Wednesday, August 23, 2006


The fall term started today with Church as Family (taught by Joe Hellerman). The big project is a 15+ paper. I am considering these topics:

  • Images of community in the OT
  • Christian community according to...(?)
  • NT metaphors for church and their implications for interpersonal relations in the church (this one is compelling as it provides an opportunity to flesh out Body-Building-Bride)
  • Intersecton of theology with ecclesiology (specifically the incarnation OR the trinity)
Opinions welcome...

NOTE: This is a rumination ("1. The act of pondering; meditation. 2. The act or process of chewing cud." American Heritage Dictionary) in search of synergy ("1. The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.")


See CC License

“Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”


  1. I don't know if this would meet your paper's requirements but I think it would be cool to read a paper on emerging christian communities. i.e. communities not based on a church. such as online, a blog, fellowship of christian athletes, full gospel businessmen's association, bible studies at work. That kind of thing.

    I am not an achedemic so I have no intrest in writing a paper like that but I wouldn't mind skimming it then denouncing the conclusions as heretical ;)

  2. WOW! I spelled academic wrong. Guess I made my point.

  3. nice ;-)

    actually, one of the authors I'm readin for the course is VERY big on house church as opposed to traditional church (there is balance...I will also be reading a book by a traditional pastor (never fear).

    Right now my thesis is pointing (critically, yet kindly) in the direction of the emerging church, so it is likely that this paper will head in that general direction. I am rather intrigued by the notion of the non-traditional gathering.

    However one looks upon emerging christian communitys, they surely need theological investigation.

    what to do...

  4. I guess this might fit in somewhere. But I'm really interested in the meaning and purpose of community in the early church. There's such a lot debated at the moment about church structure. I feel that much of our traditional structure seems to have more in common with the practices of the OT than fulfilling the commission of the NT.

    Some random thoughts to try to identify the ball, let alone get it rolling ... ;-)

    At Pentecost 3,000 were saved in one day so that was an instant megachurch right? But then at the end of Acts 2 there's a focus on meeting in homes, so that's the organic / emerging church movement, right? The two can't be at odds, so I feel we need to learn the principles rather than trying to copy the methods. For example, the former is a response to an evangelistic outpouring, whereas the latter has a discipleship focus but to the same aim - winning souls to Christ. I figure the early Jerusalem church must have been both mega and organic. Right? Wrong? What can we learn?

    I tend to think that culture must be the thing that focuses common principles into specific methods. For example. Every NT church successfully "infiltrated" (nasty word?) a different culture (e.g. Acts 17). The church operated both AS a community and IN the wider community (end of Acts 2). Presumably the method was different depending upon the local culture, but the principles were the same. I'd love to see the principles exposed so that we can stop debating different methods as if they were at odds, which I don't believe they are (most of the time?).

    These are somewhat randomly thrown out thoughts that may not hold much scrutinity. But is the subject sufficiently meaty for a paper? Is it relevant to this semester? I'm not theologically academic so I haven't a clue! But I'd love to see some sense on the subject!

  5. Mark,

    Good thought fodder. The class will be looking at both house church and large church, so I will be posting on that for sure. The prof is laying out the theology against the backdrop of the people of God from OT through early church, so there will be a ton of biblical/theological stuff.

    For the paper, I'm leaning toward the intersection of ecclesiology and incarnation. There is much discussion about cultural contexualization in the emerging church and beyond, and I would love to do some ground work in that area--I think the fact that Jesus became human has a lot to say about how we are to be church in the world.

    as before, more later...

  6. Laura,
    As you have time would you please post your thoughts and possibly make some of these papers available? You are writing from an angle that I have never seen the church from.

    btw - I had never even seen the term ecclesiology before reading your blog and find the subject facinating (yet not facinating enough to do any actual first hand research, just the kind that makes me want to read your research ;) ).

  7. Carl, it is my intention to post at least weekly--on the coursework and my own research. The larger papers will not be posted in their entirety, but summaries and excerpts certainly.

    One of the things that drew me to ecclesiology is the need for a theological understanding of church. It seems that much of what we do in church is culturally conditioned rather than biblically and theologically conditioned. The church is God's church, not our church--I know for me it is all too easy to forget that and default to the latest leadership/programming trend. I think God's church is more amazing than our cultural ideas can imagine.

  8. > I think the fact that Jesus became human has a lot to say about how we are to be church in the world.

    We just don't "get" that we are His body do we?


    > I think God's church is more amazing than our cultural ideas can imagine.


  9. Mark, seems to be a trend. A while ago I did a survey of passage in the OT that said something like "you will be my people and I will be your God." Frankly, the amount of repetition tells me that we've not been getting it for a while...

    Thank God for one day face-to-face. Then we will finally get it and we will fall in worship.