Tuesday, August 09, 2005

This is the church, this is the steeple

Ok, so i have recently been discussing various aspects of the church in modern society with some interesting folks on another blog. basically the discussion covered a lot of different terrain and reveal several different opinions within our group. So i was inspired to move some things here. To start, an individual known (at least to me only as Iggy has placed some interesting thoughts on his blog so go check it out.
What i want to discuss here is what needs to change in the modern church for it to become more "authentic" as some would say or more...well, Christian i guess. i think Iggy's post is a good starting point.before we change "church", how do we define church?

A good article that addresses the question at large is called talking to generation X

http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9902/hinlicky.html
Dan, 8:51 PM

11 Comments:

dan

first, it think you must differentiate the "man" church and the "God" church. They are two completly different things. I believe that the Church as God sees it, is us. you and i. the relationtional connection that binds us, even though we don't really even know each other we are bound by cords that are unseen.

the church proper, institutional church or "man" church is the creation of man, somethign that was initiated first by the early church from a culture that was used to social gatherings in the synagogue. a culture that had a large appreciation for oration. coming largely from the greek/roman culture. it developed eventaully into what we have today. an institution, that has become more concerned with its own preservation than on than on the reason for its existence, the "God" church.

this article is interesting in a couple of ways to me. first it was written over 6 years ago. a lifetime in this age of change. second it really focuses on genx, which i think is a fault, because it leaves out all those who have the same issues that it addresses that are not genx'ers. thirdly, it makes no mention of relationship. its solution of focusing on the narrative is right on, allbeit a little confusing. the one on one relational connection, sharing of life, missional, experiencial connection is imperative to this genre of peoples that she is identifying.

l.
Blogger leviathen, at 10:21 AM  
good thought.
as far as the man made church and the "God" church, I don't think the two can be seperated so easily or perhaps even at all. Looking just at Matthew 16:18 (and matt. 18:18 as well) i think there are some interesting things to note. First of all, Jesus says He will build his church on Peter, a man. Second of all, this was not merely a relational church, it was a judiciary body as weel. In the next sentence he says that he will give Peter the keys to the kingdom of Heaven, which should not be seen merely as a generic reference to salvation as some hold it to be, but rather a position of authority. it appears that Christ is using the image of Isaiah 22:22 that says," will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open." so with the keys to the kingdom of heaven comes not only the ability to enter the gates, but to close them. the next sentence echoes this sentiment by saying "whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
This last verse has been horribly interpreted in some circles (as a former Vineyardite, I'm sure you have heard this verse used to declare power over spiritual matters). But looking at chapter 18, where it is repeated, we see it for what it is. To bind someone is to hold them to the law, to hold them accountable for their action, to loose them is to treat them as "a Gentile and a tax collector" and no longer hold them to the law. Chapter 18 goes on to say, "truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them."
It appears that Christ has given a great deal of authority to men in these passages. These passages also reveal a process by which men must act within this authority. looking into the epistles (which i will not do right now) we see the creation of church offices and the roles of each.
So the church is a relational connection, indeed. But it is also an organized system. These two need to be present for a church to exist. So perhaps we can say that were the church has gone wrong, it was/is due to a lack of one of these two, not the presence of one.
Blogger Dan, at 9:22 PM  
i can see what you mean about the article, but in its defense i still think it has many good relevant points despite its age and it leaves out non gen-xers because it was an article about gen-xers, it wasn't meant to be read as a diagnosis (if this article applies to you then you have to be gen x). Though i agree, since some of it's ideas trancsend the gen x label, perhaps it shoulc have widened the scope. Finally, i think the relational aspect goes without saying. it is not something that is specific to gen x or those who fit within the scope of the article. The need for relationships is opresent in everyone and this article was trying to focus on what is particular to gen xers.
But it is a 2 page article with limitations. There are probably some better articles on the site dealing with this subject. If you haven't checked it out before, you should really peruse the site. There are some unbelievable articles there. my recommendation is 'Christians and the Death Penalty" in this months issue.
Blogger Dan, at 9:32 PM  
dan,
reread the passage in Matt... it is not "Peter" Jesus builds His "church" but the "faith of Peter".

Matt 1:17. Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.
18. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

In the literal translation is implied "in this statement" I will build my church.

It is the statement of faith.

