Theological Illusions

There is, to be sure, a theological illusion abroad…which conveys the impression that, with the Holy Scriptures in hand, one can independently construct theology…This illusion is a denial of the historic and organic character of theology, and for this reason is inwardly untrue.  No theologian following the direction of his own compass would ever have found by himself what he now confesses and defends on the ground of Holy Scripture.  By far the largest part of his results is adopted by him from theological tradition, and even the proofs he cites from Scripture, at least as a rule, have not been discovered by himself, but have been suggested to him by his predecessors.

– Abraham Kuyper

as quoted by Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 71

The Challenge of Church Unity

After all, the cult of the Next Big Thing is always the assertion of a new generation of emerging adults.  Movements are largely youth-driven, whereas institutions are usually run by elders.  The challenge, especially in the church where we are drawn together in Christ from different ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and generations, is to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 69

Each Generation Razes the Empire of the One Before It to the Ground and Started Over

Enamored of its reported amazingness, each generation razes the empire to its foundations and starts over until the next generation has its own go at it.  This means, of course, that everyone born of a woman must feel deep inside the primal duty to shake things up.

The problem is that there is little left rebel against – and certainly little that has been around long enough to represent a tradition to overthrow.  No longer stone fortresses, our “Bastilles” become Styrofoam sets on a Disney stage.  The reforming of something substantial has enduring influence.  But perpetual reinvention dooms cultures – and churches – to passing shadows of momentary glamour with few lasting legacies beyond the trivial.  How can I say that with so much confidence?  Because the engineers and marketers of each new movement themselves report with thorough analysis the demise of the one that just preceded theirs.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 67-68

 

 

Youthful Passions vs. Adult Roles

Instead of allowing youthful passion for the new and revolutionary to dominate our families and churches, let’s begin to recover our role as adults who discover and then hand over hidden treasures that we’ve been stumbling over each day in our own flight from the ordinary.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 65

Weeding Out Less Edifying “Christian” Songs

The key to maturity is time and community.  Discernment takes time and a lot of godly input spanning generations and ethnicities.  There’s a reason why the Psalms have been sung for thousands of years, and why many young people still know “Amazing Grace,” even if they barely know “Shine, Jesus, Shine” and have never (happily) ever heard of “In the Garden.”  A consensus of believers in churches over a few generations has a way of weeding out the less edifying songs.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 63

If You Are Always Looking for an Impact, Legacy and Success…

We do not find success by trying to be successful or happiness by trying to be happy.  Rather, we find these things by attending to the skills, habits, and – to be honest – the often dull routines that make us even modestly successful at anything.  If you are always looking for an impact, a legacy, and success, you will not take the time to care for the things that matter.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 57

If We Fail to Mature, This is a Real Danger…

To be young is to be restless.  Yet as we mature, we learn God’s Word and importantly, as noted above – “powers of discernment trained by constant practice.”  Growth involves leaving behind this restless spirit, learning disciplines that lead to maturity in the faith.  If we fail to mature, apostasy is a real danger (Hebrew 6:1-12).

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 50

It Was More Like American Idol than the Body of Christ

Paul tells the church of Corinth that one of the marks of a child is a certain level of restlessness that leads to a lack of depth – a shallow and self-centered spirituality.  At Corinth, instead of building each other up, gifted personalities took the stage, asserting themselves above others.  It was more like American Idol  than the body of Christ (I Corinthians 3:1-5)

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 48-49

Is the Church’s Obsession With Youth Ministry Beneficial?

So it’s not surprising perhaps that, like the culture generally, many churches deemed most “alive” and “cutting-edge” reflect a near obsession with youth.  My mentor, James Montgomery Boice, used to say that instead of the more biblical pattern of children growing toward maturity, churches were turning adults into children.  Positively, this youthful orientation provided energy and zeal, but it also changed our spiritual ecology.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 46-47

Even the Christian Needs God’s Law Applied to Their Life Completely, Consistently and Continually

Q. “Since no one in this life can obey the Ten Commandments perfectly, why does God want them preached so pointedly?”

A.:  First, so that the longer we live the more we may come to know our sinfulness and the more eagerly look to Christ for forgiveness of sins and righteousness.  Second, so that we may never stop striving and never stop praying to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, to be renewed more and more after God’s image until after this life we reach our goal: perfection.”

– Heidelberg Catechism

Even in the Christian life we need this first use of the law to drive us out of ourselves to cling to our Savior.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 43-44