November 22, 2017

Let Them Eat Cake!

As part of our continuing examination of issues in evangelicalism, today we present this interview with a renowned business leader. William Sola oversees franchises all across our country and around the world.

* * *

Reporter: Hello, today I’m with William Sola, great, great, great grandson of Jack Sola, founder of the Sola Bakery Company. Thanks for joining us today, Mr. Sola.

Sola: My pleasure.

Reporter: You are the latest in a long line of Solas to have inherited the Sola Bakery business. if I understand correctly, your company is now being run in quite a different way than it was in the past. Can you tell us about that?

Sola: That’s right. we operate strictly on a franchise basis now — you tell us you want to run a Sola Bakery, we verify that you’re a believer in the Sola name, and boom! there you go, you can run your own Sola Bakery.

Reporter: How do you go about helping these franchise owners get started in business?

Sola: We give them the book.

Reporter: The book?

Sola: That’s right, the Sola Bakery book.

Reporter: I assume that this book contains all the directions one would need to get a bakery going — specific steps for setting up a business, company policies, the unique Sola recipes, all of that?

Sola: No, not really. The book is more like a history of Jack Sola and his family. It lays out his roots, the background of why he started the bakery, and then tells about his life, his sayings, and especially the sacrifices he made to start the first Sola Bakery. It also tells the exciting story of the early growth of the business, and several letters that the first company managers wrote to bakeries around the area to help them with their specific problems. Oh, you can find bits and pieces of various recipes in there, and fragments of policies and procedures. but mostly, it’s the story of Jack Sola and what he created.

Reporter: It doesn’t contain specific company policies and the actual recipes for baking Sola products? How then do you maintain quality control? How do you make sure one Sola cake is like another Sola cake?

Sola: We don’t care too much about quality control or consistency. We pretty much just give a new guy the book and let him go. He’s on his own then. We think the book contains enough principles to keep him straight and faithful to the spirit of our founder, but he’s free to develop his own recipes and run the business any way he wants. This has led to a whole new, exciting era in Sola Bakery history, and we are celebrating it with our new slogan.

Reporter: And what is that?

Sola: “SOLA BAKERIES: A SURPRISE IN EVERY BOX.”

Reporter: Oh my. But, doesn’t that confuse people? Doesn’t it bother you that people don’t really know what to expect when they buy a product from a Sola Bakery? And what if they get something really bad, or even harmful?

Sola: Actually, we like it that people don’t know what to expect — it adds an air of spontaneity and excitement that we think is great! Here at headquarters, we just say, “LET THEM EAT CAKE!” and then wait to hear the thrilling reports from the field. If a customer isn’t satisfied with her local Sola Bakery, we figure there are enough other franchises in the area. We don’t care if she tries them all until she’s satisfied.

Reporter: So, the “Sola” name really doesn’t indicate what kind of a product you’re going to get.

Sola: That’s right. What we can guarantee is that it will be a “Sola” cake, no more, no less. Beyond that, it’s up for grabs. And we like it that way.

Reporter: And there you have it — William Sola, President of Sola Bakeries, telling us that, when it comes to Sola Bakeries and Sola cakes, it’s a surprise in every box.

Good night, and GOOD LUCK.

Comments

  1. JoanieD says:

    Cute, Chaplain Mike!

  2. Holy Cake! Holy traditions!

    For years I’ve pondered actions of fundamentalists as they deprecate holy traditions in the church. And yet these very same fundamentalist Christians have evolved their own set of religious preferences, and external tests of behavior, all in an effort to rank spirituality. I’d postulate they have raised their external preferences, along with twisted tests of fellowship, to the level of holy traditions on a par with the Catholic Church.

    Curiously in my former fundamental subset the president of the “fellowship” drove Buick Electras. And so all aspiring pastors, in that baptist sub-group, aspired to the same vehicle as the president drove as a outward sign of God’s blessing and thus their personal spirituality!

    Chap you’ve touched another nerve. What part does tradition have, or should it have, in shaping our worship and practice?

    Maybe I need a haircut! And maybe my wife should abstain from wearing jewelry! And maybe we should look at others more critically and apply some good old fashioned “tests of fellowship” before we engage friends.

    I’m still at work on those questions.

    Sola Scriptura!

    • David Cornwell says:

      So… I suppose I won’t get there in my Buick LaSabre?

      • take ALL the chrome off, trick it out, and add spinners and blue running lights…..maybe St.Peter will give you points for style…….

  3. Profound and arresting.

  4. laugh out loud and/or cry out loud, you’ve pegged the Vineyards (of which I am one 🙂 ) a friend of mine who moved from KC to Florida visited a Vineyard down there where the pastor greeted him warmly dressed in usual Vineyard attire (casual shirt and khakis); his wife, however, was garbed in a cassock and prayer stole and started in on some kind of liturgical prayer. I’m NOT bashing on liturgy here (I’d love to have more of it, actually), but my friend thought he’d be getting the Vineyard he’s used to, and what he got was kind of a strange hybrid…..for one week at least.

    Your post shows the inevitable result of believing that “spirit led” means giving the existing pastor and elders the permission to rewrite the script as needed. YOur post also shows our love/hate relationship with history in general: we tend to use it like a spice, and it’s function is testimony/entertainment , and not used for direction, seems to me.

    now, where’s my breakfast cake….??

  5. “SOLA BAKERIES: A SURPRISE IN EVERY BOX.”

    Is it Catholic triumphalism if I’m laughing like a drain at this? 😉

    • are you washing it all down with a Guiness ?? just wondering….

    • Isaac Rehberg (the poster formerly known as Obed) says:

      Well, even though I’m a Protestant, I’ll be the first to admit that the RCC still has the majority of Christians in the world (a little over 50% if I recall the numbers properly). According to the numbers from February, y’all are growing while many of the rest of us are shrinking. So, yeah, you guys are justified in a bit of “triumphalism” at times 😉

      Indeed, the fact that we 66-book Christians are the minority opinion has convinced me to make sure my next bible purchase is either a New Jerusalem (I gave mine away to a young Catholic catechumen who only had access to the archaic St. Joseph’s translation) or an NRSV that includes the other 7 books either as an appendix or integrated into the OT.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        “66-book Christians”?

        I thought it was 88 since LaHaye & Jenkins brought out their 22 volumes of hackwork.

        And I remember when it was only 3 1/2: Daniel, Revelation, the “Nuclear War Chapter” of Ezekiel (the half), and Hal Lindsay’s Late Great Planet Earth (which superseded all the others).

        • well….HUGster had himself one fine weekend…. 🙂

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Actually, I spent most of the weekend horizontal, with occasional forays to the word processor trying to unblock the chute for a novel I’m finishing up. After running around in circles screaming at work all week, I usually don’t have much energy — or sanity — left.

      • Always Lurking says:

        I’ve been exploring the Apostolic, Orthodox church from my evangelical wasteland. Similar to our RCC cousins, the Orthodox churches are growing. Their new members are former evangelicals and mainliners.

        • They’re also losing members from Orthodox Christians leaving via the back door as Evangelicals come in the front.

          Plus, they have their share of scandals/problems:

          http://www.ocanews.org/

          and abuse cases: pokrov.org

          All that glittering in the priests’ vestments is not necessarily gold….

    • I don’t know Martha.
      Here is the thing I admire Catholicism for many things. However, I’m not sure you have to much a leg to stand on here.
      I belong to a denomination that is besought with many of the same problems as the RC these days. There is supposed to be uniformity in doctrine and practice, but in practice it just ain’t so. And the only way you could claim there was any uniformity in doctrine and practice would be to maintain one’s naivety by attending the same church Sunday after Sunday and assuming all others were doing the same thing.
      Fact of the matter is I’ve talked to many different priests, I’ve been to your monasteries, I’ve talked to your lay people. There is no uniformity. The unity of the Catholic Church is almost a complete farce. So I don’t know if I would laugh.
      In actual fact the denomination to admire for unity in doctrine and practice is “Calvary Chapel” but that is probably due to the youth of that denomination, still holding to the idea that they somehow aren’t a denomination. I don’t care for their doctrine or their practice, but I admire how uniform it is among all their franchises.

