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CHRISTIANITY

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  1. CHRISTIANITY How did we get from Jesus to this:

  2. UNDERSTANDING THE DIVERSITY • Competing Visions of the Church • Competing Visions of Salvation • Competing Visions of Church, World and Reign of God relationship • Competing Visions of God

  3. Conflict and Self-Definition • Montanists • Modalism • Now is the Age of the Spirit • Divine personal on-going revelation • Ecstatic prophesy that fulfilled the words of the Apostles • Once you fell into sin you could not be redeemed again after baptism • Strict ascetic life style. • Tertullian became a strong supporter • Gnostics • Cosmic Dualism – Radical is actual existence of Good (spirit) and Evil (material) forces at work; mitigated dualism in which one principle is subservient to another; • Ascetical – self-denial of material to reach out to the spirit. • Salvation through some special form of insight (secret knowledge) moving you into closer union with divine (Word) • Docetism • Jesus only appeared human • Did not believe in the Eucharist (How could the bread and wine be his flesh if he didn’t have flesh) • Tatian • Proposed the Diatesseron (a writing combining the four gospels) as the single witness to Jesus. • Highly ascetical lifestyle – everyone has to be a virgin to be a Christian • Form of gnostic thought • Marcion (failed to be chosen to be bishop of Rome) • Radical dualism – God of Old Testament is identified as evil because he created materiality. Jesus is seen as liberating us from the material. • Came to reject New Testament except the 10 letters of Paul and a shortened version of Luke. • Donatism • Strict adherence. The Church can only be of Saints.

  4. DEFINING JESUS AND GOD • Jesus as Human and Divine and God as Trinity mark Christianity as a distinct form of monotheism. • Arianism • God the Father and Jesus are not of one substance. The oneness comes from being begotten by the Father and their thought and will. • The Father is the only true God. The son is begotten and the Spirit is begotten through the Son and is subservient to the Son as the Son is to the Father. • Nestorianism • Two natures and two substances joined • Rejected statements like God suffered or God was crucified because it was only his human substance that was crucified. • Mother of Christ and not Mother of God. • Pneumatomachi (semi-arians) • Denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit • Claimed that was more like an Angel.

  5. The First Council of Nicea (325) • We believe in one God the Father all powerful, maker of all things both seen and unseen. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten begotten from the Father, that is from the substance [Gr. ousias, Lat. substantia] of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten [Gr. gennethenta, Lat. natum] not made [Gr. poethenta, Lat. factum], CONSUBSTANTIAL [Gr. homoousion, Lat. unius substantiae (quod Graeci dicunt homousion)] with the Father, through whom all things came to be, both those in heaven and those in earth; for us humans and for our salvation he came down and became incarnate, became human, suffered and rose up on the third day, went up into the heavens, is coming to judge the living and the dead. And in the holy Spirit. • And those who say • "there once was when he was not", and "before he was begotten he was not", and that • he came to be from • things that were not, or • from another hypostasis [Gr. hypostaseos] or substance [Gr. ousias, Lat. substantia], • affirming that the Son of God is subject to change or alteration • these the catholic and apostolic church anathematises. • The First Council of Constantinople (381) • Against Arians and a Pneumatomachi group who denied the full Godhead of the Holy Spirit. At its peak, c.380, the group contained a more conservative section which, while rejecting the Divinity of the Holy Spirit, accepted the consubstantiality of the Son, and a radical party which rejected this also. • And in the Spirit, the holy, the lordly and life-giving one, proceeding forth from the Father, co-worshipped and co-glorified with Father and Son, the one who spoke through the prophets; in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. We confess one baptism for the forgiving of sins. We look forward to a resurrection of the dead and life in the age to come. Amen.

