Announcement

Collapse

Christianity 201 Guidelines

orthodox Christians only.

Discussion on matters of general mainstream evangelical Christian theology that do not fit within Theology 201. Have some spiritual gifts ceased today? Is the KJV the only viable translation for the church today? In what sense are the books of the bible inspired and what are those books? Church government? Modern day prophets and apostles?

This forum is primarily for Christians to discuss matters of Christian doctrine, and is not the area for debate between atheists (or those opposing orthodox Christianity) and Christians. Inquiring atheists (or sincere seekers/doubters/unorthodox) seeking only Christian participation and having demonstrated a manner that does not seek to undermine the orthodox Christian faith of others are also welcome, but must seek Moderator permission first. When defining “Christian” or "orthodox" for purposes of this section, we mean persons holding to the core essentials of the historic Christian faith such as the Trinity, the Creatorship of God, the virgin birth, the bodily resurrection of Christ, the atonement, the future bodily return of Christ, the future bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust, and the final judgment. Persons not holding to these core doctrines are welcome to participate in the Comparative Religions section without restriction, in Theology 201 as regards to the nature of God and salvation with limited restrictions, and in Christology for issues surrounding the person of Christ and the Trinity. Atheists are welcome to discuss and debate these issues in the Apologetics 301 forum without such restrictions.

Additionally and rarely, there may be some topics or lines of discussion that within the Moderator's discretion fall so outside the bounds of mainstream orthodox doctrine (in general Christian circles or in the TheologyWeb community) or that deny certain core values that are the Christian convictions of forum leadership that may be more appropriately placed within Unorthodox Theology 201. NO personal offense should be taken by such discretionary decision for none is intended. While inerrancy is NOT considered a requirement for posting in this section, a general respect for the Bible text and a respect for the inerrantist position of others is requested.

The Tweb rules apply here like they do everywhere at Tweb, if you haven't read them, now would be a good time.

Forum Rules: Here
See more
See less

Fixing Church

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Fixing Church

    I read an article on Religion News.com (link below) that discussed all the various scandals that have affected the churches and para-church ministries and how much damage has been done to the name of Christ and people. The author uses the dread word 'deconstruct' to stay our whole church organization needs to be torn down and rebuilt. As might be expected, the article is long on teardown and lacking on what the new church would look like. The author also almost completely passes over the content of church teaching as an issue.

    Despite the extreme solution advocated, the article does bring up some good points. I'm pretty sure predating Covid, I was having questions about how we do church in America these days. While I haven't reach an answer, here's some thought I have.
    1. We have to remember the church is there to be an advocate for God. We are not there for our own amusement.
    2. I think we can't afford head pastors with no accountability. Church constitutions where what the pastor wants, the pastor gets have to go. This means church boards and members must be willing to disagree with the pastor as necessary.
    3. Church leadership position can't be given out as a reward for generous giving, long term attendance, or friend/family of the pastor.
    4. When issues occur in the church, we have to resolve them Biblically. No more sweeping them under the rug. So many of the issues that have damage the church, occurred years ago and are now coming to light.
    5. We need to accept, especially conservatives, that our positions will be viewed with increasing hostility by society. We need to do better at offering an alternative to society and better training on dealing with the hostility.
    6. Going along with 5, church as a social club will become either unstainable or not different from society. While fellowship is important, it's not the sole purpose of church.
    7. I have been doing reading on why men don't go to church. I think we need to change how men are talked about and treated in the church body. They won't go somewhere where they are made the point of jokes or diminished as individuals. This again goes back to number 5.
    That's all I can think of for now. I'm sure there is more that will come to me. How to get this to happen, especially in established churches, will be difficult.

    Agree, disagree, or something to add? Please do so.

    Link to the article: https://religionnews.com/2021/08/04/...o-deconstruct/
    "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

    "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

  • #2
    I think we must be doing something right.
    The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
      I read an article on Religion News.com (link below) that discussed all the various scandals that have affected the churches and para-church ministries and how much damage has been done to the name of Christ and people. The author uses the dread word 'deconstruct' to stay our whole church organization needs to be torn down and rebuilt. As might be expected, the article is long on teardown and lacking on what the new church would look like. The author also almost completely passes over the content of church teaching as an issue.

