Our Theology Must Change?

Open discussion on general Baptist-related topics of interest to Baptists around the world.

Moderator: Dave Roberts

Re: Our Theology Must Change?

Postby KeithE » Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:58 pm

Jim wrote:The notion that changing theologies in order to preserve mainline (dying) or conservative (stagnating) churches/denominations is a non-starter if in the process securing converts (saving souls) is a main consideration.  That there are theologies instead of a theology is a turn-off for many, so changing them simply compounds the problem (one mess for another) inducing disgust or laughter or distrust, the kind preserved for most other institutions/entities such as government or even a mother-in-law.  Opposing views in this forum prove the point, and prospects would not be interested in the theology, in the first place.  Most church members aren’t, either.  Actually, the theology-changers usually mean changing the PR of the church in a vain effort to compete with especially entertainment venues, thus the accent on turning what are billed as “worship services” into a rock concert or Saturday Night Live, with the silly emphasis on what sells to the immature, whether teens or up to 30-somethings.  This is not to disparage changing one’s personal theology, which can be the result of serious study and prayer.  I’m amazed at how much my personal approach to doctrines has changed over my many years but these changes do not involve PR, just my connection to God and as relative to serious discussions with others. Billions have been squandered in building everything from gymnasiums to state-of-the-art electronic broadcast systems in sanctuaries to seduce the public while concomitantly losing membership and dialing everything down to just “come as you are” (including ministers), treating worship with less tangible respect than accorded the everyday job. In the mix has been more than a generation totally unacquainted with the great music of the church, especially its congregational hymns.

A check of Mark 4:10, Luke 4:4 and Exodus 34:14 gets at the root of the problem. The key element is worship of God and absolutely nothing else. This is what people want, the necessarily abstract introduction to the “higher power,” but not without tangible evidence...something to hang onto that makes sense. This would seem to be what God wants, as well. Raised in the SBC and a full-time SBC-church employee during the entire decade of the 1960s, when the nation went off the rails and has stayed off, I finally took stock of what I had been taught and tried to teach, finding that much of it made no sense. I wrote down some conclusions regarding thorny subjects and published it, A Layman's Theology. In the process, my faith deepened as I realized the theologically wrought need not be the illogically wrought. For instance, I think God, of his own volition, does not know what I'll be doing tomorrow if I'm still here. The book is available on Amazon and Barnes/Noble or Lulu Press, though I don't expect any takers; however I'm attaching the preliminary pages and Foreward with the suggestion that the Foreward will provoke thought. This is not a commercial. As can be imagined, I've made no money from my writings. Getting back to the actual worship of God both personally and collectively without the extraneous mind-numbing PR and senseless activities will do more good than worrying about theologies. Actual worship will eventuate in attention to all other areas of existence.


Agree with some what you say, Jim, especially what is in red above - essentially the core of the Open View of God.

And thanks for the attachment - it delves deeper into the phrases we use in theological decrees or “abstracts”. And I just bought it. [url=https://www.amazon.com/Laymans-THEOLOGY-James-Clark/dp/1435712129/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&qid=1483814908&sr=8-17&keywords=Layman’s+Theology]A Layman’s THEOLOGY, by James Clark[/url]. Will read and perhaps comment online as time allows - give me several months.

Not sure why but you may have to copy the link below into your browser.

https://www.amazon.com/Laymans-THEOLOGY ... rds=Layman’s+Theology
Informed by Data.
Driven by the SPIRIT and JESUS’s Example.
Promoting the Kingdom of GOD on Earth.
User avatar
KeithE
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8834
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 8:02 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Our Theology Must Change?

Postby Sandy » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:01 pm

Jim wrote: This is not to disparage changing one’s personal theology, which can be the result of serious study and prayer. I’m amazed at how much my personal approach to doctrines has changed over my many years but these changes do not involve PR, just my connection to God and as relative to serious discussions with others.


If you spend time in prayer, and in serious study, your personal theology is going to change. Experience has a way of causing change to occur as well. Collectively, it is much more difficult for churches and denominations to change, because they tend to institutionalize things based on the personal preferences of the majority, or of the de-facto leadership.
Sandy
Sandy
 
Posts: 8852
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 4:10 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Our Theology Must Change?

Postby Tim Bonney » Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:20 am

Sandy wrote:If you spend time in prayer, and in serious study, your personal theology is going to change. Experience has a way of causing change to occur as well. Collectively, it is much more difficult for churches and denominations to change, because they tend to institutionalize things based on the personal preferences of the majority, or of the de-facto leadership.


Also denominations have distinctive beliefs that that don't change. If your personal theology changes a great deal it might no longer fit the faith group you are in. It isn't necessarily appropriate to expect the larger body to change for your own personal theological changes.
Tim Bonney

First UMC of Indianola, Iowa - http://indfumc.org
My Blog - http://timbonney.com
User avatar
Tim Bonney
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5965
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:17 am
Location: Indianola, Iowa

Re: Our Theology Must Change?

