Thursday, August 04, 2005

A New Kind of Church (pt. 1)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my own orthodoxy. What I believe. I come from a tradition where it’s very important to know what you believe and, frankly, it’s very important that your beliefs line up exactly with what your denomination believes. I always struggled with that and, somehow, always felt incomplete because my own denomination’s orthodoxy didn’t always answer the questions we all kept hidden in our hearts, too afraid to ask.

I grew up in the Evangelical-Protestant tradition, with a dash of Fundamentalism and a splash of Pentecostalism thrown in, just to make it interesting. Each of them added something very significant to my belief system, but none of them were, in my mind, able to stand alone. My Baptist heritage was big on evangelism, but fell well short of answering questions about the Holy Spirit’s role in the church and in our individual lives. My fundamentalist roots encouraged study and knowledge of the Bible but left very little room for grace or for Jesus’ fulfilment of the law. And my Pentecostal influences taught me that the Holy Spirit was present and there to empower us but focussed so much on certain gifts that they seemed to be almost irritated or bothered when anybody brought up anything else about the Old or New Testaments, particularly the guidelines which the Bible gave us for how those gifts should be demonstrated in the church. Each of my influences had something important to teach me, but all of them seemed to live in fear of each other, even to the point of disdaining each other. And all of them seemed quite weary of mysticism or anything about God that could not be explained which often left me feeling like I was worshipping something that was only a tad bit smarter or in control than I was.

While these feelings never brought me to the brink of giving up on God, they often brought me to the brink of giving up on the church. I wanted a doctrine, and even a religion, that wasn’t afraid of anything that was true, even if it had to learn from other denominations or faiths. And so I began to look for a new kind of church, one that held fast to truth, but one that was open to the fact that there might be more truth to discover.

(End of part 1)

Comments on "A New Kind of Church (pt. 1)"


Blogger Gordon said ... (8:12 PM) : 

Tim - these are interesting thoughts that I can identify with. HAve you read The Post-evangelical Christian by Dave Tomlinson? Also THe Churchless Faith by Alan Jamieson (blogs at prodigal kiwi(s)). THere is another that I have somewhere on a similiar line - I can't be bothered to find it for you tho!!. Can't say that I agree with everything but they were helpful companions for different reasons!


Blogger Matt Tullos said ... (5:54 AM) : 

Hey Tim,

You and I must be traveling down similar paths. The whole question of orthodoxy and religious, should i say, snobbery is perplexing to me and i don't understand the nature of exclusionism that is apparent in almost every little man made religio-club we've concocted. (Jesus wept)


Blogger Tim said ... (10:08 AM) : 

Thanks Matt! Matt also has a great site that I've been checking out for a few weeks now. Definitely worth the look.


Blogger Michelle Lorraine said ... (3:32 AM) : 

Where is part 2???

Enjoy reading your blog. Miss you guys tons!


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