Posts Tagged ‘Misc. Theology’

On Statements of Faith

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

At my local church, we’re looking at revising our statement of faith. We want to clarify some of what’s there, and maybe address some additional issues & practices. So I’ve been having a few conversations with people about the general subject of statements of faith, and have some thoughts, as well as a question:

Do you know of any additional ways to handle these concerns? Do you know any churches that handle these concerns particularly well?

What Does It Mean? What Does It Do?

A statement of faith is something around which the church unites. It says, “This is what we believe”–but how does that work out?

In churches with member rolls, becoming a member typically includes agreeing to the statement of faith. But my church doesn’t have member rolls. So what are we saying? Are we still saying, “We expect that if you make Hope your church, then you agree with this doctrine”? Are we saying, “We expect that you will not try to lead people away from these beliefs, even if you disagree”?

Should someone be put out from the church if they reject the statement of faith? If they disagree on the nature of the gospel? If they disagree on the authority of Scripture? If they disagree on the role of spiritual gifts? If they disagree on the destiny of the unevangelized? If they disagree with the church’s stance on the Rapture? Which of these should be included, and what should be the nature of our commitment to it?

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On the Trinity and On the Emerging Church

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

I read a couple thought-provoking exchanges today. The first is theologically heavy, and the second is funny, witty, and somewhat profound.

The first is on the Trinity. Greg Stafford, a Jehovah’s Witness apologist, posted an entry with an argument against the Trinity based in part on John 17:3, in which Jesus refers to the Father as “the only true God“. Steve Hays at Triablogue responded, as did Jeff Downs at Countercult Apologetics. Be forewarned, it’s somewhat high-level.

The second is a series of poster wars on the Emerging Church movement. Stand To Reason’s blog alerted me to a set of “motivational” posters satirizing the Emerging Church, using most of the Emerging buzzwords. Some of them are pretty funny, and point out some of the potential abuses and dangers of the movement. Of course, I can understand why some in the movement would take offense. Then an ECer posted a set of posters in response. They have a wonderful tone, and do a good job of explaining some of their concerns. They set forth an image of what the Church should look like. Food for thought.

For those unfamiliar with the Emerging Church: It’s a somewhat hard-to-define movement. It’s associated with the newer generations (teens to early thirty-somethings). It’s a reforming movement, aimed at modifying some of the ways we do things and view things in the Church. It’s a diverse movement, with some heading off into major theological problems (i.e. heresy), and some who are entirely orthodox in their theology but who are concerned with matters of church practice and matters of how we live out our lives as Christians. As with any generation-based movement, there’s a mixture of naiveté and insight–and in the reaction from the “traditional” church, there’s a mixture of dismissiveness and mature wisdom.

If you’re interested in a more thorough introduction, you can read Five Streams of the Emerging Church from Christianity Today, and a paper presented at the Evangelical Theological Society called Essential Concerns Regarding the Emerging Church.

Update: The original satirical posters were created by the folks at the Team Pyro blog.  Here’s the first entry with the posters.  It includes a critique of the Five Streams article.  If you look around the blog, you can also find some entries dealing with Emerging reactions to the posters.