Thinking Out Loud

December 19, 2014

Defining Your Terms

When you say you’re a Bible & Science ministry, does that mean

  • you believe in a literal six-day creation and a young earth?
  • you believe in an old earth; that Genesis is allegorical, that evolution is probable?
  • you focus on intelligent design and try to skip the subjects above ?

When you say you have a prophetic gift, does that mean

  • you speak forth with a prophetic voice concerning issues facing the church and/or the world in general?
  • your ministry almost exclusively revolves around end-time predictions?
  • you counsel people and help them find where they are to live, what should be their vocation, who they should marry, etc. ?

When you say your church is charismatic, do you mean

  • the music is loud and lively, and people clap and rejoice during worship?
  • your church emphasizes belief in the limitless power of God and has an active desire for a manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit ?

When you say you’re a ministry to Christians struggling with homosexuality, does that mean

  • you try to assist gay Christians out of that lifestyle through prayer and/or reparative therapy?
  • you try to support gays who are struggling with faith issues and/or acceptance by the church ?

When you say you’re an apostolic ministry does that mean

  • you work with church-planters and missional communities to encourage people who have the gift of apostle?
  • you are frequently addressed as “Apostle _______” as you see yourself as part of a line of apostolic succession and/or feel there is a special anointing on your ministry?

When you say you have a ministry to worship leaders, does that mean

  • you assist worship leaders in the personal spiritual development and in building the tools they need to build their teams?
  • you help worship leaders navigate areas such as song selection, instrumentation, arrangements, sound systems, etc.?
  • you exist to advance an agenda of a specific sub-genre of worship: hymns, modern hymns, ‘soaking’ music, prophetic worship, etc. ?

When you say you’re a ministry to the Jewish community do you mean

  • you stand in the Messianic tradition and want to keep as much of the Jewish ethnic and cultural flavor, while recognizing Jesus as the promised Messiah?
  • you stand in the Hebrew Christian tradition which involves assimilating Jewish believers into western evangelical culture?
  • your ministry is more concerned with both the political and prophetic ramifications of the state of Israel ?

When you say you are a ‘progressive’ Christian do you mean

  • you prefer contemporary churches which don’t make a major issue out of some of the traditions and taboos which defined Christianity in the mid-20th-century?
  • you have a more liberal position on Christian doctrine and theology and Biblical inerrancy ?

When the bottom of your church sign reads, “Everyone welcome,” do you mean

  • you regularly interact with people from the wider community and while it may be a foreign environment in some respects, they would feel relaxed attending services and sense you’re genuinely glad they came?
  • people are welcome as long as they dress like you, believe the same doctrines, read the same Bible translation, vote for the same party, and conform to the church’s position on social issues ?


Any other positions out there that bring confusion?


  1. Wow…thought provoking for sure.

    Comment by Wally Fry — December 19, 2014 @ 9:09 am

  2. Cranky christian friday… great idea for a weekly series of blog articles. But seriously folks, were these questions rhetorical and polemic in nature or were you really confused?
    Either way, raises some good issues in the quasi christian community vs the real Christ following communities at large.

    Comment by mike and brandy — December 19, 2014 @ 10:18 am

    • Each one of the points is based on one or more real world encounters, either in-person or online.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — December 19, 2014 @ 10:25 am

      • No doubt brother. I’ve seen them all myself.
        We Christians are a strange lot, eh?

        Comment by mike and brandy — December 19, 2014 @ 10:31 am

  3. Reblogged this on @PaulWaters and commented:
    I’m sure we Salvationists could add a few more … What do we mean by ‘quality’, for example?

    Comment by Paul Martin Waters — December 20, 2014 @ 5:02 am

  4. I would to see your comments on this post and truly this while series on Intercession, if you get the time:

    Comment by James Edward Sharp — September 5, 2015 @ 2:50 am

    • You certainly put a lot of work into this series. I wish you had an “about” page so readers could learn more about you, but you covered some things in part one of the series. So you know, WordPress had you flagged as spam, but I decided to take a second look…

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — September 5, 2015 @ 8:54 am

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