Wednesday, 4 February 2015

On Labels: A Tale of two Churches

Let's head down to the (fictitious) North East town called Shieldcastlehope.  In it are two main gospel churches, one called the Ebenezer Reformed Bible Tabernacle, led by Pastor William McKinley.  The other church, the Living Springs Victory Fellowship is led by husband and wife team, Pastors Steve and Sharon Brightside.

Yes.  You’ve already worked out which is which, which one you would attend and which one you wouldn’t be seen dead in!  Let’s just say that Ebenezer is the more traditional.  Suit and tie, Westminster confession, KJV, hymns only, cessationist, Calvinist, male preachers only, it contrasts with Living Springs with its hair-down, lights down, jeans and trainers dress code (and that's the leadership), its cool Saturday youth night and ‘give it a go’ approach to anything new.

Neither of these churches really exist, and yet.... they are replicated across the land.  I need to say here that both Ebernezer and Living Springs have sincere, committed people who love the Lord and one day their people, many of whom will not even acknowledge each other when they pass on the street, will share the New Heaven and the New Earth together.  Both have their good points and their bad points.

For now I will make just one observation.

They don't really like each other.  There's grudging acknowledgement that they do some good things, and there's a certain amount of fear in the relationship between respective leaders.  But they are entrenched in their respective positions.  If truth be known, they're even a bit embarrassed by their neighbours who they believe to represent an incorrect form of Christianity.

But every so often, an individual or family will leave one congregation for the other, having been hurt or frustrated or disappointed in some way.  Or an issue will come up which may need a united response.  They're in a smallish town.  They can't always avoid each other.

We'll revisit Shieldcastlehope a little later.

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