What I believe… about the church (the short, reactionary version)

Originally posted on 1 September 2007

I have recently been accused of only asking questions and not “putting it out there”. I therefore thought it might be good to state what I believe. It’s not a magnus opus, it’s not a systematic theology, it’s not a comprehensive description of all I believe. But it is enough of a starting point if you’d like to interact with me. It’s what we should be hearing in church regularly, but are not.

The original context of my discussions and interactions had to do with what the church is meant to be. Someone said “Acts 2:42 – simple as that”. I asked why they didn’t read the rest of chapter. Using that as a basis, then, this is what I believe.

I believe that it is fairly dubious to use the book of Acts as a manual for church praxis in the 21st century. Not because I don’t believe it’s God’s Word, but because there are so many different models presented in the book of Acts that you can base almost anything you want on it.

I believe that insofar as Acts 2 can (possibly, for the sake of argument) act as a model for expressions of church today, we have no right to cherry pick which parts of this chapter apply to us and which don’t. Therefore, I believe that churches should be preaching AND LIVING OUT more actively verses 43 through to the end of the chapter!!

I believe that there is no valid and consistent hermeneutic that can lead you to using Acts 2:42 as a model for church, while not looking at the other verses in the chapter in the same light.

I believe that the approach that focuses on Acts 2:42 creates fundamentally selfish and “what’s in it for me” Christians. Its all about studying the Bible, praying, worship and interacting with people I like. Its safe. Its nice. Its easy.

I believe that it is possibly that when the Bible talks of those who deceive people with clever words and nice sounding theologies it COULD in fact be those that have made church nothing more than a religious club of holy Bible-studying saints. It’s easy for these people to say that they, as holy saints, have chosen the “tough” road of standing against culture. But really they haven’t. There’s nothing tough about their church going activities – the world couldn’t care about them, and ignores them almost completely! The tough bit is trying to live your Christian life out in a way that engages with culture, and with poverty and with disease and with all the ravages of evil in the world, and tries to bring God’s Kingdom light into that darkness.

I believe that people in traditional / Reformed / evangelical / Bible-deist churches (choose your label – none are truly accurate) are in serious danger of their eternal souls. I say this on the basis of Matthew 25. If some of those people are concerned for my salvation, I am more concerned for theirs!

I believe that I am finding God, finding my faith, and finding God’s purpose for me and for all His children in the emerging church. No, we haven’t got everything right, but we’ve got things a lot less wrong than the churches I grew up in.

Is that clear enough?

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