      • Speak the truth and shame the devil! I was raised in the Calvary Chapel, and you have hit the nail on the head. They are so consistent it is almost scary. I’ve always jokingly referred to them as the “Non-denominational denomination”. I can’t help but feel pain for some of its adherents who blindly criticize any other form of traditionalism yet have a higher level of denominational loyalty than I’ve ever seen anywheres else.

        • Always Lurking says:

          So very true about CC, and I love them. What’s weird is many young CC pastors, and definitely the ones who were young in the ’60s and 70s, have in their voices the sing-song lilt of pastor Chuck Smith. Although I admire pastor Chuck, hearing echos of his lilt in their voices kind of creeps me out.

          They definitely are a non-denomination denomination. They just don’t know it yet.

      • Well, I was hoping that finding it funny didn’t come off as me being all “Oh, we aren’t like that at all!”

        Because you’re correct, Bror; there are a lot out there doing their own thing and patting themselves on the back for being either Truly True Really Real Catholics (Accept No Substitutes Since Vatican I)!!! or Truly True Really Real DefinitelyGetting It Right This Time (Spirit of Vatican II) Catholics. And then there’s the vast majority of us in the middle who just turn up every Sunday (more or less) and hang in there.

        I’m actually really looking forward to the roll-out of the new English translation for the Mass (which goes back to a lot of the first English translation of the Mass for its context and is more faithful to the Latin text) but already in America there have been objections that it’s too archaic or too difficult to understand, etc.

        Well, this is why we have the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly known as the Holy Office, or better known as the Inquisition) 🙂 and the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

        I am pleased that Cardinal Arinze (the former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship) shares my opinion on liturgical dance:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rJFdmmqj_s

        Basically, white people can’t dance 😉

        • Well as long as you laughing at yourself too….

          • I think Catholics do have the edge here. What I like about the Catholic Church is the diversity within its unity. Unlike so many of the denominations, there simply isn’t in Catholicism the expectation that everyone must hold to the same political and cultural views.

          • GNW_Paul says:

            I’ll have to go with Pilar and Martha on this one. There are different senses of Unity and Unity does not necessarily imply Uniformity. As mentioned here in the original post of this thread I often find in various Bible / Non-Denom churches that all the men dress and act alike to a very high degree, and there often seems to be little tolerance for even ordinary eccentricity much less actual disagreement about issues. I don’t think this is just me, many other men I know mention the same thing – unprompted at times.

            Unity in the Catholic Church is not perfect and not everything I would want it to be. I’d sure love to have 90% of Catholic be just like me and take the moderate and balanced, committed, spiritual approach that I have and understand every issue the way i do. But it ain’t going to happen, and thank God for that.

            I do think many Catholic do cause scandal to unity and too many priests and even more than a few bishops. On the other hand unity that is too rigid will break completely. The Catholic Church has managed to more or less survive by being patient. It isn’t unlike parenting an unruly group of children.

            When the Church has been too rigid we end up with the Reformation and the Great Schism. A little less rigidity and a bit more patience and some of that pain might have been mitigated.

            Much of the unity discussion we could have would eventually deteriorate to the level of “my Church is better than your Church” unfortunately because of our inability to understand Unity in the same way.

            I will grant you that the Unity of the Catholic Church in the material sense of it’s individual members is not what it should be. However, even you as a non-Catholic know exactly where the Catholic Church stands on things and can rightly identify what is in union with Rome and what isn’t. We have something very clear to be united around and it isn’t going to change next year or in ten years or in 100 years.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Basically, white people can’t dance 🙂

          “We’re safe up here. White bread can’t jump!”
          “But what if he’s Whole Wheat?”
          — Saturday Morning children’s show “Bump in the Night”, when the two lead characters are hiding from a “toast monster”

          • Should have seen the video of the guests dancing at my cousin’s wedding.