Postby KeithE » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:30 am

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Sandy wrote:If you spend time in prayer, and in serious study, your personal theology is going to change. Experience has a way of causing change to occur as well. Collectively, it is much more difficult for churches and denominations to change, because they tend to institutionalize things based on the personal preferences of the majority, or of the de-facto leadership.


Also denominations have distinctive beliefs that that don't change. If your personal theology changes a great deal it might no longer fit the faith group you are in. It isn't necessarily appropriate to expect the larger body to change for your own personal theological changes.

There are some who change denominations due to their own (or their denomination’s) theological change (like Timothy). And that is as it should be.

More frequently, in my observation, people change churches for the the look and feel of a church (perhaps the music style, the pastor’s style, the programs, finding a peer group, religio/political hot points ) than it’s theological fine points. Oh there are some that change because their church has become too liberal or too conservative (I’ll call that general theological or political stance); but seldom because their theological stance on say their soteriology, or church polity, or Christology, or Pneumenology, or eschatology, etc. Few look up the denominational theological stances when selecting a church - they visit it.
Informed by Data.
Driven by the SPIRIT and JESUS’s Example.
Promoting the Kingdom of GOD on Earth.
User avatar
KeithE
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8834
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 8:02 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Our Theology Must Change?

Postby KeithE » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:01 am

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Sandy wrote:If you spend time in prayer, and in serious study, your personal theology is going to change. Experience has a way of causing change to occur as well. Collectively, it is much more difficult for churches and denominations to change, because they tend to institutionalize things based on the personal preferences of the majority, or of the de-facto leadership.


Also denominations have distinctive beliefs that that don't change. If your personal theology changes a great deal it might no longer fit the faith group you are in. It isn't necessarily appropriate to expect the larger body to change for your own personal theological changes.

There are some who change denominations due to their own (or their denomination’s) theological change (like Timothy). And that is as it should be.

More frequently, in my observation, people change churches for the the look and feel of a church (perhaps the music style, the pastor’s style, the programs, finding a peer group, religio/political hot points ) than it’s theological fine points. Oh there are some that change because their church has become too liberal or too conservative (I’ll call that general theological or political stance); but seldom because their theological stance on say their soteriology, or church polity, or Christology, or Pneumenology, or eschatology, etc. Few look up the denomination's (or a church’s) theological statements when selecting a church - they visit it.
Informed by Data.
Driven by the SPIRIT and JESUS’s Example.
Promoting the Kingdom of GOD on Earth.
User avatar
KeithE
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8834
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 8:02 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Our Theology Must Change?

Postby Tim Bonney » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:32 am

KeithE wrote:

More frequently, in my observation, people change churches for the the look and feel of a church (perhaps the music style, the pastor’s style, the programs, finding a peer group, religio/political hot points ) than it’s theological fine points. Oh there are some that change because their church has become too liberal or too conservative (I’ll call that general theological or political stance); but seldom because their theological stance on say their soteriology, or church polity, or Christology, or Pneumenology, or eschatology, etc. Few look up the denomination's (or a church’s) theological statements when selecting a church - they visit it.


I basically agree with you Keith. But I'll quibble just a bit about "religio/political hotpoints" not being theological. No, they aren't theological as in the content of the Creed. But many Christians do see social implications of the gospel as theological.

I'd also add from an article I just reposted on Facebook today that many people are looking for what a church does not just for what they say. People want to be involved in hands on ministry if they are involved and not be a pew sitter.

A couple who is considering membership right now had me over to their house to dinner to talk about what missional opportunists our church offers. Yes we had some conversations about theology. But they mostly wanted to know about what we do in the community.

Also bad theology can drive people away. Churches that come across as judgmental aren't picking up members among the Millenials.
Tim Bonney

First UMC of Indianola, Iowa - http://indfumc.org
My Blog - http://timbonney.com
User avatar
Tim Bonney
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5965
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:17 am
Location: Indianola, Iowa

Re: Our Theology Must Change?

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:42 am

Part of this discussion revolves around the fact that all theological reasoning is analogous reasoning. The analogies change as the culture changes and as language itself changes. When you read the links of the past, it doesn't take long to realize that we don't speak in the same analogies as did pastors in the 16th or 17th centuries, or even in the early twentieth. For example, in speaking to an adult who was sexually abused as a child, the idea of God as "father," is the least inviting concept we can use.
"God will never be less than He is and does not need to be more" (John Koessler)

My blog: http://emporiadave.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Dave Roberts
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7278
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 1:01 pm
Location: Southside, VA

Re: Our Theology Must Change?

Postby Sandy » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:01 am

KeithE wrote:There are some who change denominations due to their own (or their denomination’s) theological change (like Timothy). And that is as it should be.

More frequently, in my observation, people change churches for the the look and feel of a church (perhaps the music style, the pastor’s style, the programs, finding a peer group, religio/political hot points ) than it’s theological fine points. Oh there are some that change because their church has become too liberal or too conservative (I’ll call that general theological or political stance); but seldom because their theological stance on say their soteriology, or church polity, or Christology, or Pneumenology, or eschatology, etc. Few look up the denomination's (or a church’s) theological statements when selecting a church - they visit it.


