Posts Tagged ‘doctrine’

It seems to be commonplace these days for my ideals, standards, and preferences concerning church and Christianity to be knocked on its ear. If you met me today you’d probably never know that two years ago I was a stiff-necked Fundy who believed that anything other than a traditional, (at least somewhat) liturgical church service with hymns, neckties, and thundering doctrine could not possibly honor God. Essentially what I was saying was this; “Hey, ya know all those church services that put me to sleep and cause me to drool all over my Authorized KJV? Yeah, that’s the only right way to do church. True story, bro.”

Bean

Then, last year I found myself in a unique situation wherein I was able to experience church and worship in a variety of unfamiliar ways. This Southern Baptist found himself worshiping amongst Lutherans, Presbyterians, non-denominationals, multi-denominationals, Charismatics, and Catholics. Almost immediately I discovered that I was far more excited and worshipful than I’d been in a long, long time. My Fundy-head was confused… Is it possible that church can actually be fun and entertaining without being irreverent? Really?

About a year after visiting with these other churches, the Lord graciously decided to place us in a new church for the purpose of training for a future ministry in church planting (as well as building new relationships and again, worshiping Him in a different way). Gone was the organ and faux potted plants. Gone was the large wooden pulpit and (leaky) baptistry. Gone were the neckties, the always difficult hymns (this of course, does not include the Blue Grass style hymns I grew-up with), and the rigid KJV-ism. Instead God placed us in a dance studio which is converted into a church each week, by way of a handful of pews and several rows of folding chairs. With it comes a praise band with contemporary music, coffee during the service, and an unapologetic, casual style of dress. But do you know what else comes with it? Real, sincere worship and something sorely lacking from before, genuine relationships.

Fast-forward to today and the guest speaker in my Sermon Delivery class. This guy epitomized everything I believe[d] to be wrong with preaching! Videos and props, engaging real-life illustrations (see: stories), adapting to fit the audience, telling jokes, and a slight, subtle hipness. I was locked, loaded, and prepared to hate this guy! But then he started speaking… He started speaking and I was completely drawn-in. Worst of all, the things he said made an unbelievable amount of sense!

He spoke of engaging the audiences with multi-sensory experiences so as to hook them and keep them interested, rather than losing them after the first 5-10 minutes, as is typically the case. He spoke of specific body movements and the utilizing of props. He even spoke of not hiding behind the pulpit (gasp!). He spoke of methods and principles to do things that not that long ago I would have considered irreverent. However, maybe they weren’t…

Perhaps there’s a fine line between interesting and gimmicky. But as the pastor speaking to the class stated, “Even Jesus used props (primarily within nature) to drive home a point and keep people engaged.”

However, it must also be stated that anything that draws AWAY from the Word of God instead of pointing TO the Word of God must be avoided as Scripture must always take center stage.

So, I have some things to think about and some judgements to reconcile. What do you prefer; traditional preaching or something with a bit more pizazz? Let me know in the comments.

Live long and prosper.

   Sitting in my Christian Doctrine II class today, I was exposed to some interesting schools of thought on varying views of creationism. It occurred to me that (somewhat intentionally) I’ve never put a terrible amount of thought into this.

   I mean, yes, I believe in a literal six day creation, not that we came together as a smattering of somehow sentient stardust to form everything from humanity to bamboo to beets and everything in between. I believe Scripture in the most literal way. But I’ve never really considered that in the minds of others there may be more.

   Let’s take a look at some options and see what we discover. Shall we?

Young Earth Creationism– Simply, the belief that biblical accounts are totally accurate and that the earth is approximately between 6 and 10 thousand years old. Carbon dating and such being as notoriously inaccurate as it is has yet to imperialistically disprove this. Essentially, this is the creation story of Genesis.

Gap Theory Creationism– This surmises that between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2b there was an indeterminate amount of time in which all sorts of things could have potentially happened. The reason for this is that in Genesis 1:1 we see that In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” But by Genesis 2:2, “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

   These guys would ask, “If God created the heavens and the earth in one verse, why the blazin’ blue weasels is the earth formless and void in the next verse?!!” An interesting question for sure. Although admittedly, I’ve always just pictured God creating these things in their most blah, boring, and basic form and then afterward, beginning in Genesis 2:2 He began to cut loose with the creativity. Big crayon time!

   In short, this “gap” allows for a time of dinosaurs, Neanderthals, the fall of Lucifer, and whatever catastrophe wiped-put prehistoric life.

Time-Relative Creationism– This one is kind of wacky. According to and based upon Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the time at the beginning of existence flowed much more slowly than our modern time. Therefore it could allow for a literal, biblical account of creation, but here a day could have been hundreds, thousands, or even millions of years.

Old Earth Creationism (as well as Progressive Creationism and Day-Age Creationism)– Simply this says that a day, according to Scripture was a non-literal term of indeterminate time. What we know as 24 hours could have been millennia. Apart from that, the Genesis account stands as truth.

Theistic Evolution (with Adam and Eve)– This one gets more complicated. Here God created all He would create and then let the natural flow of evolutionary process bring His creation to what He would deem a good starting point for history over millions of years. Some parties allow for a special creation of Adam and Eve to make them the starting point for modern mankind, while others take Scripture less literally and suppose that God just chose two existing humanoids to represent humanity as a federal head going forward. Huh?

Theistic Evolution (without Adam and Eve)– The same process, but here Adam and Eve are fictional literary figures used in an almost fable-like manner to explain man’s sinful nature.

   These are just a few of the slightly less wacky perspectives. If one were to read more deeply, theories really start getting preposterous!

   Where do I stand? I’m not much of a man of science, but I am pretty darn intelligent. Therefore I can say without the slightest concern for being judged as ignorant that I am indeed a Young Earth Creationist. What about you?

   That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.