            Worst version of the Walls of Limerick you ever saw (brilliant fun, though) 🙂

      • Christopher Lake says:

        Bror,

        It does seem to me that there is one thing that distinguishes Catholicism from Protestantism (well, two things, if one believes that apostolic succession is an historical, physical reality): the Catholic Church has a Catechism to which one can point and say, “If you are Catholic, here is what is to believed and done.” Obviously, historic Protestant churches have catechisms and confessions of faith, but insofar as they are authoritative and binding, they are so within particular denominations, not for an entire world-wide Church.

        The Catechism of the Catholic Church is binding for every member of the world-wide Church, both Latin and Eastern rites. Not that solves the problem of dissent and disobedience among individual Catholics, as you rightly pointed out, including (sigh) among many priests and Bishops. However, if *any* Catholic is engaging in dissent from official Church teaching, that person can be shown the Catechism, and with it, the nature of their disobedience to the official teaching of the Catholic Church.

        • Christopher Lake says:

          I meant to type, “Not that *this* solves the problem of dissent and disobedience among individual Catholics…”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Is it Catholic triumphalism if I’m laughing like a drain at this? 🙂

      “Laughing like a drain”?
      Never heard that one before — is it some sort of Irish idiom?

      • British idiom shared by the Irish. Refers to undignified, loud, unrestrained laughter.

        Though according to this definition, there’s a bit of schadenfreude implied, which was not my intention:

        http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/224000.html

        “Meaning

        To laugh coarsely or loudly, especially at the discomfort of others.

        Origin

        This is a UK phrase, from around the time of WWII. It is first recorded by Eric Partridge in A dictionary of forces’ slang 1939–45, 1948. He describes it as ‘Ward-room and also Army officers’ slang’.

        The reason why drain was picked for this simile isn’t clear. Most similes include items that especially display the property being described, e.g. as white as as snow. Drains don’t immediately make one think of laughter, although the gurgling sound might have been thought of as being similar to chuckling.”

  6. Will there be Sola coffeecake served in the Sola Cafe?

  7. What aspects of denominations are the fruit of the Spirit vs. the traditions of men? Are organizations, standardization, statements of belief, practice styles, teaching programs, youth programs – are they just traditions of men or the paper trail of the Spirit? If so, does an older paper trail mean anything more valuable or merely a more obvious target?

    • I think you raise a very important question. I’ve been askin the same lately. Best I can come up with is this: No tradition originating from man, no matter how brilliant, is inspired or inerrant. That does not mean all tradition is bad, since everybody eventually has one anyways. Two men can be side by side engaged in the exact same tradition, and one can be experiencing deep communion with his Savior while the other has his mind in the ale-house. This can happen regardless to the condition under which the tradition was conceived: Sincerity or ritualism. This is not to say that the theological correctness of a tradition has no consequence, but even the “rightest” tradition can only do so much. Apart from the Spirit’s work in our heart no tradition is useful. But through the Spirit’s work, a tradition may have to be pretty darned heretical in order to be useless.

      • Isaac Rehberg (the poster formerly known as Obed) says:

        Well, I think the issue isn’t an attempt at find an “inerrant” (one of my least favorite theological words… too many varieties in definitions) tradition. Rather, the problem is that in purging the faith of its history and its context, the kind of thing described in Chap’s “interview” has made for a weak, shallow, and unreliable “product.” “Anything goes, so long as we nod toward Jesus” is so very dangerous.

        On the other hand, with an intentional approach to innovation, some good things can come about. For example, when the Reformers insisted on the bible being available to everyone in their own tongue, this was pretty innovative. But there was an intentional approach to it. When the English Reformers took the tradition of monastic prayer and condensed/changed it into the BCP liturgy, they were doing so with the intention of taking that wonderful monastic tradition and adapting it for the regular layperson. Again, that was innovative, but it was an intentional innovation.

