preacherman

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Is the church of Christ redifining itself?

I read post this morning that got me thinking and asking some questions. The post is found on www.stoned-campbelldisciple.blogspot.com The questions concern the church of Christ: Is the church of Christ redefining itself? What is the church of Christ known for today? Are we the only one who have the right answers? Are we judgemental to others who don't have the same oppinions or views that we have? Are we know for the conflicts we have within our fellowship? What should we be known for? Are we relative to the world to day if so, how and if not, why not? What should be done to make us relative? Can we be relative without compromising doctrine? Are we so focused on being the church of the 1st century that we are not being the church of the 21st century?
What do you think?
Just questions to consider.

34 Comments:

Blogger Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

Sometimes we have to spend a while in the garden listening to the voice of the Lord in prayer to find the answer to those questions.

One thing that may become evident is we must become exegetes of our world. We must not be only theorists in hermeneutics but become living hermeneutics. We bridge the ancient sacred text and the polytheistic postmodern world with a word of grace and hope.

You are very kind to make a link to my post. I am humbled.

Shalom,
Bobby Valentine
Stoned-Campbell Disciple

12:00 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Bobby,
Thanks for you comments and your post.
It made me think.

8:30 AM  
Blogger L.E.Meredith said...

You are right to question those things, that should be questioned, and there are many.

10:12 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

l.e.,

Thank you for your post.
I feel that ministers and Christians should ask themselves how is the Church of Christ viewed in the eyes of the world.
In a world that needs Jesus we need to be relative more than ever before.
We need to be seen in a positive light.
When people see the church of Christ sign or here about the Church of Christ they need to see a family, a group of Christian who love God and offer hope to others.

l.e. Thank you for you comments.
I also got on your blog and thought it looked good.

8:27 PM  
Blogger ZZPuck said...

Good questions, preacherman. Happy to find your blog.

Peace.

1:52 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Thanks ZZPuck.
How did you come across my sight.
I appreciate your comments.

9:11 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I do believe that if real change is going to take place in the church of Christ and we are to make a difference in the world as a Church we have to ask ourselves these kind of questions. I believe their needs to be real discussion at universities, lecutureships, among leaders, and minister. I pray that God will continue to bless His church was we look at the real issues confronting the church and who were are as His church.

12:14 AM  
Anonymous Nick said...

The difficult part of talking, acting or shaping the church in a "relevant" fashion is that what is and what is not relevant is often very subjective. It also seems to be a tent for a movement at times of self satisfaction rather than self submission.

What is relevant? Meeting felt needs? Big crowds? Get our "worship" on?

After the feeding of the crowd in the book of John, Jesus had crossed over the sea. The crowd eventually found Jesus. This crowd wanted to follow Jesus but for very different reasons then Jesus wanted them to follow. He then speaks words to them that are hard to understand. Was Jesus teaching relevant? It drove the masses on this occassion away and a large crowd turned into just a handful of disciples.

Relevance is a fine subject to discuss but we must rememebr the "relevant" message got Jesus crucified, John the baptist beheaded, James beheaded, Paul stoned, beaten and so on, Stephen stoned to death and John exiled to Patmos just to point to a few occassions.

How culturally relevant was the gospel in the first century? It was so relevant that it got its followers persecuted by the jews and the pagans.

We need to make sure our focus is on "spirit and truth" this is the standard that Christ gave us for worship and life. being relevant doesn't always mean being popular or being accepted.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Darin L. Hamm said...

Preacherman,

I don’t think that the CoC should worry what other people may or may not say about it. If it is doing the will of God then it will be fine.

Of course I am one who no longer worships at a church with a CoC sign out front so maybe I’m not the one to comment. I just know from experience that much of what happens in the CoC world is not known, discussed or worried about beyond the fellowship walls. Even Christian Churches are oblivious to what happens or is going on.

If Christ is still being preached then the CoC shouldn’t worry. Now it is my belief that many CoC do not preach Christ but a form of legalism. That to me is an issue no matter what others think about the CoC. That is an issue no matter how culturally relevant the CoC becomes or is.

You clearly care because you ask questions. I pray you find answers and direction in your journey.

8:37 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Darin,
Thank you for your comments. I am striving to do his will and my prayer is that the Church of Christ will do the same.
It makes sense that if Christ is preached then we shouldn't worry. I do think it is easy for some to preach tradition, legalism, opinion instead of Jesus. I hope that every Church of Christ will preach Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, he who believes in me will never die." What hope. I am enjoying the journey.
Feel free to comment anytime.

