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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Confession and Culture

What we believe or confess is not enough to determine what we get. The word confession is sometimes used to refer to a detailed statement of faith, a declaration of what a person or church or organisation believes (as in the The Westminster Confession of Faith). We can 'confess' certain beliefs - state them ,write them, preach them etc. But if those beliefs do not permeate right through our inner and outer culture, then we will find that we have a church culture that is at odds with our confession. If we say we value the manifest Presence of God but do not let that affect our attitudes, lifestyle, practices, priorities, choices and so on, it will not be what people experience when they come among us. We may say (confess) that we believe that everyone in a church family is free to be who they really are, but unless we create a culture where that truly is so, it won't happen.

In the church I help lead, we are still on a journey of cultural transformation. For the most part, this has not involved a major change in our basic beliefs; rather, it is the recognition that we must let those beliefs affect our culture. In relation to authority and leadership, we may very sincerely believe in and confess a conviction about leadership that is servant-like, and authority that is liberating and empowering (we always have really). But now the Holy Spirit is teaching us - and we are beginning to learn - what that really looks like in practice and how we can make it happen. He is showing us that our confession must be and can be matched by our culture.

2 comments:

  1. Great post Trevor!! I teach a course at SOTW Canada on Social Justice & the Kingdom of God. If we talk about justice for the poor & the oppressed, but it is not reflected in our culture, we're missing the mark. Praise God for the leading of the Holy Spirit, who directs our path when we follow Him. He is changing us all to represent Christ more fully!! Ben.

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    1. Hi Ben. Great to hear from you and thanks for the encouragement. Glad to hear you're teaching about social justice at SOTW. You're right to point out that the principle agent of cultural change is the Holy Spirit.

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