One of my desires at Chain of Lakes is to create and develop disciples—people who know God with their mind, love God with their heart, serve God with their feet. Finding a balance among those three is critical.
For the most part I see us Presbyterians as unbalanced among head, heart, and feet. We are very head oriented—and very willing to have debates with other Presbyterians with whom we disagree.
Case in point. In the most October 19th issue of the Presbyterian Outlook is an exchange between Eric Mount and Winfield Casey Jones. The two of them debated some fine points of biblical authority. I found the articles interesting. However, I’ve read so many articles like this in the past 16 years and heard so many speeches like this that I can’t get exercised about either’s position. After reading these articles I came to the conclusion that our denomination has become a debating society. I also wondered--how did this came to be? How did we Presbyterians delude ourselves into thinking that church is a debating society?
Eric Mount’s article can be found here: http://www.pres-outlook.com/reports-a-resources/presbyterian-heritage-articles/9290.html
Winfield Casey Jones article can be found here: http://www.pres-outlook.com/reports-a-resources/presbyterian-heritage-articles/9289.html
I would be more impressed if Eric Mount and Winfield Casey Jones committed to praying with each other instead of debating each other’s understanding of biblical authority.
A much better way has to be found. I don’t think the world is sitting around waiting for the results of a Presbyterian debate on biblical authority. In fact I don’t think most people go to church looking for a debate. I think they are thirsting for the living water that Jesus Christ offers.
A better way is found in the same issue of the Outlook. Chris Erdman, pastor of University Church in Fresno, California, shared five practices for the church. He urged the church to: 1) preach the gospel over and over again; 2) return to the life of prayer; 3) pursue purity of the heart; 4) practice a gutsy inner relinquishment; 5) give the Bible freedom to judge us broadly and save us wholly. His article can be found here: http://www.pres-outlook.com/reports-a-resources/presbyterian-heritage-articles/9291.html
I’m sure that Chris Erdman has opinions on biblical authority and the ordination questions that endlessly swirl around our denomination. But I didn’t detect an ounce of ideological bias in his article. I sense that he wants people (whether they are conservative, moderate, or liberal) to unite around a complete understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
I would love it if the people at Chain of Lakes became known by these five practices.
The world is thirsting for this type of disciple. But as long as we Presbyterians see our church as a debating society, we will continue to struggle.