Monday, October 17, 2011

Blog Post: (Part 1) Member-Driven Church Values & Practices Unpacked

Biblical Foundation, claims first on our list for a reason. All belief systems begin with axioms--core assumptions that can't be proven. The starting point you choose dramatically impacts the conclusions you end up with. All of us--Christian, Buddhist, or Atheist--believe and behave as we do because of our axioms.

For member-driven churches, the source for all truth is the belief the Bible was inspired by God, is inerrant, and has been preserved throughout the centuries. We evaluate every idea by how it aligns with the Bible.

We base our doctrines solely on the Bible (like many churches). This was one of the pillars of the Great Reformation in the 1500's (Sola Scriptura is the fancy Latin name). The Reformers demoted the teachings of the church fathers from equal status with the Bible. Doctrines not supported clearly by Bible passages don't have great weight.

We also base our church practices solely on the Bible (unlike many churches). Studying the Bible and church history, I realized that much of modern church practices are "extra-biblical". They're not in direct conflict with the Bible, but they aren't required either.

"The Great Reformation changed the world for the good in the 1500’s. But its improvements were largely confined to doctrinal practices. There were massive problems with the doctrine of that era and their thinking desperately needed to be reformed—to return to a biblical foundation. While many of the leaders of the Reformation called us to continually rethink and reform, we pretty much quit after they died. And they didn’t examine their church practices much at all. Yes, some of the most glaring church practices were stopped, like the selling of indulgences, where people could buy the 'right' to sin. But the Protestant church that emerged from that turmoil carried with it a structure and strategy that was very similar to the culturally compromised church it had broken away from. That medieval model of church solidified in an era when being clergy meant being one of the elite who could actually read. The educated few stood in front of the ignorant many and explained the scriptures to them. It was a church model shaped by the cultural forces of its time, not through serious study of the scripture. We don’t live in that era anymore. It’s time to finish the Reformation and return not just our beliefs but also our behavior to a radically biblical foundation.” ~ Awake From Atrophy

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