Yes, I’m still here…

Wow! Has it really been three whole years since I last posted on this blog? That’s amazing. I just wanted to write this quick post to let the world know that I am still here. I hope you are well, whoever you are.

I still care about creation issues and about trying to make sense of how science and Christian faith work together. I have some new things to share, including how church life has developed since 2010 (all good news, really), and how I’ve been able to be part of some worthwhile projects and been challenged by some ministry experiences, even though I haven’t been able to do a much science reading or study.

I don’t really know how regularly I’ll start blogging again, but I hope I can begin writing at least once in awhile.

Until then, keep pressing on with love and good deeds.

Doug

Waiting for Perspective

It’s been about three months since I posted anything new here. There are several reasons for this, mostly having to do with being busy at work, keeping family a priority, and focusing on another important project (more on that in another post). Anyhow, I wanted to at least say, “Hi, I’m still alive.”

I also wanted to follow up on the Becoming Unwanted series. Thank you to those who commented and anyone who has said a prayer for me and my family. Kim and I are still in Limbo, I guess, waiting for some perspective and unity about what to do next. We miss not having the identity of connection with a church, but we are discovering some new freedom to pursue some personal relationships that we didn’t have time for before.

I should have posted about this before (although most of my readers already know this), but I had the opportunity to write a follow-up essay to the Becoming Unwanted series as a post for Evangelical Dialogue on Evolution.

My post was titled, “Is there an Evangelical Church Home for the Evolutionary Creationist?” It was the first guest post in an 8-part series called “Evangelicals, Evolution, and the Church”.  I was glad for the opportunity to share my story alongside those in similar (though not identical) situations. I’m challenged by what the others are sharing, as well as by the comments and questions I received.

My friend, John Armstrong, also mentioned my post in his blog post on March 5 called “Evolution, Science and the Constant Warfare in Evangelical Churches“.

I guess that’s about all the buzz for now.

Until next time,

Doug

Becoming Unwanted, Part 3

“Cheer up, Church
You’re worse off than you think
Cheer up, Church
You’re standing at the brink
Don’t despair
Do not fear
Grace is near”

Charlie Peacock

This is the third and final post in my series called “Becoming Unwanted”. I had originally intended to conclude the series with a reasoned analysis and edifying summary of what I’ve learned from the church “unfriending” experience that I described in Part 1 and Part 2. Unfortunately, despite considerable cogitation (but probably insufficient meditation and prayer), I’m not sure what to say.

In fact, I’ve written and re-written this post about three times now. Some paths of reflection lead to despair about the church and my situation. Other paths seem clear at first but then melt away or become impassible. Yet others beckon me to scale some mountain — to do some bold and daring thing. Am I just grasping at something concrete in an effort to exert control, or am I simply afraid to step out in faith?

Come, let us reason together

In any case, I’m just not up to the task of “solving” the problem on my own. Come to think of it, that’s probably a good thing; I shouldn’t do this work in isolation. Therefore, instead of presuming that I’ve got the answers and attempting to write a polished commentary on the state of the church, I’d like to throw out some thoughts and questions for evaluation by you, my readers. Please comment!

The primary purpose of Becoming Creation is to consider the relationship between scientific and Christian knowledge. Thus, given my background and interests, my particular story centers on the compatibility, fellowship and communion of a scientist with a local evangelical church. Most of my readers are scientist-Christians like myself, but I know that several people are following this particular series because of similar struggles with church doctrine and polity that have nothing specifically to do with creation/evolution or science. I am just as much interested in hearing from this latter group of readers as I am from fellow scientists. What are the commonalities and differences in our respective experiences?

Conclusions/Assumptions

Note: I numbered these points so they’d be easier to reference in comments. There is no particular order.

