The Dawn of Christianity 3.0

Just a quick moment to let the people who follow and comment on this blog know that you’re making a difference. Your clarity, passion, and compassion are very definitely being heard.

We really are at the start of a second reformation; in personal conversations, I’ve been calling it the dawn of Christianity 3.0. (The Church after Christ; the Church after Luther; and now this. Remember, you heard it here first!) And you guys, in no uncertain terms, are helping usher in that new day.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter. If you shop at Amazon, help support John by entering the site through this link right here--Amazon will then send John 3-4% of the cost of anything you buy before exiting the site again.

 

  • http://blueberrypancakesfordinner.wordpress.com/ erika

    first. ( i have always wanted to do that)

    i agree.

  • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

    "Without meaning to be too cryptic or anything…"

    Ah. ^_^

  • Kim Johnson

    I agree completely.

  • Gina Powers

    Ummm…..kewl!!

  • Don Whitt

    Oh GOODY!! Can we please wear uniforms and carry side arms? Puh-leeeeeeezzzze???

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      We can. But maybe not you, Don.

      • Don Whitt

        Heh-heh. And I had this short-shorts and tank top thingy in mind…

        But seriously. I agree with you about 3.0. It's time to evolve past the politics that have stolen Christianity and get back to the real roots of what Jesus proposed: Love God, love each other.

        • denver

          Amen on the evolving past the politics, and I really am curious as to the cryptic nature of John's post. :)

          And hey, I just made a prop gun for my steampunk costume (well, it's ALMOST done), can that be my sidearm? :D

    • http://shadsie.deviantart.com/ Shadsie

      Someone below mentioned lightsabers… but, I do already own my own sword – it has an evil-looking design with a ram's skull on the hilt. Unfortunately, it's an ornamental piece and I am not trained in proper swordplay. I'd still look pretty badass carrying it, though.

      My response to the general topic is…. but… but… I don't even go to church anymore and I kind of suck! And God doesn't seem to answer my prayers, or finds amusement in "reverse-answring" them! I had a miracle happen to me last winter, but I'm not sure I'm new-age ushering-in material.

      All I'm hopinig is that some of my words on the suicide thread regarding how to get through those kinds of feelings may have helped someone. That's about it.

      I kind of like the idea of the fringe, though…. I've come to think that true Christianity operates best on the margins – as everything becomes corrupted when it becomes too powerful. The power of the current "church" is probably why "Christian" has become a dirty word in America of late.

      • StraightGrandmother

        Shadsie, I enjoyed this post. Nothing in particuclar but just the sum total of it.

  • Tim

    I'm probably alone here in my thinking, but I consider the original iteration of Christianity as the most unadulterated. If it has been man's overriding temptation to poorly interpret his particular worldview into versions 1.1 through 2.9, why all of a sudden should we expect that to not be problematic in 3.0?

    The perceived corruption interpreted into what became Roman Catholicism, was evidently repeated similarly in Protestantism, otherwise we wouldn't be talking about Christianity 3.0. The Lord commends the church at Ephesus as being strong, not tolerating wicked men, perseveringly through hardships and false teaching, yet one thing He held against Ephesus. They had forsaken their first love. "Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first." (Rev.2:4-6)

    I believe the discussions here of late are good, and do cause us to search the Scriptures and search our hearts. However, I propose the idea that going away from Christianity 1.0 is antithetical to what the Lord encouraged in His Church at the beginning. If Ephesus had "fallen" in just a short time from the more unadulterated practice, are reformations always taking us higher….or lower?

    FWIW.

    • Drew

      Scripture…what view should we take of scripture? And why? Seriously. Am wrestling with this.

      • Tim

        When you talk about which view of scripture…why not your own? 2 Tim 3:16 says that all scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. Why? Why not? I would rather trust a volume of 66 collected [supposedly inspired] works written by 27 or more [supposedly inspired] authors over the span of 1500 years. Even if the Dead Sea Scrolls didn't speak for the accuracy of much of the Old Testament, I will take something MAYBE inspired by God over the sophistry of man with no claims of inspiration. I mean, if you would rather trust man's wisdom to sort out the myriad psycho-social issues that have plagued us for the whole of recorded history…be my guest. As for me, I choose to approach the simplicity of scripture like a child. With the help of the Spirit by whom that text was authored.

        I'm not saying it's easy. But I think we do ourselves a disservice by letting the drone of educated thinkers and accomplished theologians drown out that still small voice that we should be paying the most attention to. We can balance and weigh the thoughts of the great theologians, but to be led by them is, in my opinion, foolhardy. I believe each of us who seeks God with a whole heart, can BE the greatest theologian we will ever need. Our filter by which we test those thoughts? Love.

      • http://questionablemotives.wordpress.com/ tildeb

        Because it leads to the Answer: 42.

