Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Wayward theology: Not the Usual Suspects!

When theology is not held on course by the demands of evangelistic communication, it grows abstract and speculative, wayward in method, theoretical in interest and irresponsible in stance.”

J.I. Packer (Thanks to Brother Al for the quote www.faithvan.com)

This is the problem of the ingrown church. The Gospel is treasured and hoarded. The typical Reformed church is focused on orthodoxy of message. The typical Emergent/Emerging/PoMo church is focused on orthodoxy of mission. They use the D.L. Moody comeback: I like the way I'm doing it wrong, better than the way you're not doing it at all. Touche! Like Meg Ryan's character in Joe Versus the Volcano "I have no response to that."

In our church and presbytery, we're trying to keep orthodoxy of mission and message together. We're wrestling with a faithfulness to our triune God in a three-pronged pursuit: UPREACH, INREACH, and OUTREACH. Some have argued that we spend 95% of time in UPREACH and INREACH and 5% in OUTREACH. Would we be a faithful church if we spent 95% in OUTREACH? These are practical, theological, and philosophical issues. These are issues of time, stewardship, compassion, integrity, church discipline, fellowship, orthodox worship, orthopractic living, and all of this in a doxological unity SOLI DEO GLORIA!

Pray for the church!! Pray for the presbyters who are focusing and working towards "home missions" with a focus on revitalizing old, ingrown churches and planting new sustainable, biblical, missional churches!!


Clarkie said...


Some good stuff flowing from that pen. Could it be that we are so good at categorizing our Inreach, Outreach, Upreach that we miss out on the fact that we are actually doing more (or less) than the percentages indicate? I am suspicious of percentages on these types of things anyway. I know why we do it and it can help us to organize ourselves but often so much of what we are doing we actually don't really see e.g. what people are thinking in response to our lives and witness
Check out this John Piper quote with the above in mind:
"God is always doing more than we know. In every event in our life and in the life of this church and this city and this state and this country and this world God is always doing 10,000 things that we do not know. The designs and the effects of every event from the fall of a bird, or the birth of a baby, or the death of a Senator, or the capturing of a sniper, or the storming of a Russian theater – the designs and effects of every event are 10,000 times more than we know. 99.9% of God’s specific purposes are hidden from our eyes."

RevGoT said...

I've been convicted of that lately and discussed it in Sunday School last Sunday. Pastors are crusaders that are out in front leading a charge. But that means we might be deaf to the thousand small "faithfulnesses" that our people are engaged in as the Church, though they never show up on the church program "radar." I asked for their forgiveness and invited their input and promised elder visitation as a way to hear what they and the Lord are doing in their part of the vineyard. In our small churches, there's no need to do surveys or paint with broad brush strokes, we just need to listen and encourage and work together.

Thanks for the encouragement.