A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Theological Reflection and Church Vitality

John Meunier is spot on in this post:
I know this argument is already over. I know it is settled. I know no one who matters will listen, but I cannot escape the conviction that the thing we most need as a church is the thing that has been ruled off the table by the Call to Action and all its related programs and initiatives. We've been told that theology is irrelevant to congregational vitality, and so it is unimportant. Indeed, it is divisive to talk about it because it will only lead to disagreements that will bog us down. Leave theology to theologians.

As a congenital conflict-avoider I understand that impulse. I really do. But if I know anything at all about the state of the United Methodist Church, it is that our theological fog is killing us.

Tell me a time when the church has been vibrant — not this or that congregation blessed by a charismatic pastor but the church. Tell me a time when the church has been vibrant without a burning theological vision of its mission and purpose? Show me a revival, an awakening, a reformation that was not at its heart fueled by a passionate conviction about God and God’s purposes and God’s people.

Yes, yes. John Wesley said "think and let think." But when he said that he was talking of outsiders. He was trying to get critics to lay off his movement. This same tolerant John Wesley had no doubts at all about the reason God had raised up Methodists. He might say having right opinions had nothing to do with true religion, but he had passionate the powerful opinions about what it meant to be a Christian, a real Christian, and he lived that out to his dying day. Methodism was born of theological passion.

Where is our passion? Where is our fire? Do we believe the world needs Jesus Christ? Will we sacrifice our lives for that? Will we sacrifice our pension plans? Would we go hungry or to prison for it? Would we stand in a field while drunks threw rocks and mud clods at us?


Country Parson said...

AMEN, and AMEN. What is true for Methodists is true for all of us. My only concern is ow easy it is for uncritical, emotional passion to be mistaken for theological passion.

Anonymous said...

Incredibly well said. John Meunier's piercing comments accurately reflect both the heart and mind of John Wesley.