Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3527

Jump Start # 3527

2 Timothy 3:16-17  “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

  Starting points are important. If you are planning a trip, you need to know where you are in order to know what roads to take. When booking a flight, one begins with the starting point. What airport are you flying out of? That will determine what flights are available and what airport you can fly to.

  I’ve noticed in some of the deep restoration readings I’ve been doing lately, that the starting point is essential in spiritual matters. Call it theology. Call it ideology. Call it starting points. How one looks at the Scriptures and the nature of the church determines his philosophy about how things are to be.

  For instance, if one views what we read in Acts as a starting point, but built within that is the concept that the church evolves, changes, grows, adapts through the years, then social programs, educational platforms, and the wholeness of man will be viewed as something natural and right. One writer said, “How can one begin with the church in Acts and then over look the centuries of development that the church has underwent and the contributions of great leaders through the years?” In his eyes, the church is ever evolving and changing. Where did this idea come from? It came from his starting point. Thus, missionary societies, instrumental music, support of colleges, development of deaconesses, even women preachers are all natural and understandable when one looks at the starting point. Because certain things are not in the Scriptures does not bother these folks. Their starting point wasn’t a fixed and final point.

  But the opposite starting point is also natural and true when one understands how some view things. For others, the starting point is determined and established by God. What is given in the N.T. is what God wanted. The church does not evolve, change and adapt through the years. God made the church sufficient to do all that it was supposed to do. The plan of the church given to us in the Scriptures is perfect. A strictness to the Scriptures is emphasized.

  Two very different  views about the Scriptures and the church. Both groups feel that they are right. Both groups disagree with each other. One, appears to be progressive, but they view the other group as narrow, strict and even legalistic. They think the other group has become sectarian and choked the life out of the church. But the second group views the first group as loose, careless  and progressive with the Scriptures and doing things without the authority of God. Neither group will have anything to do with each other.

  Historically, this can be traced through the Restoration Movement with influential names on both sides. When both groups are part of the same congregation, tensions flare. It will only be a matter of time until one of the groups leaves. The congregation will split and lines will be drawn.

  So, the issue is not worship, patterns, or what is authorized. We spend a lot of time on those things. One needs to look at the starting point. Is what the Holy Spirit delivered a fixed point for all time or was it intended to be developed, modified and progress through the ages? The answer to that question, will determine whether the church is fluid, changing, evolving or defined and fixed as found in the Scriptures.

  But that question leads to another question. Is our discipleship with Christ fixed or fluid? Does discipleship evolve through the ages? Is what God expects, requires and is pleased with the same today as in the 1200s? How about back to the first century? Is the Christian today basically the same as the first Christians?

  Here is the backstory to this article. I was reading something about Indiana’s famed preacher, Benjamin Franklin, likely the most popular and influential preacher after Alexander Campbell. The writer was labeling Franklin as a “misfit.” And, he came to that conclusion because Franklin’s starting point was fixed. He opposed the progressive spirit that became popular after the Civil War. He was militant and fought the changes that many were introducing. The Progressives, as they were called, had a different starting point. They saw nothing wrong with churches cooperating together, organizations larger than the individual congregation, and a host of new ideas. The American Civil War was over, but a new civil war was taking place among brethren. And, it all had to do with starting points. How do you view the Scriptures and the church.

  Conservatives see red lights and they want to stop. Progressives see green lights and they want to go. Others, see yellow lights and they are cautious. Some stop. Some proceed slowly. Some speed ahead. And, the issue at hand is not the good that is done. It is not how much we like or dislike something. It comes down to how one views things. That question must be settled first. Is the starting point fixed or can it be moved?

  What  I have not done in this article is explain what I believe the answer is. I think that is something every person needs to do.

  Where is your starting point?