I thank David Couchman, via a comment at Kouya Chronicle, for introducing me to Alan Hirsch’s blog The Forgotten Ways. I have yet to look into what Hirsch is teaching in any detail. But the interesting extract from his book here is enough to show that he is putting forward a model of missional Christian practice which looks very different from traditional church life, a model which is designed not for maintenance but for rapid growth. The extract is well worth reading, if you are prepared for your church to be turned upside down!
I was struck by this from one of the most recent blog posts, belief in belief:
I have been hanging around Evangelical circles for most of my Christian life. but truth to tell, I was brought to the Lord by some real crazy, chandelier-swinging, Pentecostals. I had a really profound, life-defining experience, through their amazing ministry. They didn’t seem to know much about the faith, but they knew the Holy Spirit. But the interesting thing is that I have come to conclude is that they were real God believers. The comparison with my Evangelical brethren is that I think they can be described as beliving in belief in God. A whole set of ideas, dogma, and doctrine provides an screen of objectivity between the believer and God. Perhaps this is a way of mediating the ‘danger’ of the God experience. But while theological understanding is gained, immediacy is lost through the objectification of God and the God experience. the loss is great. … I have come to conclude that real Penties believe in God, while good, solid, Evangelicals believe in belief in/about God.
Indeed. I hope this is not true of all Evangelicals, but it does seem rather true of some. But on this comparison I think I can honestly put myself as not a good solid Evangelical but a crazy chandelier-swinging Pentecostal. Indeed, I can’t see how anyone can become a believer in belief. But, as I have described, I can see that as someone truly meets and experiences God they can come to believe in him.