- Church Lane East,
- GU11 3ST
A small group of people in Park Church, calling
ourselves (semi-facetiously) the “Wild Thinkers”, meet together on an
occasional basis to encourage one another in thinking through various aspects
of our faith, being free to raise questions and address issues that have
troubled us for some time, where the standard “evangelical” answers seem not to
be helpful or even properly Biblical.
For many of us the history of past decades has been one of feeling lonely and isolated as seekers after the truth but rejecting many of the pat answers we’ve been offered. To have discovered in the last 10 years that our individual pathways are paralleled by that of many others is a great encouragement, and therefore books by writers such as Tom Wright, Dave Tomlinson, Rob Bell and Brian McLaren have clarified for us some of the areas where we feel we want to rebalance our thinking.
These writers, and others who have helped us, have been given labels such as Post-evangelical and Emergent. We wish to be free of labels and “tribal loyalties”, endeavouring to face the questions that have been in our own minds, and the ones arising from what we are reading, not by reasserting what the Reformation leaders said, or by aligning ourselves with the evangelicalism we’ve inherited from the 19th and 20th centuries, but by putting Jesus at the centre of our thinking and working “outwards” from there, attempting to interpret Scripture in the light of his life, death, resurrection and teaching.
So the position we’re in is that books by the aforementioned writers, and others, have shown us we’re not alone in wanting to rethink a lot of what we’ve always been taught. We also share with them the openness to questioning things that have always seemed to be unchallengeable, such as what it means for the Bible to be inspired, whether we can be certain who is destined for heaven or hell (and what those words mean anyway), questions of morality and ethics, etc. In many cases it will probably be best to say “we don’t know” rather than ending up with a closely defined doctrine that doesn’t do justice to the complexity of Scripture. So being willing not to understand fully what Scripture teaches is always an option, and often the honest one. And there is no pressure on the group members to reach an agreed position on any of these matters.
We meet on a week-day afternoon for now, as all but one are retired people. If you’d like to know more please ask John Eyers or Brian Graham for we’d welcome others to join us on our journey of mind-opening.
For a report on the latest topic under discussion, click HERE