One of the things I enjoy about blogging is the opportunity to discuss theological topics with other bloggers who may have a different understanding than my own of a particular point of doctrine. It is particularly good when the varied opinions can be set forth sans name-calling, generalizations and straw men.
Such has been the case for me for nearly a year now on the topic of church methodology. I came across Steve Sensenig’s blog several months ago and found his posts discussing simple church as an alternative to more traditional models to be a refreshing departure from the usual fare of stale debates that was being served on the blogging buffet.
While Steve and I frequently found ourselves on different sides of the ecclesiomethodological (how do you like that word? I just made it up) coin, we have benefited from the iron sharpening that has taken place through our discussions. I have been forced to re-examine my position on several points. While I may not have changed my mind on many of them, I have gained a better grip on why I believe what I believe about church, as well as a broader understanding of how God is working through methods different than those I am using.
Rayborn Johnson, David, Tony Sisk, Alan Knox and Heather (among others) have taken part in the discussion as well, posting their thoughts in articles on their own blogs (except for David, who really should start a blog 🙂 ). I want all of you to know what a blessing you each have been to me in our exchanges.
I have engaged in the discussion on their blogs, but to this point I have not written anything related on my own blog. The more I thought about it, I felt uncomfortable with the thought of debating something on someone else’s blog without being willing to address it on my own. I have been giving it a lot of thought, however, and I believe that I have some thoughts that I would like to share in a manner that is consistent with the objectives that I have for Heavenly Heartburn.
I want to say from the outset of my post(s) that it is not my intent to promote one “style” of church over another. While, in the discussions, I may have defended traditional church methods, I do not believe that they are inherently superior to other methods. I am going to try my best to keep my thoughts from degenerating into a “traditional church vs simple church” debate.
I say this because I am coming to realize through these discussions that the Bible really has very little to say on the topic of ecclesiomethodology (I really like that word). I am becoming convinced that God is less concerned with how we “do” church than He is with how we “are” church (I believe Alan said something to this effect one time). This is not to say that there are no wrong methods, there are, but I do not believe that the most glaring symptoms of problems of the church today have been produced by the methods we employ. Neither do I believe that the solution to these problems is a matter of practice. The roots of the problems as well as the solutions lie beneath the surfaces of hurt, frustration and apathy that so often characterize the modern church.
While the Scriptures may not say much on methods, I do believe the solutions are to be found there. I hope to address one of those tomorrow.