Who's in?

A great little conversation piece over at iMonk discusses the age-old question: who’s in and who’s out?

Now this question might seem rather silly, but it is really a pretty big hinge on our church doors. It’s key to remember that this doesn’t ask how you know who’s playing the game well. It’s just asking how you know who’s on the team. How does one get into the game? (note, most of my comments are somewhere between serious and funny)

For the Catholics, it’s baptism by anyone(with a proper trinitarian formula).
For the Anglicans, it’s baptism by anyone (no formulas, I think)
For the Presbyterians, there are a few books to read.
For the Methodists, well…I’m not sure. Wesley says

THE distinguishing marks of a Methodist are not his opinions of any sort…A Methodist is one who has “the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost given unto him;” one who “loves the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind, and with all his strength. God is the joy of his heart, and the desire of his soul; which is constantly crying out, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee! My God and my all! Thou art the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever!”

But I think he’s talking about the super Methodist dude, not the “workin’ on it” guy. Katie, can you help me out here?
For Anabaptists, you show up, jump in, and help out.
For Evangelicals, listen to the right music, sermons and vote correctly.
For Muslims, you’re in the game, you’re not playing very well, and Allah’s not happy about it.
For Jews, …this is a sucky game.
For pagans, everyday is like living in a scary, dangerous, themepark.

Ok…I’m getting silly here, but it’s true that individuals throughout church history have struggled with this question. Are you aligned with the right institution or believe the right guys or understand lots of theology or do the right stuff or wear the right clothes or etc… Today, NT Wright thinks Paul was talking about this very topic when discussing “justification” in Romans and Galatians (Wright’s answer is faith, BTW).

What do y’all think? Who’s in? Who’s out?

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2 thoughts on “Who's in?

  1. nice questions–I’ll get to it in a bit.

    I think I’m going to repost an Anabaptist soteriology bit again, with necessary qualifiers.

    And, question: what do you mean by “in”–“in the Church” or “in a state of grace.” Because there’s a potential difference.

  2. There was certainly an ambiguity to the question, for in my mind I was not necessarily thinking of an institutional endorsement nor of God’s favor. I guess my question is what are the necessary and sufficient characteristics for you to look at a person, and say “Yeah, I suppose they’re a [Christian, or whatever other qualitatively approving label you choose]”.

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