Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Mike's "Perfect Church" Part VIII - Order
I have added more under community below if you haven't read it in the last few days.
The theological boundaries of the church will be the most difficult part. There is always a tension, in church forms, between order and freedom.
In the Evangelical world, especially among my personal friends, they tend to error on the order side. The best example of what I'm talking about is a good friend, Ken, who has a theological degree from a Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) seminary. He is an elder in his church. He was telling me that his denomination recently excommunicated a neighboring PCA church because their pastor wrote an article that erred in an area that is too complicated for him to explain. It had to do with the way in which they look at the division between the soul and the spirit. Ken, said you would almost need to have a PhD in theology to even understand the concepts.
However, Ken believed that the excommunication was the right thing to do for the purity of theology. What the denomination meant by "excommunication" was to treat the people in the other church as pagans according to Matthew 18:17 ( (NIV) "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector."
Another friend, Rob, with a seminary degree from a Lutheran school, attends a Missouri Synod church. He sent me an e-mail and was very concerned that I was attending a Christian Reformed Church. He found a Missouri Synod Church for us, which was 60 miles from our house. He recommended, "For the sake of your children" that we would take them to that church. He feels that only the Missouri Synod Church, is the true church because only they practice the sacraments correctly.
In those examples, I believe that they have gone way too far in the area of "order." The reason that I believe that people make this mistake is because of the influence of Scholasticism ( and thus Aristotle) on Luther and Calvin. The Scholastics believed that we can use logic to know virtually all truth. That is you seek God right, then the (deceitful) heart can have no influence.
Because of this erroneous presupposition, you really feel you can know the precise truth and if other people do not have the same precise truth, then they are in sin.
This error ( okay here I go again) is rooted in Christian Dualism, even though they have a higher regard for reason and logic than other Christian Dualist. It is Dualism because they see the mind, and especially the emotions (psychology) as part of the "flesh" and thus of limited influence over reason, which they have spiritualized as a godly trait and somewhat spared from the fall.
Okay, I will continue this in another posting. In that posting I will talk about the problems with "Freedom."
Posted by MJ at 9:00 PM