Ah we'll, looks like no takers of my "counter-attitudinal argumentation"challenge. That being the case, I think I will have a go myself by laying out what I think
those in Struthers believe and what mainstream Christians believe. Feel free to correct me if I have any of this wrong.
Please note, this is NOT an attempt to convince anyone that Christianity is true or that my beliefs are better than anyone else’s. All I am doing is making these beliefs public so that anyone can point out any inaccuracies, foolish assumptions, inconsistencies etc.
If Struthers was an honest church, they would do the same – make the detail of their beliefs clear so that others could see what it was they were being asked to believe. Since no-one has stepped up to the plate to put forward their beliefs in that way, I have made my best effort to try to outline what I think they believe. I may of course have this wrong, but it is hard to know if no-one will actually try to explain!
Whether a member of Struthers of not, please do let me know if there are any inaccuracies of inconsistencies in either column!
Member of Struthers Me, and I think
Believe in God Believe in God.
Believe that God has for some Believe that each believer
reason uniquely chosen the has equal access to God
leaders of Struthers, probably
because they are so holy.
Believe that when God looks Believe that, when God looks
on a Christian, He sees the on a Christian, He sees the
person and their sin, and completed work of Christ.
acts according to what He
sees, so revival will only come
when everyone becomes holy.
Believe that the most Believe that our feelings are
important thing is to “dwell fallible, just like every
in the Spirit” maintaining a other part of us, and that God
sense of God’s presence. calls us to act by loving our
neighbour, caring for the poor
in society, promoting social
justice etc. whether we “feel
the presence of God”, “feel
led” etc. or not.
Believe the leaders know more of Believe that we are each
people’s spiritual life than they in our own relationship with
do themselves. God, and He leads us in many
ways (see for example the five
CS’s Nicky Gumble uses in the
Believes that God gives us Believe that, while God may
specific instruction every occasionally offer specific
moment. instruction, He has largely
already give us our
instructions about how to
live, and these are to do
good, not just to spend time
trying to feel like we are in
the presence of God.
Believe women should wear hats Believe it is up to the
in church (see Mr Black’s book). individual (which I think is
in line with Paul’s advice
on eating certain foods and
not causing others to
Believe that scripture should Believe that the words of
should be filtered and judged any leader, preacher or
through the words of the prophet should be judged in
leaders, and that any belief the light of scripture.
that contradicts the leaders
must automatically be wrong.
Believe that, to fix a car or Believe that those who
a plumbing problem a person study mental health have
needs appropriate training and developed a bit of
the right tools, but to help understanding of how humans
help someone with their mental work, and a knowledge of some
health no understanding or of the research and the tools
training is required, and it used by professionals can
in fact makes you less able help.
to support people spiritually.
Believe that the best way to Believe that the best way to
demonstrate love is to stop demonstrate love is to reach
speaking to anyone who disagrees out to people, listen to them
with you. and try to understand them.
Don’t care about whether Believe that truth is truth
something is true, but care irrespective of who said it
about who said it. For example, (e.g. the story of
the “Latigo” site pointed out Balaam and his Ass).
many things wrong with Struthers
but was condemned by the
leadership. The charity
regulator OSCR then pointed out
many of the same things and the
leaders took action.
Believe all criticism of the Believe that God will often
leaders must automatically be show us we are wrong through
wrong as they are perfect - see others – for example Peter
for example the quote form a publicly rebuking Paul in
sermon below. spite of the fact Peter was
head of the church.
from a Struthers Sermon with the last decade (reference available)
Often we are rebellious and independent and think we know better than our leaders. The church is meant to be like an army with banners, marching in purity and not afraid. An army must be separate unto God. A soldier wears a uniform – our uniform is the doctrine of God, Christ’s teaching – the whole armour of God. A soldier belongs to the army – we belong to God. He will dwell in us and walk amongst us. We must accept the leadership of those over us in the Lord, and take instruction. A soldier must behave appropriately – we must let our conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ. Don’t answer back or make excuses.
This last point is really quite shocking. I wonder if parents of young people attending Struthers realise that their children are being told the the leaders know best and the expectation is they will "take instruction" and not "answer back or make excuses".
I look forward to any corrections or clarifications.