Oldfangled Ideas that Become “Progressive”

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Some new ideas are actually very much old ideas. Over time new ideas spring up that squelch out what people had thought for centuries or even millennia.  Given enough time and enough influential people to perpetuate those ideas and they become orthodox. When an attempt is made to revive  the ancient ideas some will be tempted to call that progressive.

Let’s take house churches. I have seen church leadership think they were wrong because we were supposed to be meeting in a building together rather than in homes. Small groups are more biblical than church buildings, not less. Or take all of the new emphasis (thanks to N.T. Wright in particular) on God’s redeeming all things in creation, even creation itself. If you don’t know your history one might be tempted to call this a heretical new teaching but it is actually more ancient and biblical than believing in a more limited redemption of just humanity itself. Or take the bodily resurrection. That was THE belief on what resurrection was all about for millennia until gnosticism and platonism reared its ugly head and medieval theology latched on to Greek philosophy and early Christian heresy than it did the Bible and traditional biblical doctrine. Or how about churches that take the Supper as part of a larger meal. That was the early church’s practice but such a practice today might draw the ire of some not because it lacks biblical and historical precedence but because it kicks against the goads of our traditions and thus must be progressive and summarily destroyed.

Just because something seems new doesn’t mean it is and just because something doesn’t conform with tradition doesn’t mean it is a progressive evil to be shunned and excommunicated over. Many newfangled ideas are actually oldfangled ideas but you don’t know that if you are more entrenched in your own traditions than you are in history and scripture.

9 Responses

  1. Well said
    well said
    Just exactly what is sound Doctrine.
    Didn’t Jesus say that to the Sanhedrin

  2. Speak it, brother. It’s amazing how little we know as well as how much we have never learned or have forgotten.

  3. The argument largely is, if we are doing it and if we believe it, then it must be correct, then anything else, no matter that which we read of that is done differently, is wrong.
    One brother once told me that since many who go to the house church scenario have liberal or unscriptural practices, thus the house church movement leads to apostasy. It didn’t matter that the early saints largely worshipped in their houses, as any attempt to do this today would be wrong and lead one the wrong way.
    Many times the way we do it is an attempt to purposely get away from the Biblical pattern. The Lord’s Supper we do today is such a case where we don’t want to have the LS around a table, because this would resemble a meal and in the minds of many people eating the Lord’s Supper as a meal was condemned in I Cor.11, “don’t you have houses to eat in?”. Thus we erase that which was well known and well established, after all even the Passover on which the LS was based was a meal.
    We know do it the proper way and any thing different would be wrong.

  4. I was told once that if anything changed, it might cause a new convert to leave since what changed might have been what they were converted to. Basically, people were not converted to Christ, but to no IM, LS in one’s seat in the pew in silence, etc.

  5. I fear that those of us who are caught in condemnations, condemn those things that Jesus and the apostles did without condemnation. We mistake “don’t have to do that” like animal sacrifice, burning incense, IM, etc.” for “shouldn’t do that” or “it is a sin to do that”, never mind that the apostles did these things even as Christians.

  6. Some of the “it is a sin to do that” came from having to differentiate the cofC from the Catholic and even Baptist churches. The way to prevent anything like incense in a cofC was to declare it a sin. For non-denominational churches with no hierarchy, there sure was a lot of uniformity.

  7. Much of this would entail that we admit that we aren’t the NT church in all ways and that we might be doing some things wrong or that we admit we could be doing better. I’m not saying it isn’t possible, but probably not probable. The Pharisees perceived themselves as the best and the other sects as not, so how can you improve on yourself when you are the best? Unless you first humble yourself and realize that you aren’t the best and that this perception might in fact make you the worst.

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