  6. The First Council of Ephesus (381) • When we had gathered together in accordance with the pious decree in the metropolis of Ephesus, some separated themselves from us, a little more than thirty in number. The leader of this apostasy was John, bishop of Antioch, and their names are as follows: First the same John, bishop of Antioch in Syria, [the names of 33 other eastern bishops follow] • These men, despite the fact that they were members of the ecclesiastical community, had no licence either to do harm through their priestly dignity or to do good, because some among their number had already been deposed. Their support of the views of Nestorius and was clearly shown by their refusal to condemn Nestorius together with us. By a common decree the sacred synod has expelled them from ecclesiastical communion and deprived them of the exercise of their priestly office, through which they have been able to harm some and help others. • If anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is God in truth, and therefore that the holy virgin is the mother of God (for she bore in a fleshly way the Word of God become flesh, let him be anathema. • 2. If anyone does not confess that the Word from God the Father has been united by hypostasis with the flesh and is one Christ with his own flesh, and is therefore God and man together, let him be anathema. • 3. If anyone divides in the one Christ the hypostases after the union, joining them only by a conjunction of dignity or authority or power, and not rather by a coming together in a union by nature, let him be anathema.

  7. The Council of Chalcedon (451) • But there are those who are trying to ruin the proclamation of the truth, and through their private heresies they have spawned novel formulas: • some by daring to corrupt the mystery of the Lord's economy on our behalf, and refusing to apply the word"God-bearer" to the Virgin; and • others by introducing a confusion and mixture, and mindlessly imagining that there is a single nature of the flesh and the divinity, and fantastically supposing that in the confusion the divine nature of the Only-begotten is passible. • Therefore this sacred and great and universal synod, now in session, in its desire to exclude all their tricks against the truth, and teaching what has been unshakeable in the proclamation from the beginning, • decrees that the creed of the 318 fathers is, above all else, to remain inviolate. And because of those who oppose the holy Spirit, it • ratifies the teaching about the being of the holy Spirit handed down by the 150 saintly fathers who met some time later in the imperial city • -- the teaching they made known to all, • not introducing anything left out by their predecessors, but clarifying their ideas about the holy Spirit by the use of scriptural testimonies against those who were trying to do away with his sovereignty. • And because of those who are attempting to corrupt the mystery of the economy and are shamelessly and foolishly asserting that he who was born of the holy virgin Mary was a mere man, it has accepted • the synodical letters of the blessed Cyril, [already accepted by the Council of Ephesus] pastor of the church in Alexandria, to Nestorius and to the Orientals, as being well-suited to refuting Nestorius's mad folly and to providing an interpretation for those who in their religious zeal might desire understanding of the saving creed. • Schism of 1054 Roots found in Chalcedon with the proclamation of Constantinople having a privileged place.

  8. God as Trinity • Monarchianism or adoptionism proposed that Jesus became Christ at his baptism and was adopted by the Father after his death. • Sabellianism or modalism stressed that the one God reveals Godself in three different ways. • Arianism de-accentuated the divinity of Christ and a semi-arianism talked of Christ as being similar in essence to the Father but subordinate to God the Father. • Macedonianism claimed that the Holy Spirit was a created being. • The crux of the matter then is • how to understand the unity of the three persons of the Trinity as co-eternal, co-equal and yet distinct, • how to understand each of those persons as fully God, not just in terms of activity but of self, yet, they are not three gods but one. • Furthermore, how do we hold to the three as coeternal and coequal and yet believe that one proceeds from the other: the Father begets the Son, and the Father with the Son or through the Son breathes the Holy Spirit?

  9. COMPETING VISIONS OF CHURCH AND SALVATION • From a Movement to an Institution: COMPETING VISIONS OF CHURCH AND SALVATION. • 1 Clement (is Rome); Ignatius of Antioch; Cyprian (North Africa); Augustine • 1 Clement sees the church as a community of elect waiting for the whole body to be preserved. Waiting and Celebrating the Lord’s Day by breaking bread. Living humbly and orderly. • Ignatius places much more stress on individual perfection as disciples of Christ. Following the example of Jesus ultimately with complete perfection gained through total participation in the passion of Christ. • Cyprian: The Church is something much more than the community. Noah’s Ark imagery. The Eucharist becomes much more structured; catechumenate grows to a 3 year initiation period; public penance is introduced and children begin to be baptized. • Augustine: The Church is the body of Christ with a mystical dimension related to the intimate union of Christ with the members. The Church is the head and the body together. The Holy spirit animates the entire body. Three layers of Church: 1) The heavenly communion of angels and saints including all those predestined saints still living and yet to be born; 2) It is also an institutional society on earth mad up of faithful and unfaithful the faithful one being those elected and saved and the unfaithful ones being those not elected. 3) Finally, it is the communion of the elect or saved within the empirical Church. • The authority of the Church rested in first the Scriptures, then local councils of bishops and then world councils. He recognized the primacy of the pope and appealed to it in situations of conflict. He developed the objectivity of the holiness of the sacraments as conferring grace without depending on the holiness of the minister or community.

