Wednesday, December 07, 2005

If Jesus isn't God, why bother?

I've wanted to ask that question several times to colleagues at seminary, but why would someone want to continue to be a pastor if she doesn't believe Jesus is God Incarnate? Maybe to "preach faith until you have it," but that doesn't seem to be the goal... at least from this story.

I'm all for diversity of ideas, as long as we agree on the core tenents of Christianity -- and I don't think you can get much more core than the Divinity of Christ -- without that, why aren't we just Reform Jews?

In terms of what our clergy should teach -- when is publicized disagreement with the Discipline or Judicial Council acceptable while acting as an ordained or licensed United Methodist? Maybe this Rocky Mountain Protest is All About the Spin... maybe we just "spin" the Judicial Council decision differently -- but I'm not convinced it's that simple.

What doctrinal assent, if any, do you think we should expect from United Methodist clergy? Laity? Should we accept that anyone who calls herself or himself a Christian is, or are there limits to Christianity? Any thoughts?

Thanks, Shane, Parbar West, and Mike Barker, it's hard for all of us to keep up-to-date all the time, especially for news beyond our own conferences.

3 comments:

Randy said...

A friend of mine at seminary was way out there on the far left with some of the Jesus Seminar folks, denying that Jesus is God Incarnate. I asked him the same question you ask: why would he want to be a United Methodist pastor? He said he wanted to help educate the people.

He didn't make it past the District Committee on Ministry. They refused to recommend him to the Conference BOM. Thank God some pastors who serve on those important committees have some sense.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Christianity kind of pointless without Jesus being God? (I'm restating your title, I know, but I this is so ridiculous I can't help it.)

I understand wanting to allow anyone and everyone in the door, but if you're just interested in Religion or Spirituality or some kind of belief that won't challenge you to change, why not go find some Unitarians or some nice Buddhists (if Unitarians are not available)? I don't understand the drive to infiltrate and bring down ancient traditions within stated Christian frameworks. Yes, these people were/are already Methodists, so they obviously feel some connection, but if you really disgree with the tenents of the faith that much, and such basic tenents as the divinity of Christ, how can you stay in good conscience?

Argh...for all the problems we Evangelicals have, I'm so glad we aren't fighting these battles.

-Chris

John said...

I've wondered the same thing. Those who don't believe in God -- why do they bother with the Christian faith? Why?

Randy's story is re-assuring. I'm glad to know that at least a few heretics are getting stopped early on.