      Despite the extreme solution advocated, the article does bring up some good points. I'm pretty sure predating Covid, I was having questions about how we do church in America these days. While I haven't reach an answer, here's some thought I have.[LIST=1][*]We have to remember the church is there to be an advocate for God. We are not there for our own amusement.
      The Church collectively represents God. We constitute His royal priesthood and holy nation.

      In terms of the local gathering, it is not for our "amusement," but fellowship and mutual edification are indispensable aspects of it. It is NOT just a place to "hear the Word" and "sing praise to God"; those things can be done anywhere, alone.

      [*]I think we can't afford head pastors with no accountability. Church constitutions where what the pastor wants, the pastor gets have to go. This means church boards and members must be willing to disagree with the pastor as necessary.
      The whole concept of "head" pastor is dubious. Top-down authority structures have more to do with the Obsolete Covenant than with the New.


      [*]Church leadership position can't be given out as a reward for generous giving, long term attendance, or friend/family of the pastor.[*]When issues occur in the church, we have to resolve them Biblically. No more sweeping them under the rug. So many of the issues that have damage the church, occurred years ago and are now coming to light.[*]We need to accept, especially conservatives, that our positions will be viewed with increasing hostility by society. We need to do better at offering an alternative to society and better training on dealing with the hostility.[*]Going along with 5, church as a social club will become either unstainable or not different from society. While fellowship is important, it's not the sole purpose of church.
      No, but I've seen too many churches where "fellowship" is little more than a quick handshake or hug before and after the service, before rushing home to have lunch and watch sports. I think black churches and especially "majority world" churches have some things to teach us here.


      [*]I have been doing reading on why men don't go to church. I think we need to change how men are talked about and treated in the church body. They won't go somewhere where they are made the point of jokes or diminished as individuals. This again goes back to number 5.
      Stereotype-based humor should be "fair and balanced."

      IMO, in the Evangelical world, a bigger problem is the restriction of available ministry roles for women.


      Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

      Beige Nationalist.

      "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

      Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

      Comment


      • #4
        On men in Church.

        I have long seen that anemic churches are comprised mostly of women and children.

        Over 40 years ago, I began empasizing men's ministry, and the concept that "if you get the father, you get the family".

        I have never served in a church where there wasn't a very healthy proportion of men to women, but I think because it's been a purposeful effort.
        The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
          On men in Church.

          I have long seen that anemic churches are comprised mostly of women and children.

          Over 40 years ago, I began empasizing men's ministry, and the concept that "if you get the father, you get the family".

          I have never served in a church where there wasn't a very healthy proportion of men to women, but I think because it's been a purposeful effort.
          From what I've been reading, that's probably an important reason that your church is going so well. Here's some stats I've recently read:
          • The average church is 61% women and 39% men.
          • A growing church is 50% women and 50% men.
          • A dying church is 70% women and 30% men.
          They also indicate you need an even balance to keep the church on-track. Too many men and the church will tend to become legalistic. Too many women and the church will tend to become liberal.

          I find the whole area of men and church fascinating these days. It is helping to explain why I have found my church experience less than fulfilling.
          "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

          "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

          Comment


          • #6
            Inserted my remarks within TM's quote in BOLD - clearly not intending to indicate those are TM's words.

            Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
            1. We have to remember the church is there to be an advocate for God. We are not there for our own amusement.
              Absolutely!
            2. I think we can't afford head pastors with no accountability. Church constitutions where what the pastor wants, the pastor gets have to go. This means church boards and members must be willing to disagree with the pastor as necessary.
              He should be subject to Church Discipline (Matt 18:15ff) as much as anybody else
            3. Church leadership position can't be given out as a reward for generous giving, long term attendance, or friend/family of the pastor.
              It most certainly needs to follow the instruction and guidelines and qualifications on the NT
            4. When issues occur in the church, we have to resolve them Biblically. No more sweeping them under the rug. So many of the issues that have damage the church, occurred years ago and are now coming to light.
              Jesus anticipated we'd have problems, hence the Church Discipline section of Matt 18.
            5. We need to accept, especially conservatives, that our positions will be viewed with increasing hostility by society. We need to do better at offering an alternative to society and better training on dealing with the hostility.
              WE WILL be an offense to the world, simply by being Christians and preaching Jesus -- yeah, we need to be prepared for the blowback, and not buckle under.
            6. Going along with 5, church as a social club will become either unstainable or not different from society. While fellowship is important, it's not the sole purpose of church.
              I think COVID has been a real killer in that "fellowship" has suffered greatly.
            7. I have been doing reading on why men don't go to church. I think we need to change how men are talked about and treated in the church body. They won't go somewhere where they are made the point of jokes or diminished as individuals. This again goes back to number 5.
              Strong men's ministry!!! As I said before, if you get the father, you'll get the family.
            That's all I can think of for now. I'm sure there is more that will come to me. How to get this to happen, especially in established churches, will be difficult.

            Good thinking, Bro!
            The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by NorrinRadd View Post

              The Church collectively represents God. We constitute His royal priesthood and holy nation.
              ideally.

              In terms of the local gathering, it is not for our "amusement," but fellowship and mutual edification are indispensable aspects of it. It is NOT just a place to "hear the Word" and "sing praise to God"; those things can be done anywhere, alone.
              agreed.

              The whole concept of "head" pastor is dubious. Top-down authority structures have more to do with the Obsolete Covenant than with the New.
              The Biblical record shows local hierarchical structures within local congregations and probably within given towns or cities, but not more extensively: except where apostles stepped in as troubleshooters when the local hierarchy was in disarray. That said, the eldership* was by the people, for the people, and of the people. Elders were expected to hold themselves accountable to God, and the congregation was to hold them accountable when they wavered.

              No, but I've seen too many churches where "fellowship" is little more than a quick handshake or hug before and after the service, before rushing home to have lunch and watch sports. I think black churches and especially "majority world" churches have some things to teach us here.
              Fostering general Christian activity within the church, and encouraging group studies led by laity (though guided) are among a number of methods that successfully bring congregations together as a family. Looking at the processes encouraged by such persons as John Wesley would be beneficial. SDA and other fringe (and even heretical) churches can show the way on how to keep congregations focussed. It would do no harm to learn from their methods (but not their teachings.)

              IMO, in the Evangelical world, a bigger problem is the restriction of available ministry roles for women.
              Indubitably - but problems also result from attempts to restrict participation more generally. Age restrictions are at least as damaging.


              *eldership and elders being anyone appointed to supervisory roles at whatever level. Even apostles were elders.
              Last edited by tabibito; 08-05-2021, 05:46 PM.
              sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                The Biblical record shows local hierarchical structures within local congregations and probably within given towns or cities, but not more extensively: except where apostles stepped in as troubleshooters when the local hierarchy was in disarray. That said, the eldership* was by the people, for the people, and of the people. Elders were expected to hold themselves accountable to God, and the congregation was to hold them accountable when they wavered.
                This could actually be a good discussion. Just several shotgun points for discussion....

                Paul told Titus to establish elders in each of the churches - he did not say pastors.

                The letters to the Churches in Revelation are to the "angels" of each church, which are considered to be the pastor.
                Each of the letters was written to "the angel" of that church.

                God's model for life in general....
                Any organism without a head is dead.
                Any organism with more than one head is a monster.

                (That last one was kinda in gest, but kinda not --- there needs to be "a leader", just like Moses and Joshua were "the leaders" of the congregation of the OT.)


                The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                  Paul told Titus to establish elders in each of the churches - he did not say pastors.
                  Philippians 1:1 has supervisors (episkopos) and deacons.

                  The letters to the Churches in Revelation are to the "angels" of each church, which are considered to be the pastor.
                  Seems a reasonable interpretation.

                  Any organism with more than one head is a monster.
                  Quick run through the argument about who is foremost among the apostles. Luke 9:46-50 in particular. No apostle was foremost. One head assuredly - Christ himself, but God appointed in the church - first apostles then on down the line. Paul also makes it clear that apostles (of persons, the word means commissioners) are in command position.
                  Last edited by tabibito; 08-05-2021, 07:59 PM.
                  sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                    Philippians 1:1 has supervisors (episkopos) and deacons.
                    But, absent an argument from silence, we can't say there wasn't a pastor or a lead elder or deacon.

                    Seems a reasonable interpretation.
                    I thought so.

                    Quick run through the argument about who is foremost among the apostles. Luke 9:46-50 in particular. No apostle was foremost. One head assuredly - Christ himself, but God appointed in the church - first apostles then on down the line. Paul also makes it clear that apostles (of persons, the word means commissioners) are in command position.
                    We know (I think) that James, the brother of Jesus, was the pastor or lead in the Church at Jerusalem.