  1. The creation-evolution topic provides the perfect litmus test for evaluating the doctrinal rigidity of church leadership. Discussing modes of baptism and communion are a close second.
  2. Most Christians (like most people) have an outdated rationalist/Enlightenment view of epistemology (how we know what we know) with regard to science, and they unwittingly approach biblical interpretation and Christian theology in the same manner.
  3. Strict biblical inerrancy is a type of idolatry. Churches whose statements of belief begin with a declaration and explicit foundation of the inerrancy of Scripture are prone to such bibliolatry.
  4. Churches who claim no creed but the bible are deluded and dangerous; their private interpretation and theology is their creed, which (by denying that they have a creed) they falsely equate with truth itself rather than acknowledge as a human summary of basic beliefs.
  5. Independent, nondenominational churches are the least prepared to accept diversity of Christian thought. If they’re new, it’s only a matter of time before their statement of beliefs becomes rule of law.
  6. The typical American evangelical church is out of touch with the church universal (in time and space). In fact, most churches (whether denominational or independent) are poorly educated even about their own particular traditions’ origins (i.e., why it started; what it rebelled against) as a way of understanding their place in history. More importantly, they blindly assume that those same formative issues still apply today.
  7. Christian education (CE) in the church should include constant dialogue with all of church history and Christian thought. Furthermore, such teaching should be saturated in the belief that true believers existed and still exist in all these traditions, whose contributions should be taken seriously. This is the best way for adults, teens and children to appreciate the distinctiveness of their church’s particular tradition without glorifying it as THE truth itself.

Questions/What Next?

Even if my conclusions above are correct, they don’t directly point the way forward. Whatever I may think about the general state of “the church” in America or in my city, the fact remains that every seven days I must decide where and how I will spend the Lord’s Day. Finding a tolerable Sunday morning worship service is hard enough, but finding a church that “functions” effectively as a community for me and my family seems impossible in this city.

  1. Find a different church? Honestly, I’ve more or less given up on the hope of finding a home in an independent evangelical church. If I’m going to attend another church, I’m inclined to seek out a mainline denominational church, even if that means tolerating a slightly greater diversity of views than I am personally comfortable with. I know of at least one such church in town.
  2. Start a new church? I could pursue starting a new church with other disenfranchised families we know, but am I prepared to work with others to develop a statement of beliefs and establish a method of church governance that actually works? These friends are like me in general ways, but all of them are different from me with regard to science (and probably many other particulars such as politics, too). Could we get along? What’s to prevent this church from staying grounded in the essentials of the historic church? More importantly, would it advance the gospel and kingdom in our lives and beyond?
  3. Do home church? This is a less formalized version of starting a new church. It would be easier to implement, as it would involve a smaller number of people and wouldn’t require long-term commitment and overhead (such as hiring a pastoral staff). It would also allow more direct ministry to some of our most needy friends, since we could focus the format and time together based on their needs. But is such do-it-yourself church really healthy overall?
  4. Forget church altogether? This doesn’t really seem like a “defensible” Christian option, but it certainly is appealing at times. I know brothers and sisters in Christ who have disengaged for many years at a time. They’ve been burned repeatedly in the past, and have given up trying to be part of a local church congregation. It’s these sorts of people that I have in mind when I contemplate the home church option.
  5. What’s best for the family? If  choosing among these church options is difficult for me as an individual, it seems next to impossible when I consider the needs of my whole family. My wife’s needs are different from mine, and my teenage children are old enough to have real and meaningful opinions about church life. On my own I could immerse myself in a very “liberal” community of faith, where I could be a positive witness to a living faith and grounded theology. But can I entrust my kids to that sort of environment? Alternatively, home church is less appealing when I consider what it communicates to my children (who are already slightly sheltered from the larger community by virtue of being home schooled).
  6. Am I a hypocrite? Am I guilty of intolerance just as much as those I accuse of not tolerating my views? Admittedly, I’m pretty confident that my views on Scripture and science are much closer to the truth than the views held by the church leaders I sparred with. However, I never demanded that the church leadership adopt my views; I only expected that they respect and allow them in the community on the basis of my genuine Christian life.
  7. Where and when to draw the line? Years ago, I almost completed avoided mentioning my views on evolution in church life. More recently, I’ve used the evolution litmus test with the pastor as soon as possible after visiting a church for the first time. The strategy worked well at Midtown Christian Church, where pastor Mark passed the test. Unfortunately, he was dismissed by the elders for such liberalism, and this makes me wonder if I should be conducting the test more broadly and drawing the line more boldly. Yet, to do so too soon and too boldly after beginning to attend a new church isn’t fair to the test subjects (church leadership) because they haven’t yet been able to observe the quality of my Christian life. Oh, that I could get beyond the critical evaluation phase!

Please comment!

Don’t forget to chime in with your comments and analysis. I submit myself to your correction and rebuke as much as to your affirmation. (The first one to suggest a three point outline with alliteration wins the sermon-writing prize!) ;)

I’ve been asked to write a guest post for a series called “Evangelicals, Evolution, and the Church” which my friend Steve Martin is planning to run on his blog called An Evangelical Dialogue on Evolution. Your comments here will help me in that task. Thanks for your participation.

