Saturday, 22 November 2008

Beyond Connections

In the aftermath of Connections '07, there has continued a dialogue all around the territory to consider the "what now" question. With the immediate support of soldiers, employees, staff members, men, women, younger and older, we are at the point of declaration.

Stay tuned. Our future is coming into focus and it involves all of us. Hallelujah!

1 Peter 1:21 (MSG)
21 It's because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.

11 comments:

Nicky said...

Dear Jim,

I look forward to the next step or the "what now" from Connections 07. I pray that it will have some sort of statment that allows for some tolerance and validation of theological diversity within The Salvation Army. I pray that it will involve greater emphasis on the practice and out working of faith rather than the correctness of belief and doctrine.

Grace and peace to you

Eleyface said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

What is beyond connections?

Disconnections.

And then death.

Probably by suicide.

Nicky said...

Dear Anonymous,

Connections 07 was a Salvation Army conference held last November where those connected with the Salvos from all over Australia came together to make links with each other. It was, for me, a time where isolated centres were able to meet and spend time listening to speakers from around Australia and build relationships with others from around the country.

The conference was particularly helpful for those in isolated communities to sense the significance of the roll they played in our movement.

It encouraged some of us to keep going when we might have felt like giving up, it helped us to sense the support we had from others, especially our leaders. It gave us hope that things within our movement could be better.

If you are feeling isolated or without hope I would urge you to seek out someone who is able to help you to find hope that things can be better, someone who can encourage you and offer you some support in what might be a dark time for you.

(This is one of those times where blogs are too impersonal and I apologise for that).

May you find peace and grace.

Jim Knaggs said...

Thank you, Nicky.

Anonymous said...

coming together is fantastic for all of us what sadness , the only thing I think is sad is that some of our Corps close there doors to attend. We should always put our local Church first, afteralll thats why we are a church...to save we can not do this if we are not open! Please bring back commissioning on Saturday so we can attend.

Jim Knaggs said...

Interesting. Thanks for making every Sunday worthwhile at your corps.

Connie Gilchrist said...

Nicky,
The importance of belief and doctrine cannot be dismissed in favour of the practical outworking of our salvation. The two are inextricably connected.
ote what the Apostle Peter says in his letters about the fatal affects of false teaching.
Also note that Jude strongly urged Christians to "contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints."
Be careful that what you pray for is based on God's Word.

Nicky said...

Dear CG,

Thanks for your comments. I think its fair to say that when JC announced salvation to Zacchaeus it was based not only on a change of heart (repentance) it was because of his actions. There doesn't appear to be any statement of belief or adherence to any doctrine, but I could be wrong.

Secondly the false teachers in nearly all cases that I am aware of, the false teachers weren't the average Joe Bloggs, they were nearly always those who demanded adherence to the LAW or DOCTRINE – ie. the religious people who always want to find a way to exclude and condemn when people don't believe the exact same things. That's why we have different denominations, which one denomination holds the truth.

Check out Acts 15 where the disciples overturn adherence to the law in favour of inclusion and acceptance. Faith is about trusting in the love of God, the Good News that Jesus proclaims for all humanity, (the forgiveness and compassion of God overrides the law of doctrine) not just those who believe the exact same things as you or me. I certainly don't proclaim to fully understand the revelation of God through Jesus, that's why I still read and study my Bible.

PS I’m sorry, but I really get a bit annoyed when people think that what they believe is the only way everyone should believe - this is an arrogance that the church can do with out. Love people like Jesus loved them and let them decide if you are a faithful representative of God – the rest is for God's Spirit to do.

PSS. Don't forget that doctrines are only human concepts about God. They are derived from Scripture but they are still only human concepts. Remember that the earliest Christians thought it was ok to have slaves, the same people who wrote our doctrines, The earliest Christians also thought that when a baby dies, if it isn't baptised it goes to hell (I think this was Augustine) a man who was responsible for some of our doctrines. Fallible human concepts! As our understanding of scripture develops (no slavery, no children to hell) so must our understanding of doctrine.

Lord have mercy on me a fallible sinner

Connie Gilchrist said...

I don't quite know how to answer you Nicki. Just one short comment. I think law and doctrine are two different things. Law is a set of rules whereas doctrines are statements of belief. Our doctrines in the Army are, as you say, based on Scripture and personally, I can't see much wrong with them. They are also relatively modern (ie compared with the times of Augustine) having been formulated at the beginning of the movement some 120 years or so ago. They are largely in line with the other mainstream protestant churches. Our actions are governed by what we believe. Keep studying the Scriptures, Nicki. God bless you and thanks for being honest.

Nicky said...

Hi Connie,

There is a very strong link between doctrine and law, especially within our Salvation Army – you certainly don't need to read to many blogs to realise this - the law is that you have to believe it like they say or your just not a follower of Jesus. I'm not sure how much the age of the doctrines has to do with their meaning, Connie, but there are some people who would suggest that there is only one understanding of them – for me, this attitude to doctrine can be dangerous as it assumes that any further revelation of God is not possible. In regards to slavery our understanding of Scripture changed, in regards to the death of an un-baptised child being damned to hell and eternal damnation has changed (I hope), our understanding of white supremacy has changed - thank God.

In suggesting that just because our doctrines are only 120 years old makes no difference, if the meaning behind them hasn't evolved with our understanding of Scripture then they are diminished in their meaning. Why didn't our Founder keep all the doctrines from the Methodist church and all the other churches? I would suggest that it's because the revelation of God to the Booths suggested that change was needed. They too, no matter how much we love them and the great movement they started, were also fallible human beings.

There's a quote from a book that I love in regards to the revelation of God – it’s been helpful for me, it says something like this;
"While we Christians believe that no future revelation of God will contradict what has been revealed in Christ, [we] readily acknowledge the incompleteness of [our] present knowledge of God."

In other words, Jesus, for us, is the full and complete revelation of God, but our understanding of Jesus is still a work in progress. Just my thoughts.

Thanks for your comments Connie.