Monday, March 06, 2006

Binding example

So continuing along in line with my previous post, I would like to continue to discuss the problem with the traditional hermenuetic used in Churches of Christ. When is an example binding? We have upheld traditions based on a "they did it so we'll do it logic" but have remained incredibly inconsistent. We sing a capella, but we meet in church buildings (which they clearly didn't do). We take communion every first day of the week but we've reduced the "meal" to a small piece of cracker and a quarter shot of Welches (by the way neither of which they took in the first century). We baptize through immersion taking confessions, but do not uphold the tradition of catechismal training that even as early as the third century was two or three years long.

The argument goes we want to "restore" the New Testament church, but is that even a legitimate cause? (Check out
Adam Ellis' blog and his podcast regarding what he terms "post-Restorationism). Is that what God ever intended? What if God simply wants us to worship him however we can doing whatever we feel would best honor and glorify him? Is that not what worship is about? Is that not how God's people have always worshiped him? Noah comes out of the ark and doesn't know what else to do but build an alter. Why? It just seemed appropriate to him.

This would scare the pants off alot of Church of Christ folks, but why? What is there to be scared of?

"With what shall I come before the Lord?
Shall I come before him with my unacompanied singing?
With the obedience of weekly observing the Lord's Supper?
With the proper mode of baptism?
He has shown you man what is good! Over and over again in Scripture!
To love mercy, to act justly, and to walk humbly with your God!"
O how I long to do that! Let's get away from these tedious arguments of who's right, who's wrong, who's orthodox, who's heretic, and come together and worship the one Savior who's saved us all! Give me some Scripture that stands opposed that idea! Jesus' prayer is that we be one! Not divided into our many factions and idealogical polarized groups.
Our people ask, "Should we cast fire down on the Baptists, Lord, for their heretical view of baptism? Should we burn the Catholic churches because of their veneration of the Virgin Mary, Lord? Should we raid the Methodist churches because of the liberal ivew of Scripture? Should we throw rocks at the windows of the United Churches of Christ for stealing our name and ordaining homosexuals?"
Do the Lord's words come back harshly, "Patience my child they will get what they deserve in the end?" . . . quite the contrary, Jesus looks at the people doing his work and lovingly rebukes us, "Children, if they come in my name, they are on our side. If they're not against us, they're for us. Accept them as your brothers and sisters." and you'll know my people by their love . . . we must look around us for we are surrounded by love in all of these groups - a love that is a fruit of the Spirit - God's Holy Spirit. How dare we work against Him?

I stand in the tradition of the Apostle's Creed. If someone comes to challenge the values upheld there, then maybe we can engage discussion of heresy and orthodoxy, but until God is challenged in the longstanding tradition of the Church, or in the standing of the moral image of holiness presented in Scripture, you are my brother, you are my sister. Let's be busy in kingdom work!


Abbey said...

Yeah I gotta agree with you there man. Why can't we all just get along right? That is my biggest gripe with the C of C, it's their way or the highway to hell. I might not be the most righteous person to be making any arguments, but I consider myself a good person and realize the good that goes on around me. That is sometimes why it is hard to go to church because you feel like there the one place you shouldn't be judged, you are judged the most. Maybe not for physical looks or what you wear, well then again what you wear could be an issue (eg Defiance CofC), but for everything else. It seems to me that in my lifetime I have heard/seen so many churches splitting up because the people just couldn't get along and they had so many differences, so how is that a good place to come together and worship God. Like you said all in all the goal of all of us is to worship God and walk humbly, I like that statement. Anyways, I just thought that I would comment and say you bring up many good points and that has been the way of the C of C forever and probably will always continue to be. Don't get me wrong I think that everyone has a good heart, but sometimes I think that the unwillingness to change makes me second guess what they are really thinking.

Suzie said...

I would say that were the denominations to come together we would find that every group would have some "sacred cows" that they would want to hold onto. Sometimes I feel like we think the churches of Christ hold the market on division, but they don't. All groups have split off of one another. Unfortunately it is our human nature and as Paul would say, shows a lack of maturity. When we are able to give up the quarreling and dissensions, then the kindness and love of God our Savior will appear. I also struggle with how important the role of the church should be in my life. Should it be the source of my faith or a supplement to my faith? I hear so many people whose faith is devastated because of the church. We are putting our faith in the wrong thing. If my personal relationship with God is the main foundation of my faith, then I can be more gracious to all people including those within and without my denomination. If I can put my expectations for fulfillment into God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, then the church,while a necessary part of my life, does not become in essence something I need to be perfect for my faith to stand. I would like to say that I have done this in my life, but I'm not there yet. And I am not sure how you do it if you are employed by the church. I don't mean to say what you have written aren't valid observations. They are. I just worry that we spend too much time talking about what Christ's church should look like instead of what a Christian and more specifically what I should look like. I am enjoying your blog. It always challenges me to think.