Advent 2009

I know my readers are waiting for the third and final installment of my “Becoming Unwanted” series. That conclusion is forthcoming, but today is not the time for such concerns. This is Christ’s day. As I write, my prayer is that we stop to gaze in wonder at the Christ Child, laying all our affections and concerns beside his manger.

Here is this year’s Christmas poem by my daughter Alison:

Expecting a conqueror    |
Expecting a noble king    |
Expecting one who brings peace    |
Expecting one who would set us free    |
We were not ready for his plan    |
We saw a helpless baby boy
We received a humble servant
We were sent one who had many enemies
We were sent one who was taken captive
But we were ready for who he planned to be

Our Savior

And here’s a picture of my other daughter:

Child with advent candles

Samantha with advent wreath, Christmas 2008

Becoming Unwanted, Part 2

You’ve got no time to read a mystery
You’re not inclined to waste the energy
And wrap your mind around a paradox
Or bear the thought
Of my liberty

–T.S. Taylor

In the previous post (Becoming Unwanted, Part 1), I provided a summary of the events that led to my being denied the privilege of leading (teaching) a small group at “Midtown” Christian Church. Here in Part 2, I will share more specific details of my interview with the church elders. Finally, in Part 3, I will try to draw some conclusions.

The Questionnaire

The first part of the evaluation process began with my being asked to complete and submit the Questionnaire for Prospective Teachers. The version given to me (and my friend Daniel) had recently been expanded by the elders since the dismissal of Midtown’s head pastor several months ago. (I’ve never seen the original version of the questionnaire, so I do not know exactly how it differed from the one I completed).

The first sections of the questionnaire, asked me to describe my church background (I’ve been active in church since birth), whether I’ve been baptized by immersion (I have, at age 8), how long I’ve been a Christian (as long as I can remember), and about my involvement at Midtown Christian Church (see previous post). When asked to describe my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I wrote the following:

I can honestly say that the overriding desire of my life (and for my family) is to “know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Phil. 3:10-11). In short, my passion is to become what God in Christ calls me to. As a whole, I seek this goal in every daily, seasonal and life-stage situation. It affects every personal and family decision I make. Sometimes the Spirit seems hidden, and all I have to go on is the assurance of things hoped for. Despite the everyday struggles, I am filled with joy (and confidence) because I am receiving the goal of my faith, the salvation of my soul. (1 Peter 1 8-9) I am always studying God’s word directly or indirectly, and I am always seeking to apply that knowledge to daily living.

Subsequent sections of the questionnaire inquired about my marital status, children, education, vocation, and teaching experience (I’ve taught all ages and types of small groups and Sunday School). Finally came the section called Doctrinal Beliefs:

  • Do you believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and reliable Word of God? Yes, but not according to the typical definition of ‘inerrant’. I prefer the word ‘infallible’ (see my blog essay on this topic).

  • Do you believe in the traditional authorship of the Bible books, i.e., that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament, Matthew wrote Matthew, etc.? Yes, generally so; however, the Israelite scribes certainly continued to edit and compile (redact) the content through history.

  • Do you accept the Bible as the only authoritative guide in matters of faith, conduct, and church practices? Yes

  • Do you believe that God created the world in six twenty-four hour days as described in Genesis 1&2? No

  • Do you believe in evolution or theistic (God-guided) evolution? Yes

  • Do you believe that sin came into the world through the disobedience of Eve and Adam? Yes, as far as theology is concerned; however, I do not believe that it is a literal necessity (or likely) that Adam and Eve were real people; these two individuals, if they existed, certainly were not the biological ancestors of all humans today.

  • Do you believe that all men are sinners? Yes, and women, too!

  • Do you believe that Noah’s flood was a worldwide flood that covered the entire globe? No

  • Do you believe that the Old Testament miracles, such as the parting of the Red Sea, Jonah being swallowed by a great fish, etc. are accurate accounts of literal events? Some are, some aren’t. I certainly believe in formal miracles and that God acted in mighty providential ways at important points in the history of his revelation to his people. However, I know that the literary and narrative “testimony” styles of the ancient cultures were quite different than ours are today. Respecting these differences, I don’t feel compelled to commit one way or another about the specific mechanism of any given miracle account.

