an obession with first principles

Recent Thoughts

Posted: Monday Nov 2nd | Author: JohnO | Filed under: Contemporary Church, Dialogue, History | View Comments

Lately I’ve been reading a bit of Luther, and plenty of well written articles about conversations between Catholics and Protestants. Yea, it is quite a bit to read.

To be sure, both approaches to ecclesiology and Scripture aren’t congruent with one another. Coming from a theological ghetto, this is a compass by which I may judge the night sky that is Christendom. Cross’s comments concerning the liturgy match my own thoughts. It is almost scary. I find much of the Anglo-Catholic praxis, ecclesiology, and liturgy persuasive. That said, I still have reservations I am working through.

My largest reservation is, what I perceive to be, a massive redefinition of power by Jesus in his passion and crucifixion. That said, the papacy throughout history has seemed to work according to the ways of the worldly institutions. I am supremely impressed with Rowan William’s refusal to wield any power he might have as a worldly leader might. I will be the first to agree that most leaders will abuse power, and that is a shame and should be resisted. However, it is another thing to create such an inappropriate power through canon law.

Secondly, I have no way to determine what the line between an acceptable and unacceptable accretion is. There doesn’t appear to be a defining line within Catholicism either. It appears to an outsider that whatever opinion gains sway in the magisterium will become canon law. Were these new opinions (it doesn’t appear that much new in the way of law or councils has occurred) considered in terms of ecclesiastical unity? It doesn’t appear so to an outsider. Protestantism, perhaps narrowly, has defined that line. Anglican’s seem to hold to two principles regarding the question of orthodox; “always, everywhere, everyone”, and “all may, none must, some should”. That puts both questions of additions to the definition of orthodox belief, and giving ecumenical thought on the table. Though it does not solve them conclusively – and even that might be a good thing. And I am aware that the first principle was first uttered against Augustine’s theology.

Still working on all this. It is fun, and tough.

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