“As a twentysomething, I can say with confidence that when it comes to church, we don’t want cool as much as we want real. If we are interested in Christianity in any sort of serious way, it is not because it’s easy or trendy or popular. It’s because Jesus himself is appealing, and what he says rings true. It’s because the world we inhabit is utterly phony, ephemeral, narcissistic, image-obsessed and sex-drenched—and we want an alternative. It’s not because we want more of the same.”
I resonate with the desire to experience a faith community that is real and not cool. It doesn’t even have to be cool, if it is real. A local church should strive to be real and authentic. Represent who the community actually is in any communications, remind people of who you want to become in every gathering of the people and always seek to become like Jesus.
It seems that this question has most to do with how one interprets the Bible. Scripture is inspired by God and paints a picture of God’s character, God’s action and God’s people.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that all God’s people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” 2 Timothy 3:16-17, TNIV.
Scripture is the written Word of God that reveals the personal Word of God, Jesus Christ. The good news and truth of scripture can be a source of faith. As such, scripture becomes authoritative and normative for the Christian life.
So what does this mean when it comes to Jesus’ miracles? I believe that Jesus miracles are true and historical fact. They point to the reality that Jesus is God in the flesh and that He has control over all creation. However, my faith does not rest on the historicity of Jesus’ miracles.
One of the goals in the mission of the church is changing behavior.
Making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Making a disciple of Jesus Christ means that one wasn’t before. It also means that there is something that sets apart a disciple of Jesus Christ from someone who is not.
Sometimes the change in behavior comes before a change in heart. For example, a neighbor who gives to a neighborhood food drive before ever being present with the church who organized the event.
Sometimes change in heart comes before a change in behavior. For example, an individual who responds to an evangelistic event at the local park and seeks out connection with a local church.
No matter what one’s spiritual development looks like, there will always be a change in behavior.
“But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do” (James 2:18, TNIV).
This is a series of responses to questions about an internet campus from a previous series of posts. Do you have any other questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments and I will try to respond to each one. Thanks!
Interesting. I think this begs a question about the nature of community within an online/virtual Church campus. We all know that community can form online. The question is this: what kind of community is it? Is it partial community that never materializes? If we follow a God who chose to self-reveal by incarnation, “in the flesh,” what are we to think about a virtual community that never incarnates?
What would be the nature of community for an internet campus? These are great questions and ones that give me the most hesitation when thinking about an internet campus. The best case scenario that I have in response to the first question is that persons would gather with others to worship together as a part of the internet campus. If a group of 6 to 12 or more met regularly with an internet connection and worshiped together there would be a physical community of which they were all a part. This would be preferable to individuals worshiping as a part of the internet campus on their own. However, even individuals in a room with a computer by themselves would be entering into a community of which they would not otherwise be a part. I think that community can exist online and as Clif reminds me – the potential to connect with others in this way has never before been possible in history.
What about the reality of God’s revelation through the incarnation? This question touches on an understanding of God and on an understanding of what it means to be the church. I would not want someone’s experience of church for their entire journey of faith to be as a physically alone individual as a part of an internet campus (see the previous question and also the question from a previous post – What about the sacraments?). I do believe that the people of the church should gather physically, but not necessarily all the time. God came to us physically once in history in the person of Jesus Christ and continues to be with us in the non-physical presence of the Holy Spirit. I believe that the Holy Spirit would be at work connecting those worshiping as a part of an internet campus.