The world is full of things that are a testimony to God's artistic majesty. A survey of our surroundings reveals that he delights in a variety of shapes and colors, textures and smells, sights and sounds. If this is the way it is with nature generally it is somewhat surprising that things should be so monochrome when it comes to the church. And yet, some who make the most noise about how church should be done are the most rigid and inflexible, and if the truth were told, boring when it comes to providing an interesting context in which to worship God. This rigidity is one reason for the tremendous restlessness that exists today. People move around from church to church looking for something authentic that does not involve stepping out of their 'normal' world into an artificial 'religious' world where uniformity and submission to colorless leaders hold sway who could not influence anyone in the real world to follow them.
Just think of the parochial debates that take up so much time in some circles. We have theonomist types who 'rediscover' some version of 'theonomy' again - a rediscovery that occurs in every generation only to be abandoned once the implications of this position are really understood. It is easy to spot with its self-righteous denunciation of what its proponents like to call 'pietistic' Christianity. Initially it all sounds so good and it appeals to the those who want to see Christianity make a difference in their lives, but unfortunately, in spite of its promises, it cannot deliver anything that is consistent with the biblical ethic when the Bible is read Christocentrically and interpreted as a whole from beginning to end.
Then there are those who try to turn the Christian scriptures into a counseling textbook as if the Bible were a manual that answers all of our questions about marriage and child-rearing and family life. In terms of principles there are all kinds of things in the Bible that will help us navigate these areas of life, but there is not the kind of educational or relationship uniformity that makes many congregations feel like a cult to those who do not buy into their assumptions.
To be continued... reality calls...