        • James

          This comment really could benefit from a "like" or "upvote" button . . .

    • Don Rappe

      I agree that reform must always be in some sense a return.

  • berkshire

    Light sabers. Definitely light sabers, in a dizzying array of colors.

    And platform shoes, because . . . well, because I'm not very tall, that's why.

    • berkshire

      was supposed to go under Don Whitt's comment.

  • Kara

    Well I, for one, am intrigued.

  • JG

    Reformation in the church has been a continual process – with a few highlights like Luther. But even poor Luther, with all his passion and very good intentions, fell victim to his own humanity. He wanted justice! Freedom! Truth! And no one wrote more eloquently on the radical freedom of a Christian than Luther. Yet, he became a raging anti-Semite in his frustration over the Jews’ failure to convert and over what he perceived as their moral shortcomings. He ordered the massacre of peasants in the famous Peasant’s War, which was inspired by his own reforms!

    I think reformation is a constant process, even in the early church, as the letters of Paul demonstrate. We skew the truth, even sometimes with the best of intentions, and the Holy Spirit corrects us, often using writers, prophets, teachers, and preachers. I welcome it—the cleansing of the church from all the peripheral junk we add to the Gospel. But I also know it has to be the Holy Spirit and not just us humans, because we get in the way, way too easily!

    Tim (above) is right — it’s a return to our first love.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    Thanks for this, John. It’s good to know we’re making a difference. (It’s somewhat ironic in that probably about half your regular band wouldn’t describe themselves as Christian.)

    It occurred to me that we ought to do as Luther did and specify what exactly the points are on which we’re pursuing reform. I therefore propose the following for your consideration—just an outline of my own preliminary ideas; I welcome anyone proposing any other ideas or, if you would, giving feedback regarding my own boring thoughts.

    1. We believe in one Holy Catholic (universal) and Apostolic (succeeding to the tradition of the apostles) Church, in which whosoever is accordingly baptized need not be excluded from Communion so long as he/she perform the attendant religious practice, believing him- or her-self to be in the Communion of Saints with the apostles, to belong to the Body of Christ.

    2. We believe that Christ is the head of the Church. All authority in the Church must derive from Him, meaning the Church is not a democratic institution, though all its earthly members are equal in personal authority, in having none. What they do have however are various vocations. We see no inherent implication for the validity of pastoral vocations of those with a given sexual orientation, marital (or divorced) status, or gender. The pastoral role may or may not go together with the role of celebrant for a given rite in accordance to the protocol of tradition, as received by a given community. Also, no authority is exercised to judge as to whether any human being would be condemned before that Hour known only to God the Father.

    3. We believe in the capacity of the LORD to bring together by the power of love whatsoever combination of persons He pleases in the physical and spiritual union of Holy Matrimony (as a matter separate from secular institutions built around it or recognizing it for some secular purpose). A rite performed by the Church in celebration of this Mystery of mystical connection of a spiritual and a corporeal union is invalid however if the intent of those involved in its performance does not prove sacred; therefore a secular divorce is equivalent to annulment of a marriage, and indeed ought to be sought if the fruits are not consistent of the seed of love divine having been truly planted there as the power by which the reality of Holy Matrimony is effected. (In not assuming that the purpose of the LORD in bringing people together in marriage must be to set them to the task of procreation, we find no reason to discourage as a rule the use of contraceptive measures.)

    4. We believe that the mission of the Church in the world is to be the instrument of salvation serving our Lord in serving the needs of men’s souls, both material and spiritual in nature. As there can be no eternal salvation effected if there is not temporal salvation, so the provision of material needs (sustainably as well as immediately)—food, clothing, shelter, and medical services—is the first cause championed by the Church; when and where these are met as well as by the way of meeting them, men’s spirits are to be attended to through fellowship and the pastoral vocation. In short, the Church is to alleviate the suffering of the world, combating the evils which give rise to it, in accordance with God’s will.

    5. We support the separation of Church and state in the sense that neither may govern—or be governed by—the philosophy of the other. Being a good citizen cannot be incompatible with being a good Christian. Being a good Christian, however, necessitates good citizenship. Therefore, secular and religious community, though distinct, cannot be exclusively separate, though secular and religious philosophy and any authority therefrom can and furthermore ought to be.

    6. In regards to liberation theology, we find in certain strains much conformance with the teaching of Christ Jesus, though he himself cannot be thought of as a worldly political figure or revolutionary, but we reject any influence from Marxist (or any other) political philosophy in the religious philosophy of the Church.

    7. In regards to nationalism, we find it a form of idolatry to conflate loyalties to God and country or to attempt to tie one of these into the other. As a servant can only serve one master, let it be our Savior first above all, serving our country only as such pleases our Lord; for we are not of this world—the Kingdom of God knows no geopolitical boundaries. Our Father is no respecter of persons’ nationality, and though He gives various blessings to the various nations, the LORD calls but one people as His own: not those of certain ethnic decent, but His children of spiritual decent, from wherever they may hail and howsoever they may call upon His Name.

