…Live peaceably with all. - Romans 12:18b
Burning Hearts Community Church is a Christian church. A bit more specifically it is a Protestant Christian Church. But beyond that, it would be hard to put Burning Hearts into a box. And this is problematic for a lot of people. For a lot of people – particularly older people – find some comfort in having things very well ordered, packaged, and boxed up.
Like many of you I have a variegated church background. I was raised in a "community" Church. During my college and seminary years I attended a couple different Baptist churches, an Orthodox Presbyterian Church, a PCA (Presbyterian Church of America) Church, and even, on occasion, an Episcopal Church. The pastors I have been the closest to in Lancaster County over the past 37 years have been from non-denominational Charismatic Churches or from Reformed Churches. Because of all this – and the influence of these various perspectives – I have, in my preaching, tended to try and find "middle ground" with a variety of positions, even when those positions conflict with one another. All of this has led me to have a very high regard for how the church HISTORICALLY (meaning, through the centuries) dealt with various topics. And so, for me at least, one of the tests that my own thinking and teaching needs to be measured by is the measure or standard of church history. And so, for example, if I come up with some idea or approach to a scripture or doctrine but find that the church condemned this idea of approach back in the 6th century, well that pretty well ends that! Even if I don't always understand WHY the church took the position that it did many centuries ago, the position of the church historically carries a LOT OF WEIGHT, in my opinion. As we go through the book of Acts this approach to the scriptures will become more evident.
The bottom line is that I don't believe we live in some sort of bubble that makes us immune to the outside world of other believers, other concepts and particularly the teaching of the church historic. Many people in our day foolishly and arrogantly approach the scriptures as if THEY (these modern individuals) are going to suddenly cast light on a text or topic that has never been cast before. Do they really think they are smarter or closer to God than Augustine, John Hus or Martin Luther? None of these men were infallible…but they were godly. And so we should give them a good hearing before we too casually dismiss them by our presenting some teaching or position that is truly "novel." C.H. Spurgeon put it best when he said, "There is no such thing as good novel theology," meaning, if the teaching is new or unknown, it is likely a bad teaching.
So if Burning Hearts as a whole reflects what is believed and being taught from the pulpit, welcome along for this ride. Again, many "out there" (meaning in the general Evangelical world) will not understand you. They will continue to try and put you, and this church, into a box. But resist that pressure and challenge them to get a bigger view of God's Kingdom. For should they do that they may actually LEARN SOMETHING!