September 20, 2007

And What is a "Brethren"?

Andrew Thompson raises the question, "What is a Methodist?" on his blog - Gen X Rising. He writes: "Is there anything distinctive anymore about claiming the name "Methodist" as a part of your Christian identity? Should there be?"

Thompson goes on to suggest: "There are large segments of the United Methodist Church that don't want there to be anything at all distinctive about Methodist identity. In fact, they don't want there to be anything much distinctive about being a Christian at all. The 'inclusivity crowd' takes the open invitation of Jesus and turns it into the defining mark of the church."

Thompson goes on to make this point: "Jesus doesn't just want you in the church. Jesus wants you in the church so he can literally, physically, spiritually, and actually change your life. And if all you are doing is showing up for worship occasionally, and you are not allowing God to transform your life, then church is a bad place for you. Your salvation is in jeopardy. People in that position should leave the church, so they do not get lulled into the false sense of security that they are actually walking the way of salvation."

Now, I know Thompson was writing about the United Methodist Church. But change a name and maybe he is talking about your church or my own.

Is there anything distinctive anymore about claiming the name "Church of the Brethren" as a part of your Christian identity? Should there be?

I wonder if the Brethren Academy course, Distinctive Marks of the Brethren, to be offered November 1-4 at the Northern Indiana District Office in Nappanee will be able to answer the question?