Tuesday, March 15, 2005

emerging models

Miz's suggestion that preachers try to take their congregations on the same journey they have had as they prepared their sermons is an interesting one.

At seminary I was always told that 'no one wants to see your workings out'. In other words, we are there to proclaim a pristine finished version that will build up our congregations. But I wonder if people might respond to something more ragged, something that helps them learn how to do the workings out and maybe receive different revelations (as Miz suggests).

Having said that, I was talking to someone recently who doesn't go to home groups. When I asked him why, he said that he couldn't stand the pooling of ignorance that followed the home group leader asking what people thought the verse or passage was about. What he wanted was someone telling him what the passage meant and how it applied to him. Then he would be able to discuss it. I suspect it's a minority view, but it's a view all the same...

All this does raise an interesting question that is relevant to the sermon question. As the emerging church emerges, what does it stand for, what does it believe? we know what it doesn't like and find helpful in the existing church paradigm. But how much is this to do with structure and ways of doing things and how much with what we actually believe?

It's good to see sites like www.opensourcetheology.net and www.eternalpurpose.org.uk springing up where issues of belief can be discussed and thrashed out. It's vital that we remain true to the historic Christian faith, vital that we provide faithful witness to the saving acts of God in Jesus Christ. There are right and wrong answers to theological questions. As the emerging church emerges, there are certain shapes it cannot assume and still remain true to its Christian roots.

Is there a dialectic here between open discussion of issues and revealed truth? I think so. All our struggles to emerge - whether into new ways of learning within traditional structures or new shapes of church - need to happen in this framework.


Clements family said...

good to make contact with you and your blog, simon; appreciate the link

i had to look up dialectic, when I got to that point in your post! i'm glad i did. obviously opensourcetheology is a clear example of a dialectic - a forum in which truth is arrived at by a formal system of reasoning.

that got me thinking about the role of revelation within faith. i'm not thinking of either new 'prophetic' revelation or the original revelation which formed the canon of scripture; rather the inner unveiling of truth which is pointed to by the new testament, eg, 1 cor 2.10-14.

would you say that is that something that just happens on the back of reasoning, or would you say there's something we can do to make room for that process amidst all our reasoning?

btw: are you able to point me towards any online reviews of your book?

john / eternal-purpose.org.uk

simon said...

Hi John,
Thanks for the response - I'll have to think about that.

I'm not sure about online reviews of the book but tribal Generation featured it and the links are still live at: www.churchnext.net/living_meatdrink_whybother.shtml

i hope you find that interesting