Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mighty Morphin Power Churches

I was thinking the other day (a process I try to avoid) about church buildings that house different denominations. There are a number who have almost identical 'mission statements' and exactly the same 'statement of faith'. So this thought struck me...'why don't they just get together', share the resources and buildings and the like.

So I have nothing else to say on this, to me its obvious, will anyone who sees a problem with this please comment.


Anonymous said...

Who would be in charge? What if they take grape juice instead of wine? Or wafers instead of bread? Even worse, they may sing psalms and i like mission praise.

Dave said...

Jesus would be in charge, everyone else would submit to one another, the one who can teach would teach etc.
If someone one could only handle grape juice and wafers, then those who prefer wine and bread (or vice versa) should submit and prefer the others needs. I like Psalms, but it matters not what we sing, and from which source, even our own songs, what matters is the heart it sings from.

The only thing that stops this happening is people wanting what they want, ego's and power trips, any who act from this position show themselves to be filled with earthly and sensual wisdom.

Thanks for the response, try and put a name on your post next time, thamks

Shieldsy said...

Dave, I get the feeling Anon was being ironic!

Dave said...

Irony it may be, but it is little things like this that stop true unity, yet these little things are the fruit of deeper issues.

Brother Tadhg said...

Nothing should stop them getting together, but I suspect human nature, denominationalism or something would get in the way, sadly.

I found this story that sums it up, some time ago.

'I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, ready to jump.
I ran over and said to him: 'Stop. Don't do it.'
'Why shouldn't I jump?' he replied.
'Well, there's so much more to live for!'
'Like what?, he asked.

'Are you religious?"'
He said, 'Yes, I am.'
I said, Cool, me too.? Are you Christian or Buddhist?'
'Christian.' he said.
'Me too. Are you Catholic or Protestant?' I asked.
'Awesome, me too. Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?' I asked.

He said, 'Baptist.'
"Wow. I'm Baptist too. Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?'. I queried.
'Baptist Church of God.' he said.
'Me too. Are you original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?, I asked.
'Reformed Baptist Church of God. he said.

'Unbelievable, me too. Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?' I asked further.
He said, 'Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915.'

Die, heretic scum,' I said as I pushed him off the bridge.

Yours Brother Tadhg

Dave said...

Brother T, thanks, and by the way I had that joke to post next week, I may still post it...

Anonymous said...

Anything that stops Christians from communicating with one another, felowshipping in the spirit of Jesus, has to go. We have to ask who's church is it? Does it belong to us? If so we are entitled to put our barriers up. If it belongs to Jesus then any Christian should be able to walk freely into any church and feel at home amongst the people there. We can drink all the wine or grape juice we like and we can eat all the bread and crackers we can handle .... but if the spirit of God is absent we are deluding ourselves. When we sing we have to sing to His praise and Glory. Psalms or mission praise or our own songs it doesn't matter. When we pray we should be on our knees before an awesome, powerful, all loving Lord. Jeremiah 2:19 " Your wickedness will punish you your backsliding will rebuke you, Consider then and realise how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me " declares the Lord Almighty.


Shieldsy said...

Here's an interesting hypothetical ...

What if they weren't sharing the same building? How 'far apart' do they have to be before they should consider just 'joining forces'?

Would you consider amalgamating Tapestry with another church/fellowship that meets nearby?

Dave said...

Good words Peter, I obviously agree, and Shieldsy...great question.

Obviously an anglican church in Carlisle would not really benefit from joining one in Penzance, so distance is a consideration, and it is hard to join denominational churches, ie Church of England and Methodist, too much red tape, but it is possible...It is more possible with independent churches and if they are close by (don't want to put an exact distance as that is difficult), but lets say for instance, within 3 miles.

As for Tapestry, well the simple answer is yes, we would be more than happy (me speaking here not the community, any tapestry people join in if you think not) to join another fellwoship and work in unity. One thing for sure, it would make a change to see churches joining and not splitting.

So there, can't preach what you will not practice I guess, but hey the kingdom of God is not about Tapestry, I would be happy to relinquish the name, after all, whats in a name (ask the emergent people about that!)...:)

Anonymous said...

People fail to get to gether out of Fear, of loss of identity or control.


Dave said...

true Peter, and only love can cast out fear, our identity is found in who we are in Christ and in our citizenship in heaven, and control must be handed to the Spirit as we all submit to one another.

Shieldsy said...

I think there should just be one church and it should be called the Church of Bradford and I can be it's GrandArchPope. Our statement of belief is "We believe everything that Billy Graham believes". Our musical style will always be 10 years ahead of any other musical style, and we will have savoury snacks instead of sweet snacks at the end of the services.

Dave said...

Can I be assistant to the GreatArchPope please, and can we have the snacks before the service, mind you I need to have the pate on wafer and not bread, or else I won't join!!!