        All that to say, the traditions certainly aren’t sacrosanct. Innovation isn’t automatically evil. But it is necessary to really think through what we are doing whether it’s traditional or innovative. And that means that we need to be aware that the Church is bigger than our individual preferences and that our spiritual fore-bearers have some really important stuff to teach us.

        • Well put. I share your disdain for the word “inerrant”, but sometimes for the sake of doctrinal unity I do concede to a Chicago statement definition of it.
          I almost feel calling a tradition inerrant is almost an oxymoron. Searching for this is about as futile as finding God’s perfect (circumstantial) will for your life. He is not playing guessing games with us. He’s sent us guides (fathers) to show us the way, and realizes that we will still stumble about a little bit. And the destination will never finally be reached until He takes us there.

  8. I am both amused and aghast. I am a member of an evangelical/charismatic church member who finds himself becoming more “post” all the time. I miss the piano. I miss the organ. I miss the choir anthems. I miss the congregational hymns. I miss the Apostle’s Creed of my youth. I even miss the responsive readings.

    What I have sat through recently is Mothers Day, Memorial Day (during which the words to all of the contemporary worship choruses were displayed on a projected waving flag background), promos for DVBS, recognition of graduates, a retired three-star general who spoke at Men’s Wild Game Dinner night and on Sunday morning, but no mention at all of Christ’s Ascension or of the Holy Spirit’s coming on Pentecost. Each week, though, the entire congregation is encouraged to repeat the sinner’s prayer aloud so that newcomers won’t feel so alone.

    So why do I?

    • Christiane says:

      Can you let people know that you miss the old ways?

    • Always Lurking says:

      You are so not alone!

      Our church doesn’t even have a cross up front every Sunday. They want ton emphasize that we are resurrection believers.

      Maybe I’m “stuck” in tradition? I miss the cross up front and I want it there. I want us to say The Lord’s Prayer. We dont’t even say it on Communion Sunday. We haven’t gone to churchnin weeks. We know that’s not healthy. But, even the local, Bible believing Lutheran church down the way has gone non-denim in style on us.

      So, I use my old red hymnal from the 60s ton say the liturgy at home.

      I was terrified that I was beginning to forget the apostles creed. It’s not said nor taught to our children or youth.

      So sad.

      • Always Lurking says:

        Oops. The keyboard on my new iPad… I’m still getting used to it, and I apologize for the typos above.

  9. I am not a member of a church member no matter what I said.

    • you sound nervous about that…..you don’t think THEY are reading IMONK do you…?????

  10. Let the dead to bury their own dead.

    But you, follow Me.

    Go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Being cryptic, are we?

      • Cryptic?

        Not really.

        Just resigned to the fact that there’s no fixin’ the Protestant Evangelical church. Its problems are inherent in its design. They just take different forms/expressions each generation.

        You wanna [try to] fix the church? Go ahead. Knock yourself out.

        And the same is true for the non-Protestant churches, though perhaps for different reasons.

        😀

  11. So when it comes to Jesus building His Church, is the verdict after 2,000 years: “Epic Fail”?

    • And even though this thread is about the craziness of tradition-less Protestantism, non-Protestant versions of The Cake are not therefore automatically exempt from having the verdict possibly apply to them. If the shoe fits….

      • There is some debate as to whether the earliest extant versions of the cookbook accurately reflect the life and teachings of Jack Sola, or were cobbled together by one or another of his squabbling heirs.

    • I believe in the Church of ISOU.

  12. David Cornwell says:

    I’ve noticed recently that some evangelical churches seem to not even have a history. Yesterday I tried to find some info on the history of two “community” churches that I know about, one of which my brother was one of the early members. Neither of them has a word about their history, founding pastors, or anything else about where they came from. I have a theory that both of them have expunged their stories because of problems with a pastor or a strong disagreement. I went to school with both of the founding pastors, but they seem to have now been zapped into non-existence. These churches past seem to not fit in with the “brand” they are now trying to promote.