Thanks again for your comments.

10:53 PM  
Blogger Bren Hughes said...

I think we're definitely going through a period of re-definition. As always some of us are taking our cues from "denominational" writers, are they're always ahead of us when it comes to adapting to societal change. Many among us who have a more scholarly bent are mining our early heritage for useful ideas which would re-define the current church, but in a way that remains faithful to our roots.

You might like my post from January where I discuss some of the ways the baby boomer group have tried to redefine the church. I pick out several themes of change which emerge from the writings of Hicks, C.L. Allen, and others.

http://brenhughes.blogspot.com/2006/01/churches-of-christ-and-emerging-church.html

Thanks for visiting my blog, preacherman!

10:33 AM  
Blogger k2 said...

thanks for the visit to my blog.

(you should be hearing th music to the twilight zone right now...) i was at gcbc this week. that's 'gulf coast bible camp' and they did play capture the flag. however, there was no winner due to an incident between a boy camper and a female counselor. the game was called because of some very hot tempers. i wasn't there for the mishap, because i sound to sleep in the cabin with my junior boys. i had the 1st - 3rd grade boys cabin.

it was a great week.

thanks for the visit.

where in texas are you from? i just came from doing work camp in arlington 3 weeks ago.

12:35 PM  
Blogger k2 said...

i had the luxury of being at youth camp this week. the theme was "revolution", like we are starting a revolution to fight against the darkness and so forth.

in one of the devos for the adults, the leader mentioned that Jesus was not a revolutionary. he mentioned that Jesus is the norm, and we need to revert to being normal.

Jesus is what we all want to be like. He is not a revolutionary.

sorry that this is not totally with what your theme for this post is about, but i wanted to share that.

do you agree, or disagree?

thanks again for the visit.

12:39 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

K2,

Jesus was definately a revelutionary. Just read the sermon on the mount. Count how many times Jesus says, "You have heard it said, but I say"...
His who ministry was revelutionary...Jesus was definately not the norm that is why the teachers of the law hated him so much.
We are called as Christian to different...not the norm but opposing the norm our society. The norm says, there is no absolutes, Christians believe Jesus is the the truth, his word is truth. The norm says, its okay to do what you want, live the way you want, you choose your life-style. Christianity calls us to deny self, understand the seriousness of sin. I thank God that he is merciful and gracous. But we must understand that Jesus was a radical and Christians sometimes will look very different to the norm.
Thank K2 for your comments.
Feel free to check out my blog anytime.

2:26 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Bren,

Thanks for your comment and I look forward to reading your post about hte boomer generation. It does see that most of the change that does take place in church is geared to the boomers. Do X'ers feel left out? Are their needs being met? X'ers views of worship and church are much different from that of the boomers.
Again, feel free to comment and view my blog anytime.
Look forward to reading more of yours.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Danny Sims said...

I hope we are continually rediscovering God and His Living, Active Word.

If we're doing that, it would be Him redefining us, right?

7:46 AM  
Blogger Velcro said...

Great Post.

Questions are sometimes scary. But what is scarier is denominations that have no room for them.

I hope God is redefining the Churches of Christ just as I hope God is redefining the church in general. Water that isn't flowing grows stale and attracts mosquitos.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Wade Tannehill said...

Regarding whether Jesus was a revolutionary:

A definition of Revolution from Webster: "overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed." Jesus advocated revolution in that he preached the overthrow of self as the Lord of one's own life. Self is replaced on the throne by the true Lord. Now that is revolutionary! Discipleship is also the overthrow of religious systems that actually prevent adherents from loving their neighbors.

But I understand why some would hesitate to apply the term "revolutionary" to Jesus. He did not come to change things from the way they were from the beginning. He came to change them back to the way they're supposed to be, prior to the Fall. It could be said that revolution occured when humans tried living independantly of God.

But rather than calling Jesus the "norm" I would call him the "ideal." He is the new Adam, the prototype of what it means to be truly human. So when we mess up and say, "I'm only human," this is bad becaue sin is not really what it means to be human. Sin is what it means to be fallen.

So I don't know if we should call Jesus a revolutionary or not. I just know that Jesus was a nonconformist!