  • Do you believe that Jesus is both fully God and fully man? Yes

  • Do you believe in the three person trinity known as Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Yes. I believe that this traditional Christian doctrine is a biblically-faithful and best statement that we have about the mysterious nature of God.

  • Do you believe that Jesus lived a sinless life? Yes

  • Do you believe that when Jesus died He took the sins of all mankind upon Himself? Yes

  • Do you believe that Jesus literally and physically rose from the dead, never to die again? Yes

  • Do you believe that Jesus will literally and physically return to the world and bring an end to this world? Yes, although I resist any claims of authority about exactly what that will look like.

  • Do you believe in the judgment, at which the righteous will be welcomed to eternal life, but the wicked will be consigned to eternal punishment? Yes, there is a certainly a day of reckoning for every person. However, Scripture uses a variety of ways to describe what happens AFTER life-after-death (what N.T. Wright calls “life after life-after death). In the same way that we’re given only glimpses of what the new creation (“heaven”) might look like, we’re also given only glimpses of what eternal punishment might look like. Thus, while I affirm the theological and doctrinal reality of judgment and reckoning – that every person will be held accountable for the choices made based on the knowledge given, I am non-committal on the details. All I do know is that the only wise choice is to cast one’s cares as soon as possible on the faithfulness and love of God in Christ Jesus.

  • Explain how a person becomes a Christian. Some sense of the following truths must be understood and then genuinely and personally acknowledged before God in prayer:

  1. God exists as the supreme authority over all creation (Creator and Lord)
  2. I am a sinner who is unable to meet the perfect requirements (calling) of God (implicit in #1 and #2 is that sin is primarily against God; he is the one to whom I must give account; he is the one whose forgiveness I must obtain.)
  3. Jesus is the Messiah; not only is he the demonstration of God’s love for humankind and the perfect example of a sinless human life, he is also the actual Savior of the world (the only one who is able to fulfill God’s righteous demands on my behalf and to provide atonement for my sins).
  • State your belief about sex outside of marriage. Sex outside of marriage is a sin.

  • State your belief about homosexuality. Homosexual behavior and practice is a sin. There is no doubt that some people are genetically and/or environmentally predisposed to this inclination; that is not a sin. However, in the same way that predisposition to alcoholism or other addiction or deviant behavior is not an excuse to give oneself over to that vice, an inclination to homosexuality is not an excuse for homosexual practice.

  • State your belief about drinking alcohol. Drunkenness and alcoholism, like gluttony, is a sin. Drinking alcohol, as such, is not a sin. I frequently have a small glass of wine with dinner and am not opposed to drinking a beer with friends. However, in keeping with Romans 14, I do not knowingly drink in the company of those who have struggles with this in principle or practice.

  • State your belief about abortion. As a scientist, I must acknowledge that the exact point of “ensoulment” or personhood cannot be precisely defined with respect to fertilization and fetal development. Nevertheless, the concept of abortion is anti-life. Therefore, I regard abortion at any stage (and in nearly all circumstances) to be wrong and unethical.

The Interview

I dread confrontation, and I did not look forward to my meeting with the elders. I wanted to call them up and say just forget it. They probably felt the same. However, as the day approached, I realized that I needed to follow through so that I could know for sure whether my church involvement would merely be tolerated or truly embraced.

I felt confident that my answers on the questionnaire showed very clearly that I am a genuine believer in Jesus Christ and have conservative personal moral and lifestyle values. I was certain that they could not deny that. Therefore, if I was going to be rejected, it would be only because of the doctrinal non-essentials that they had incorporated into the questionnaire.

I was caught off guard a little bit by the first question: how did sin come into the world? I answered by explaining that sin occurred when humans first acquired some conscious sense of right and wrong before God and then did not live up to that standard. I sensed that they did not like this sort of answer (which did not specifically require an Adam and Eve as the actual first human individuals), so I turned the question on them by appealing to their own Restoration tradition. [Christian Churches do not believe in original sin in the sense that we inherit Adam's sin; instead, they believe that humans are born innocent (e.g., they'll go to heaven if they die in infancy) but all become sinners upon reaching a sentient level of accountability.] I pointed out that, just as we cannot know the precise point in an individual’s development when God holds them accountable as sinners, we also cannot know the precise point in human evolution and history when God held humans to a different standard than other creatures. At both levels (ontogenetic and phylogenetic, though I did not use those words), we believe that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But we should not delude ourselves into thinking that we can pin it down at either level. Thank God that we can trust in his faithfulness to judge all people everywhere and at all times in complete fairness with respect to what they know and are accountable for.