                    The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                      We know (I think) that James, the brother of Jesus, was the pastor or lead in the Church at Jerusalem.
                      James the Just? Seems so. Jerusalem church also seems to have had no jurisdiction other than in Jerusalem - or at least, none outside of Judah.
                      sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tabibito View Post

                        James the Just? Seems so. Jerusalem church also seems to have had no jurisdiction other than in Jerusalem - or at least, none outside of Judah.
                        But what about the powerfully important "Council of Jerusalem" in Acts 15? Those of us who are Gentiles should be very glad that happened.


                        The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                          But what about the powerfully important "Council of Jerusalem" in Acts 15? Those of us who are Gentiles should be very glad that happened.
                          A matter of settling a dispute, and if I remember rightly, the council settled the dispute without attempting to subject Paul to its authority.
                          sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tabibito View Post

                            A matter of settling a dispute, and if I remember rightly, the council settled the dispute without attempting to subject Paul to its authority.
                            Maybe we're thinking in different terms.

                            You can go to somebody else for guidance without "subjecting yourself to their authority".

                            Some of our Church Historian friends could weigh in (I'm not one of them) but it appeared that the Church at Jerusalem was pretty much looked to as a sort of headquarters, pastored by James, and supposedly, tradition holds that it was pastored by a relative of Jesus for several decades later.

                            Maybe we're not seeing "authority" the same, because even though I'm the "pastor" of our church, and pretty much the CEO by our bylaws, I am a servant-leader who works with a deacon/elder team, but there's no question I'm the "undershepherd" over the flock, subject to Christ.

                            I do see this debate, however, between theologians -- that James was the Pastor of the church, while others say he was a "lead elder".

                            Whether or not he had the official title, we come back to -- when there's a discussion about an issue, somebody usually moderates the discussion, calls for the vote, and announces the decision. That person, in fact or in practice, is almost always one man.
                            The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                              Maybe we're thinking in different terms.

                              You can go to somebody else for guidance without "subjecting yourself to their authority".
                              Certainly.

                              [quote]Some of our Church Historian friends could weigh in (I'm not one of them) but it appeared that the Church at Jerusalem was pretty much looked to as a sort of headquarters, pastored by James, and supposedly, tradition holds that it was pastored by a relative of Jesus for several decades later.[quote]

                              I am not averse to such an assessment in broad terms up until 70AD. Paul's authority as an apostle seems to have been subject to challenge almost throughout his career, so the "elder" church's adjudication would have been necessary in the circumstances, and that church and its leader had an authority that Paul's opponents did recognise. The whole seems to have been a matter of "official" affirmation of Paul's authority as an apostle as much as anything else.

                              Maybe we're not seeing "authority" the same, because even though I'm the "pastor" of our church, and pretty much the CEO by our bylaws, I am a servant-leader who works with a deacon/elder team, but there's no question I'm the "undershepherd" over the flock, subject to Christ.
                              I see it authority as an unavoidable adjunct to being in a position of responsibility. No-one sensible will place people in positions of responsibility without conferring them the authority to make their decisions stick.

                              I do see this debate, however, between theologians -- that James was the Pastor of the church, while others say he was a "lead elder".
                              Our beloved theologians do like to have their arguments about words. Whatever title the person has, he* is the CEO in practical terms. (*this being an era where proper English is deplored: he or she).



                              Whether or not he had the official title, we come back to -- when there's a discussion about an issue, somebody usually moderates the discussion, calls for the vote, and announces the decision. That person, in fact or in practice, is almost always one man.
                              That. [opinion] Given the range of meanings possible to the term in Koine Greek, the person concerned would be the "angel" of the congregation in question. [/opinion]
                              sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                              Comment

                              Related Threads

                              Collapse

                              Topics Statistics Last Post
                              Started by Thoughtful Monk, 10-16-2021, 04:01 PM
                              21 responses
                              129 views
                              2 likes
                              Last Post Sparko
                              by Sparko
                               
                              Started by nico, 10-08-2021, 11:16 AM
                              26 responses
                              159 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post KingsGambit  
                              Started by Bill the Cat, 09-29-2021, 08:31 AM
                              76 responses
                              511 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post NorrinRadd  
                              Started by Thoughtful Monk, 09-20-2021, 08:19 AM
                              28 responses
                              138 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post Cow Poke  
                              Started by NorrinRadd, 09-07-2021, 04:03 AM
                              33 responses
                              195 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post nico
                              by nico
                               
                              Working...
                              X