Following are a dozen random and unpolished, insights I noted recently while reading a popular theologian of another Faith Family as he searched the soul of his own denomination a few years back.
1. DS Warner’s views of the of the immediacy of Christ’s return precluded any organizational need. Thus, the Church of God (Anderson) institutionalized like a preemie, a premature baby and did not develop a healthy adolescence. We had healthy growth, but our institutional forms were makeshift, uncoordinated, and less than healthy.
2. For the Church of God (Anderson) to be a “Reformation Movement” it must learn to dialogue responsibly between tradition and renewal without becoming captive to that which obliterates, obfuscates, or annihilates the tradition, or imprisons renewal in archaic forms of renewal.
3. The need of the Church of God today is to allow the institution that we created to function as we designed it. The coming generation will reevaluate et al and hopefully fine tune sit further for effectiveness.
4. Church of God splinter groups peeled off at different levels, each wanting to better institutionalize our ministry, but effectively imprisoning themselves in more archaic forms. One example is the Gospel Trumpet people who now claim to be the original Church of God institution in more literal form.
5. It is unfortunate that while many still anticipate the funeral of the established church (speaking of the larger Christian church), they have done so without serious self-awareness of their legitimate concern to displace it with a better establishment.
6. Radical individual antinomianism (anti-law) is good for producing death for people like ML King et al, but fails to recognize that we have a common social contract--a debt of humanity that we owe each other. We have come through an era, or are coming through, more concerned with civil liberties than of social justice.
7. Proliferation of independent churches and ministries suggests an anti-establishment cry for reform not unlike that of D. S. Warner. Historic Christianity can often be found wanting, but it has never been fully tried. What about the church remains lovable in spite of its uncleanness? Answer: its Christ!
8. Never has there been a time more opportune than now for person’s whose lives have been shaped and transformed.
9. We are searching for a theology of the visible church and the meaning of apostolicity amid revolutionary change (I believe the Church of God has an important mission here in its quest for holiness and unity).
10. It has been trendy to vilify the left of center, but not necessarily correct, or helpful, or constructive.
11. To be truly revolutionary would be to take Christ at face value, the reformers (including D. S. Warner) seriously, and ecumenism as demanding.
12. Jesus Christ is the one person or quality that improves God. He, and His teachings, make God understandable to humanity at large, in a way no other can claim.
From Warner’s World, pursuit of the truth will lead you to life and to God,