e shtunë, 20 janar 2007

Liberal Christianity and Evangelism

As those of you, who I know are reading this, already know, I'm progressive in my theology and liberal minded in my politics. But, I heard once, don't let your politics shape your faith, let your faith shape everything else in your world, including your politics. I believe that.

So, here I am, not yet conforming to all the liberal ways of those people with whom I so enjoy associating. I am rooted and grounded in this one thing, my personal relationship with the Lord and Savior of my life. So when recently told by someone that this particular church needed to decide rather or not they wanted to grow in numbers or NOT. NoT?? I was shocked. I said, "Yes of course the church wants to get new members we are ALL called to make disciples for Christ. Whoa, this seemed like a foreign concept to my friend...Or perhaps it was just something that he, as a liberal, didn't want to or had difficulty embracing.

I went into a mini-sermon about making disciples for Christ and then giving them a protective body in which they could grow. I'm not sure I got my point across, but I tried. It was sort of dream like for me. If I hadn't had a third person there, I don't know if I'd believed my own ears! But then, I looked inward; am I wrong?? I always ask myself those questions, then I go and spend time praying about it and about one week (7 days) later I write.

OK, so maybe I've decided I'm not a liberal Christian, after all!? I do think it is good to embrace and accept ALL people without judgement. I do believe the Bible was written by men, at a particular time, in a particular place and those factors should be considered all in context when interpreting scriptures to apply them today. I also believe it is GOOD to question one's own faith and to ponder ideas about God and God's relationship to/with ALL of humanity. We should NOT put God in a box and assume God is only doing this or that. But I don't believe in taking these questions and developing new theology.

I guess ultimately, I do believe in the UMC's theology and slogan that we should all have open hearts, open minds and open doors. Now, I'm not saying we should have so open minds and hearts that our own faith is tossed here and there by every wind and notion ... and when I'm talking evangelism, I'm not saying we should hand out copies of the 4 spiritual laws or leave them as tips on tables....Why do people do that?!

No, not at all, but I am recalling Mark 10

17. Jesus started on his way, a man ran up and fell on his knees before him. "Good Teacher," He asked, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?"

I wonder if Jesus had a fundamentalist conservative disciple on one side whispering, "Hand him a track and let's get him saved" and a liberal disciple on the other side, saying, "It's OK, Jesus tell him he has to decide for himself what to believe and we'll accept him for that."

What did Jesus do?
He answered a question with a question (which reminds me of last week's Sunday school lesson)... Anyway,

18. "Who do you call Good?", Jesus asked? "For no one is Good but God alone."

Hmmmm, I'm getting it as I write--- Maybe instead of Liberal Christianity/theology or Conservative Christianity/theology, it should be "Humble Christianity/theology."

OK so that's not all JESUS did.

21. Jesus looked at him and he LOVED him.

So, he acted- he loved - How? I don't know, maybe he hugged him or maybe he Listened to him, with an open mind, and heart. Maybe Jesus accepted him, just as he was.

But that's not all- Jesus then told him, "Go and sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven, then come and follow me."

To me, that is faith without works is dead. What you do after accepting is a part of your salvation.

So, I believe Christianity is about so much more than Telling people about Jesus. But, how can we Really be the church of Jesus Christ without having a desire to bring people in- into the sanctuary- the sacred place. It was suggested by my friend, that perhaps that local church should be / is called to be a "safe place" for a small group verses growing in numbers. The sanctuary, to me, is indeed a place of refuge. It should be that safe place, a place to worship the most High God, Just as I am. And along that line- why should anyone be denied an invitation there? Let anyone who thirsts come to the water...So, Why not bid ALL to come?

To use a phrase probably coined by liberal Christians, "Is not everyone of sacred worth??"

I believe we are called to get that message out. Not sit comfortably and safely in our sanctuaries.

Matthew 28:19
Therefore Go and Make disciples of All nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

3 komente:

Rachel tha...

What did your friend think the church was for??!!

more cows than people tha...

Very thoughtful. Welcome to the RevGals ring, I look forward to reading more from you. I have wrestled with many similar questions as a progressive or 'liberal" Christian who finds herself more and more evangelical the more I sit with the scriptures and serve God through Christ's church. Thanks.

Stacey tha...

I'm right there with you. And welcome to the RevGals, by the way!