Monday, December 04, 2006

Bring Back the Lions!

Yesterday, Glasgow's Sunday Herald ran a feature story, "On a Hymn and a Prayer" looking at "who are the 21st Century faithful and where do they worship?" The article, written by "lapsed Christian Vicky Allan" looked at five churches in Edinburgh on a quest to "find out more about those who have resisted the trend towards secularity." Featured predominantly, was our own church, Charlotte Chapel. Our pastor, Peter Grainger was quoted extensively regarding the nature and role of the church in today's society. Peter commented:
"We are living in a post-Christian society now, where I think the church thrives best. Christendom is a very mixed blessing, where you impose religion on people. So all this stuff about attacking Christians in the media and Christian Unions, I think that's good. We'll all have to stand up and be counted rather than waffling along. Bring back the lions."
Overall, the article was surprisingly positive stating that: "none of the services I attended gives any indication that this is a religion in decline. There is a vibrancy, a sense of solidarity against the rest of the world. Indeed, sometimes it seems that these modern-day church-goers revel in their outsiderness."

Perhaps, in the words of Ms Allan "it is the strident singing, the way the Pastor, Peter Grainger, stands in his pulpit swaying as a four voice choir acts as a backing group, that makes Charlotte Chapel the most successful church in Edinburgh. It's the welcome you get as you sit in a pew and the student nurse next to you turns and introduces her friends. Or perhaps it is the sermons: long, challenging affairs lasting almost an hour."

However, this near perfect report did have one blemish. Allan admits to finding somethings difficult, in particular those three out of the five churches who "have not embraced the idea of women as church leaders or preachers, relegating them, instead, to other roles...This in itself feels significantly out of touch with the times." And yet, should we view this in such negativity? I'm inclined not to think so. Perhaps to add to Ms Allan's list, the reason why those three out of five churches are "bucking the contemporary trend" is because they are taking seriously God's Word to live conspicuously in our world and to embrace what it truly means to be men and women, made in God's image who live and work as He intended.

Neverthless, this should make us reflect on two things. (1) The issue of biblical manhood and womanhood is not only a church issue, but an evangelistic one. In other words, the complementarian position is for many secular women what apologists call a "defeater" - that is, any belief that hinders someone from considering the central beliefs of Christianity. Thus, we must be well versed on why we believe what we believe on this matter.

(2) Nonetheless, it is vital that we don't simply abandon the biblical teaching of womanhood for the sake of gaining a perfect 10/10 or to "seemingly" make our evangelism easier. The history of many liberal churches shows that when we start to pick and choose between passages that are acceptable to modern ears, very soon our confidence in the Word of God is diminished and the Gospel is lost.

1 comment:

Beth said...

How I would love to come to Edinburgh someday and worship with the saints at Charlotte Chapel! If you all ever make it the the states, specifically North Carolina,, come to the Queen City, Charlotte, and worship with us at Desiring God Community Church. I think you'd feel right at home! Even the long sermon part. Praise God for preachers who are not afraid to rightly divide the word and don't feel compelled to squeeze such exposition into a short, pithy "sermonette."