The ritual of religion distances people from God, and not a few of them sense it, intuitively, it seems. Progressives, oddly enough, are running away from hypocrisy and pharisaism, so they say, into the embrace of an emotional and, yes, denominational expression. Doesn’t it seem as if they’re falling into the error they claim to be escaping from?
• Ritualism and religion complicate making the case for the necessity of the church as a part of life in Christ. Denominationalists themselves downplay their idea of church in the process of salvation, while, at the same time, exalt their own sectarian group to the heavens. I’ve seen it, it happens. No doubt about it.
• The German Lutheran theologian Joachim Jeremias wrote that justification by faith wasn’t a central tenet of Pauline theology, since it appeared only in polemics against Judaizers, or something along those lines. So you see it in Romans and Galatians, mainly. Jeremias must have had Luther spinning in his grave. I was reading a bit of Jeremias yesterday and ran across his point. You think he’s right?
• On the Findley church’s new website, Dwight Fuqua, whom I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure to meet, writes about unity as “A Precious Thing” and lists six truths about it that “we need to know.” Is it my imagination, or has unity become a non-issue these days? Of course, the trojan horse of the World Convention is still rolling around the world every four years, but most progressive churches seem to be so concerned about doing their own thing or, rather, reproducing the emerging-church model, that the conversation has changed. Maybe they consider it a done deal.
Fifth, we need to know that we must accept a common standard to be united. Paul wrote, “Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind” (Philippians 3:16). The Bible is that standard, that rule. Unity is a precious thing!
Good that some people still talk this language.
• Rick Kelley asked some good questions about the gospel meeting, earlier. Maybe, in the face of such questions, many churches quit having “gospel meetings” and started having “lectureships.” Used to, only Christian colleges, mostly, had lectureships, not churches. If Adam Cozort is anywhere near right, and I suspect he may be, that churches are rotting from “lack of function,” it’s likely that the the diminishing returns of the gospel meetings lies in the churches themselves rather than from any change in American society.
• Looking at big events in the brotherhood, far-reaching ministries, and big-city mega-churches, one sometimes feels that serving a “regular” church just isn’t where it’s at. (Is that 70s language?) I suspect our Lord would have a different slant on that, however. He sure loved the little ones. And humility above all. Ambition has its use, within limits, but the regular joes in the steady jobs of kingdom work no doubt are front and center in the Lord’s view. Apple of his eye.