    I personally like churches with a past, for good and bad, and a history that one can know about. Tradition and history is important.

    I hope this is not too far off the subject, but it seems to relate. If not, then feel free to expunge me from the record!

    • I think your comment very appropriate: it goes with the theme of “cooking this up as we go along”, and then change recipe’s (vision) as the leadership changes. At my church, we had the awkward situation of the founding pastor leaving under sad circumstances (against his will) and the only mention of him now (rarely, and never official) is negative. A shame on many levels, but all the work he and his family did to start the church, which involved a move from Canada to the midwest, is swept away. It’s as if he didn’t exist (except for the occaisional negative comment). You may not like the Catholic histroy, but at least it’s there to read, and make historically innaccurate movies out of……..those darn Jesuits….. (kidding)

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I’ve noticed recently that some evangelical churches seem to not even have a history.

      Other than the same mythic history of the Mormons and other splinter groups?

      To wit: “Christ founded the Church in 33AD and the New Testament Church was exactly like us. Then apostasy (i.e. Romish Popery) set in and all so-called “Churches” were apostate and false until God Led Our Group’s Founder to re-found the first Pure True Church since New Testament times.”

      Yesterday I tried to find some info on the history of two “community” churches that I know about, one of which my brother was one of the early members. Neither of them has a word about their history, founding pastors, or anything else about where they came from. I have a theory that both of them have expunged their stories because of problems with a pastor or a strong disagreement. I went to school with both of the founding pastors, but they seem to have now been zapped into non-existence. These churches past seem to not fit in with the “brand” they are now trying to promote.

      doubleplusungood refs doubleplusunpersons? memhole?

    • Always Lurking says:

      Sigh. I just might become Orthodox. You want history? You’re surrounded by it and you venerate (remember and honor) your spiritual ancestors with a real life holy kiss.

      Kyrie Eleison. Lord have mercy on us.

  13. This is such a hilarious and painful analogy. But it is so beautiful. I am going to steal this. Quality control? Callin it like it is. But in all honesty, how has that ever worked out for us?

  14. Of course what didn’t get included in the interview is that Sola’s parent company HQ maintains a 24/7 tech support center staffed by the a dedicated, highly qualified three-person team. If the franchisee simply takes advantage by keeping in contact, then they can help guide the caller (after all, it’s a tough, competitive environment out there, and everyone can use a little help now and then).

  15. Brilliant!

  16. There are lotsa bakeries about that don’t seem to be affiliated with the Sola franchise at all. Oh, they were once affiliated, but over time have downplayed the affiliation, and many have forgotten they ever were affiliated. It’s like they’ve never even heard of Sola. They do serve fluffy sweet desserts, and the babies really like it, junk food though it may be.

  17. Thank you for the great post. I’m saddened by the passing of Michael. I am so glad that his legacy is continuing.

    Blessings to all.

  18. SearchingAnglican says:

    I laughed out loud after reading this. As a former-Catholic, now-Episcopalian/searching Anglican who deeply values tradition (but recognizes its downfalls and issues) and who is more Word-centered at 37 than ever before in her life, this post and the ensuing comments are so timely. I just have to share, even though it’s getting a little off topic.

    I had the misfortune of sitting next to a seemingly congenial pastor of an Independent Bible Church from the northeast on a recent 90 minute flight…that felt like hours. After a few pleasantries and sharing a little about our ministries (I am a lay leader), he ventured with laser-like intensity into the solas, election, assurance with effecient quote after quote from his handy Bible-as-weapon. Uh oh, I could feel it coming. I’ve hung around iMonk long enough to know that much…

    Next? He wanted to know my born again story. Evidently, my baptism and confirmation and Lutheran-leaning theology were not good enough because of the “false Gospel of the Catholic Church.” With pity in his eyes and never directly coming out and saying it (because only God knows who is regenerate in the pews), he essentially questioned my salvation (out of Love, of course).

