Friday, 29 December 2006

Theology quizzes lead to theological connections.

I noticed Fern both commented here and posted on his blog about this quiz. One of the things I find especially interesting is that despite having different leanings, we so often seem to find ourselves thrown together in online situations. Fern is distinctly Baptist in background, theologically educated, somewhat post-modern in outlook. I tend to be fundamentalist, charismatic, distinctly non-baptist, fairly non post-modern (wonder what a non post-modern is, and don't suggest modern - I'm trying to be a 'holistic' thinker) and was at one time quite strongly opposed to what I perceived as theological teaching. Yet I seem to see far more common ground than problems, and while that's a Good Thing, it's also caused me to think.

What this has yet again shown me is that in each camp there are pieces of God's wisdom and His design for the church in each of these areas, to be sought out like treasures. This may seem slightly heretical, but I'm genuinely wondering if the denominations (on a world scale) don't happen to be God's idea after all. I always pictured them as starting off when some people would follow God's next move while others refused to budge. However I'm now wondering if they aren't storehouses of God's wisdom and pattern for the church, with each containing a little bit of the picture. It may even be that a single 'church' couldn't contain everything in a historical perspective that God had wanted to bring to shape His church when it is finally ready.

I certainly wouldn't be so bold as to suggest that we 'have it all' now, but I do see there is an opportunity for the church to work together like never before, certainly in the UK. America - I'm really not sure. My perception is that the church in the US has fragmented, each to what 'tickles his own ears'. In many cases it's sound doctrine of a particular flavour, but I wonder if the rifts aren't still too fresh and deep for significant unity?

There's one further aspect that I struggle with in all this: the practical reality. I can happily debate online about church practice, theology, women in ministry etc etc. Stick me in the situation of having to sit through an Anglican service (or a Baptist one) and I'll start looking for the door pretty quickly. I can acknowledge that in some circumstances women in church government is OK, but sit me in front of a woman leading a meeting and I really feel very uncomfortable. Guess I suffer the same thing everyone else does: the "I know what's right" syndrome. How will we (the church) deal with that one?

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