands-while-two-or-three-people-do-everything model of church. I'll be following this site as it moves forward with its ideas.

Part 9 . . . . . . . . Part 11

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Solomon and Luther: Don't Be Too Righteous

"Do not be excessively righteous, and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself?" -Ecclesiastes 7:16

Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk, writes a post around a quote of Martin Luther on the remedy for nagging legalisms that plague us. Luther's quote:

“Whenever the devil harasses you, seek the company of men or drink more, or joke and talk nonsense, or do some other merry thing. Sometimes we must drink more, sport, recreate ourselves, and even sin a little to spite the devil, so that we leave him no place for troubling our consciences with trifles. We are conquered if we try too conscientiously not to sin at all. So when the devil says to you: do not drink, answer him: I will drink, and right freely, just because you tell me not to.” -Martin Luther

Adding CS Lewis into the mix, iMonk continues:

"But Lewis (and Luther) were especially aware of the spiritual dangers of trying to not sin. Yes…trying to not sin. Since encouraging people to try and not sin is a major occupation of confused evangelicalism, Luther sounds strange."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ugly Death Leads to Resurrection

Andrew Sandlin argues that death must be viewed as an ugly thing in order to have a correct view of the Resurrection. He uses Grünewald's painting as an illustration. He links to Oscar Cullman's thought provoking piece "Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead?" Cullman shows Christ's death was experienced with fully human fear and suffering. Not a piece for sensitive gnostics.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Opening Day!

Today is Opening Day for the San Francisco Giants! Baseball is back! Only one problem. It's raining hard and the game might be cancelled. I've always believed Opening Day should be a national holiday. Should a national holiday be rained out?

Monday, April 06, 2009

I'm Back

I'm back from the conference. It was very good. More later.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Wanna Be A Writer?

Okay, never mind the Beatles song. I will be attending the Christian Writers Conference the next few days at Mt. Hermon Conference Center located in the beautiful California redwoods close to Santa Cruz. I have developed an interest in writing over the last five years, and feel that such a conference might confirm for me if writing will be a big part of my future. I have blogged for this period of time and have thought of bigger and better things. I have a major book idea, and several smaller ones. I have thought about making use of my blog series for book ideas.

Being unemployed might just be the motivation for me now. The job search is bleak, with layoffs in the building industry continuing. Over the next four days, this blog will probably be re-posts from the past or scheduled postings written now. Stay tuned. If nothing new shows, it's because I've been too busy.