Same job, different uniform.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Caution: Religious Post Ahead

Just when you despair of anyone taking religion seriously, you read a paragraph or two from First Things. It is easy to feel affection for men like Richard John Neuhaus, even while disagreeing with him, because he can be discouraged by the state of the Christian church but still persevere.

This week he discusses the ordination of homosexuals and its effect on the Church, intended or otherwise (via the First Things website):

"...I expect that fifty years ago absolutely nobody entertained the possibility that in the mainline/oldline Protestant churches, and in ecumenical relations more generally, homosexuality would be such a decisive issue in defining Christian orthodoxy. But...the division is about much more than homosexuality. That is simply the immediate issue that has forced the question of the status of normative theological truth, if indeed there is such a thing as normative theological truth, in these bodies. [Please explain "normative theological truth" for me. Someone? Please?] Many Catholics and evangelical Protestants are inclined to dismiss these controversies in Lutheran, Episcopal, and other oldline churches, simply offering a thankful sigh that it is their problem and not ours. But it really is our problem, too. Those in the oldline denominations are also brothers and sisters in Christ, and we who are supposed to think in terms of centuries should try to think at least ten or thirty years ahead, asking what our relationship will be with these Christians who are, as Vatican II puts it, in "a certain but imperfect" communion with the Catholic Church.

[What unfortunate nonsense. When will the Catholic Church see that the holy, catholic church IS One? Its imperfection is an indication of our nature not our denomination.]

It is hard to know what the future of these communions might be. Their reborn vitality in Europe is difficult to envision. There are strong Anglican and Lutheran churches in the Southern hemisphere, mainly in Africa. In this country, there are energetic "confessional movements" in these bodies, as well as in Methodism, but these movements know they are fighting an uphill battle. It is conceivable, and perhaps likely, that in the next thirty years the oldline denominations will continue to shrink in size, self-confidence, and influence. As the oldline continues to segue into the sideline, there is no guarantee that evangelicals and Catholics will take up the slack."

He is right of course. There is no guarantee who will take up the slack. But there is a guarantee that God's universal church will not fail because Christ is in charge. Isn't that our comfort in life and death?

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2 Comments:

Blogger H. C. said...




Thought provoking as always, girlfriday...

basically a normative theological truth would be a theologal truth would be one that contains a what ought to be, or how it should be. Not just a descriptive truth.

Probably a less than helpful defintion google "define:normative" and that'll probably be more useful. Maybe an example would help...noone in a PCUSA church would have a problem with saying "You get to God through Jesus." But, if you say, "You only get to God through Jesus." Well then, you're likely to have to have a chat with the elders and elderettes about how uninclusive you are. See, that "only" is normative. It's prescriptive, or a rule. That's bad in what Neuhaus calls the oldline churches.

Come to think of it, that's bad in pretty much every corner of America.

I'll pass on the rest of the quote, since we've come close enough to crossing swords on my slice o'blogosphere this week. Don't need to do it over here. But since you asked for help on that term... 8-)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

 
Blogger girlfriday said...




You're right--that wasn't terribly helpful. Then again I'm blonde.

Were we crossing swords? It was more like me waving a butter knife around.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

 

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