I’m in the midst of a bit of a theological experiment, and one I’m pretty happy about.
I’m taking a trip to Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Fellowship Bible church, founded by church leaders from across the world in 2014, is one of a number of churches in the US that are becoming Christian congregations.
For decades, the church has been a sort of Bible museum, presenting various books of scripture and stories from its early days.
It has now grown to be a sprawling, multibillion-dollar operation, with the vast majority of its members in the United States.
But it’s not only a museum.
In a way, the Fellowship church is a bible church, too, as I’ve been exploring it on my own.
“There are a lot of things that are just amazing in the Bible,” said Mark Anderson, a senior pastor at the Fellowship who runs a bible college in Texas.
Like the story of Lazarus, which tells the story about Christ’s crucifixion.
Or the story from Genesis of Adam and Eve.
Or how Christ became the son of God.
“It’s just so fascinating, I mean it’s so different from all the other things that we’re taught in church.”
For years, the Bible has been the most popular textbook for Christian college courses, and many churches have started offering courses in it.
Fellowship Bible Church has been an influential part of the evangelical community, especially in the South, and now the church is getting a lot more attention from the public.
Some people are noticing the changes.
As I walked into the church last week, some people were watching me.
They weren’t talking to me.
The congregation was empty.
They were talking to their pastor.
The pastor was speaking.
After a while, I decided to get a drink.
And the people that were standing around were drinking, too.
And I started getting up and walking away.
I wanted to say, I’m sorry about that, but you know what?
That’s the way it is, right?
So what you have is a little bit of the Bible, and it’s getting lost in translation.
And it’s lost in the conversation about the Bible.
The Bible isn’t the only book that is being translated.
But the Bible is the one that’s being translated the most.
It’s the one you’re going to read.
The other books, you’re not going to know what they’re saying.
And you’re also going to miss the way that the Bible says things.
I’ve found it to be really helpful, as a way of learning.
And if it’s just a little more, a little less, a lot less, it’s a wonderful thing.
And there’s a lot that I have to learn from this church.
It gives me a sense of what a Christian church is supposed to be like.
I have a lot to learn.