There is much in the news today about what true Islam is. Is it the kind that practices jihad and terror attacks or the more moderate version? Depending on what you believe about this religion colors how you answer this question.
What I’ve found is that this is an appropriate question to ask every person who clings to a faith or cites a preference for an individual religion or worship. In the different churches that I’ve visited or been a part of there has always been the lingering question about how a church’s doctrinal statement and the practices of the individual believers match up.
At one church, we were getting into the habit of reciting the church covenant and what we found was that as we did this not everyone agreed on some of the cultural things– specifically, does the Bible condemn all alcohol or just being drunk.
When churches are first formed, those that are there codify their beliefs into the church documents and I believe that they firmly hold fast to them– whether it’s requiring members to have family devotions, abstain from certain habitual items, or more generic things like whether or not they believe in Creation or the virgin birth. However, as time passes, it’s rare that the body as it grows and changes still holds fast to these beliefs, or may allow people into membership that think these things are good ideals, but aren’t covenanting to do them.
So we get generations of church members that either are ignorant of what a church teaches or that don’t believe they have to do it. Isn’t this a problem?
To me, this necessitates either modifying what the church believes about things or modifying who is in membership. I mean, what’s the point in belonging to a group that says that they believe and are covenanting to do one thing, but you don’t agree. Joining a group should mean acceptance of what the group means, or changing it to what you believe it should mean.
Either you should represent it, or it should represent you, right?