I went to a conference this past weekend and wanted to share summaries of the first 4 speakers that I heard.
Speaker #1 Greg Boyd
Greg Boyd joked that he was a rising star in evangelicalism in the late 80's, but began to feel more and more uncomfortable with what was being passed off as evangelical. He was struck by the inter-mixing of church and state in America and grew more and more concerned about the gap between his view of the kingdom and his perception of the church.
Certain theological themes were resonating with Boyd during this time. He started seeing Jesus as the full revelation of God. He started viewing faith in terms of covenant instead of in terms of belief (individual mental assent). He started seeing salvation as holistic instead of just as a ticket out of hell. He started seeing the Gospel as a non-violent revolution. Boyd believed in a Jesus-looking-God who was wanting to raise up Jesus-looking-people to serve the world in Jesus-looking-ways. But things came to a head in 2004 when he was pressured to weigh in on American politics and instead decided to boldly solidify his leanings.
He believes, now, that we're on the cusp of a theological explosion within Christianity... that within 50 years The Reformation might look like a hiccup. But he's also concerned about some things. He's concerned that some of these revolutionaries might throw out Scripture in their re-thinking of Scripture. He's concerned that it'll prove very difficult to add people to the revolutionary ranks who have been previously immunized to the true Gospel (they think they're already OK). He's concerned that the revolution won't find ways to network without becoming just another centralized power structure. And he's concerned about how we'll transition the current church situation (mega-churches) into true kingdom communities (grow small).
Speaker #2 Meghan Good
Meghan Good started with the story of Jesus walking on water during the storm. Peter questioned whether it was Jesus. It is important to note what TEST Peter utilized to discover if it was really Jesus. Peter identified Jesus by seeing if he'd be asked to FOLLOW Him. Wherever Jesus goes, after all, He expects us to follow. Jesus is the one that says come do as I do and makes that thing possible... that's the most defining thing about Jesus, the true test of His identity.
Most of us see Jesus as the one who calms the storm for us, but Jesus actually calls us into the storm as well. Anabaptism takes us into the storm. Jesus delivers us from the false-safety of the boat. The essence of the Gospel is DYING & RISING (baptism is, therefore, a microcosm of the Gospel). Salvation and Discipleship are synonymous.
Jesus calls us to play a part in His work... to be the miracle we seek. It's now POWER that we lack, it's our refusal to act. We're just as blind to Gospel RISING as we are to its FALLING. In the end, though, the two turn out to be the same. The POWER of the universe IS FALLING. Falling and Rising are actually 1. We, as Christians, fall upward.
Speaker #3 Brian Zahnd
In the discussion b/w Jesus and Pilate... we tend to side with Pilate. Pilate believed that the real truth was that power and force are the way to rule the world. Jesus has a different answer. The cross indicts the worldly system and reveals a new way: An Axis of love. Jesus presents to us a radical yet viable alternative to the sword.
The church has sided with Paul by trying to separate Jesus from His ideas. We've picked Caesar but we think Jesus is cool so we name Him "Secretary of Afterlife Affairs." But this approach hasn't worked. Christian Empire has failed. The experiment is over. We're in Post-Christendom. Post-Christendom takes Jesus seriously. He's not "Lord ELECT." He's Lord NOW. The church is to be an outpost for the new regime. We are like a movie preview moreso than an agent of change.
To love your neighbor as yourself is a viable political policy.
Speaker #4 Bruxy Cavey
God wasn't content with a petting zoo. God has 1 desire (to share love with the world). God always asks "Who can I do this with?" God takes the slow and patient route because God is relational. The Bible is a big book b/c we screw up a lot. God sacrifices efficiency for intimacy.
Our doctrine of Scripture should be pretty simple: Scripture comes from God & we use it! The CHURCH is actually the pillar and foundation of truth according to Scripture. God didn't go back to the printed page after Jesus. His favorite way of communicating is the Body of Christ, not the Bible. We don't get bonus points for being more modest than God has called us to be. We need to step up and be Jesus in our communities. We believe in the inerrant & infallible Word of God... and His name is Jesus.
Disciples connect to a teacher to learn the ways of THE teacher (Jesus). Disciples learn the words of Jesus and the ways of Jesus. Disciples live out what they learn in community. Disciples find and train other disciples. Cavey sees his church primarily as a network of small groups that finds a cultural use for Sunday morning gatherings.