Because the word progressive can be used in many ways in a religious context, I’ve chosen to put it in quotes for the title of this piece. Perhaps a discussion of the word progressive itself is in order, but for now we will use it for want of a better term.
When I woke up this morning, I was greeted by an email from a member of the church I attend, which contained ten questions of what I would call “progressive” discontent. Before I post my response, I thought it might be worthwhile to post the questions, and let us all think about them. They are sincere questions from a burdened heart, seeking to open others to a new perspective of worship. I’ve included the paragraph from his email that immediately proceeds the questions in order to maintain a bit of context. I’ve also maintained the original emphasis and bolding of text.
Be excited about this challenge or maybe you’ll be offended…but be honest as you answer these questions for yourself. Maybe this will touch something in your heart that needs touching…I pray it does. Most of us are members of the church of Christ on this email so these questions especially apply to us. So here goes the challenge…
- Why don’t we use choirs or quartets to receive edification? Do we really believe it is wrong to listen to a choir?
- Why is there any awkwardness in kneeling, lifting hands, or lying prostrate in our worship services when people all throughout the Bible did these things over and again before God? Do we really understand our humble place before Him?
- Why are there some who think it is wrong to worship God with an instrument? If so, what do we do about this whole generation that is coming up that has contemporary Christian music on their iPods? What do we do with the kids from our youth groups that love going to Christian concerts? Don’t you think it is better for our kids to be listening to this music than top 40 songs laced with sexual innuendos? Is it worth spending time arguing over something like this when we could be spending time telling the world about Jesus?
- Why do we think we have to take communion only on Sunday when in the Bible it appears the Christians took it on Monday and Thursday as well? Do we really think God will be upset with us if we remember Jesus’ sacrifice more often?
- Do we truly worship God with the joy of the LORD? If so, why do you catch yourself sometimes just mouthing the words to songs without thinking about what you’re saying? Are you tired of going through the motions?
- Why don’t we constantly share our stories of faith…in the corporate assembly? Why do we have issue with using the word “testimony?” God is still moving stones but we don’t know how God is moving in each other’s lives unless we share.
- Do we (church of Christ) think we are the only ones going to heaven? If so, what should I tell my dear friends from other Christ loving Christian groups that fast more than me, pray more than me, read the Bible more diligently and have spent years upon years in the mission field feeding the hungry and telling the lost about Jesus? What did Jesus mean, then, in Luke 9:49,50?
- Are we letting fear hold us back in any way in worship? If so, is that fear from God or the devil? Please, God, grow our faith.
- Are we limiting ourselves as a church to the most easily offended? If so, does that mean that we never need to lovingly challenge those individuals to grow. Think about this. If Christ’s only and highest goal was not to offend people with what He said, what percentage of things he spoke on would not have come out of His mouth?
- Do you want to do whatever it takes to love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength?…I do too. Praise God.
My response is, as per the usual, rather lengthy, and I may break it up into a couple of parts over the next few days. For those of you who don’t relate to the Church of Christ nature of this particular post, I apologize. We have a lot of growing to do, but I think there are larger issues addressed in these questions and in the response that apply across all communities of faith, though the issues may not be identical.
More to come.