Well, I have to give props to the emerging church group. They made a distinction between "Gen-X" churches and what's developed into "emerging", and they got the latter right. It's definitely much more a philosophy than an actual way of doing things. And there are some inherent contradictions, such as them wanting to encourage people to get out of the church building into the community, but they offer amenities at the church building most nights (granted, they are "hip" amenities such as yoga). Also they are all about empowering the people in the church to use their gifts and take ownership, but the majority of them really are stuck as personality cults. I know the leaders don't like it, but that's just usually how it winds up.
I think it's definitely got merit, and churches such as cota who still do liturgy while being indigenous to their surroundings and offering a true community experience (including several people living at the church and in group houses) are probably on to the next wave of what the church needs to become so it won't die.
I am bothered, though, by the idea that the laity can run things better than the clergy, and that liturgy should be dropped as much as possible in favor of "experience," and that church buildings/hierarchy/Christianity-as-religion somehow automatically equals bad. All of these things, in their proper context, with humility and in moderation, are extremely helpful in building up the body of Christ. That's probably why they've been around 2000 years, as has this faith. I don't like it when people just want to drop something that's proven its worth. That's a shallow view of history and dangerous to the church. There is a reason our rituals work - they affect us on a deep level, because (I believe) they were inspired (just as much as Scripture!!!). ACK! The heresy police are knocking at m'door!
Actually, speaking of heresies, what is up with this doctrine of "oneness"?? There was a presentation on Pentecostalism today and they talked about how at least one branch, PAW, believes this oneness thing which essentially sounds like Unitarianism. Definitely they deny the Trinity. And I'm not saying whether that's right or wrong, but I really gotta ask why are these people allowed at Fuller? I mean, the Trinity is a creedal statement. It's not like it's some weird offshoot doctrine. It's pretty darn central to the church from almost the very beginning.
So you tell me, why can a person who doesn't believe this foundational part of most branches of Christianity get to come to Fuller but a person born gay can't????
I mean, gee, I might as well stop believing Jesus is the son of God, or in the existence of the Holy Spirit! Sure couldn't get me kicked out of my school!!
However, I piss people off constantly for intimating that the sacraments are somehow central to the Christian life, or that they were instituted by God as Her way of reaching out to us. Naw, I should forget about Eucharist and Baptism - what really counts is speaking in tongues, right?!? Hell, if the HS has manifested in me and I yell out a bunch of gibberish nobody (even myself) can understand, that makes me way more a true Christian than someone who believes some crazy notion like the triunity of the Godhead!
I tell ya. Sometimes the things we come up with....we're just weird.
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I think Pentecostal Oneness is different theologically from Unitarian Oneness (though obviously neither is Trinitarian). At least, it is if you're talking about the sort of thing the Apostolic Overcoming Holy Church of God believes.
As I had it explained to me when I visited that church years ago, I needed to be baptized, because my Episcopalian baptism didn't count. So I asked why, expecting some kind of believer baptism theology (and I think, indeed, that AOGCoG doesn't do infant baptism), but instead learned that, to their way of thinking, my baptism was invalid because it used the words "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit," when it should have been "in Jesus' name."
Further explanation, in the form of questions, when I didn't accept this reasoning for the invalidity of my baptism: God is one, right? I agreed. And the name of the Son is Jesus? OK. So, since God is one, the name of the Father is also Jesus? Um, no, that can't be right.
Anyway, you'd never get that particular version of denial of the Trinity in a Unitarian church.
Yes, when I mentioned my reaction to the professor, he said "Oneness Pentecostals are quite common, and simply more honest than most
Prots who are functionally Unitarian."
The person was talking about PAW, I forget what it stands for: Pentacostal Apostolic Worldwide or something like that.
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