Sunday, March 11, 2012

HT Triablogue: Trueman on The Bible Made Impossible or Implausible

... There are things which are of importance here as well. Foremost is the failure of evangelicalism to provide its former sons with historical roots. That is inevitable, given the trans-denominational and even anti-ecclesiastical aspects of the movement. Increasingly, conservative American evangelicalism looks like one of those rotten boroughs in Victorian England: essentially it is run by those who have the charisma, the connections and the media savvy to decide who gets to represent the movement, and what and who gets shunted into the outer darkness. This is often combined with an eclectic and historically eccentric set of interests and priorities (Sacraments? Who cares? Complementarianism? You better believe it!). No wonder those who want to connect to historic Christianity find it frustrating.

It's a complete lack of interest in a serious discussion of the sacraments combined with a rigid insistence on complementarianism that I find intriguing.  A church that is very fixated on the necessity of affirming complementarianism can expend a great deal of ink and posts on the internet justifying complementarianism while not discussing baptism or communion.  Even a discussion of, say, the basis for excommunicating a church member will hinge on ejecting someone from the church and not the more traditional or historical application of "excommunication" that would entail simply withholding communion from a Christian who has not escaped a particular sin so as to not eat or drink judgment from the Lord. 

In massive megachurch multiplex entities that are denominations in all but name how could leaders actually bar a member from communion?  Elders often don't administer communion in such settings and those that do might not know about who was under such and such discipline, would they?  In an open communion setting where volunteers may have no idea who is or isn't under discipline it wouldn't matter, someone in some kind of regular sin could participate in communion at any point.  In lieu of being able to enforce anything about communion (and having a lack of other obvious options what might a church do that has a light emphasis on the actual sacraments having significance beyond proof of what has already occurred on the basis of other grounds) what options might there be?

Well ... uh ... a church discipline contract maybe?

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