It’s time to change the doctrines of the Church
Tonight is our last night as we critique Michael Morwood’s book, “It’s Time”. The premise of the book is that Christianity should review some of it’s orthodox doctrines, because they no longer make sense. Especially in light of our understanding of our universe and Biblical scholarship.
I agree it is time! The Reformation Reformers grounded the church in the “Word of God”, or scripture. There is a conservative group of Lutheran Churches presently that call themselves, “The Word Alone”. Locally two such Lutheran Congregations, Christ Lutheran, Freemansburg, and Holy Cross, Bethlehem, belong to this organization. As I read and study scripture, the word, I have noticed many conflicting understandings of God, Jesus, and the future, all within what we call the Christian Bible. Matter of fact I need to be more specific. Not all Christians can agree with what books make up the Bible. I am referring to the Protestant Bible, not including the Apocrypha.
Here’s one simple example of some verses that either challenge or support the doctrine of the Trinity:
“I am in the father and the father is in me.” John 14:10
Jesus said, “Don’t call me good, only my father in heaven is good” Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19
Jesus said to Mary, “I am ascending to my father and to your father, to my God and
to your God” John 20:17
Jesus sits at the right hand of God- Used 8 times to describe Jesus position with God
Jesus is called “the son of God”-39 times, only 2 times, and both in John, does Jesus use this phrase for
himself. 37 times, people call Jesus that.
Jesus calls himself, “the Son of Man”- 85 times, 82 times in the Gospels alone! SIDE NOTE:
Ezekiel is called “Son of Man”, by God, 94 times
Jesus teaches us to pray the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father…., a subordinate position…
I would anticipate writers who wrote that Jesus sits at the right hand of God, or that Jesus is the Son of Man, did not think of Jesus as God. If they did they would not have used subordinate language.
The church doctrine called “the Trinity” is an attempt to explain all these verses and others from scripture. Today many people understand “Jesus is God!” (my seminary professors would say that phrase is the “dumbing down” of the doctrine of the Trinity, but it’s still a common belief). Why is there a need to explain the unexplainable? Is the Trinity helpful today? What’s wrong with saying, “I don’t know!” What’s wrong with mystery? It’s time to free up scripture and instead of picking and choosing which verses we want to emphasis and which ones we want to discount, try this instead:
“Different people at different times understand God differently.”
We are fortunate to have their concepts captured in one place! The Bible. As soon as we say Jesus is God we discount some verses and accentuate others. If we say Jesus is human, we do the same thing. Different people at different times understand God differently, and we need the same freedom to articulate our own beliefs today. We are no different from the Bible writers. It’s time to articulate a new understanding of God, Jesus, heaven and hell, the Bible, the future, and the Spirit.
It’s time to open our theology up for inspection, welcoming non-orthodox thinking back into the church. It would be a welcome addition and a step toward integrity and relevance.