John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

Let's Go To Church

Way back on May 1 I started this series on the building blocks of a Christian worldview. I've talked about this before. I've written about this before. But this time I wanted to look at it from a different perspective; I wanted to think about how Christian thinking is fundamentally different from other perspectives. And I wanted to think about it all in the context of how we as Christians can actively engage the culture around us. So far we've talked about God and what he's like -- about what systematic theology calls "theology proper". We said God isn't just interested in "spiritual" or "religious" things; he's interested in everything. We also said that God isn't just interested in "spiritual" or "religious" people; he's interested in everyone. Eventually, we got around to noticing that God is not just a God of mercy and compassion; he's a God of justice as well.

Then we started talking about us -- about humans -- about "anthropology". We noticed that you simply cannot talk about humans without dealing with both their inherent dignity (that whole thing about being made in the Image of God) and their undeniable depravity (that whole thing about how all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God). We also said that humans aren't just souls trapped inside bodies. Those bodies are important, too. And humans are incurably social beings, so the social networks which they create are important as well. As Christians attempt to serve their fellow human beings, we must reach out to them and work for their betterment in all three arenas: spiritually, physically and socially.

After that we talked about Jesus ("christology"), because -- let's face it -- you can't talk about a Christian worldview if you don't talk about Jesus Christ. He's sort of essential. Jesus left the most glorious and, no doubt, comfortable existence imaginable to come to earth where he endured physical fatigue, hunger and thirst, emotional distress, humiliation, alienation and utter rejection. Knowing fully what his Incarnation would bring, he willingly put himself in harm's way to rescue lost and dying people.

Most recently, we've been talking about salvation -- about "soteriology". We said that because humans are more than souls, salvation has to be more than just getting into heaven when we die; it must have implications for the here and now as well. It's not just a one-time event (we have been saved); it's also a continuous process (we are being saved); and it's an eventual destination (we will one day be saved). It involves our ability to live as citizens of the Kingdom of God, living our lives under God's reign and rule (under the Lordship of Jesus) -- even though that kingdom is not here in all its fullness yet but in ever-increasing measures.

So now let's take this conversation where it must inevitably go: Let's go to church!

Here's your chance to sound off (within reason -- let's keep this civil please): What do you like about church? What do you dislike? If you were the Pope (or whatever your denominational or non-denominational equivalent might be) what would you change? What makes a church flourish? What makes a church die? What kind of church do you loathe? What kind of church do you long for?

This could be fun. Or this could be a big kvetching session. Try to save the really negative stuff for your therapist. Let's try to be productive, okay?