Generous Orthodoxy  

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The great god of diversity

A parish describes itself this way on its web site:
We are an urban parish whose vitality springs from the diversity of the congregation.

This sort of statement is de rigueur in the mainline churches today. No mention of the Holy Spirit, no reference to God, no identification of Jesus Christ who said, "I am the vine, you are the branches." The Church's one foundation is no longer Jesus Christ her Lord, but Diversity. It has become ludicrous; I have been in more than one parish where the congregation proudly proclaims its "diversity" when the only diversity that can be seen with the naked eye is that a few parishioners do not have grey hair. It is all part of the ubiquitous tendency to remove agency from God and give it to the congregation.

Moreover, this emphasis on diversity illustrates the way in which the mainline churches have allowed themselves to become groups of political constituencies each claiming its rights.

Apropos of this:

An article by Michael Tomasky (American Prospect, link below) is the talk of the nation right now. It is closely related to problems not only in the Democratic Party but in the Church. The "liberal" seminaries and the mainline-church decision-making bodies have the same problem as the Democratic Party: "rights" and "diversity" have become gods while the "common good" is neglected.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Ten Evangelical Affirmations

A year ago when this blog was so new that no one was reading it, I proposed a list of evangelical affirmations. Now more than ever, it seems to me that "generously orthodox" Christians need to put forward a case for broadening the term "evangelical" more intentionally, to include "left" as well as "right." The sharp divisions among evangelicals is a grave problem threatening our witness.

I am repeating my proposals now, and will continue to do so from time to time.
This list, expanded from eight to ten, seems to me to define "evangelical" as I understand and use the word myself. I call myself either a "liberal evangelical" or, more accurately, a "postliberal."

Ten evangelical affirmations (proposed):

--Jesus Christ is the only-begotten incarnate Son of God the Father.

--Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah of Israel, hailed by Moses and Elijah, the one in whom the New Covenant prophesied by Jeremiah is fulfilled.

--In the Crucifixion, the Triune God gave himself in the person of his Son, for us and in our place, the righteous for the unrighteous.

--The Cross and Resurrection were a single definitive act of God to overcome Sin, conquer Death, defeat the Evil One on his own turf, and inaugurate the new reality called the Kingdom of God.

--The Holy Scriptures are the true revelation of God's own self, and the Bible is therefore unique among writings and can be trusted as the living and active Word of God.

--We are incorporated into the new life of God for now and for all eternity through baptism, justified by grace alone, through the gift of faith.

--The Holy Spirit is actively at work in the world shaping both events and people to bring his ultimate redemptive purpose to pass.

--God in Christ is gathering disciples, the saints of God, who embody his purposes through the ministry of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

--It is the very essence of Christian faith to bear witness to this story of God, and therefore to make his gospel known to all nations and peoples.

--We look to the future of God, when Jesus Christ will come again in great glory to rectify all that is wrong and bring all things to their appointed consummation.