From paul-wright@verence.demon.co.uk Tue Jan 27 00:11:53 2004
Date: 10 Dec 1998 21:44:17 GMT
From: Paul Wright <paul-wright@verence.demon.co.uk>
Newsgroups: uk.religion.christian
Subject: Re: Fw: Effective church structure

In article <3672a05e.6450997@news.globalnet.co.uk>,
Eric Potts <etp@nospamglobalnet.co.uk> wrote:
>On Tue, 08 Dec 1998 10:30:53 +0000, "K.HAIGH-HUTCHINSON"
><K.Haigh-Hutchinson@bradford.ac.uk> wrote:
>>Also, the Student Church has exactly the same teaching as the CU. That
>>is why it got the CU endorsement. It was good sound teaching and good
>>Christian fellowship. However, it does nothing to draw the converts
>>attention to the allowable differences in opinion and does not assist
>>the convert in recognising the difference between intellectual assent to
>>doctrine and a living faith.
[snip]
>Absolutely right. And then, if a student has stayed the course to
>graduation and moves to a new location, the Student Church may well
>give them a list of "approved" churches in that town with comments
>about the minister/vicar like "good man, sound theology." I know
>becuase it happened to my daughter a couple of years ago. And if the
>recommend is followed up, once more the young Christian is in a closed
>circle which doesn't admit the possibility that alternative opinions
>can be valid.

What is the difference between "assent to doctrine" and "living faith"
anyway? Seriously. We've got on to this idea that doctrine is somehow in
a category other than faith, a sort of optional extra. Now while I don't
claim that every Christian should be into all this high-flown theology
stuff, faith is faith in something. David Aldred's comments apply. etc.
If I say I assent to the fact that Jesus is Lord but I don't really act
as if it were true, then I haven't really assented to it, to my mind.
But the fact that Jesus is Lord is doctrine (as is his death for our
sins, the resurrection etc).

I know Kathy said "intellectual" assent, which implies in word only.
I'm pretty sure that if I had been like that, my CU friends would have
pulled me up in it pretty quick (assuming I wasn't duplicitous enough to
hide it from them, I suppose). At least, I hope they would. That's those
nasty outspoken evangelicals for you, you see, taking 1 Cor 5 and things
like that seriously. ISTM that CUs/SCs are one of the places you are
least likely to be able to hold to Christianity in name only.

>No wonder that when questions do raise their head, the result is a
>faith that collapses, since it has never learned how to cope with
>divergence.

This all seems rather silly and conspiracy-theory-like to me. I claim
that SCs have differences of opinion within them (and certainly with
other churches which a graduate might be directed to). At least ours
does. They have to admit that some differences of opinion can be valid
or the church would have one member. I very much hope that SCs are
teaching people to be like the Bereans, which is bound to lead to a few
differences of opinion.

I've been exposed to uk.r.c for a few years and I haven't collapsed
yet. On a wider scale I hope most evangelicals are used to dealing
with questions as they'll get them (and aim to get them) from their
non-Christian friends: trying to explain something to someone else
forces you to confront the thing yourself, as any teachers will know.

Now, liberalism. If experience is the ultimate arbeiter, when questions
do raise their head, the result is a faith that collapses, since it has
never learned to hold to certainty even when ones experiences at that
moment seem to indicate that God is not there.

--
----- Paul Wright ------| The people walking in darkness have seen a great
------------------------| light; on those living in the land of the shadow of
http://pobox.com/~pw201 | death a light has dawned. --Isaiah 9:2