Notes:

  • Third Culture leader has a different set of metrics:
    • Failure is success
    • Weakness guides us more than our strength
    • Relationships trump vision
  • Obedience is more important than passion
    1. deeper collaboration
    2. communal living
    3. prayer – if we believed we needed the power of the Holy Spirit we would pray
    4. radical sacrifice
    • 4 Acts of Obedience:
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Maybe it is just the Vineyard in me, but I loved our conversation about the Free Church/Anabaptists and the Pentecostals.  I have real affinity toward each group and how they are similar (and different) and how they can instruct the future of the church.  I’ve been particularly intrigued by the Pentecostal movement of late as it is such a fast growing and prolific movement.  Having not grown up Pentecostal it is still a bit of a mystery to me, but one I want to dig into more.  How is the Global Church – which is primarily (or almost so) a Pentecostal one – shaping the next 100 years of Christian faith?  I’d also like to study more of the Wesleyan roots of Pentecostalism.


I’m fascinated by the idea of “holiness” that seems to have arisen (at least in our conversations) during the Reformation with Luther and Calvin and later taken up (perhaps to a fever pitch) with Wesley and his ilk.  Does the idea of “holiness” have a distinctive Reformation/Renaissance ring to it?  I’m certain that generations of Christians before the Reformation were concerned with holy living and pure lives, but is there something about the increasing individualism of the Reformation or perhaps reading scripture in one’s native tongue specifically incline someone to think of holy-ness?


One of the perplexing instances of the Reformation is the retrieval of the “Priesthood of All Believers” doctrine that Luther tied so much to the strong criticism of Roman Catholicism.  Certainly, his was a step away from the doctrine of ontological change within the clergy class, but by maintaining a clergy class the ontological change is assumed, or becomes presumed or even subsumed!  So while in principle the priesthood of all believers was promoted the function didn’t quite make it.  Is there a progressive revelation at work here or is an adaptation and contextualization within culture (theirs versus mine) that is at work?


Our discussion today of the changes in worship that Augustine grappled with was helpful.  It caused me to realize the different emphases between nominal faith communities and highly committed ones.  Specifically, it was reflective of my experience being part of Vineyard Central (a highly committed faith community) and various congregations of the UMC (more nominal christianity generally).  That reflection connected with noticing that in nominal faith churches the preaching and teaching language is often about what “you” (the average church-goer) needs to do whereas in highly committed contexts the language is more about what “we” are doing, can do, or have done.


Three particular items stood out to me from Friday’s class discussion.  First, the significant change from “church” as People of God to “church” as happening when Bishop is present.  I have to say I’m still a bit befuddled by this.  I can appreciate the need for increased organization and, even, some moderate buearcracy (hard to believe I just typed that), but such a core essence change is amazing.  Second, the growth of the church pre-Constantine from AD 100: 10,000 Christians to AD 300: 6,000,000 Christians is astounding and a bit convicting.  Third, the insight from Donald Miller (I want to get his book Reinventing American Protestantism: Christianity in the New Millennium) that whenever the church has grown it has been when the non-clergy, non-leaders become “fans” and bring their friends to faith/church.


As we talked about the changes and developments from Jesus and the Kingdom of God through the Early Church into the Pre-Constantinian Church (AD 100-300), I am struck by the obvious increasingly formalization and the devolution of leadership.  I understand that increasing complexity and diversity necessitated the need for more organization, but I can’t help but to grieve what was lost by the process.  I’m particularly interested in the ontological change that Bishops (diocesan, metropolitan, etc…) and later Priests assumed.  Why did they assume that there was such a change and what did that do to the gathered body both practically and theologically?