Monday, April 27, 2009

A Better Idea: The Transcendent Church

We have a few friends - one was born in Turkey, Lebanon, and the other Afghanistan. They own incredible testimonies. As Muslims, each of them encountered epistles - living letters, witnesses, examples of Christ. A common thread in their conversion experience was that each of them 1) met 'Christians' who believed in One God (not a Trinity), and 2) embodied distinct holiness (separation from the world, particularly noticeable among women). Imagine that. The short end of a long story still being written is that each of them are now too one God believing, Jesus' Name baptized and Holy Ghost filled...

'Christians' yes, in the very truest, original Antiochian sense of the word. Sadly, 'Christian' is only an association anymore - we're all Christians, with very little distinction. The term is much too diluted these days. Pentecostal? Sure, still relevant - but everyone claims Pentecost, even if their actions only parallel select portions of Acts chapter 2. Apostolics? We're narrowing it down now-at least this handle assumes adherence to the Apostles' Doctrine - but how long before we have to further distinguish ourselves?

One of the reasons the 'Emergent Church' movement built so much momentum was because it didn't market an alternative identity - it presented an idea, a concept. My Pastor once said something to the effect that, 'you don't overcome ideas with doctrine - you combat ideas with better ideas.' If the wisest man (Solomon) said there is nothing new under the sun, than why would we ever attempt to counter the 'new' with something 'newer?' At the same time, to the same end, referring to and reviving the 'old' may, by itself, succeed in simulation, but will fail in stimulation. Perhaps the greatest idea then is that which creates a nexus - a cross if you will - that forever bridges the growing gap between the ancient, the passing present and the future new.

I've heard some call it the Timeless, or even better - the Transcendent Church Movement. YES! That somehow encompasses the essence of Christianity, Pentecost and what it means to be Apostolic all at once. That is what each of my former Muslims friends would consider themselves a part of. Lance Appleton once put it this way ' I am a One-God, Apostolic, Tongue-talking, Holy-roller, Born again, heaven-bound, believer in the liberating power of Jesus Name...I believe in Holiness and I suggest that you do the same!'