I'd agree that most people choose a church, or make a change, based on its "look and feel." That's why we have mega churches, and why many of them, in spite of the downward trend of church attendance in this country, still grow numerically.

Timothy Bonney wrote:I'd also add from an article I just reposted on Facebook today that many people are looking for what a church does not just for what they say. People want to be involved in hands on ministry if they are involved and not be a pew sitter.


They want to be involved in hands on ministry that is meaningful, something which has an impact on someone else's life not just for meeting needs, but in a spiritual way. We have days of serving for our high school students, where they take a school day and go help out a ministry somewhere in the area. We assign the kids based on their previous experience, but if we let them choose, the ministries which involve direct contact with people would get most of the volunteers. They'd choose the opportunity to help out at a local behavioral health residential facility for youth, where they have interaction with the kids there, than to pack thanksgiving baskets or Operation Christmas Child boxes.

I just read an article by Sam Eaton (a millennial Christian) entitled 12 Reasons Millennials are Over Church. It popped up on my facebook feed, but was really excellent. Millennials aren't just staying away from the churches that are judgmental. They're staying away from almost all of them. Connecting the theology to meaningful service is part, but certainly not all of the reason for that. Eaton mentions the perception that churches tend to be overly fond of values and mission statements, reorganizations and reshuffling, and unwilling to share leadership, especially when it comes to managing resources. He contends that the church has basically built itself as an institution around those who have the control and power to do it, and left it at that, so the virtual majority of two younger generations have looked for spiritual guidance elsewhere.
Sandy
Sandy
 
Posts: 8852
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 4:10 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Our Theology Must Change?

Postby RyanHale » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:46 pm

Wow. Y'all are giving some really good stuff to digest here.
RyanHale
 
Posts: 124
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:13 pm
Location: GA

Re: Our Theology Must Change?

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:56 am

Dave Roberts wrote:Part of this discussion revolves around the fact that all theological reasoning is analogous reasoning. The analogies change as the culture changes and as language itself changes. When you read the links of the past, it doesn't take long to realize that we don't speak in the same analogies as did pastors in the 16th or 17th centuries, or even in the early twentieth. For example, in speaking to an adult who was sexually abused as a child, the idea of God as "father," is the least inviting concept we can use.


True David. And yet I've found some of the substitute terms to be less than helpful. "Parent" works for me. But the one I hear often "Creator, Savior, Sustainer" does a poor job of describing both God the Father and God the Holy Spirit as God as the Father is more than creator and the Spirit is more than a sustainer.

I think it is why I tend to avoid using the creeds in worship which try to give over detailed and specific in defining the Trinity. I don't honestly think we can fully and completely define the Trinity or our understanding of God. We, as you say, use analogy as best we can.
Tim Bonney

First UMC of Indianola, Iowa - http://indfumc.org
My Blog - http://timbonney.com
User avatar
Tim Bonney
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5965
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:17 am
Location: Indianola, Iowa

Thornton, Jonathan Edwards and Robinson

Postby Stephen Fox » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:19 pm

William Thornton wrote:People have wrestled with these issues forever and there are no completely satisfying answers. There is evil in the world. Whose fault is that and where if anywhere is God in the midst of it?

While I differ greatly with my moderate and liberal brethren here on some theological issues, we are all believers. The extreme theological left has always had an appetite for Christian-turned-atheist stories, as if there is some greater and more profound truth from their lips. Campolo, sadly, has put himself outside not just orthodox belief but any belief. His complete apostasy doesn't make me reexamine anything except perhaps the celebrity culture that dominates American religion.


Another Reason William must introduce Jerry Vines to Marilynne Robinson beginning with her essay Memory in the Givenness of Things. Like William, Robinson is a fan of Jonathan Edwards.

I give the wonder of Stathem credit for his insightful statement on celebrity atheism.
"I'm the only sane {person} in here." Doyle Hargraves, Slingblade
"Midget, Broom; Helluva campaign". Political consultant, "Oh, Brother..."


http://www.foxofbama.blogspot.com or google asfoxseesit
Stephen Fox
 
Posts: 9154
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:29 pm

Jaroslav Pelikan

Postby Stephen Fox » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:21 pm

and His seminal Jesus Through the Centuries of about 25 years ago could also inform this conversation immensely
"I'm the only sane {person} in here." Doyle Hargraves, Slingblade
"Midget, Broom; Helluva campaign". Political consultant, "Oh, Brother..."


http://www.foxofbama.blogspot.com or google asfoxseesit
Stephen Fox
 
Posts: 9154
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:29 pm

Shakers, end of a cosmology

Postby Stephen Fox » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:51 pm

"I'm the only sane {person} in here." Doyle Hargraves, Slingblade
"Midget, Broom; Helluva campaign". Political consultant, "Oh, Brother..."


http://www.foxofbama.blogspot.com or google asfoxseesit
Stephen Fox
 
Posts: 9154
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:29 pm

Previous

Return to Baptist Faith & Practice Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest