Posts Tagged ‘Christian Theology’


I have always enjoyed reading the practical current events spiritual magazines/newspapers published in Canada. Most are denominationally specific. Among my top 3 were: United Church Observer, Anglican Sower and Presbyterian Record. The last two I also had the privilege to write for and share thoughts, unfortunately they are also no longer publishing (the fact they carried my works has nothing to do with the ceasing of publication I believe). One can also trace in my spiritual journey, denominations or religious traditions have not been high, I have drank and do drink from the many wells the one river feeds, yet it is the one river that I thirst for.

As I wrote a few days ago after a cascade of flashbacks triggered by a denominational prayer cycle (Read post here) it is unique that the latest issue of the United Church Observer in their Question Box column, Spiritual Solidarity, touched upon clerical unionization.

                “Clergy conflict reflect the ongoing turmoil and anxiety within the wider United Church.”

-Christopher White

Workplace and community conflicts are part of existing together. They are to be expected, what is not to be expected in civilized society is such harassment, haranguing and trauma that individuals leave their employment, or wind up with deep rooted scars. This article triggered flashbacks, part of the work of trying to rise above my flashbacks is acknowledging the pain, but also acknowledging the good I have seen and been apart of.

Obviously, the article is centred on the organic transformation within the United Church on this issue, but I can attest it crosses Christianities tradition and denominational lines. Following is a few thoughts on the good and bad I have been apart of.

“I also believe that more and more…is moving from primarily seeing ministry as a covenanted relationship to seeing it as a contractual one.”

-Christopher White

  1. The small congregation that hired me as a youth leader leaving my first experience, and then a minister. Both with contradicting missions. The congregation responding to the pain their abuse had caused catastrophe with previous ministries, allowing those with the money to run rampant. Online abuse existed before social media it was done via cc and bcc on e-mail as my character and personhood were attacked by those in the church that did not like their children/youth thinking. The harassment also continued through the office of clergy towards me, and some youth with mental health concerns. Meetings were held; then it went up to the Presbytery level to meet with the congregation and even though these meetings concerned me I was not allowed to attend. Eventually they beat you down, and I chose to surrender my ministry—yes the majority wanted to bring me on as minister, but even with mechanisms to sanction the vocal minority bullies—they refused. How did the organization reward this community? With more money, bigger space…message sent to those targeted—you do not matter.
  2. Being a Lay Professional Leader in a congregation doing things such as contemplative worship services, pulpit fill in; leading a bible study. Yet the wealthy in the aging congregation got their tempest in a tea pot over kids at play, noise, and the online attack campaign begun. Unwillingness again to call out a spade as a spade from those higher due to—yup you guessed it—money at play as donors.
  3. Stalked on and harassed via social media by a congregation and their pastor—why? As a family, we attempted to advertise our home bible study and potluck on the church Facebook page. My wife encouraged to distance herself from me and my unChrist-like influence. When she refused, and we chose to leave as a family those that said they were our “friends” shunned us like leaving a cult.
  4. My son’s joyful noise at a Santa Clause service being called out in vehement anger by the minister and called to leave service. Shunned by the supposedly “inclusive” spiritual home. In the moment those who preached standing up for injustice became the bystanders while the bully postured and the bullied was left believing he was on Santa’s naughty list.
  5. In Bible College having a professor point blank tell the class when I answered in favour of inclusion “that is why your church must die”…and being taunted in the halls as the “fag church member” still standing strong and up as best I could, leaving the learning environment to be battered in my “church homes” as I tried to build ministries.
  6. Para-church directors head hunting to fire me for my political and/or theological beliefs not aligning with their personal understanding.
  7. Being the family scape goated by an ill-equipped children’s educational ministry, because we had the “special needs kid” and not looking seriously at the bullying issue by the children of the long term generational members, and having the “r word” used to describe my son.
  8. Hearing during service a priest being called out on the rug because he took a stand for inclusion of God’s children, and love for those who are differently abled.

That is the darkness. Some can see through that a need for the mediating voice, but a union is not just there for the darkness, they are there to create a support network for successes. A place where the story can be shared for what has transformed, what has been overcome, and can create a relationship where clergy can easily move between denominations.

  1. I have been apart of wonderful churches that have had no actual building. Where ministries and retreats for youth were sponsored by church family members (with or without kids) in their own homes.
  2. I have been there when seniors have continued to answer the call to serve our children as they closed in on 100 years old, as we created “Elders Time” where a big comfy chair was created and the Elder could share the story, and then have the youth be their hands and legs for the activity.
  3. I have seen the passion of inclusion, where walls were broken down and churches laughed off the “tradition” of church youth/community youth time tables to have open youth group for all where spiritual formation was encouraged, and critical thought.
  4. I have seen youth and young families forego the “contemporary” service to be apart of the old liturgical service because it is where the seniors were, and allowed those without grandparents to find that role in their life in church.
  5. I have broken bread, shared meals, lifted many families and friends within my own home around simple things as movie discussion nights, bible studies…where life was done for those shunned by churches they did not fit the mold for due to life circumstance, simple acts of kindness and love allowed the journey to continue… and yes, the noise of children is apart of that.
  6. A Children’s Ministry coordinator coming and speaking directly to my son about coming and being part of the group, not asking us, asking him and listening close for his body language and spastic voice if he wanted to come.
  7. Having a priest during High Mass while blessing the host pause, as my son cheers loudly, and state to the congregation overflowing, “May we all have that excitement to be one with Jesus!”
  8. A minister that contacts my son about if he wants to be in the Christmas pageant, and then the congregation learns about inclusionary communication tools.
  9. Simple things, like a free half day Vacation Bible School that I was blessed to be apart of growing up, and then my teacher asking if my daughter would attend as they are re-launching (and yes, this past summer she learned some French!).
  10. Offering scholarships for VBS’s that have a cost so no child is turned away.
  11. Celebrating the diversity in our unity as spiritual beings from who we are to where we are from…whether it is being Affirming or Dancing our Offering to the Altar to everything in between and not even dreamed of yet.
  12. A Priest taking the flack for replacing offering over two weeks of masses to ensure the food cupboard is overflowing with blessing.
  13. A nun that gathers toys to deliver with food hampers to families in need, and when families without homes sleep in the church ensure that even the volunteers have what they need.
  14. A priest that is troubled by persons with mobility issues not being able to get to the dining hall with dignity for church meals, installs and elevator.
  15. A priest that volunteers with homeless families and realizes they do not have the opportunity to shower in the parish before going out for their day. Installs showers, and announces offering from that weekend needs to be generous to pay for it.

For every horror story there is good stories, even great ones. Yet we cannot say the good outweighs the bad. We cannot say “this is church” to allow for the bullying. People are essentially good. We need to be generous in our ability to do what we can to build a better world, one simple act of kindness at a time.

A union for church employees on the surface may be something to be scoffed at, but it creates a mediating body, removes the ability of congregations or higher church authorities to cover up for PR reasons. It creates an environment with standardized codes of care and conduct that cannot be shouted down due to the “wealthy donor” paradigm. It levels the playing field, much like the gospels pointed to.

This is my story, my experience, my opinion. My act of reconciliation as the story stands, the truth told…now it is time to move forward…into a new day, and a hopeful healthier relationship in the congregation we have settled in.


English: Resurrection of Christ

English: Resurrection of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Introduction

Strong’s (1903) Systematic Theology: A compendium designed for the use of theological students within its three volumes more than lives up to the turn of phrase compendium. This writer not being a strong proponent of systematic, but rather a more holistic interdisciplinary methodology finds Strong’s exhaustive meta-narrative/analysis. He is a thorough compiler that presents an almost three thousand page tomb on the Western understanding of theology and how this discipline was grown. One step at a time, unfortunately it is not truly an exhaustive focus as it does have the Western Church bias, ignoring half the world of theology, which would fit the Orthodox/Coptic style of theology which is more mystic than systematic.

Strong as with most of his contemporaries in systematic at the end of the 19th beginning of the 20th century attempt to bring the modern scientific movement into the fold of Christianity and more importantly into what they try and sell as the “hard” science of theology. What Strong produced was a pre-1903 encyclopedia of biased and slanted understanding of the sciences, social sciences and liberal arts that propped up his own understanding of the faith.

109 years on is this compendium still relevant in light of the move towards more integral, missional, intentional, emergent and wisdom systems of theology that tend to take a holistic perspective not only of the person, but the community and the story of the church? As one reads through Strong’s 1903 compendium the answer to the previous question more and more becomes no, as Strong shows his out datedness for the contemporary context of the Body of Christ.

Summary

Strong has built a meta-journey for the systematic theologian in the Western world. Page 2 illuminates that the only revealer of God is Christ Jesus. He then goes on to point out that both philosophy and science are good servants of Christ unless they rule out the Son of God (Strong, 4).  This is the baseline established as the compendium launches forward.

Revival is crucial for the life of churches as without it they will become secularized, missions will die out, and in a Revelations reference the candlestick will be removed (Strong, 5). This is the driving force that opens up the three volumes before the reader. It is within the homiletical nature of the book that Strong hopes to communicate the passion of systematic (p.6) for the truth that will move believers that the Trinity is an antidote to the false doctrine which has and presently threatens the church (Strong, 5).

Strong holds to the belief throughout that theology is science (27) and that its aim is to discover (28).  Theology holds a threefold purpose (29-30):

  1. Existence of God who has relations to the universe.
  2. In the capacity of the human mind for knowing God and certain of these relations.
  3. Provision of means by which God is brought into actual contact with the mind, or in other words, in the provision of revelation.

This science of discovery with its threefold purpose is the underpinning of the journey through systematic history to prove that each and every “orthodox” doctrine is true, while those that do not fit Strong’s systematic pattern are cast aside as heresy.

The question though is does this systematic process hold water today?

Interpretation

By equating theology to science, in the historical context it is obvious Strong is attempting to discredit evolution unless it allows for the incarnate Word. Yet what is really happening is that by equating theology to science Strong is hamstringing the art that is theology by confining it to a didactic method that is incomprehensible for the purpose.

The purpose of theology should be to understand the heart of God more for the believer, as noted in Canate’s (2012) Interdisciplinary Method in Christian Theology? In search of a working proposal opens up the third millennium context where this narrow of a focus does not hold sway. Correction, should not hold sway, unfortunately there is still a strong drive to not allow for Godly advancement in theology due to the unwavering belief that our understanding of God does not change.

This is the trap that systematic done encyclopedic has upon the Body of Christ. It lends itself to the once proven, never need to think about again dogma or the old chestnut of “the Bible says it, that’s it” usually applied to some belief that may never have been found in the Bible, or that has never been thought about since some thinker of the Fourth century CE came up with the theory that has then been indoctrinated in believers since.

This is the fallacy of theology as a science, for it lends itself to a method that must be reproducible. Regardless of time and space a believer should come to a doctrine, and be able to reproduce the systematic to come to the exact same conclusion just as one working out the solution of a physics formula. Unfortunately our God does not exist within a systematic box as the history of the Christianities proves by how often there is a reformation or restoration to the Heart of Christ.

Whether it was the “official” historical Reformation of the 1500’s, or the Great Renewals, the Great Schism; the Avalon Captivity (of the Papacy); the rise of the Franciscans, Jesuits, and Dominicans, the Social Gospel, or Liberation Theology each one shares in kind a move beyond simple systematic to a practical and pragmatic theology lived out from the heart of the Gospel story.

Which is the soul that is missing from Strong’s threefold possibility of theology (29-30):

  1. Existence of God who has relations to the universe.
  2. In the capacity of the human mind for knowing God and certain of these relations.
  3. Provision of means by which God is brought into actual contact with the mind, or in other words, in the provision of revelation.

How do these threefold possibilities hold up 109 years later? Let’s take them apart point by point:

 

  1. Existence of God who has relations to the universe.

Yes God has relations to the universe, but it is more than simply relations. From a wisdom theological perspective it is a mutual existence within one another. One where God rests inside Her creation and the creation rests within Him. A perspective that infuses all with the sacred, and rises up the ideal of coexisting as the caretaker of creation, both male and female created and bearing God’s image, infused with the life of breath, not just a “relation”.

  1. The capacity of the human mind for knowing God and certain of these relations.

At first read this second fold appears to be stating that humans can know relations of God, the unfortunate piece is that it does not hold to a holistic viewpoint of the human experience with God. Not a mind/soul/emotion/body of knowing God, but rather a platonic dualism where the mind can know but it is disconnected from that which is deemed “evil” thank to St. Augustine in the body and the transmission of original sin.

  1. Provision of means by which God is brought into actual contact with the mind, or in other words, in the provision of revelation.

Again, the final fold reveals an unwillingness to see that revelation from God is more than just a mind activity. It is a whole person contact that moves one into the revelation of God for them, but then takes it one step further as Revelations shows with sharing with the seven churches, or Acts 15 with the Jerusalem council. The revelation is holistic for the person, which is then taken into the community and shared, verified and lived out. Practical theology.

A strong example of this is found in the Acts of the Apostles chapter 10, more specifically here:

About noon the next day, as they were on their journey and approaching                                    the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and                                   wanted something to eat; and while it was being prepared, he fell into a                               trance. 11 He saw the heaven opened and something like a large sheet                                coming down, being lowered to the ground by its four corners. 12 In it were                            all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 Then                               he heard a voice saying, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By                     no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or                                       unclean.” 15 The voice said to him again, a second time,                                                         “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.”16 This happened                         three times, and the thing was suddenly taken up to heaven.

                                17 Now while Peter was greatly puzzled about what to make of the vision                           that he had seen, suddenly the men sent by Cornelius appeared. They                                     were asking for Simon’s house and were standing by the gate.

(Acts 10:9-17, New Revised Standard Version).

The key points this revelation from God shows is that it is not only a “mind” thing, but rather God opens up Peter’s life and experience, the revelation of the gospel to the gentiles is centered on a bodily need of hunger, and then moves to a challenging emotional situation as Peter begins to argue with God about what is clean and unclean, the reason though takes hold in the mind that he is essentially arguing with the creator of everything, but it finally rests in verses 15-16 where God uses the holy three repetitions to point out that he needs to get up, kill and eat for what God has made clean no one can call profane (unclean).

The three repetitions also reminds the hearer/reader of another time Peter had to experience statements three times, and this was the three fold questioning by the resurrected Christ to become the minister of the flock. Christ, the ultimate holistic revelation of God’s Word, as the Word became flesh. A revelation that was truly more than just to the mind of the world. Christ is the revelation that is still living and breathing, and for God to be truly revealed it must not only sink into one’s mind but make the eighteen inch move to their heart. This is where systematic, and this compendium fall short because it reduces the knowing of God into nothing more than an academic exercise to prove God and disprove everything else.

How does Strong contradict himself up to this point? Simple, he holds to the idea of revelation to the mind, yet points out that scripture (Word of God) is the chief Christian revelation (70). The hang up though is that the scripture in our Bibles’ is but one form of the Word of God, the true Word of God is the Cosmic Christ, and that removes the revelation to simply the mind as noted above.

While Strong holds that theology is a rational necessity (52) it is more than that. Theology is the seeking of God by any believer as they move from being simply a believer to being a disciple and eventually within community to discerning their vocational call. This call is where the theology and even religion move from the theoretical, to as Strong stipulates, to the useful it becomes practical for the believer (Strong, 65).

There are some highlights within the compendium that one should be aware of. Due to its exhaustive nature it does eventually show a balanced relation to the systematic understanding of faith. Strong does place theologians and philosophers as complimentary in the exercise of understanding the science that is theology.

Strong does step out of the early 20th century mindset in volume two of this work as he walks through the doctrine of angels to prove that it is through a systematic understanding of this doctrine that one realizes this universe is simply a piece of reality (Strong, 133). The challenge however is that this statement points to a broader understanding/experience of the Holy Mystery, but one that is not to be grasped outside the box of only knowing God mentally.

Which then contradicts what happens within the third volume where Strong exegetes church structure from the writings of the New (Christian) Testament. The conclusion being that the Law of the church should simply be the will of Christ (Strong, 225). Unfortunately Christ is a whole person/community experience, not just of the mind so using this as the benchmark for the governance of the church it tears apart the earlier systematic established in his threefold possibilities.

This contradiction of the threefold possibilities of theology takes us back to the first volume where Strong reflects on the ancient Creeds of the church that these are not declarations of faith, but rather responses to ongoing heresies of their time (Strong, 57). Historically it may or may not be accurate (as the victors or survivors write history) to state that these Creeds were denials of ongoing heresy. Since most emerged from Ecumenical Councils (Nicene) or allegedly written by Bishops (Athanasius) it can lend credence to this viewpoint. However, the functionality of these documents since their writing has been more catechumenal than heretical battling. What does that mean? These creeds (and ones written later by other denominations to be used alongside or in place of) are now used as teaching tools to open up the dialogue with new believers during the discipleship process. They are used in response to the Great Commission to go forth and make disciples; they are used to form the personal and communal promises during the rites of passage sacraments. The Creeds (ancient and modern) are made highly practical tools to aid the discipling of the Body of Christ as they enter into the lived revelation of God.

Conclusion

It is rare that a compendium so thorough of the western systematic theology throughout time could be viewed so harshly. The view does not come from whether or not this compendium may prove a useful tool, or to whether or not systematic theology in its proper time and place had not been a useful tool. The unfortunate part is even though our world is growing, changing, and adapting. Even though our understanding of how to come to scripture is changing there is still this belief in equipping the next wave of “professionals” within the church that a solid understanding of systematic is the way to produce a vital ministry.

Systematic theology while useful, is not still useful in the context of the shrinking world into a global village, the information explosion, and the deeper understanding of what it means to be human. For it is within the revelation of the image of God/Christ, that we truly experience God. Within the wisdom theology that has been long suppressed, that it becomes evident that all is sacred and we need to become open in this process to living the sacred.

 

Reference

Canate, F. (2012) Interdisciplinary Method in Christian Theology? In search of a working             proposal retrieved from            https://ntsmoodle.com/mod/resource/view.php?inpopup=true&id=281 24   November 2012.

Strong, A.H. (1903). Systematic Theology: A Compendium designed for the use of           theological students retrieved from        https://ntsmoodle.com/mod/resource/view.php?inpopup=true&id=108 27             November 2012.

 


English: Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Roman...

English: Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Roman Catholic Church, 168 Hill Street, Southampton, . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Introduction

Since the Ascension of Jesus circa 30-34 CE in which afterwards the disciples answered the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20 (Contemporary English Version):

16 Jesus’ eleven disciples went to a mountain in Galilee, where Jesus had told them to meet   him.17 They saw him and worshiped him, but some of them doubted.

                        18 Jesus came to them and said:

I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth! 19 Go to the people of all nations and make   them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 20 and             teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.

Each disciple brought their own flavour and understanding of the Cross to the disciple making policy. This has created a glut of divergent theologies throughout the history of the Christianities. From the pseudo-unity of the early church, that was held together by spit and bailing wire of the Ecumenical Councils that came undone with the Patriarch-Pope spat that culminated in 1054 CE with the mutual excommunications. From there the tree would continue to create new buds with the religious orders within the Roman Catholic Church, that then created whole new branches with the Protestant Reformation of the 1500’s CE with Zwingli, Calvin, and Luther, eventually Henry VIII that then would continue with multiple denominational fractionizing that has brought us to the 1000’s of variances within practice that keep the church apart.

These micro-walls need to be overcome by the macro bridges of interdisciplinary theology. A theology that is ecumenical, that bridges across the small dissimilarities and unifies the Body of Christ within our similarities, which are far more plentiful than we wish to admit on a daily basis. Canate’s paper Interdisciplinary Method in Christian Theology? In search of a working proposal is an attempt to create these bridges and present an understanding of God that is not so much encyclopedic as it is living (p.3).

This paper will not only summarize Canate’s thoughts, but spend time unpacking if this proposal is workable or if there is another way to build an interdisciplinary theology for the church of the 21st Century.

Summary

Canate took a leap of faith in producing this proposal. As he aptly pointed out for 200 years and beyond the practice of theology was one of encyclopedic reference, unfortunately with the information explosion of the 21st century this way of practice has become impossible (3). The role of the proposal is to overcome the divisive glut of theology and to build into an ecumenical theology for the new millennium (Canate, 1). To continue to build upon what Biblical scholar Childs’ stipulates success in our ability to engage within an interdisciplinary dialogue (Canate, 3).

Canate grows from this into a discourse within the confines of Sola Scriptura, the standard of the Protestant Reformation and that this method should not only be identified within the scientific context (4). The definition of method is “with or in the way” (5), as a result then method is an action (6) and to broaden within theology there are two main methods: Structural (inherent complexity in the teleogical principal) and Hermeneutical (diversity of ways: cognitive & hermeneutical principals are interpreted by theologians) (10).

Canate takes a short detour of a meta-analysis of the history of western theology, before stepping out into the idea that for 17 centuries Christian Theology was done in the confines of systematic (dogmatic) theology (13) and it was not until the mid-18th Century Biblical Theology rose to prominence (13). It was this stylistic, Biblical Theology that centered on historicity by adopting the historical critical method of the Enlightenment as a critique of the systematic method (14).

From the history Canate moves to the proposal for interdisciplinary theology that is needed due to the historical process in which the science of theology has divided itself (16). The approach to the field is presented from a fundamental theological perspective (18) that lends itself to the Sola Scriptura. Within Sola Scriptura Canate presents three levels (20):

  1. Foundations: philosophy and disciplines of theology.
  2. Theory: biblical & systematic studies.
  3. Practice.

The main thrust being that Biblical & Systematic Theology need to realize that they are not only theoretical (Canate, 22), but also must be practically applicable within the life of the Body of Christ. Canate has crafted an intriguing proposal, but the question is does the proposal work?

Interpretation

Canate hit the nail on the head with the idea that the church theology is divisive. Canate lends this to the confessional and philosophical thinking of modern theologians (Canate, 2). Canate does on to define philosophical as transcendental, existential, empirical, and socio-phenomenological while confessional is the Roman Catholic and Protestant explanations of their faith (2). The nail was hit because this once more shows the modern practice of compartmentalization, instead of presenting the holistic form and the organic growth we have gone through we as a people like to say well this is philosophical, this is church, instead of realizing it all comes from the same source.

Which is the underlying and presented thesis of Canate, this divisiveness is not healthy or useful in this third millennium. In a world that is smaller and more connected than any time in human history, more specialized, and with more information available it is impossible for any one voice or person to be the final authority on all. God’s revelation needs to be grown to include all disciplines and understanding that have been given to humanity throughout history. It is through dialogue with one another that we can truly illuminate the stories of God with Her people, and His people with God. Through dialogue that we can see how the social sciences, sciences, and liberal arts speak into and throughout theology, not only that drawn out of the scriptures but into the scriptures.

This dialogue is then taken one step further, or needs to be taken one step further, for it is not only the academic disciplines in this day and age that need to be in conversation, but an acknowledgment of the individual circumstances and context of not only the time of the original story, but the time in which the story is being heard today.

