Archives For Church

Christian-author-turned-motivational-speaker Donald Miller recently caused a minor firestorm on the internets by writing on his blog that he rarely goes to church and doesn’t get much out of it (and sorta clarified his statement in a follow-up post). This sort of heresy, of course, can simply not be tolerated, and therefore every Christian with a blog and/or Twitter handle is obligated to chime in with his or her opinion on the matter (including me, I suppose).

Initially, I was going to title this blog post, “Why Donald Miller is wrong about church”, but the thing is, I don’t think he is. At least not entirely. Actually, he makes some rather interesting and thought-provoking points, not all of which I agree with, but that’s OK. Christians will never fully agree with each other on everything. Instead of proving who’s right and who’s wrong in this debate, I think the more important thing is that it raises the question of what the role of the church should be (or more correctly, what our role should be in relation to the church). So that’s what I’m focusing on here.

Before I begin, go read Miller’s two posts (here and here) and then read Mike Cosper’s outstanding response to them. I’ll wait.

OK, now that everybody’s caught up, let’s get started.

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I’ve been angry and bitter all week. Disgusted, really. As the Supreme Court heard arguments in a couple of highly controversial cases involving same-sex marriage, people all over the country showed their support for gay marriage on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. But it wasn’t just non-Christians turning their profile pics red, it was many Christians as well. And that’s what pissed me off.

I know that we Christians aren’t always going to agree on everything, but the fact that so many Christians not only support same-sex marriage but endorse it just doesn’t make sense to me. How on earth can you read the Bible, claim that you believe what it says, and yet not find anything reprehensible about homosexuality, particularly when the Bible is extraordinarily clear in its opposition to it?

So I’ve spent the week fuming at my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, angry that they’ve chosen political correctness over biblical truth, and despondant over what that means for the future of the Church. If we choose to no longer identify sin as sin, then the gospel means nothing.

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Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reading through Paul’s epistles in the New Testament in the order in which they were written. I’m not sure that the order really matters, but the audience definitely does.

Paul wrote 13 epistles, or letters, which correspond to books of the Bible. Some of the letters were written to individuals, like Timothy and Titus, and some to churches, like those in Ephesus and Rome.┬áThe first of such letters was written to the Thessalonians around AD 51, less than twenty years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. When Paul and Silas first visited Thessalonica a year earlier, the local Jews formed a riotous mob and ran them out of town. Yet the Christian church there continued to thrive in spite of such persecution. Paul says that the Thessalonians became imitators of the Lord in spite of severe suffering and examples to believers throughout Greece (1 Thes. 1:6-7). In fact, the church’s faithfulness had become so well known that their reputation had spread beyond the region, such that churches outside of Greece were telling Paul about them instead of the other way around (1 Thes. 1:8-9). The Thessalonians, Paul wrote, were his pride and joy (1 Thes. 2:20).

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This is Part 11 of my chapter-by-chapter blog of From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology by John Dyer. (Thankfully for you, it’s also my last.)

The subject of technology and how it relates to the Church certainly isn’t new, and there are a ton of different books and blogs and so on out there that have their own spin on it. The reason for that, I think, is because technology is a moving target. It’s constantly changing, and therefore how we think about it, how we approach it, and ultimately how we use it changes as well.

Technology, we said, is “the human activity of using tools to transform God’s creation for practical purposes.” It’s a means to an end, a bridge from one world to a better one, allowing us to overcome some sort of problem to accomplish a goal we couldn’t have on our own. Defining it further, we broke it down into four separate layers: technology as hardware, technology as manufacturing, technology as methodology, and technology as social usage. The first two layers, we concluded, are inherently neutral; a shovel is just a shovel. However, the knowledge used to create those tools and how the tools are used are most definitely not neutral; how we approach those various tools is determined by our own internal values but also has the ability to reshape those values over time.

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