Assumptions on Participation: Setting the Stage

If everyone participates in the gatherings of the church then how do we avoid people teaching heresy? That seems to be a common question posed to me about every member participation. It is a good question, and it makes sense. The problem is that I believe it is based on some faulty assumptions. I will discuss these over the next few days.

A third faulty assumption that I think drives this concern is that the gathering of the church is a stage and audience setting rather than a communal setting. What is the danger in someone teaching something wrong? Is it not possible to correct that person or dialogue with that person about what they have said? When the church gathering is viewed in modern terms it is not possible or comfortable to dialogue with the person teaching because they stand at the front on stage or at the pulpit and everyone else faces them and listens to them. The environment and the mentality is not of conversation and openness, it is, like I said, of (passive) audience and (active) stage. I do not fear when I sit around my living room with a couple of friends that they will say something wrong because I know that we can dialogue about the subject.

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About Dan Allen

Just some guy trying to figure stuff out... View all posts by Dan Allen

4 responses to “Assumptions on Participation: Setting the Stage

  • Marshall

    dialogue or “correction” may not come easy, even with a communal setting. Errors may be compounded if we should yield in the temptation to build a “majority opinion”, rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to maintain unity in the bond of peace.
    For some, an additional temptation to talk over, “one-up” or “shout down” anyone who may not (at first) seem true to Christ.
    Assumption of “autonomy” makes it a simple matter to gather to ourselves those of “like-mind” to our own thinking, rather than the mind of Christ uncompromisable.

  • Dan Allen

    Marshall

    Those are solid points regarding the difficulties of dialogue in a communal setting. As you said “if we should yield in the temptation to build a “majority opinion”, rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to maintain unity.” I think that is a great point. Christian community should be about Christ not the community, and that same principle would apply to the dialogue of that community: it should be about learning the truth from the Spirit, not about the dialogue itself. Great thoughts and greatly appreciated! Thank you!

    Dan

  • Fred

    There have been a number of times when I have heard preachers and wondered who was keeping them from going off the doctrinal deep end. The system that has developed with a professional, “trained” speaker standing in front of an audience has not kept unbiblical errors from coming into the church.

  • Dan Allen

    Fred

    In many cases one might claim that the “professional, “trained” speaker standing in front of an audience” is more conducive to errors and heresy entering the church. Thanks for the comment!

    Dan

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