That prompted a follow-up discussion as to what happens to those who have never heard of Christ, and as to whether missions was even necessary. I remember thinking how crazy it was that they could expect me to have definitive answers to these sorts of questions, as if anyone has a complete and satisfactory answer to them. I couldn’t imagine what sort of answer they were looking for. It’s not my style to proof text by reciting specific Bible verses. Nevertheless, I answered by appealing to our shared belief in the righteousness and faithfulness of God and the conviction that the specific proclamation of Christ is the best means of ensuring that all have the opportunity for salvation.

Because of my views on evolution, the topic of biblical inerrancy dominated the remainder of the interview. They were concerned about my non-literal interpretation of the creation and Eden stories, which they regarded as a slippery slope. If I hadn’t believed that the status of Christian liberty was at stake in the interview, I would have played it safe at this point by saying that ordinary history begins (more or less) with Abraham. Instead, I pretty much said that hardly anything in Scripture is literal in the modern objective sense. [Actually, modern “scientific” description is not entirely literal and objective, either]. All parts of Scripture represent faithfully contextualized proclamation of the various authors’ experiences and insights. The primary purpose is rarely, if ever, to report the news and deliver static rules for living – at least not by our modern standards. The theological message of the creation story is clear and full of authority regardless of whether it was an actual event as described. In fact, accepting the ancient cultural context of the literature for what it is actually helps to stay focused on the central meaning of the passage. [And, no, I am not ambiguous about the bodily resurrection of Jesus, which was clearly the central meaning of the Apostles' testimony; they came to believe it in spite of their very strong assumptions to the contrary].

Clearly for these elders, the authority of Scripture rests on its word-for-word strict inerrancy. Several times they asked questions in the following form: “If (according to your view) so much of the Bible is inaccurate, then how are we to know what to trust?” Each time, I had to explain that I don’t use the word inaccurate (see my answer in the Questionnaire, and my blog post). That’s the wrong (inaccurate!) way to think about it. At every point, the inspiration of Scripture means that it was accommodated to the time and culture of the original audience. I gave this example: If the creation story were given by inspiration to a writer today, he (or she!) would construct it completely differently and frame it in a manner consistent with our current understanding of the physical structure and origin of the universe. However, the science will change in the years to come, and some aspects of that understanding will become “outdated” as a scientifically accurate description of the cosmos.

The elders did not like my implication that Scripture is not entirely black-and-white and completely explicit in its teaching about detailed matters of Christian practice – and for them this means that it would not be authoritative. They asked, “Do you not believe that we should take ‘Do not steal’ at face value as an absolute?” Yes, I replied, that is a clear teaching of Scripture, but even there the specific application is relative. In some cultures, to take someone’s photograph is regarded as stealing their identity; whereas in our country, standing too close to a person is a way of violating and robbing their personal space. My point was that nothing in Scripture makes sense without appreciating the particular manner in which it was shaped by and for the original audience and in which it may or may not apply to our lives today.

I asked them to consider a more practical set of examples: baptism and communion. Obviously, each particular church body has to adopt some specific mode of practicing these sacraments (or ordinances). [Midtown practices believer's baptism by immersion; it should follow very soon after one's profession of faith and can be administered by any other believer. Communion is shared every week; plates of individual crackers and cups of juice are passed, and only men can usher the elements.] I assured them that I have no problem submitting to this formulation as long as I am part of this church. However, I don’t think that it can be defended as the only right or biblical method of practice, as if it is THE clear teaching of Scripture. In fact, I would challenge some aspects of this current practice as out-of-touch with our time. These particular Christian Church practices were instituted in the original Restoration movement (c. 1830s) as a means of correcting the abuses of sectarian Presbyterian modes at that time, but those issues are no longer relevant today. For example, why is the Christian Church adamant about baptism by immersion on the basis of the literal meaning of baptism and the symbolism of that mode, yet they don’t “break the bread” and share one cup for communion, which are equally literal meanings and symbols of that ordinance? And why allow baptism to be administered by any believer (on the basis of the priesthood of believers) but not allow the same for the administration of the Lord’s Supper?

