Radical Preaching

Can preaching again have something to say?
This blog marks the attempt to bring the theological vision of Radical Orthodoxy into the worship and preaching of the local church.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Radical Preaching

Personal Relationship?

Hello -
The church in which I am serving has a university student who is the youth director. I supervise him by meeting weekly to discuss the youth worship service and his weekly message among other things. He is what I would consider a postmodern fundamentalist. I that I mean that he believes in a sort of hyper-solo scriptura with no respect or desire for the guidance of tradition or doctrines and no concept of ecclesiology. In the 6 months I haved supervised him it has been a constant push by me for him to think about theology and worship in a new light. With this said...His conception of salvation as completely internal and personal has forced me to defend my own position in his language. Because of this I have been rethinking my own understanding on this issue.

I am Wesleyan in most senses and I remember times when my "heart was strangely warmed" as a youth being called back to the faith. It is clear in the emotionalism of contemporary worship that "feeling" is the end. But hasn't our faith been unfairly romanticized in the past couple of hundred years because of American revivalism and a culture that glorifies sentimentality? Any Christian can give examples of persons (perhaps themselves) that have claimed to have experienced a personal relationship that didn't last. The language of "personal" faith is rampant in my generation and I wonder if the entire notion is wrong. I am not implying that emotions are not present in our salvation. I believe that some people are knocked off their feet by the Gospel. And my own faith is woven into every part of my being. I feel more strongly about it than anything.

But I believe that it is practices that help form us as Christ's body; As we participate in the means of grace we are "being saved."
In most ideal senses, becoming a Christian is socialization. This is one of the arguments for infant baptism. Maybe it's simply learning to live in a different culture.

There is an element of individual belief to our faith: "If you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart..."
But is the language of a "personal relationship" somewhat of a western construct emerging from, among other things, an individualistic economy and democracy? How "personal" if at all is it? What is the balance?

I am sure the question is raised here without expounding further.

Peace -


Blogger Mennonite_Pacifist said...

I have been frustrated as well with the way faith gets interiorized by some in the Mennonite world that I am a part of. I have also been frustrated by those who go the opposite extreme and seem to think that being a part of the church is all that matters; but then I find that these individuals lack the zeal that was so prevalent in the early church.
Does the church produce people that would suffer martyrdom? Do they have the personal faith for this committment?

March 01, 2006 5:25 PM  

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