Blessings,
iggy
Blogger iggy, at 10:32 PM  
Also...
The Key is faith.. one needs faith in Christ to be part of the HIS Kingdom.

this is not about judiciary authority, but rather relationaly knowing Christ Jesus as savior and recieving the Kingdom of God. All by faith...

Blessings,
iggy
Blogger iggy, at 11:49 PM  
iggy,

There may be something to you interpretation but if we are going to say that the Key is simply faith then we run into problems. First of all, if Peter had faith initially and because of that Christ gives him the "keys" what sense would it make for Christ is give Peter what he already had? Second, looking at the rest of this section
"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven"
We see that whether or not it was Peter's faith that Christ was intending to build his church on , He gave him authority within that church (which he later gave to the desciples as well). i am not denying the relational aspects of Christ's church, i'm simply saying that there is more to it.
Blogger Dan, at 8:06 AM  
After, rereading the verse (as you suggested) it seems even more obvious that Christ is refering to Peter himself, not simply his faith. Why else would he make a point to identify Peter (not his faith) and declare "on this rock," an obvious play on words with the name Peter, "I will build my church." The previous verse, is too show that Peter is worthy of such an office. So I'm not sure what you mean by "literal translation" so please inform me if there is something I don't know.
Blogger Dan, at 8:27 AM  
dan

"Looking just at Matthew 16:18 (and matt. 18:18 as well) i think there are some interesting things to note. First of all, Jesus says He will build his church on Peter, a man. Second of all, this was not merely a relational church, it was a judiciary body as weel. In the next sentence he says that he will give Peter the keys to the kingdom of Heaven, which should not be seen merely as a generic reference to salvation as some hold it to be, but rather a position of authority."

i think you may need to explain this to me in greater detail. im slow sometimes, :) but i don't see how you jump from tying, the church as god sees and the institution together, to this verse? your drawing conclusion that don't relate. for Jesus to build his church on a man, still does not draw the two into one. its a matter of perspective. the man can then take it and do what he wishes with it. Im just not seeing how this scripture has anythign to do with it. it seems very subjective to me.

"To bind someone is to hold them to the law, to hold them accountable for their action, to loose them is to treat them as "a Gentile and a tax collector" and no longer hold them to the law."

again here some explanation is due. first i don't understand how this is relevant, second, how do you juxtapose this with Paul talking about Christ coming to abolish the law? not bind us to it. again im might be misinterpreting what your trying to say.

"So the church is a relational connection, indeed. But it is also an organized system. These two need to be present for a church to exist. So perhaps we can say that were the church has gone wrong, it was/is due to a lack of one of these two, not the presence of one."

i geuss im just not seeing the correlation. you are very much dealing in a subjective interpretation of the scripture. im not denying it, im just trying to get you to see how the way you haev strung these together don't neccesarily prove your point. as iggy has shown, it can be looked t viably from a totally different perspective. niether way is wrong from my perspective they are just different and therfore you get different praxis resolving from it...... or should. :)

please expound.

l.
Blogger leviathen, at 11:37 AM  
well, to see what I'm getting at, lets look at the definition of institution.
1. The act of instituting.
2.
1. A custom, practice, relationship, or behavioral pattern of importance in the life of a community or society: the institutions of marriage and the family.
2. Informal. One long associated with a specified place, position, or function.
3.
1. An established organization or foundation, especially one dedicated to education, public service, or culture.
2. The building or buildings housing such an organization.
3. A place for the care of persons who are destitute, disabled, or mentally ill.

Looking mostly at definitions 2.1 and 3.1 I think that it is fair to say that Christ is setting up an institution in these verses. He is placing into the hands of the church the authority and responsibility to uphold the teachings He has taught. The church is not just the place where Christ's teachings are read but where they are lived. In this way the church becomes an institution, according to the definitions i have provided. if this is not what you mean by institution, then perhaps we have missed each other.
As far as the binding and loosing, it goes to the same purpose. Christ has given the authority to tell someone that their behavior is no longer that of a christian and so they shall no longer be treated as such. What treating someone as a "gentile" means could be another interesting discussion.
As far as the law, I'm not sure what verse you are refering to. The only verses i can think of that refer to abolishing the law are when Christ says, in matt. 5:17
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill."
Paul also speaks of upholding the law in Romans 3:31
"Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law."
Does this clear up where I was going with this?
Blogger Dan, at 10:49 PM  
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