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Post  Admin on Fri 11 Sep 2009, 7:48 am

September 10, 2009



Dear Friend,

Back in July we told you of some difficulties we were experiencing and asked you to pray for us. Even though we're "not out of the woods" yet, we are greatly encouraged and profoundly thankful for your prayers and words of encouragement.

Whenever you go through difficulties it's a good time for you to take a big step back and ask some deep "quality of life" questions: who am I, where am I going, what am I doing, and WHY am I doing it?

Every so often we go through a period of "adjustment" and we ask ourselves these questions in the context of The School of Christ. We'd like to share some of the insights we've received with you as they relate to this work and our relationship with one another.

In our interactions with many Christians around the world we have seen that everything depends on a strong, vibrant, rich, deep, and effective spiritual life. Where a strong spiritual life in Christ is present, questions are answered; problems are solved; maturity and growth are assured. Where this is absent, all the teaching in the world fails to produce lasting fruit.

And so, while spiritual growth and maturity has always been our goal, from now on we intend to focus even more on the SPIRITUAL LIFE of the believer. Teaching for teaching's sake isn't good enough for us anymore. We want to make it real, make it practical, make it simple, make it actionable.

Passive spirituality (the kind that one hopes to achieve by hiding on a mountain top and perpetually meditating in a state of ecstasy) will not suffice in our day and time. Spiritual theories have a place but you must eventually deal with spiritual realities if you want to go on deeper with the Lord.

By choosing to make spiritual life and practical discipleship a priority, we have also chosen to move away from certain things that we have focused on in the past. For more than a decade now I have taken every occasion to speak out against Organized Religion as the single greatest hindrance to spiritual growth and maturity that I know of. I still believe it and I know it is true (generally speaking). I think I have expressed it about as clearly as a human being can express it. We will continue to make those particular writings and teachings available to those who want and need them. It's just not going to be something we spend a lot of time and energy focusing on anymore.

Here's why: it's the spirit of religion that hinders spiritual growth, not the organization of religion. Our experiences with the spirit of religion in the house church movement (what I call "Disorganized Religion") confirm this. Regardless of the form it takes, "Church" as an institution is easy to see, and therefore, easy to criticize. It has earned that criticism.
But the more important issue is the spirit of religion that still rises up from time to time in me, in you, and in many of us who no longer "do the Sunday morning church thing." If we fail to address it on that personal level then what have we really accomplished?

We now know that we can best help people defeat the spirit of religion, not by a constant verbal assault on the outward forms of Churchianity, but by leading people into a deeper spiritual life where Christ can have preeminence - the first place in all things (Col. 1:18). A strong Christ-centered spiritual life will overcome any religious spirit - from the inside out. With a strong, mature spiritual life, the Spirit is able to instruct, and lead, and guide. We won't have to call people out of anything or inject our own opinions into what they should or should not be doing. God is well able to see to that without our help. Once a person does come out, however, The School of Christ is ready, willing, and able to assist them in any way we can.

Beyond that, we will continue to make a conscious effort to avoid those teachings, doctrinal disputes, and theological debates that can be so controversial, time-consuming and disruptive. The main reason is because these add nothing to the quality of a person's spiritual life, and are actually a detriment. This has been our position for years, so nothing has changed there. The School of Christ is not a church, or a seminary, or a theological training center. What we are becoming is a place where people can experience practical spirituality, practical discipleship, and real spiritual growth and maturity in Christ - things that actually make a measurable difference in you and in the world where you live.

In conclusion, none of our core beliefs have changed. We're simply aligning ourselves more closely with what we believe. We're getting more focused, fine-tuning our approach, and enlarging our capacity for helping more people.
Although we don't say it often enough, your prayers and support are a tremendous encouragement to us and is deeply appreciated.

In Christ,


Chip and Karla Brogden
http://www.TheSchoolOfChrist.Org


P.S. We value and respect your feedback and wisdom. If you feel led to share any of it with us, just click "reply". We'd love to hear from you!


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