Thursday, March 05, 2009

Why does UCCF have a Doctrinal Basis of Fellowship, and how should it be used?

Here's 27minutes of a really helpful workshop on doing unity in a Christian Union... I've deeply enjoyed working through 1 Corinthians 12-14 with Kenny in recent months and batting this key question around, the fruit has been this workshop he delivered at our CU leaders weekend. Kenny blogs occasionally.

Download MP3: We are being transformed together in the gospel.

Christian Unions unite a wide range of people; how is that supposed to work in practice?What do you think are the benefits/difficulties of having an interdenominational mission team?
- What's been your experience of this - positively and negatively?
- What do you think are the benefits/difficulties of having a doctrinal basis of fellowship?
- What do you see as key issues you would like to consider in this seminar?

1. Why do we have a Doctrinal Basis of Fellowship?
(i) It is exclusive and inclusive
(ii) It is confessional
(iii) It is a good thing!

2. Issues that arise from having a Doctrinal Basis of Fellowship
(i) Dealing with those who disagree with it

- Arrogance v. Humility. Vicar Bob, of local church St Botolph of the Windy Lawns, has been invited to do some bible teaching at Axelrod College CU. He replies to the CU Exec explaining that he cannot in good conscience sign the DBF, because he disagrees theologically with point e, that Jesus is
God. Helpful principle: build friendships

(ii) Dealing with disagreements within it

- Suspicion v. Partnership. Bristominster CU are aware that lots of students attend the local pentecostal church but aren't involved in CU. It is a bible-believing church, but the pastor's methods are somewhat 'unconventional'. CU President Hugo decides to meet the pastor, and takes a copy of the DB to discuss, thinking that if the pastor proves himself to be 'sound' then he'll chat to him about getting his students along to CU. Helpful principle: Invite widely, accept generously

- Primary v. Secondary. Dreckly Tech College has a lively CU of about 30, who are united in the gospel and engaged in evangelism on campus. However, within the CU, there are a wide variety of opinions on the role of women in ministry and whether women should do some of the bible teaching in the CU. Helpful principle: Have a working policy 

 - Power v. Sacrifice. Banterhampton CU have a very conservative style of worship in their CU meetings. This upsets some students from a more charismatic background who deeply appreciate a more fluid style of worship with space to reflect. Their suggestions are dismissed by louder voices in the CU. Helpful principle: Be willing to lay all down, but the Doctrinal Basis of Fellowship

3. How to do gospel unity
 The principle of love. 1 Cor 13: 1-7.
Describe the dynamic in your CU.
Is it a diverse group of Christians? Do they come from a variety of church backgrounds & experiences? How does that diversity contribute to the life of the CU, positively and/or negatively?
How do you feel towards those different from you? What words would you use to describe those feelings? Be as honest as you can!
Read v1-3. Write down the gifts mentioned. What is more important than all of them? Why are the gifts so ineffective if that thing is not present?
Read v4-7. Write down the adjectives used to describe what love is, and what love is not: What love is: What love is not: (Note: these are relational adjectives; they describe how love responds to other people.) 
Think about the different people in your CU. Which of these adjectives most commonly describe how you feel about them? Which describe your feelings in a situation of disagreement? What needs to change in your heart? What needs to change in your CU?

4. Questions & Discussion.