Monday, June 16, 2008

Great news from mainline churches

Well, at least one mainline church, that which I grew up in. What's so great? Well, the sermon was a man's testimony of coming to faith in Christ--really a kind of thing mostly seen with evangelicals and fundamentalists. I've also noted that very few of the books seen there are from that denomination's press, and that they've largely abandoned the "Good News Bible" for readings in favor of the NIV and ESV.

Why so good? Well, it means that those in theologically liberal churches are realizing that that theology doesn't have a lot to say, and so they're looking elsewhere. Those of us in theologically conservative, Bible-based churches ought to take note.


Gino said...

but what church is that where you grew up? no link?

but, i want to take issue with your idea of a bible-based church being conservative.
obama belongs to one of those bible-based churches.

and dont forget: all the liberalism you abhore is justified through biblical passages.

i found, through experience, the evangelical fundamentalist approach to sola scriptura to be lacking in depth. lots of 'feel good' for emotion, but not much intellect for the mind.
i wanted both.

but theologically, i laugh at the thought of these bible based churches being conservative. in truth, they are the liberal reformist spawn of luther and calvin,et al.

this is not an attack from me to you. just a difference of opinion among friends.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

Yeah, where's the link? You have whetted my appetite.

Bike Bubba said...

Link? I grew up Methodist, if you're curious. Another link would be St. Victoria near where I live--they're reaching out to the community in a way that is certainly not stereotypically Catholic.

And TUCC, Gino? Sorry, but they're anything but a Bible-based church; member of the UCC, and not much Scripture coming from that pulpit, if the infamous video clips are any indication. How can one claim allegiance to Scripture and also Louis Farrakhan?

Which illustrates, I think, probably the real problem with many churches that claim sola fide; it's not that they do teach it, but that they don't, too often. You wanted more meat from many evangelical churches? Count me in, too. I just don't know that I can blame the doctrine of sola fide.

Mark said...

Gino, the liberals may use the Bible to justify their actions, but it does not mandate them the way that you seem to think.

The power of the sword/justice/retribution is given to the government, possibly because the individual may use it incorrectly.

The power of charity is left with the individual and, by example, to the church. Nowhere is the government given the responsibility or authority for charity.

Gino said...

i'm talking in reference liberal theology.
not left-wing politics.

the reformers were theological liberals. once you sever from theological standards and hierarchy, its only a matter of time before you sever from social-political standards, and start to become your own patriarch.

the theological conservatism of evangelical churches is only a social political conservatism of sexuality, basically. too busy telling the homos to stop being homos, while 1/2 the congregation is working on their third marriage and practicing birth control and limiting themselves to 2 kids.

and teaching sola fida leads to lost souls, because without hierarchy to teach the standards of faith with authority, standards become dispensable as well.

luther and calvin had a clear point, one that i disagree with on its logic, but not so much in its practice.
the reformers took the catholic doctrine of faith + works and wedded them into one word 'Faith', and insisted, wrongly to me, that faith = works, and so are one in the same.
what is lost in 500+ years of spreading the doctrine of sola fide is any concept of sanctions for bad behavior.
it allows license to claim: i believe. i am saved. now leave me alone to do as i please and do not judge me.

i have found, in my own life, that faith (at first) brought me to works and moral standards, and works (without faith) have returned me to faith and moral standards.

instead of either/or its more like both/and.

Bike Bubba said...

Well, then, it seems that we're in agreement; there are certain "fundagelical" churches where the LACK of properly taught theology (e.g. real meaning of sola fide) leads to problems.

Glad that your experience with Rome is that of living faith; all too often, though, I've met people whose experience was, well, quite different. More or less, sow wild oats through the week, pray for crop failure at Mass.

Gino said...

those of which you speak are what i call 'cultural catholics'. they live the lifestyle on the surface, but never really had Jesus in their heart.
Or had Him, then lost him in the World.

i am/was guilty of both counts at times. its when i force myself to works, faith comes roaring back.

fear of hell can bring about love for God.

but when you are already 'saved', that fear is lost.

i listend to a roaring debate once between a panel of catholic apologists and a panel of equally qualified calvinist theologians concerning sola fida.

eight rightous men saying almost the same thing using different vocabularies, splitting hairs left and right, taking no prisoners...
only to agree that they were not that far apart at all.

Mark said...

Sorry about the sidetrack into politics, Gino -- you did put Obama into the conversation, though.

Bike Bubba said...

Certainly if one understands "sola fide" as "pray to Jesus you can do anything," you'll end up like an awful lot of C&W musicians...I'd simply argue that those who coined the term never said any such thing.

On the other hand, it's a good point; Spener's pietism didn't get off the ground because academic Lutheran pastors in Germany consistently applied the doctrine of repentance to their lives, to put it mildly. (they were well known for taking mistresses and such)