- I John, brother...
- John who bore witness to the word of God & to the testimony of Jesus... vs 2
We now move to the weighty and meaty part of our conversation. Whilst we love the first component, we know that we also need to find commonality around areas of common belief.
In his fun little book on “Tribes”, Seth Godin makes some key contributions that are helpful to our conversation:
“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea...
“Tribes are about faith - about belief in an idea and a community...”
Steve Addison writes that “Movements that change the world” have the following similar ingredients:
White Hot Faith
Commitment to a Cause
Tim Keller whose genius has helped all of us, has summarized this conversation when he added: “It is an ‘organized organism’ with these movement characteristics:
Unified vision and beliefs,
Cooperation and catholicity of spirit
Spontaneity and creativity
Amos teaches us: “Can two walk together lest they be agreed?” Amos 3:3 What is clear, is that there does need to be a body of truth that resonates within this brotherhood that is essential for future endeavors. So what are the common belief convictions that create the unified, family agreement to empower us on mission together?
The Australian rancher does not use fences to control his livestock. The harshness of the context has created a most unique way to keep the cattle from drifting. The lesson is that one can trust wells [sources of life and a unifying set] to keep a brotherhood together, one does not need fences [highly defining requirements that demand ‘in and out’ conversations.]
I do not find man made lines of separation than we have designed, to be very helpful. We do not want to define ourselves by these human categories. Not only are they divisive, but they tend to represent a subculture, a set of behavioral norms, that add to the confusion. We will not be defined by either these groupings nor by the subculture that they represent.
Calvinistic vs Arminian
Charismatic vs Non Charismatic
Premillennialism vs Postmillennialism vs Amillennialism
And so forth...
John was in exile because of what he believed in. All that he needed to do was to go to the temple, that was built for emperor worship - take a pinch of perfume, place it on the altar and say "Caesar Kurios" [Caesar is Lord] and he would have lived in piece. Yet he was unwilling to do so and exile was the punishment for this aged saint. What would we die for? What would we go to prison for? They are the truly high theological values that we must pursue in our togetherness.
Here is a list of theological essentials that reflect our sense of commonality: [I am intentionally steering clear of man-made groupings and categories. These are not scriptural and are very divisive and therefore unhelpful]
- A Trinitarian Foundation,
- The Inerrancy of Scripture,
- A Gospel Centeredness,
- Disciple Making,
- The Kingdom Advancement,
- The Spirit Empowerment,
- Believer Mobilization,
- A Elder Led Local Community in partnership with E4 gifts,
- The Strategic Role of the E4 Giftings,
- A quest for a model of multiplication,
- SocialTransformation and Renewal,
- Anticipating His Return.
These theological pieces are all loaded with prayer, discussion, debate and humility. Let us not ride our warhorse of theological preference, but find the weighty theological pieces that empower us all going forward.