    8. In regards to prosperity theology, we find it biblically unfounded and rationally unsound.

    9. In regards to unitarian theology, we find that continuity in the apostolic tradition requires as a defining token of Christian faith trinitarian belief. Therefore neither shall we recognize a nontrinitarian baptism, nor shall we be yoked with nontrinitarian believers (meaning that we have no religious fellowship as a single spiritual body with those professing such beliefs, not that we shouldn’t be together with them in and for social, political, and economic relations and purposes, nor even while each practices his/her respective religion without any taint of mingling or confusion between them; neither should we believe that they will not be ultimately reconciled unto God, trusting rather there may be room for them too in God’s plan of salvation).

    10. In connection with the preceding, we must reject any claim of ultimate and/or absolute unknowability regarding God: though no one of this world has ever seen God, the Only-Begotten Son of God, the Word of God, has made Him known.

    11. In regards to certain understandings of the relationship between corporeal matter and spirit, we must reject any claim of disembodied ghosts in this world or of a wholly spiritual afterlife in the next (which would be to reject the bodily resurrection of the dead).

    12. We accept the scientific method for the establishment of material facts by the preponderance of the evidence and encourage it for the investigation of corporeal matters in which understanding is lacking including matters of moral implications.

    13. We affirm the infallibility for righteous faith of the corpus of scriptures handed down by normative canon of Church tradition; we assert a relationship between Scripture and the Word of God and absolute Truth such that an interpretation for any aspect of that Scripture we receive can be found under the guidance of the Spirit of Truth (that is the Holy Spirit) such that it inerrantly represents to us the Word of God incarnate in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who has made the Truth of the Father known to us, the invisible qualities of God – clearly seen from the beginning, understood from all that through the him (the Logos) has been made. Therefore we reject as idolatry (bibliolatry) any theology that would elevate Scripture to any of the roles—equate it with any of the realities—uniquely of the Triune God.

    • Don Whitt

      Meet the new boss, same as the old boss….

      • Paul in Canada

        Couldn’t agree more – nothing new here – just lots of creeds and dogma.

    • http://allegro63.blogspot.com/ Sylvie Galloway

      Love the list. I know for sure that certain aspects of it would have some people in the 2.0 version of Christianity crying foul

      . Like #4 that states, feeding people..you know stuff like food, can be more important then trying to save a soul. Heck we can't do it anyway. Lack the capacity.

      and #5 and 7. Oh yeah big foul from the other version on that. Certain parties depend on the opposite of those concepts. Why? I'm not quite sure… Oh yeah, for political gain.

      #9 would force the Trinity Broadcasting Network right off the air.

      #13, at least the last part is another doozy. No more arguments over what translation is THE ONLY TRANSLATION AND ITS THE KJV. (there is usually yelling involved when I keep asking why on that one) No more "The bible is the literal word of God" and a bunch of other silliness.

      I like that list, now sign me up for the new version. But no platform shoes, and I"ll take a nerf lightsaber. I would trip and stab myself if I wore high heeled shoes and carried large pointy objects at the same time.

    • StraightGrandmother

      A bit cerebral for me but I'll go read it again.

    • Don Rappe

      Oh Matt, you dogma lover you. Much as I might agree with most, not all, of your ideas I think the church has enough dogma and more than enough rules. "The written code kills, the spirit gives life."

      • StraightGrandmother

        I dunno, every business has a mission statement and the conversation that goes into crafting the mission statement is very important, as is the final finished statement.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      That’s not to say I recommend belief in all those sorts of things.

  • jes

    “And you guys, in no uncertain terms, are helping usher in that new day.”

    Totally misread that as “you gays”. Probably a sign that I should go sleep. :D

  • Don Rappe

    Way to think BIG John.

  • StraightGrandmother

    I don't hink Christianity will survive in it's current form in the United States unless it changes. The gays are simply not staying in the closet. And for every gay person, they have a family and a circle of friends and co-workers, so even though they are a very small minority, in fact they influence a lot of people. The reason I don't think it will survive in it's current form of gay hating is becuse of science.

    With no room for discussion science says it is Okay to be gay that it is on the normal spectrum of human sexuality. People believe science even if it takes a while to get the word out on the science.

    What was that issue that DaVinci had with the church it was some science conflict? Anyway eventually the church must yield to science, although kicking and screaming, they have to yield becasue the populace is not stupid and the populace will believe in the science over dogma eventually.

    If religion does not change it's teachings against gays, lesbians, bi-sexual and transgender it will remain but it will be vastly vastly diminished, and marginalized by the populace.


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