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Committed Christian but not involved in church?

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I don't see this at all. Churches, denominations and religions can use the very same text and come to vastly different interpretation. There is wisdom in many minds working together, so it can certainly be helpful, but I don't see how that becomes "can only be understood within the context of the Church community."


Further, church as we see today did not exist when any of the Bible was written. People had a choice. Listen to man's interpretation (which may or may not have been right) through varying spiritual leaders or listen to God.


Historically (going back into B.C, well before the Reformation), when people wanted to gain a greater knowledge and understanding of God, they separated themselves from others and sought God directly. Community only got them so far, and then they had to let that go and move beyond.


I see church in its varying forms as being something that is good for a variety of reasons.


First, it does help to keep one focused on the spiritual side of life which can often be overrun by the demands of the physical.


Second, it serves to strengthen communities. It helps people to become aware of the needs of others and do something about it. It strives to help lift the whole community to a better life, both spiritually and physically.


However, many people reach a ceiling on their spiritual growth inside a community environment and must step back and take a different approach to continue growing. I think there's Biblical precedence for this as well as a broader, historical precedence.  


Yes, they can.  But that is not surprising.


The concept in traditionally organized churches is this - if the Holy Spirit is operating in the Christian community, and they have the right background to think and understand that, they will come to an acceptable way to understand the teachings.  


"Background" here means the right context in terms of theological foundations, the right kind of organization and leadership, the right practice and supporting texts and traditions, and some kind of consensus.  But groups who break away from the consensus, or take the texts and try and understand them without the appropriate background or context, are very likely to make errors, sometimes significant ones.  And one error will tend to lead to more.  All of the major heresies came out of that kind of thing.


So, when you look at events like the council of Nicaea, or the council of Jerusalem (in Acts, so very much in the earliest days of the Christian Church) - that's what they understood themselves to be doing.


Up until the vogue for individual interpretation, people who belonged to a Christian community generally took the view that when they joined a community it was because they felt it had the necessary background and context to make these evaluations, at least on the important issues.


Even people who separated themselves out from others to meditate or live as hermits were not cut off from the wider community, and they certainly didn't see themselves as independent.  Our modern sense of independence from community didn't really exist in the ancient world.  It also wasn't long within the Christian community that the limitations of people going off entirely by themselves were.

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Attolia, my dh stopped going to church for all but about 10 Sunday’s for 20 years. When he walked into an Orthodox Church for the first time, he knew this was IT and became involved again. He never wavered in his commitment to Christ—but there were blockages that he couldn’t put the words around.


A few years after we entered the oz Church, Frederica Mathews Green wrote an essay summarizing what she had found out in asking men what they liked about Orthodoxy. I showed it to my dh and he sat there reading it yelling YES about every 5 seconds. That was helpful to ME because then I understood what had bothered him for so many years—because I really did NOT get it for 20 years.


I’m posting the link here, not as an “ad†for Orthodoxy but as something that might provide you or him some insight into what is bugging him. It might not. I found it interesting.


There were other aspects to our journey—I had a whole little book I wrote in. I called it “And Another Thing.†But the essay above summarizes part of my dh’s experience.

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