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17
Jul

summertime

It’s that time again, when nothing happens in my life. 🙂 The Sunday school presentation went really well, I think, even though half of the audience was related to me. I guess that wasn’t so bad, anyway… I wasn’t expecting big things from that presentation, but apparently the paper is getting some pretty broad circulation. So that’s kind of cool.

Lately I’ve been doing the summer thing, which this summer consists of doing lots of reading for my ordination process. Remember, my seminary degree, for which I’ve worked four years (so far) and for which we’ve spent thousands of dollars, counts for absolutely nothing when it comes to being ordained in the Church of God in the state of Indiana. So I’ve been working through my reading list, and I think I’m about halfway done with the part I have to read before my next interview (which is at a date yet to be determined).

Let me tell you, I’m starting to think more about this movement concept. Remember, the Church of God is a reformation movement, not a denomination. But as I read the history of the Church of God, there’s a definite swing through the twentieth century toward the denomination side… so much so that the author of one of these books asks, in a discussion question at the end of a chapter, if we should fear losing our distinctiveness if denominational walls somehow fell down and Christians around the world began thinking, functioning, and worshiping as one church. I have a hunch that many Church of God people would hesitate greatly at the thought of losing our distinctiveness, of losing our campmeetings, of losing our general assembly, of losing our heritage. But if that part of the mission gets accomplished, we had better be ready to jump ship and join everybody else.

In this century, I foresee people paying less and less attention to denominational differences. Many churches already have taken their denominational brandings off of their names, letterheads, and road signs. (And many have subsequently forgotten what they believe, which is unfortunate.) Even in our own Baptist congregation, we can only count four or five “true” Baptists. The rest of us are there for missional purposes, because of the outreach of the congregation.

So the time may be getting right for the Church of God’s message of unity in Christ to take full effect, to come into full swing, only 125 years after it began to be proclaimed here.

But are we ready to be a movement? Or are we stuck being a denomination?

I don’t know how you can be a Church of God person in today’s world without being an ecumenist. Come out of denominationalism. Be part of God’s church. Draw people together; don’t divide. And in so doing, show the world through our unity that God the Father really has sent Jesus to the world because of his love for humankind (John 17).

(Oh yeah, and since last Friday, I’ve been battling a stomach bug, a sore throat, head congestion, sinus drainage, and pink eye, generally in that order but not all at the same time. I’d like to feel well again soon.)

One Response to “summertime”

  1. Spaugh Says:

    Very good thoughts. I know even I have to be careful with my attitude, being in a house church, that I don’t somehow bash non-house churches, or somehow think they’re inferior, just because I feel better connected with God in our Spirit-filled, very small, personal body. That, in a way, is also denominationalism.

    Talking to a missionary at church yesterday, she was recently in Venezuela and had words to give to various churches there, but was not allowed (by God) to call them their names. Rather, it was “Church of Caracas,” etc. How do you think that would go over in the States? The “Church of Indianapolis.” The “Church of Terre Haute.” I kind of think that would be cool…

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