Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
March 25th, 2015 by Joel Watts

on Christian Unity (webcast with @Enegerion)

Introduction:

Christian Unity Party

Christian Unity Party (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I made the announcement earlier, but tonight I will be on a webcast discussing/debating/trashing my opponent regarding Christianity Unity. You should be able to access it directly here or via Youtube (see the bottom of this post).

But for now, I wanted to lay out my reasons/goals/inerrant understanding of why I believe in ChristiaUnity (see what I did there) and then I will lay out how I envision this. This is only a brief summation of both precepts.

Theological Reasons:

I draw my desire/need/wish for ultimate Christian unity from three specific passages:

  • John 17. That is easy enough. This is the Johannine Community’s admonition to the early Church (including some (little g)nostic elements) to strive for Unity. I’ve lost about half of you right now. Let me put it another way. This is Jesus’s prophetic call for the future of the Church, Jews such as Ebonites and Gentiles such as Platonists to come together to understand more fully who He really is.
  • Ephesians 4–5.21. This is not so easy. This is Deutero-Paul speaking in hope to a wider Church. Indeed, most of Ephesians can be read in the light of a Church universal. Ephesians 4.12–14 deals with the goal of Church unity, that of living into who Christ really is. You should notice a theme here. Both John 17 and Ephesians 4 calls us to be unified in order to understand just who Jesus Christ is. I think when the Church was unified at the Councils, we grasped this.
  • 2 Peter 3.10–15. These remonstrances and remembrances tell us that we can hasten the Day of God/Lord with our unity.

I believe Scripture leads us to an orthodoxy. Indeed, the canon itself comes about because of orthodoxy, with the NT developed by and developing orthodoxy. In other words, we do not have the NT unless we have the early creedal/baptismal formulas. We have the later creeds because of the NT.

Caveat: I believe orthodoxy is a tenet of Christianity, but does not make one a Christian. I believe orthodoxy and doctrinal unity serves as a guide to strengthen us as believers in Christ and shows us to a better understanding, a fuller understanding, of who Jesus is. Because that seems to be our ultimate goal (a union with Jesus), then a guide is needed. 

Eschatological Vision:

  • Christianity unity is not about one Church ruling everyone. It is about one body working together. I believe we can see how well it has worked in the West with pretending the Creeds could serve as a way to keep us unified in mission. We have Anabaptists and others who eschew the Creeds while many in the progressive side cast out wholesale Church History has some giant secret Roman society conspiracy theory. Many on the right do the same, trying to rely only on Scripture as if it is a biblical precept. This is not about the World Council of Churches, either. This polity would take the framework offered by Rome and the East and make use of that, significantly.
  • The goal is doctrinal in nature, but with a generous orthodoxy. Look at John and the Synoptics. While they are similar, they are just as different as they are similar. This should allow for a generous approach to a few things. Look at Paul. He has different arguments, even with himself! Again, a generous orthodoxy, built on the Creeds. As it shows in John 17 and Ephesians 4, our unity is meant to bring us closer to God and to the knowledge of who Jesus Christ really is.
  • I look at the Catholic Church with its various orders. I look at Orthodoxy with its various ethnic rites. They share a common creed and goal, but approach it differently and even, at times, understand things differently. Yet, they exist as one. Can we have more (g)nostic elements? Sure. There are many mystical elements/orders in the Catholic Church. Can we have more rational elements? Sure, look East.
  • A united Christianity is a missional Christianity. Right now, so many of us are concerned with “church growth” (i.e., congregational quantity) that we are no longer looking outward. In the United States, denominations are growing by stealing members from other denominations, all the while, Christianity as a whole in the US is shrinking. A united Christianity provides us with more than enough evangelistic traditions to actually go and do and go and preach and go and serve. Together.

That should be enough for now. I’ll see you tonight. By the way, for the live webcast, you can ask questions.

This will be the direct video link:

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

8 Responses to “on Christian Unity (webcast with @Enegerion)”
  1. “you can ask questions”…
    How? Video link is one way.

  2. Probably won’t ask anything. But interesting tech.

  3. Thanks for sharing that. It was fun to listen and hear your spoken voice after often reading what you have to say. I’m pro unity.

  4. I’m pro wine. I wish the UMC would allow that diversity! Afterall, they have gluton free wafers if it is so desires, in the UMC I go to. Although most members are old as heck. Maybe Geritol would be good for communion.

  5. In a serious note, based upon my experience, people don’t join a church because of creeds. Personal experience, as an example. Mormons are two groups. One, old time. Their relatives are all Mormons. They talk in loving terms of going back to Utah some day. Two, people generally join because they like the people. They are “overly” friendly. And tend to be sucked in because a loved one died. The Mormons target these people, and push the premise that their family will be united in heaven. Predatory approach. The missionaries don’t tell the new members the wacky temple ceremonies and flat out crazy theology. Jesus is just a brother, and you will be a God of your own planet world, just like him. Coco puffs.

Leave a Reply, Please!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: