“I think what guards against dangerous theology is a wide community challenging your own theology and being open that you maybe be wrong or looking at it at an unhealthy view.”
To some extent I agree but often your main connections are people who share similar doctrinal beliefs.
At the end of the day only the primary text can verify any particular teaching.
The problem with a number of large churches is a lack of systematic or Biblical theology. Much of the teaching is topical and thematic rather than exegetical. Consequently, the congregation don’t have any proper method of approaching the scriptures themselves.
– Raving Evangelical
The pattern of us gathering mainly with people who share similar doctrinal beliefs can be very formative for our faith. Does it help us or harm us or is there a bit of both?
Some church leaders become very worried when members of their flock get together with members of other churches for Bible studies etc. Some get worried when their members make the occasional visit to other churches, saying that there is no need to go elsewhere for food when what they are providing is good and plenty.
When the church’s teaching is good, its hard to see any harm in it being the main circle of relationships; when it is bad, it can be terrible, and very grieving if in leaving a church, we also leave all our friends.
Many of us have found it too difficult to remain in churches when we stop thinking in whatever way is mainstream there. Is it necessary for community to happen, for us all to believe the same major doctrines, or can our faith transcend this?
Is it necessary to be in a community of likeminded people, or is it helpful to mix regularly with those of other quite distinct faiths? Should pastors disparage other faiths from the pulpit, as I’ve heard happen, or should they be encouraging us all to mingle?
When a church refers to itself as the best or greatest in the city, country or world, elevating its way of doing things and its beliefs above all others, should we feel comfortable with the pat on the back, or worried about the way they view others?
Is an answer to teach people how to read scripture well for themselves, so that they become confident understanding scripture without the same influence of a likeminded crowd, or is this too hard for most people to master? I’ve been told that my understanding does not have the value of one who has done a theology degree for instance, and many times this is probably right, but there are other times when I’ve seen highly educated people subscribe to very dodgy doctrine.
Is there nothing to be done in this area? Do we just need to trust God to lead us into truth, in and out of congregations, in His timing, knowing that ultimately he will complete the work begun in us?