…one keeps hearing about the “mainline” denominations and this “periphery” called evangelicalism. Well, the periphery is now the mainline, and the mainline is the sideline.
Which got me thinking.
Is the Church going “Right” or “Left”, and isn’t that something of a paradox in terms of a straight path?
From where I stand the Church, the one that will continue to be true to the idea of faith in Jesus Christ, (of gospel salvation as iterated in the scriptures handed down in any available Bible), the mainline Christian stream will be one of characteristics of relationship with God. Not membership in a group, not advocacy of issues or even doctrines, but a living, organic type of experiential life that is expressed as a family relationship. Family being a connection to others through ones connection with God. As such, it cannot be expressed politically. It cannot be “Right” or “Left” in such a form. Not even in ideas such as “Left” or “Liberal” doctrine, or “Right” as fundamental or conservative doctrine.
There are many Christians who are frightened of such a turn of the tide. Change can be frightening, and often rightly so. But if the change is coming by way of God, we need to assess our attitude towards it.
I just do not see a foundation for the doctrinal taskmasters to build on in the modern world. This may look a little different than the watershed effect that Francis Schaeffer observed. While there is a watershed, indeed, it no longer looks as if it is pivoted upon doctrinal stances. It looks like it is much more primitive (and I use that word purposefully), based within the actual relationship one has, as individual and then in community, with the Living God through the person of Christ.
I’m not saying what the people, individually and in community, believe (their doctrine) is not important… but that it will lead to, and come from, the realism of an experience with God. Intellectual communion will no longer have the strength to hold up in the pressures of the world system which is ever bolder in its attack upon ideas of faith in Christ. I might even say that I think that attack increased in power by inequities within the corporate bodies of many Church denominations. There is a sort of deconstruction which is almost complete. It is no longer a battleground for ones expression of faith in the public sector …. it is a battleground on how one lives ones life.
So I think where the Church is going now is far more personal, and less a corporate identity. And that identity is with a living, resurrected Christ.