Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hiebert's Gospel & Culture Exercise (What is essential? What is negotiable)

I love having seminars and classes take this survey.
Do it!

Gospel and Culture
By Paul Hiebert, from “Anthropological Insights for Missionaries”
This exercise is intended to help you test your own theological consistency on a number of issues that Protestants in various denominations have felt important. As a Christian in a cross-cultural setting, you will need to learn the differences between
those elements essential to the church in every culture, and those elements which are not.

Part One
Separate all the items that follow into two categories, based on these definitions:

Essential: These items (commands, practices, customs) are essential to the church in
every age and place. [Mark these. “E” on the list.]
Negotiable. These items (commands, practices, customs) may or may not be valid
for the church in any given place or time. [Mark these “N” on the list.]

1. Greet each other with a holy kiss.
2. Do not go to court to settle issues between Christians.
3. Do not eat meat used in pagan ceremonies.
4. Women in the assembly should be veiled when praying or speaking.
5. Wash feet at the Lord’s Supper (Eucharist).
6. Lay on hands for ordination.
7. Sing without musical accompaniment.
8. Abstain from eating blood.
9. Abstain from fornication.
10. Share the Lord’s Supper (Eucharist).
11. Use only real wine and unleavened bread for your Eucharist meals.
12. Use only grape juice for Eucharist meals.
13. Anoint with oil for healing.
14. Women are not to teach men.
15. Women are not to wear braided hair, gold, or pearls.
16. Men are not to have long hair.
17. Do not drink wine at all.
18. Slavery is permissible if you treat slaves well.
19. Remain single.
20. Seek the gift of tongues.
21. Seek the gift of healing.
22. Lift your hands when you pray.
23. People who don’t work don’t eat.
24. Have a private “devotional time” every day.
25. Say Amen at the end of prayers.
26. Appoint elders and deacons in every congregation.
27. Elect the leaders.
28. Confess sins one to another.
29. Confess sins privately to God.
30. Give at least ten percent of your income/goods/crops to God.
31. Construct a building for worship.
32. Confess Christ publicly by means of baptism.
33. Be baptized by immersion.
34. Be baptized as an adult.
35. Be baptized as a child/infant.
36. Do not be a polygamist.
37. Do not divorce your spouse for any reason.
38. Do not divorce your spouse except for adultery.

Part Two
Reflect on the process by which you distinguished the “essential” from the
“negotiable” items. What principle or principles governed your decision? Write out the
method you used, in a simple, concise statement. Be completely honest with yourself
and accurately describe how you arrived at your decisions. Your principle(s) should
account for every decision.
Part Three
Review your decisions again, and answer the following questions:
Are your “essential” items so important to you that you could not associate with a
group that did not practice all of them?
Are there some “essential” items that are a little more “essential” than others?
Are there any items that have nothing explicitly to do with Scripture at all?

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