Should the Church change some theological teachings as to stay relevant according to the advancing of culture and science that we see in this generation?

I didn’t vote. Because the question has become little more than code-lingo for “So do you think the church should become so wishy-washy about everything that it just lets science or culture dictate its creeds in an attempt to make itself popular to that same culture?” … which of course is the rhetorical ‘question’ that is little more than a litmus test where the ‘faithful’ are of course supposed to say ‘no’.

But if somebody were asking the question for real and honestly: “Should the church attend to reality as best known in its time and adapt its practices accordingly within and under the guidance of the Spirit?” …then of course I would vote “yes”.

Should the church abandon or change any of its central creeds because of new things that come to light in broader culture? That depends what you mean by “central”. If insisting on a 6000 year old earth is one of your “central” creeds, then I’ve obviously already voted ‘yes’ to your question. One should never let their creeds remain chained to falsehood. If your central creed is effectively that Christ is our bridge to God, then I would vote: “no; that creed should never change.” So I guess my vote for you is: “It depends.”

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And is that bad in your opinion? Are you aware that many churches have shiffted their views to accept some “hot buttons topics” which i cant talk about?

The way I worded it does show it as bad - not so much a question as a statement even. Nobody thinks it’s good to not have a core identity, meaning that you just ape whatever you perceive might be popular in a campaign to win friends. That is generally a bad thing whether for an individual a church community or any organization at all. If a community doesn’t know what they will stand for (whether popular or not), they will probably not be cohesive, much less effective for very long.

I like to think of faith (whether at the community level or at the individual level) as being like a healthy deep-rooted tree. The winds (culture) will blow, and the strong healthy tree sways and bends accordingly, but it never loses its rootedness in its core identity. The dry, brittle (or dead) tree is like the person who is so rigid with their own understandings and many dogmas that they can’t tolerate any change whatsoever. That tree snaps off because brittleness is not strength. True life takes stock of surroundings, relationships, integrity, truth - and all the things around it. And it applies its nourishment (the sap from its roots) to live and minister effectively within the environment it is given. It can bend as it needs to without fear of breaking. Does that mean such a healthy church never makes inappropriate concessions to something? Hardly. We still do evil … Jesus noted what was being done to him “even while the wood was green” - “weep for those who must endure when it is dry.” So I’m not putting this forward as some sort of faultless parable. It is just a metaphor for how strength works. Strength is rarely on display in rigidity. It is on full display when we love and serve each other to the best of our ability within any given cultural context that we are given.

That stands for everyone though. Even for you and me. So im led to ask are you a comformist? Because it seems to me that you are implying" yeah change whatever is needed UNLESS i disagree with it" and you makw that generalization for everyone. Because we all have our own understandings that will never change.(or wont do)

For example you might not want to change your belief in theTrinity. So would you be fine in the future if the majority of the church agreed that its"outdated" etc etc? Or you would kindly get out of the body of Christ?

I voted no, because the question lumped science and culture together.

Should the church change some theological teachings according to irrefutable scientific findings?

Yes. Example? Evolution. The Bible is not incompatible and requires no changes but those which have been interpreting the Bible in an incompatible way should change.

Should the church change theological teachings to agree with popular culture?

No. Example? The popular idea that couples should have sex before marriage to make sure they are sexually compatible.

Should the church isolate itself from popular culture?

No. Example? There is a lot to learn from things like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.

Should the church change how it explains things in order to stay relevant to modern culture?

Yes. Example? Some of the language in the NT that was meaningful 2000 years ago is not meaningful anymore (let alone the language used in the OT).

To the extent that I can be as a faithful follower of Christ, yes. I try. If relationship with my own spouse, family, community, etc. demands that I do something, then I strive for the sake of relationship to do it, provided it would not violate my first relationship with Christ. That is … I aspire to want that, and behave that way. I fall short of course, and depend on Christ’s patience and repeated mercy to pull me back.

My own peculiar Anabaptist background probably helps me to be a non-combatant in the creedal food fights that everybody loves to have ever since the reformation - hurling bread and wine at each other. Always in love, of course, right?

So while I certainly have my own convictions on important things (as well as what it is I should consider important), I’m not going to tell you how I think about that here, Nick, beyond just to affirm to you that I believe in Christ, and in the Holy Spirit that is Christ’s Spirit within and among us, as our connection to our Creator. Call that what you will. Thay may not be nearly precise enough language to satisfy any lurking creedal-particularity-police - and nor would it bother me if it didn’t. But you can get into the weeds about “trinity” stuff in threads that have been dedicated entirely to that and with people who will no doubt do the topic all the scholarly and historical justice you could wish.

I think your concern is a more general one, though - that you are afraid people won’t stick to any important beliefs if it suddenly becomes culturally unpopular to do so. One might say, Nick, that we already live in those times. Peter did too. And he failed the test initially while standing around a fire and suddenly feeling the force of cultural unpopularity bearing down on him. Should I dare to think I would do better than Peter? It’s easy for me to claim I would here and now with nothing on the line. Obviously we are called to be faithful, though. Whether we live up to it or not. And when we don’t, we have a savior that still invites us to try again.

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As far as science goes, the church (general term) has changed over time and the church has moved on without any problems. Famously, the RCC has recently apologized for the whole Galileo affair. I also remember reading about lightning rods on church steeples being controversial for a time. People thought the lightning rods were telling God where to make the lightning strike. As Galileo said, the Bible tells us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.

