Lakeside Fellowship Blog

Session 2: Defining Theology

by Administrator 7. October 2015 04:56
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength  ~Mark 12:30Writing about Session: 2 Defining Theology, Korey Beemer shares his thoughts on one of the discussion questions. Discussion question #1: Reference was made to the quote from R.C. Sproul that we live in an anti-intellectual culture. Another person once said that the sins of the culture become the sins of the Church. Further discuss the ways that the sin of anti-intellectualism is evidenced in the Church. “We live in what may be the most anti-intellectual period in the history of Western Civilization… We must have a passion—indeed hearts on fire for the things of God. But that passion must resist with intensity the anti-intellectual spirit of the world.”  ~R.C. Sproul I have chosen question number one because I have lived what seems a lifetime of what R.C. Sproul is talking about, an anti-intellectualism in our culture that leads to anti-intellectualism in our church. In this post, my goal is to think through how we got here as a culture, why we got here as a culture, and what affect this has on the church. How We Got Here Let’s start with our current culture and possibly how we got here. In my view, there are many possibilities of why the last several generations have intellectually declined. For this post I will concentrate mainly with the American culture and church. A study in 2013 showed that American adults scored far below other countries in math, reading and problem solving. This is a problem on many levels for a culture and indicates a trend towards a lack of critical thinking and anti-intellectualism. I believe I can make the argument that this has stemmed from an entitlement mentality among the population. We as Americans have been told by our leaders that we live in the richest country in the world. While this may be true on some levels and not on others, it seems as though we live like we are all rich. Overall, we have lost how and why we have become prosperous. I believe the success has come purely from living under a constitution (a contract between the people and the government) that was stemmed from Judeo-Christian values (the Bible), but that is for another post. Why We Got Here Let’s try to put our finger on the problem. Our success has caused our population to grow content. Parents want to give their kids a better life than what they had, so they have tried to do the work for the kids. Therefore the kids do not go through the same struggles and learning process needed for critical thinking and to shape their worldview. I would love to blame this on technology, and how we have learned to communicate by texting or twitter in 140 characters or less. Also, our education system has become a test rich environment with almost no critical thinking. However, I believe the problem is deeper than just having one single cause. What we have is an identity crisis in our culture. The Effect on the Church So then, what influence does this have on the church? Let me first say, that I believe it is not the culture that should be affecting the church but the church affecting the culture. We as the church have failed to speak out with clarity on many important issues. Long story short we as believers need to articulate the Gospel in a loving way that gives contrast to the world’s way of doing things. We need to clear up supposed “contradictions” in the Word of God. In conclusion, I think we’ve lost the ability to study the Bible. As most things have been handed to us, I am afraid that we think the Word of God should just be handed to us without us going through the process of studying and learning.  

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Session 1: Introduction to the Theology Program

by Administrator 26. September 2015 17:39
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength  ~Mark 12:30Writing about Session: 1 Introduction to the Theology Program, Francis Sloan shares her thoughts on one of the discussion questions. Discussion question #4: In the “Who are you and why are you taking this course” section, which of the nine types of people do you identify with most? Explain. To be honest, in encouraging my husband to take this course, David suggested wives take it along with their husbands. So, here I am. To answer the ‘why I am here’ question for myself took some reflection. I suppose I identify the most with “Traditionalist Teri”. This persona wants to learn, but her traditions and preconceived notions bind her. She is taking this class to have her traditions confirmed to be true (or false in my case). Part of my spiritual journey involves religious traditions that turned out to be completely wrong. During a time in my life (30 years ago) I was seeking a church that had more “substance” than the rural Iowa church I was attending. I was looking for spiritual growth but was not challenged by the church or other Christians around me. During my search I came across a magazine called, ‘The Plain Truth’. It delved into areas of the Bible I had never considered. The first challenge presented in this magazine was that the Sabbath was the seventh day (Saturday). I didn’t believe this so I sent away for their Bible studies and literature to help me understand. Their literature convinced me that we were also commanded to keep the Days of Unleavened Bread, Passover, the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. I was convinced that these teachings were true so I contacted one of their pastors, who baptized me. I was a devoted member for 10 years, observing the holy days noted. The church did acknowledge that Jesus was the son of God, but Jesus was not the emphasis. They felt the modern Christian holiday observances, such as Christmas and Easter were based on pagan tradition, so they were not observed even though Christ’s birth and resurrection were acknowledged. Observing this church’s beliefs, one was truly set apart from other Christians and the church taught that they were chosen or set apart by God. But … something happened. The head pastor over all the churches made an announcement one day during the Feast of Tabernacles. From the founding of this church, he said, they had asked the wrong questions and based their beliefs on the wrong premise or foundation. They overlooked grace, they overlooked that Christ came to fulfill the law and the prophets. Our observance of the Old Testament holy days would not save us. Christ did that. Grace did that. The Church had been built upon the wrong foundation. Chaos ensued. Too many people could not accept that they had lived their lives based on a lie, and had blindly followed this belief (including myself). Too many had taken a stand to defend this belief and many had made sacrifices for this belief including broken marriages, lost jobs, etc. I. personally, can partially attribute the end of my first marriage to this belief. The church was shattered and splintered into many small factions. My reaction to this announcement was skepticism. I never stopped believing in God, but was skeptical of any organized religion thereafter. I just quit going to church, but continued to pray God would lead me. I believed if he wanted me in a church again he would guide me. How could I ever know if any church’s beliefs and teachings were true? How could I ever know what the truth was or is? Why study theology? From my perspective, so I and others will not be so easily deceived and blindly follow false teachings. I desire confidence in the truth because I will have a solid base of understanding. I want to be able to discern false teachings and follow Jesus Christ. He is the only way. I want to be able to totally put all false beliefs on a shelf so they will not influence the rest of my life in Christ. My journey is just getting started (and I am 62). Frances Sloan

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