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Thanks for your interesting points and I don't mind the flowery language at all in the original post. In fact it did not seem flowery to me which may say something about me! Anyway, what do you think about the section of Acts where the early church decided not to bring many burdens on new believers. I think they say that if they just follow a couple of "rules" and not get confused by divisive language they will do well. I think it says, as you did, that if we help people get closer to God through the scripture and prayer that the Holy Spirit will convict them of their sin as opposed to us just telling them not to do certain things. You said these changes would be good. The defensiveness you feel from the others is because when we speak of "changes" they are the specific changes that come from the Purpose Driven Movement. This is a very specific program of change which may have been well meaning on Rick Warren's part but when put in practice has caused all sorts of difficulties. Those involved in these changes justify all sorts of sin by the fact that growth almost certainly occurs as the changes take place (even cancers grow however--growth alone does not mean it is from the Lord). I would encourage you to read Paul Proctors "The People's Church--A Wayward Vessel" which mirrors my own situation exactly. I think it will let you know if your church is instituting these particular changes so you can be prepared. If they are changing in the way that you said--no problem , but if you see some of the things he mentions then beware. Kansas ChristianI appreciate your point Ken. I have to stand firmly on the biblical text. I can not manipulate others with God's Word to get what we want. I have to stay away from endless quarrels that bring division. There is no "God told me" card that trumps the biblical example or teaching.
I do disagree with your assessment that the church met for a short time on the Sabbath to speak about the scripture and then went back to rest of their lives. I just do not see that as what God intended our what actually happened.
Jesus lived intimately with 12 men for at least 18 months. They were sent on missions where they returned to be critiqued and retrained. They were held accountable for their mistakes, encouraged and given a place to belong. They were shown specific things that were just for their training. They progressed painfully slow at times and it actually took several miricle to bring it all together.
This model of taking others and spending intimate periods together for training was modeled by Ananias and Paul, Barnabus and Paul and Paul and Timothy. In 1 Timothy 4, Paul reminds Timothy of all of the elders who have directed his ministry and encourages him to be faithful in God's plan for his life that was fortold by others.
The Jerusalem elders were very active in sifting what was being done and taught. We see Peter and Paul coming before them in Acts and the group discussing what was happening in individuals lives and ministry.
In response to my first post. Do you feel our fellowship is primarily about bringing glory to God? Does a stranger come into our midst as local churches and see God's Gospel teaching of Christ's commands in all aspects and moments of our lives? Is love of others the main expression of our response to God's love and His grace?
I have to be honest and say no. When we glorify our tradition or opinion or preference or privacy over God that is idolitry. When we do not submit to the biblical example of spiritual training through the Word and the biblical training disciplines of meditation, solitude, rest, prayer, service, fellowship (all modeled by Chrst) but rather submit to a watered down version of religion we are comfortable with that is idolitry. When we would quarrel about disputes, be mean spirited/hateful to make a doctrinal point or fuel Godless "church programs" that anesthetize the Godly longing of man instead of being the selfless, Christ-like, loving servant to those God brings into our lives that is idolitry.
That is where I see a need for change.