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BaptistLife.Com Forums. • View topic - The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Open discussion on general Baptist-related topics of interest to Baptists around the world.

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The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:00 am

I keep asking myself the question, "How much of what we are witnessing is our nation comes from the shallowness of the Christianity we have been promoting?" I can't help wondering as we focused on an otherworldly Christianity and told people all that matters is accepting Jesus as your Savior and working for Jesus to return and get us out of this world, have we really promoted an ammoral society and the total failure to live in a way that makes sense? We certainly teach very little about personal or social ethics. We haven't taught race relations or concern for people who are not like us. Often we have taken our best people on mission tourist trips and not gotten them involved with the folks on the other side of town. I plead guilty in parts of my ministry.
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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Jul 23, 2020 1:55 pm

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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:48 pm

The other stream I see is Dispensational Premillenialism which makes the only goal of the Christian life to get us out of this world and into God's realm. It possesses no incarnationalism at all.
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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby Tim Bonney » Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:32 pm

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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby William Thornton » Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:53 pm

Been around these premills all my life. Never thought they seemed fatalistic, though some were nuts.
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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby Dave Roberts » Sat Jul 25, 2020 6:07 am

If the only goal is getting out of this world, then that makes the incarnation a farce. God doesn't just love the elect, he loves the world. Our business is to love those whom he loves or Jesus came among us for nothing.
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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby Tim Bonney » Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:34 am

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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby Dave Roberts » Sun Jul 26, 2020 6:04 am

You are so right, Tim. We Baptists in Virginia have so many identities. There are the hardcore SBCV fundamentalists, the folks who want a foot in both camps and are in churches dually aligned with SBCV and BGAV, the BGAV folks who keep some of the traditional Baptist footings but are leaning SBC, the dually aligned folks whose churches are CBF/SBC, the few former SBC churches now aligned with the ABC, the CBF exclusive folks, and the Alliance churches. I don't even know how to slice that some days. I did an interim for one church that was aligned (in order of their importance) with ABC, CBF, BGAV, the local association, and Alliance of Baptists. Want to try figuring out who they were?
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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby Tim Bonney » Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:55 pm

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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:18 am

When I was a seminary student, I supplied a few Sundays at a "union church" in Indiana. Two Sundays a month, they had a UMC pastor, and two Sundays a month they had a Baptist. Children and youth used SBC literature and adults used UMC. I never could figure them out, but I think they had a foundation that handled the governance issues. After a few weeks (3 trips for me) they found a bivocational Baptist minister. Neither church group appeared strong enough to go it alone. This was around 1969 or 70.
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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby Tim Bonney » Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:08 am

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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby Haruo » Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:04 pm

Had you been toying with joining the Disciples, or was that just wishful speculation on their part?

When I was a kid (starting a year or two before I was born), my dad was the campus minister of the BDSC (Baptist-Disciples' Student Center) at the University of Washington. His ordination was ABC (actually NBC, I think; predated the Northern > American name change. So he attended University Christian on the last (I think) Sunday of the month. We kids didn't go there that often, sticking to University Baptist most of the time. But I daresay I was hep to denominational matters a lot younger than most of my peers.

In probably about 1964, BDSC grew and morphed into Koinonia Center; my dad became the director and Baptist CM, the Disciples bought Tom McCormick in to run their end, and UCC (the denomination) came on board with Mineo Katagiri as CM. A few years later, Koinonia Center moved into the then new Covenant House, which had a half dozen other participating denominations, including RCC, TEC, ELCA, not sure who else. Maybe UMC and p
PCUSA, but I'm not sure. Some years after that ABC dropped out (lack of funds, I think) and I'm not sure what's become of the others.

BTW both UBC and UCC (the building, not the denomination) are now strictly historical entities. UBC disbanded, with most members joining First Baptist, I think. UCC apparently abandoned its (huge! with a cavernous sanctuary) building, and amalgamated with another DOC congregation several dozen blocks north. I hope to visit that church next year, assuming they and I survive.
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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:15 pm

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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby John Sneed » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:17 pm

Dave,

I think you are speaking from a position of ignorance or inexperience. Hear me out. Let me explain what I mean.

I spent a long time in various Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches. I was ordained in a GARBC (General Association of Regular Baptist Churches) church. It was later as I left the Air Force that I came to settle in the SBC. In that time, I have heard a great deal about the rapture and the pre-mill second coming. But I never heard it used as a substitute for the Christian life in this world. In fact, when it is preached it is usually used as an inducement towards personal holiness. Kind of like Coram Deo, you are living before the face of God, whom you could meet shortly. But it was never used as the primary focus of the Christian life. This is where I think you are speaking from a position of inexperience.

Since I have become more reformed in theology my end times position has evolved into a more - Jesus will return someday and settle the affairs of the earth. There was a saying you have probably heard .. "We need to live each day as though we expect to see Jesus tonight; we need to live our lives as though he is not coming back for a thousand years." I don't worry much about the second coming because I have a feeling I will be a member of the heavenly throng long before Jesus returns.

But to your primary thesis, I agree with you 100%. For whatever reason, our Christians, by and large, are biblically and theologically illiterate. Christian holiness and engagement with the world is not taught or not taught in depth. In the Christian right, it seems like if you are anti-abortion and pro school prayer, you are engaged. Of course, this is not enough to even count as Christianity. I think many groups, left and right, try not to be offensive to their listeners, and so they (we) offer to our congregations a watered down Christianity where if you "know Jesus" (variously defined) then you are a Christian, and being a Christian demands nothing of you. It is a deep subject and I doubt I am doing it justice. But you main point is a good one and needs in-depth thinking. I suspect the solution is within each individual congregation, to reintroduce a deeper, more robust, Christianity. Well, those are my thoughts.

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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:20 pm

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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby John Sneed » Thu Jul 30, 2020 3:32 pm

Tim,

You certainly make a good point. With 42,000 and some odd churches in the SBC, and knowing they range from fundamentalist to moderate-conservative, it is entirely possible that the focus of the preaching is congregation specific. I know, in my own pulpit, I would emphasize the demands of Christ on the life of the believer. I remember, more than once, doing a sermon series on those types of topics. Of course, that is me. True, salvation and witnessing/missions were also hot topics. But, I like to think I struck a fair balance. I know not every preacher does. I think it is a valid criticism that many preachers focus far too much on political topics and less on biblical exposition.

Bottom line is that you have a good observation. In future postings, I will try to remember not to be as certain or dogmatic but to allow for individual situations. Stay safe my friend (in my best Dos Equis imitation voice).
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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby Tim Bonney » Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:20 am

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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby Dave Roberts » Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:09 am

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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby Haruo » Sun Aug 02, 2020 5:37 am

Keep your wicks trimmed, though, all of you!
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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby Dave Roberts » Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:54 am

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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby John Sneed » Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:28 am

Dave,

Thank you for your reply and your tone. I hear what you are saying and it dovetails with my take-away from Tim's reply. A lot of these examples are individual to a person's experience. I have had some balanced experiences but you have seen the other side of the coin. For every balanced example that can be cited, there is probably a example of someone precisely as you are describing it. Between you and me (and Tim), maybe we have shown there are churches like you are describing, but not all churches are like you are describing.

I appreciate your gentleness in your reply. Too often folks with different theological views have trouble staying civil. That was not the case here and your reply was most appreciated. As with Tim stay well out there. I don't know if this virus is winding down or catching its second breath but stay healthy. I wish you well.
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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:59 pm

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Re: The Shallow Nature of Modern Christianity

Postby Tim Bonney » Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:56 pm

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