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Jesus is the salt. Jesus is quite the heroic figure until He asks us to give up everything, which we can’t keep, to gain that which we cannot lose. Thanks Jim Elliot. (He was speared to death.) Christ is cool as long as we get high off him. When the miracles stop, when heaven grows silent and distant, He ain’t so hip to many who once cherished him.
Take up your cross, every day, and follow me. That’s relevant, just unpopular.

Which church did you have in mind?

Not a simple yes or no question, so I will not reply either way.

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Hi Ray - and welcome to the forum!

Darn that reality with all its complication! Why can’t everything just be simple, right?!

Regarding if or how the church should change, I have never known much about Ralph Waldo Emerson - except only that he’s some 19th century American poet (Transcendentalist) that I’ve heard of.

But now I finally read something of his … his 1838 address to the Harvard school of divinity at the time. Yes - he’s a product of that rationalistic time, and like Jefferson and many others, was at pains to try to present a rationalized form of Christianity sanitized from all its “less palabable” superstitions. But if we set aside all our trinitarian objections for just a moment and read what he does promote in his address to these aspiring young (at that time Christian) preachers-to-be, it is a powerful message. And most pointedly, he laments the dying church of his day in words that would do justice to our continued laments for emptying pews today. I guess just like hosting funerals for God, lamenting the imminent demise of the church seems to be a perrenial, and age-old tradition for nearly every generation too, going back into antiquity. To the new world Christian churches of his day, he voices a powerful message for the kind of change they desperately need. And he wasn’t wrong. He’s still not wrong now.

In his book “Reformed Theology and Evolutionary Theory,” Gijsbert van den Brink concludes that there are three places where adjustments are needed in classical (Reformed) theology:

(1) Concordism (“the hermeneutical view that biblical statements pertaining to the physical world correspond to scientific facts”), (2) The theory of the cosmic fall (“that is, after the first human beings lapsed into sin, and as a result of that fact, God’s originally perfect creation was distorted to such an extent that the entire biosphere fell into disarray”) and (3) The idea that human history started with a single couple.

These may or may not be core issues, but I believe that changes are needed in these areas.

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I think that is the best comment on the thread! The conversations we hear seem to support cracks in all these, but still prominent in most US churches.
I might add inerrancy as a fourth adjustment that is needed, and and perhaps views have changed in that regard to some extent.

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The Church is 50% Roman Catholic, 40% Protestant (which having been to RC services is… Catholic the higher up the candle you go from low down), 10% Orthodox (Catholic) and it should change all theology that is not expressed in love.

If Adam and Eve did not exist as historic individuals (and there is doubt they did) then we do need a new understanding of what sib is and how sin came into our species.

As the cosmos is so huge and there is the potential for other forms of life on other planets that also needs a new theological perspective about the place of planet earth and humanity in God’s plans.

We do not need to change out view on the nature of God as Trinity because nothing is science can really challenge that.

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There was an old saying — maybe not a very good one — but it was: “Some people’s minds are so open that they need to be closed for repairs.” I suppose everyone sets their own criteria on certain things The most enduring problem with theological teachings is not the teachings themselves but people’s failure to live them out. The Ten Commandments (as with other aspects of biblical teaching) tell us right from wrong — and the fact that wrong is wrong, even when we wish it were not mentioned, is the only thing that lets us know we have fallen short, need forgiveness, need a Savior…

Skov…like what you said essentially…but the Trinity is a very old concept…some now say elements of it were in place in the centuries before the birth of Christ.

Hello, friend! I hope you’re doing well. I know you had been struggling with depression in the past–how are you feeling these days?

I voted “No”, but I feel that I must clarify why I voted “No”.

I don’t believe that we should change anything based on relevance. I know that dear brother Phil made a good point about not remaining salt and light if we aren’t relevant, and this is a fair statement to make. However, what is important to remember is that Christianity is founded on Jesus, and Jesus will always be relevant to humanity if for no other reasons (I believe there are many) than because He has revealed the character of humanity’s creator and He is the solution to the human condition. I suspect, however, that this vote is based less on the core tenets of Christianity as found in The Apostles’ Creed and more on other doctrinal positions, some of which are new and some of which have been held for centuries.

To which I respond, again, no. Not to stay relevant. But, rather, to stay faithful to truth, perhaps we should reconsider our interpretations from the past. And there is nothing wrong with this–early Christians were embroiled in fierce debates as they grappled with interpretations. But God is the ultimate source of truth. Therefore, anything we may learn about God’s universe is ultimately from God. We should not, no, we cannot allow doctrines to become idols, for these will be stumbling blocks for our faith and for others, whether they believe or not. We should be committed to Jesus, and by extension committed to truth. That might mean letting go of cherished interpretations, but that doesn’t mean letting go of truth or of Jesus. In fact, it is embracing truth, and in doing so, we can also embrace Jesus more deeply.

Those are my thoughts, friend. Please let me know how you are doing. :slight_smile:
-Joshua W.

Does this mean Christians should observe the Sabbath?

The 10 Commandments also speak of not worshipping other gods or idols. So how does the Christian church navigate this topic in our diverse culture of many religions?

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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