These topics were immediately relevant to my interview because these were among the topics that Daniel and I had begun to discuss with the high school boys in our D-group. We wanted to encourage the boys to evaluate Christian practices for themselves. We had already initiated a discussion about communion (see the handout). We wanted to send the boys to the Scriptures and help them flesh out what they thought it taught on the matter. In doing so, we assumed that we would have the freedom to discuss how and why various church traditions have attempted to institute these sacraments. And we wanted to do so without automatically disparaging these other views. Each church, including each Restoration Church, does things the way it does for a variety of biblical and historically particular reasons.

At one point, they asked me how I would respond if they granted me teaching privileges on the condition that I not discuss my views about evolution (or topic X, Y or Z). I prefaced my answer by stating that I do not regard evolution as essential to the faith, and it is not my agenda to force my view on others. However, the topic-by-topic prohibition would not be acceptable because it would stifle mutual edification in the community of believers to deny me the right to comment on issues that (1) are relevant to our time and (2) I am uniquely trained to articulate.

The issue is not whether I would be allowed to teach evolution, per se. It’s about whether the priesthood of believers in the church would have the general freedom to dialogue about any and all matters of biblical interpretation and Christian practice. In fact, this liberty is precisely what teachers and mentors need to provide in order to facilitate Christian discipleship and learning. (This assumes, of course, that the teacher exemplifies devotion to Christ by his lifestyle, which the elders could not deny is true in my case.)

I closed the interview by reiterating again my devotion to Christ and my desire to glorify him in all I do.

The Follow-up Letter

The day following my interview, I sent the following email message to the elders:

Subject: the test is mutual

Dear Elders,

Thank you for considering my application to teach at Midtown. And thank you for indulging me as I forcefully and passionately defended my views of Scripture and Christian doctrine. Let me be upfront with you and tell you that I answered this questionnaire and spoke this way because I was testing you as much as you were testing me.

Honestly, [my wife] and I have kept a very low profile and adopted a “wait and see” attitude about the church since Mark’s dismissal. Initially it had to do with “whose story to believe”. Since then, it has had more to do with being unsure of where the church is going. Whatever Mark’s offenses were with regard to interpersonal relationships and leadership style, he stood for a type of openness that I believe is absolutely essential for the church. Because he promoted “in essentials unity; in nonessentials liberty”, there were many of us who felt welcome at Midtown. And by that I don’t mean just welcome as attenders but also welcome as truly integral contributors to the life of the church.

I challenge you to avoid the path of attempting to control the messy diversity of views by becoming doctrine police and retreating to the safe confines of a traditional fundamentalist creed. The church would do well to look at the Apostle’s Creed, where the focus is on the essentials of our belief in God. (Don’t you find it curious why Midtown’s statement of belief starts with the bible? Since when is our faith built on the bible? Is it not built on the cornerstone of the person of Jesus Christ, of which the bible is merely the testimony?).

As I mentioned last night, I am not the only one at Midtown who has promoted an openness to other views of scriptural interpretation and the age of the earth. How far will you go in chasing down and questioning these people, too? When Brian Mills (VP at Lincoln University) spoke at Midtown about a year ago, he held up Francis Collins as a modern day example of Daniel, i.e., one who excels in the learning and wisdom of his captive world. Do you know that Francis Collins, in addition to being an outspoken evangelical Christian, is a strong proponent of evolution? I’m sure that Brian Mills knows that; it’s obviously not a problem for him.

My point here is that your young-earth creationist view and strict biblical-inerrancy view are already on their way out as viable options for serious Christians. You can decide whether to allow people to learn about other Christian alternatives, or you can try to hold the party line. The former will rarely precipitate an abandonment of faith, but the latter often does as people are eventually forced to make a false choice between Christian belief and science.

So, my question to you is, what sort of church will Midtown be?

Sincerely,

Douglas Hayworth

The Verdict

Two of the five elders met with me briefly the next evening. They assured me that they appreciated me and my family in the church, that they had no doubts about the genuineness of my faith in Christ, and that I was welcome to continue participating in non-teaching roles (e.g., playing guitar in worship band). However, I would not be allowed to teach. They told me that they had deliberated for more than an hour after my interview and did not arrive at a decision easily. In the end, however, their decision had been unanimous.

Becoming Unwanted, Part 1

Don’t teach me how to listen to the Spirit Just give me a new law I don’t want to know if the answers aren’t easy So just bring it down from the mountain to me I want a new law, I want a new law Give me that new law –Derek Webb

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Volleyball with Astronauts

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