Gillian said...

Anon was indeed being ironic. My point was that the differences between churches seem to be so petty when surely the one important thing is Jesus. When i go to church i go to hear Gods word. Communion isn't about wafers or grape juice and if i was really concerned about such trival issues then i don't think i should be taking communion anywhere! Socialising with other Christians, great, but it doesn't have to be with the same people every week. Can you imagine if we were all one big church, you'd have the same people sitting beside each other and it wouldn't be long before they claimed their regular seats each week! We are all brothers and sisters in christ, we should all unite, i'd like to hear one good reason why all the churches in Dingwall don't unite???

Shieldsy said...

"one good reason why all the churches in Dingwall don't unite.

Coz it'd be awful! Who seriously wants just one church. There's nothing wrong with a bit of variety and divesity. You can have unity without uniformity. I don't think the Lord minds having different parts of his family meeting together because they share similar passions, concerns and tastes. Proverbs 32v2; "Birds of a feather flock together"!

All the churches together would end up being a dull, bland, 'lowest-common-denominator' (or should that be 'lowest common denomination'!) type service. Go to most ecumenical things and you'll get some idea of what I mean!!

There is a small matter of doctrine as well. Whilst most people choose their church on musical style nowadays, we shouldn't forget that theology should play a small part! Otherwise, following it to the logical conclusion, why don't all the religions just get together?

Dave said...

It just seems a really sad waste of resources to have all these seperate churches, and don't tell me that they are not all in competition with each other.

I don't think it would be awful, and remember I said in the post that this was directed at those who had the same beliefs and goals.

That takes care of the doctrine, so that counters the 'all religions' together idea.

I know this will never happen, the sad thing is that many will not get together on a permanent basis simply because they want to make a name for themselves, it is their own little baby, and as this post has proved so far, there are no biblical reasons why this shared work cannot be done.

Shieldsy said...

For many centuries there was only one church. It became corrupt and riddled with false doctrine as things tend to do when there is absolute power.

Competition is not always a bad thing ... it drives improvement and stops complacency. There is such a thing as healthy competition. Look what happens to most organisations when they have a monopoly.

Just as in education they have discovered that there are a variety of learning styles, I think that some forms of church suit some people more than others. I can't stand high church stuff ... but there is a 17 year old lad I know who gets so much out of them.

Whenever the 'lets all just work together' thing crops up as it invariably does from time to time,

It is interesting though that most churches don't care less about doctrine anymore. Most people wouldn't know what distinguises a baptist from a methodist or a brethren or even a pentecostal ... not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

It would be interesting to hear why you thought it necessary to start Tapestry.

Shieldsy said...

That incomplete sentance in my last post was intentional. It's a caption competition. Who can finish the sentance in the most apt and original way.

"Whenever the 'lets all just work together' thing crops up as it invariably does from time to time, ..."

Dave said...


The 'why Tapestry' question is a good one, and for me I had hoped it had not been that way, but a year on I find the fruit that has been produced from out little journey has been well worth it.
I guess it was simply a desire to find Jesus more fully, my vision differed from where I was, as also was the statement of belief, I do not want to put much more as people from the last church visit this blog, I care for them dearly, and all that is in the past.
As you know, following Jesus takes some risks, the place I was at was unable to do that, but that is where they were at, I do still try and work with them, maybe in time the door will open more.

Gillian said...

What do you think Christ would want us to do? Come together and unite or do our own little thing? Because really it's not about what we want is it? Or what we find comfortable. I know it's a bit naff but 'united we stand, divided we fall' and all that!

And when did Christianity become something that could 'suit us'? That's right, sorry, i remember Jesus saying "Follow me, we'll meet sunday at 11.30 if that suits you, we'll be singing from mission praise, hope that's ok, if not i totally understand your reasons for not attending and choosing to worship elsewhere".

dinsy said...

Competition amongst the members of one body? Pretty sure that is not a good idea, is the eye supposed to compete with the ear to see who can hear or see best? Or the hand against the foot because one can write and the other can walk better?

Last time I looked, 1 Cor 12 was still in the bible.

On knowing a baptist from a methodist etc, when I started attending the baptist church, I was told by one of the members that baptists get baptised! When I asked one of the elders, he just gave me the individual church statement of faith to read.

I have found very little difference between baptist, evangelical, pentecostal, and some "one-off, non-denominational churches that I have visited. I have been to a C.of.E that does adult baptisms and seemed indistinguishable to many non-conformist churches from the point of view of the sunday morning visitor.

So what does distinguish eg. a baptist from a pentecostal? I would like to know in terms a non theologian can understand (ie. not just read the [insert denomination of choice] statement of faith (from 1879 or whenever)).


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