2:52 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Danny,
Thanks for your comments.
Good point.
Are we allowing God to do the redefining?
If we are doing His will he will do it, just as He did with Israel.

8:09 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Josh,

Thank you for your comments.
I like your quote of denominations no allowing questioning. I feel we must question. We must search. We must do His will and be the church that He wants us to be. As Paul said, "It was bought with the blood of His son Jesus Christ." How precious. How costly. So as Christians, as ministers, as church leaders do we see the church as His or do we see it as our's to do what we want with it instead of God's will. One thing I have found in ministry is that God will is going to prevail and no one can stop the the will of God. Amen.
Josh, thank you again for comments.

8:14 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Wade,
I am so glad that you commented and added to the discussion. You know I always respect your thoughts and wisdom. And you've done it again. I love your thoughts on how Jesus is the new Adam. Wow. Never looked at it that way before. I think what I was trying to say is his ideas in the eyes of the Pharasee's, teachers of the law seemed revelutionary to their ideals. I do like how he is the ideal. Like you said, he was definately a non-conformist. He didn't conform to the what the Pharasee's, teachers of the law and others were saying about they law. The great thing about Jesus being a non-conformist is he brought heart to the law. Wade, thank you for your coments. Love for you to post again soon. Did you read what I said about your comment on 666?
Wade, good hearing from you and I am keeping you in my prayers always.

8:21 AM  
Blogger KentF said...

Thanks for visiting preacherman. We have a lot in common. I graduated from AHS in '79 and my father is an elder at University church of Christ. I hope the church is moving back toward Jesus, and away from a very failed belief that we are to be a carbon copy method that someone deemed was an exact replica of Acts.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Death and rigidity are synonymous. Life or being a live means being in a constant state of flux or transition. The rate of change or slowness to change can be life threatening. Changing like going too fast can generate fear, recklessness, chaos and/or a crash (you can parse out the scenario) which again tend toward trauma and death. Change that is too slow like near frozen motor oil on a really cold winter morning can choke the engine, break the cam shaft (happened to my car once upon a time) and alas that kills the car!

Redefinition rides with being in transition. The key here may be in the rate or speed with which are being done and the direction that we are pointed. The restoration heritage tends to be a people that look back to the primitive church. If we try to keep the wrong things from that era we will only borrow death in the name of being biblical. If we tease out the transferable principles that they were operating out of then we will move closer to God, join him in his mission for today and, of course, need to look to our future in wise way. The other option is to presume that everything depends upon our ability to plan and then looking to the future becomes an exercise in our own self-centeredness.

My own sense is that across the board churches of Christ ever the autonomous congregations that we have been and will continue to be for a very indefinite period of time will never all be on the same page in this effort. Both the rate and direction of these changes will be spotty and variegated albeit there will be trends. Many will likely drop-out. Some like myself after a lifetime are unwilling to wait longer. I will bless my heritage, bid it Godspeed and seek another avenue for my personal ministry in the best spirit of grace and love that I can muster (Rom 13-15). Others likely will drop back (seeking to slow changes that are already in motion) and perchance even drop-out if these efforts do not slow things sufficiently -- fearing the changes already made have corrupted the “true church” they thought they were already part of.

Some years ago I studied Navajo Culture with both anthropologists and Navajos. A dominant theme among many was that they wanted to recover the “Golden Age” of the culture which the deemed to have been the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. What I saw was that this people who seemed to have migrated from Asia via the Bering Strait to present day Alaska and later down to desert southwest. Their greatest skills were in being cultural borrowers and making changes. This is till evidenced in that they are the largest American Indian community remaining after the Indian Wars. The irony here is that they now think that the past, i.e., the so-called “golden age” was their cultural peak.

Baron W. Stone and Alexander Campbell were presbyterian ministers who sought both unity among believers and a-closer-walk-with-God. Stone was a key helper in precipitating the massive Spirit sparked Cane Ridge revival. Campbell largely brought in the Common Sense Rationalism that spoke to the American psyche so well in that period. They started their efforts independently and only joined together to facilitate a nonsectarian unity movement. But always coming to two different places this movement has split and resplit forming nearly eighty subsets and almost never affected any real massive ingathering of disciples after their own unification effort.

One wonders why we are so slow to learn from our own miscues? What rate of change do we need to adopt to survive. Is it really about the institutional life and changes with the church or really is it about each Christian living up to his/her calling?

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