    In my pride and love for a good debate, I kept at it despite the quiet voice that told me I should probably spend the rest of my flight in prayer like I often do. Fight or flight, ya know.

    Awesome.

    If it weren’t for THIS community, I think I could be in a spiritual tailspin right now. Poor, earnest, God-loving, Jesus-shaped liturgical believer who likes to talk about Jesus that the computer places next him on his next flight.

    So, a public thank you and humbled appreciation for all of you here. I love the dialogue, deeply value the diversity of belief/practice and overwhelming generosity we show one another, despite our differences as brothers and sisters in Christ.

    Casey (yes, another one!)

    • Savannah says:

      Thanks for sharing that, Casey. Our adult son, a child we raised evengelical who joined the Lutheran church in his teens (hey, it was close and they had a mighty fantastic youth ministry) has had similiar experiences. He accepted Jesus at age 4, then again at age 10 in VBS (to make sure), and then went through a longer, although less defined, period of time in his teens when he says he really became a Christian. It was during his confirmation in the Lutheran church.

      Because we live in an area populated a great deal by fundamentalists and evangelicals, he is occasionally “given grief” because he is not willing to put a date on it. It astounds me, frankly.

    • David Cornwell says:

      Now was the time to pray the Rosary!

  19. MAJ Tony says:

    This reminds me alot of the tail juxtaposing the USMC (Catholic Church) vs. the “Marine Corps Manual Studying Fellowship” (Protestants).

  20. Alas, my family attends a church franchise that pretty much works in the same mode as its fellow franchises (non-denominational, seeker-friendly mega-type but centrally planned in such a way that there is only one sermon series being praught from the non-existent pulpit every Sunday in EVERY shack; i do not know to what extent the whole deal is centralised, although one would like to think that there is a free hand in music selection, but I digress).

    Still, a franchise church it is, and it is located in shopping malls, too.

    As for me, I am the ecclesiastical black sheep who snorts incense in the sacristy when he’s on the rota (I’m the liturgical sort, you see).

  21. If you look carefully at the packaging, you will quickly learn to associate certain predictable flavorings with particular Sola manufacturers. In fact, most manufacturers are careful to modify the “Sola” brand with their own trademarks, so as to encourage sub-brand loyalty. (Meaning that the “Sola” isn’t really all that sola.)

    Granting the existence of licencees who are more crooks than cooks, or whose culinary competence is questionable, the better-established strains are more alike than they are different. Anyway, some are of the opinion that the world is richer for having more than one Sola recipe. Plans to mix them all together into one uniform flavor will probably come to nothing.

  22. Unfortunately, it’s not just Evangelicals who don’t have the original packaging. In fact, I’d say it’s clear they have far more of it than more traditional Christians.

    The original packaging can be found in Titus 2, where Paul describes sound doctrine.

    It can be found in 2 Tim. 2:19, where Paul says that the foundation involves departing from iniquity.

    Scripture–whether it is sola or not–was given to equip the saints for every good work. At the judgment seat, we will be judged for our works, not for our opinion on the presence of the Lord in the Eucharist or our understanding of baptism.

    If your doctrine doesn’t produce people who turn the other cheek, don’t return insult for insult, who stay faithful to their spouses, who love and give, and who are not friends with the world … well, then you can argue your doctrines from Scripture, tradition, or whatever else you want, and your doctrine, correct or incorrect, will be useless.

    Justin once described Christians as people who formerly pursued wealth, but now shared everything; who formerly were sexually immoral, but who now lived in purity; who formerly hated, but now shared the same fire with men of other tribes and prayed for their persecutors.

    That’s the brand of Jesus Christ–unity, love, righteousness, peace, joy, and power with God.

    The rest is useless words, and of those the kingdom of God does not consist.

    • MAJ Tony says:

      Doctrine stands on it’s own merit, independent of our human ability or inability to properly follow it. Gandhi said that he would have become Christian if it weren’t for the un-Christianlike nature of Christ’s followers. If you know what is right and do not do it, it is not a failure of the doctrine, but of the person.