The next step though is also to be prayerful, for it is the moving of the Holy Spirit within the discourse that will open up the will of God and the Truth to those gathered within the Body of Christ in this millennium. We tend to look back on the past and the ancient practices and say how simple they were, or they did not have this or that, but what they had was faithful hearing of the Spirit and this is what truly needs to be recaptured within the church.

As for Canate’s stance that it needs to be within the Sola Scritpura that this dialogue happens (4) is selling short the 1500 years before the Protestant Reformation for having anything to lend to the process. Acts 15 opens us up to the first Ecumenical Council held in Jerusalem to decide prayerfully what new converts to the way had to adhere to. This is a strong example that Sola Scriptura may not be the methodology to adhere to, for it is within the council that they practiced what Jesus practiced on the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Not the letter of the Law, or the adherence to the commentary on the Law, but cutting to the spirit of the Law and what it truly meant for believers. This was done in healthy discourse by those anointed to the Apostolic Office

At first blush it appears as if the Ecumenical Council method is contrary to Sola Scriptura yet according to Canate brings in three levels (20):

  1. Foundations: philosophy and disciplines of theology.
  2. Theory: biblical & systematic studies.
  3. Practice.

Canate actually presents his own three legged stool for theological discourse. The stool holding to the idea of Tradition, Scripture, and Reason (with a fourth leg added recently for Experience) here there is somewhat of a parallel with Foundations which can be viewed as Tradition that which builds the bedrock the rest comes upon. Theory can parallel Reason, and practice culminates with experience. Scripture and Sola Scriptura becomes the seat that is held up by the other three legs.

Unwittingly Canate shapes a theory based from the last few centuries, referencing a point from the Protestant Reformation 600 years ago, which parallels a theory that has grown from the Ecumenical councils that can then be tied back to scripture itself from the Jerusalem Council of Acts of the Apostles chapter 15.

The core of the proposal being to answer the question being can there be an interdisciplinary method in Christian Theology? The answer is that we have always had an interdisciplinary method whether or not we have recognized it. The new question that arises is can we get back to our roots and grow an interdisciplinary method that can give the multiple Christianities a strong root system in our tree of life that is the Body of Christ within the world? If the Body is willing to heed to words of St. Paul around the Body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12:12 (New Living Translation): “12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.” We are divided only because we choose not to recognize that one another’s language is saying the same thing.

Conclusion

Whether one titles it the three levels of Sola Scriptura or the Four Legged Stool or the Ecumenical Councils what arises is a confirmation that St. Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 (Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition):

          One Body with Many Members

                12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body,      though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized        into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

                14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say,       “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a       part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong         to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were       an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the       sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as   he chose. 19 If all were a single organ, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are             many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor            again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the         body which seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and those parts of the body which we         think less honorable we invest with the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are        treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God            has so adjusted the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part, 25 that there may be       no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26      If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

                27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has            appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of         miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. 29            Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all     possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly             desire the higher gifts.

And I will show you a still more excellent way

The essence of interdisciplinary theology is like the move of missiology to intercultural studies, no longer one does all know, but rather collaboratively we will work to discern the calling and Truth of God upon our lives. The move from encyclopedic to specialize becomes irrelevant because it is the Biblical concept that each of us has our role to play within the Body of Christ, and it is time we honoured that vocation.

By honouring the individual’s vocation within the community we are able to see the whole picture, come together and share in an open and honest dialogue. This being done prayerfully, allows the micro walls of denominationalisms to crumble within the Christianities, and macro bridges to be built. It allows for a truly catholic (universal) discourse of beliefs of followers of the Living Cosmic Christ.

These discourses can then move us from narrowed Christianities, to a truly inclusive Christendom, neigh better, Body of Christ to reach out to and transform the world. The first step is whether or not the Body of Christ in the here and now 21st Century is willing?

Reference

Canate, F. (2012) Interdisciplinary Method in Christian Theology? In search of a working             proposal retrieved from            https://ntsmoodle.com/mod/resource/view.php?inpopup=true&id=281 24   November 2012.