Discussion in 'Navigating Through Church Life' started by Justin Haskins, Jun 16, 2013.
So, why aren't you in TEC? What are you doing in the ACNA?
One thing I disagree with you about: If every conservative had stayed, it wouldn't have been enough to turn things around. The sole reason the UMC has not followed the path of TEC, PCUSA, and ELCA is because the African delegates are included in General Conference. Also, the southeastern USA Methodists are the most numerous part of the UMC, and they are mostly conservative.
Look, make the 45-minute drive to the ACNA church. Make that connection! You never know where such a connection could lead. It might lead to a church plant closer to where you live. If you feel you can't make the drive every week, go every other week. Heck, where I live in the boonies, a 45-minute drive is a leisurely cruise!
I definitely appreciate the advice! Thanks for the input. I am seriously considering it....
Stop thinking about it and just do it! Time's a wastin'.
I'm more than twice your age. When I was 25 and looking for a church that I was compatible with, I only wish there had been one within 50 miles.
Somebody missed the point about getting along with those whose political views we might disagree with, just in order to preserve the peace and worship God whom we love. C'mon, we aren't forgetting about Him, are we? Isn't that why we are here? Thank you Onlooker. Living with ambiguity is a good thing in the 21st century.
I couldn't agree more Celtic1, great pastoral advice!
Good point. One answer for me personally, is that I'm in the NY-PA area, and there the TEC is lost. Meanwhile an accessible ACNA rector is a very inspiring man, and highly orthodox. It's geography-based, and in my situation a nobrainer. If I were in the Carolinas, especially until recently, I would without a doubt be under Bishop Lawrence.
The gospel is not ambiguous. The 21st is an atheist century, maybe because they like ambiguity. As such, ambiguity is the most un-Christian thing one can think of. What did God say... those who are good, and those who are evil, He'll sort them out, but those who are on the fence will burn in the lowest rung of Hell.
See my first answer in red above.
God forbid that the church, in the name of "progressivism", calls evil good and blesses that evil, and that true Christians affirm this blasphemy. What the Bible clearly calls sin, at least one TEC bishop has called a "vehicle of grace"! Those who leave such abomination are not the ones in schism; rather, those who hold to this have separated themselves from the orthodox church and are thus in schism.
Ambiguity is, in my opinion, not helpful. I understand that in many cases, it exists and will always exist. But ideally, I think everyone strives for clarity.
With that said, I think your view that "those who are on the fence will burn in the lowest rung of Hell" is not only not helpful, but is found nowhere in scripture.
I don't disagree that much of progressivism is wrong. I wouldn't say evil since in many cases the motive isn't there for that at all. I also don't disagree that people who leave any church because they truly believe that the truth is not being taught is not in schism. However, the problem is, and we have already seen this with continuing Anglican groups in the past along with many other denominations as well, that virtually everyone can find one problem or another that validates leaving the denomination to start another denomination. It just seems like it never ends...there is no Christian unity and this is one reason why. I am not saying I have a solution and I don't expect people to stay in churches they don't believe in, but at some point, people need to start coming together rather than walking away.
There was no Christian unity in the New Testament, either. Look at the feuds and disputes among the apostles. Also notice that Paul and Barnabas had to go their separate ways.
I am not talking about all agreeing on the same things. I am talking about being apart of the same organization, the same church, despite our differences. Much of the New Testament is full of precisely that. There needs to be a baseline for essential beliefs and then allowance for differing opinion.
Cheerful news! Perhaps since I'm not on the fence but toppled painfully off on the non-believer side I may escape. But how can it be that the gospel is not ambiguous when highly intelligent, faithful scholars can read different messages from it? Is it just that those who don't agree with you must be receiving a push in the back from Satan? Look at the issue of women priests which rouses so much frothing. People of the utmost probity and even one might suggest holiness on each side of the debate read the Scriptures differently. How can that not point to ambiguity?
And, Justin, striving for clarity is right and proper, no doubt, but what are you prepared to sacrifice, and who are you prepared to separate from communion, in order to achieve it`?
Yes, perhaps so. As the Dalai Lama said, "it is best to keep your own tradition. Changing religion is not easy and sometimes causes confusion. You must value your tradition and honour your own religion."
Nothing needs to be sacrificed at all. The essentials of the faith can exist without having to force dissenting views out. There is no reason why a Calvinist and a Lutheran have to be in different denominations completely. Now obviously there has to be a line drawn somewhere, and everyone recognizes that. Otherwise, it's basically universalism (which some people do think is the right way to go). My belief though is that the essentials of the faith should be determined broadly, the tradition of the church should continue to be taught, and dissenting views should be allowed. As long as the teachings are maintained, it doesn't matter if dissenting views exist.
The problem with Anglican churches, in my view, is that although they now allow a very wide array of opinions within the church, they, at the same time, make declarative statements for the denomination which many within the church disagree with. For instance, they openly and officially support abortion. So if you believe abortion is morally wrong, you can still believe it, but you ultimately belong to a church which openly teaches it is right. The right way to go about things is to refrain from making such statements at all as a church and to allow open dissent regarding any issue except the essentials of the faith.
Yes, from the Dalai Lama's perspective this makes sense. Traditional Buddhism allows for other religious beliefs. Traditional Christianity has a different understanding of the relationship between man and God.
Additionally, on the point of ambiguity...I have seen people justify all sorts of things when the plain letter of the law, the Bible, or something else clearly expresses otherwise. Just because people twist words doesn't mean those words are ambiguous. In Christianity, I do believe there are many ambiguities, but there are also a lot of very clear and established doctrines as well.
Well, that's a bit of a problem, isn't It. I'm not sure which Anglican church you refer to - perhaps this whole debate is clouded with the TEC issue - but I've seen Church of England bishops pestered to give definitive statements about issues like abortion; I've seen them given nuanced replies; and I've seen them castigated as a result. If the Archbishop of Canterbury ducks out of the debate about homosexual unions he is slammed as a trimmer, faithless, atheist. If he says, as he has, that he does not believe he is permitted to marry same-sex partners, but he recognises nonetheless in some of the partnerships he has witnessed a loving and committed relationship, he's on the low rung in hell. You tell me a church that goes about things the way you describe as "the right way", ignoring stuff like divorce and abortion and homosexuality, and just concentrating on the creeds – indeed you tell me a church that's *allowed* by public opinion to take that road – and I'll vote you join it.
It's not a passage often cited. Probably because it's unwelcome by those who adore Ambiguity, and I'm glad you're on the side of certainty. But here is what God teaches us:
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would wish thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.
The question is whether they are honest, whether they attempt to understand the Scripture's meaning rather than inject their own. The latter is a well known fallacy of Scriptural studies known as eisegesis. There are a million scholars who don't even believe in propositional truth (post-modernism), and within that framework it is impossible arrive at objective truth, intellectual baggage they bring with them into Scriptural analysis, not found within it.
Also these scholars ignore prior Christian understanding and try to radically revise Christian truths known for thousands of years, by using Private Interpretation, something none of the Reformers advocated.
And thirdly, how do you know they're all intelligent and faithful?
Difficult to say, isn't it? I prefer to take it as read, for instance, that Joseph Ratzinger and Rowan Williams are intelligent and faithful and honest. I have not interrogated them personally, or subjected them to the thumbscrew as might once have been the been the preferred method: I have no skill, and no desire, to make windows into men's souls. I will take it that Ratzinger and Williams are intelligent and faithful and honest. Yet they disagree. What does that show except that there are some matters where agreed certainty is impossible, where the meaning of the translations of copies of scripts of oral traditions two or three or five or six thousand years old may not be certain.