Note: On the first Sunday of January, 2000, I presented to a combined adult Bible class a list of items that the church must thoughtfully address if we are to be a viable voice in the new millennium. I was asked to expand that Bible class presentation into a series of bulletin articles which were published in the church bulletin. They are reprinted here in the hope they will be helpful to even more people. These may be freely used as deemed appropriate.
| Introduction | The Bible & Truth-#1 | Bible Inspiration-#2 | Bible Interpretation-#3 | Nature of Church-#4 | Possibility of Unity-#5 | Worldliness-#6 | Christian Experience-#7 | Christian Missions-#8 | Christian Hope-#9 | Human Nature-#10 | Christian Living-#11 |
Having address three concerns in the general area of Bible knowledge (nature of Scripture, inspiration, and interpretation), three issues in the general area of church (the nature of the church, unity, and relationship to the world), three matters in the arena of Christian practice (Christian experiences, Christian missions, and the Christian hope), we come to two questions of biblical application--the human nature and the challenge of Christian living.
What is the nature of the human being? How are we both image of God and human beings? What do these two dynamics say about us? And in a related concern, what is the nature of fellowship which we share with other Christians? While these and similar questions may belong under the general heading of "church" above, I have separated them in this series for two reasons. First, they provide a very fitting conclusion to the series as we ask about the overall implications of these matters. Second, these are matters which each of us must address individually. Certainly the church desires involvement and understanding of its nature and character, unity, worship, human identity, missions, and the hope all share. On another level, however, each Christian must ask and answer these questions for self. All of us must ask how we are involved in the lives of others, how we become the presence of Jesus for others, how we are his hands and feet.
These three individual questions may be the greatest challenge for the church. If our faith and practice of the incarnation of Christ are not to be based solely in knowledge, what is the keys? We must continually reevaluate our thinking--what we think and how that thinking grows out of our knowledge of Christ and his word (which knowledge must rest firmly on accurate understanding). How we think, what we think about, our priorities, our will, our decisions are vital. The church must rethink and restudy the thought processes which characterize us and ask anew about the nature of Christian thought. We must understand the nature of the Christian mind (often in the New Testament called the heart), while not limiting the place of relationships based on emotion, desire, will, and choices.
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