Does our church reflect the culture or does it shape the culture?
If we want to shape the culture, we must: Keep the main thing the man thing.
What is the main thing–keeping God the focus by passionately teaching His Word in such a way that individuals feel/are motivated to change and compelled to reach out.
How do we do this?
We must teach the depth and breadth of God’s Word–Simple but not simplistically. That is, communicate clearly the incredible depth of absolute truth.
In an age of biblical illiteracy, we cannot afford to water down truth. But we cannot simply “tell” truth, we must show it. We must help people not only understand biblical truth, we must help them apply it–developing a biblically based, biblically formed world view that governs and directs every area of life.
We mustÂ teach the WordÂ with application (practically) within relational contexts. People not only need to know–theÂ whatÂ andÂ whyÂ of truth, they must understandÂ how. And the how, if often not only learned but practiced in a relational contexts. People don’t grow in isolation. People don’t become “spiritual” by themselves. To grow includes change and fruit bearing. And the most important fruit is loving God and loving others.
How well do we do this?
I tend to begin evaluating the “negative side” first. So let me start with the positive. I think we do a fairly good job of maintaining a focus on the majors. Holding firmly to the truths of Scripture. We have many opportunities for people to study the Bible.
But do we help people see the relevance of teaching, particularly theological truths to everyday life? Probably not as well as we would like.
Helping people understand the depth and breadth of theology (not doctrine) is not easy. While we try not to simply “indoctrinate,” I’m not sure we have provided as strong a foundation as we need to. Helping people understand theology requires more than telling people what to believe. It requires helping people learn how to think. How to read Scripture in a way that doesn’t miss the particulars of an individual passage while at the same time developing the larger framework of how Scripture supports, interacts, develops and interprets itself. This process of exegesis of individual passages leading to a comprehensive coherent system of theology (or belief system) should be self-critical. The exegesis of an individual passage must evaluate our system of theology and our system of theology must inform our exegesis. Both work together. We haven’t taught this well.
Then from teaching people how to think biblically, we must help people live biblically. Â To live godly discerning lives. Â So I ope we can be and develop discerning learners. Â Being a discerning learning is not just about what we should avoid but more how to influence (seeÂ previous posts for moreÂ andÂ here).