February 26, 2009

Following Jesus-Part II

Monday I got the chance to attend a really good session at Dallas Theological Seminary hosted by the Center for Christian Leadership. It was entitled Following Jesus In a World Like Ours.

Yesterday I posted on Assessing Ourselves in Our Cultural Climate. Today I will talk about Engaging One Another in Community. Jeff Bingham presented this portion of the session. Dr. Bingham started with some statements of what is necessary for us to be authentic Christians:

  • Authentic worship requires us to be reconciled to each other within the community
  • Authentic language about loving God demands loving relationships with each other
  • Authentic devotional life requires honorable relationships within the community, especially that of marriage
  • God did not create us to be alone with Him; He created us to be with Him in community
Bingham discussed that we have reduced community activities due to items such as television and computers making leisure and entertainment making it easy to go it alone; with suburbanization making it more difficult to get together. Bingham went on to descibe several false concepts of Christian community:

  • Individualism: thought that it is not essential to be spiritually nurtured in a communal fashion
  • Tribalism: a commmunity is adequate unto itself without interfacing with other communities
  • Presentism:the community is perfectly governed and provided for in the present without connection to past Christianity
  • Concertism:if you get people in same place witnessing same event, you have Christian community without regard for whether there is actual communal interaction
Bingham pointed to scripture to deal with these false concepts, most specifically 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 for the utilizing of different giftsd together in community; Romans 12:4-5 for the concept that believers gather together and complete each other and Ephesians 2:11-22 for a description of a new Christian community. Practical steps included:

  • Enhancing the communal nature and frequency of the Lord's supper
  • Adapting the communal identity before the individual identity
  • Acknowledge that some of the most significant spiritual growth occurs in community and not all in an individual personal relationship
  • Establish accountability with other communities including the Chrisitian past
Tomorrow we will discuss how to engage in worship.

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