  10. REFORMATION • LUTHER • Goes back to Augustine • The Church is a communion of saints who are holy through the grace of Christ • The spiritual and institutional Church are two elements of one church • The unity of the Church depends on faith (justification by faith) and Word. • The superstructure and superstitions had killed the Spirit in the Church. The papacy was not established by God and is not constitutive in the Church. • Magisterium cannot proclaim anything new other than what is found in Scriptures. • Christ is the head and in the world the Scriptures are the norm for Knowing and Following Christ. Every Christian has the duty to preach the word. The sacraments flow out of the Scriptures: Baptism and the Eucharist. • Ministers are chosen and trained by the community without becoming an elite class who are seen to be ontologically different and not obligated to a life of celibacy. • CALVIN • God who could in a moment perfect God’s own, nevertheless desires then to grow up into maturity solely under the education of the Church • The elect are the predestined Chosen of God • The Church is the Mother and the elect are the children • The Church is both outward in terms of being visible but the true Church is inward and invisible. The true elect with God. • Laws are seen as necessary procedures for institutional order but not for Salvation • The elders with teachers and pastors are the ministries that Christ ordained to uphold the order, through teaching, governing and interpreting. They act to censure morals and exercise discipline.

  11. ANABAPTISTS • The Church is the community of saints in heaven and the believing reborn humans on earth • Reborn necessitates a conscious decision of the believer and therefore no such thing as infant baptism nor is the baptism of other Christian faiths recognized. • The objective holiness resides in the personal holiness of the local community of believers • Congregations tend to be free standing self-governing entities. • Menno explained the role of “banning” to insure the holiness of the community until there is repentance. • Seven articles of faith • Baptism • The ban • The Lord’s supper • Separation from the world • The office of shepherd • The sword (pacifists) • Taking oaths • Holiness resides in the community which is in stark contrast to Anglican and Roman Catholics in which the holiness resides in the Word and Sacraments.

  12. ANGLICAN CATHOLIC • The Reform of the Church in England • The legacy of Wyclif lived on: • Clergy should highly literate and be in their parishes preaching the word. • The Word of God should be available to all people in their own language • Luther’s critiques had become known in England (objectification of piety, clerical celibacy, monastic wealth, subordination to Rome, the mixture of religious with temporal power, scriptural basis of sacraments) Henry VIII declared defender of the faith by Pope. • Tyndale translated the New Testament into English. (The bible in peoples language is seen as subversive.) • Church owned one quarter of land of England and taxes were paid to Rome not to State. • Henry VIII desire for annulment to secure a male heir. • The Reform was not uniform but followed a pattern that is exhibited today in the idea of high Church low Church. • Dominance of Medieval Church with reforms (Henry VIII) • Dominance of reforms with remnants of Medieval Church (Edward I) • Dominance of Medieval church with reforms (Mary I) • Dominance of reforms with Medieval Church (Elizabeth I) • Legal foundation • 39 Articles of Faith • Puritan constituency returned from exile and influenced by Calvin’s thoguht. • Major elements • Book of Common Prayer • Articles of Faith • Church as National church. • Theology seen as dialogue of Scripture, Tradition and Reason

  13. CHURCH, WORLD AND THE REIGN OF GOD • World is evil and Church is separate from world as vehicle to Kingdom • Millenarianism • Jehovah Witnesses • Amish • Church resides in the world as vehicle through which we reach Kingdom • “Outside the Church there is no salvation” • Pre Vatican II Roman Catholicism • Church resides in the world as the yeast through which the world will culminate in the Kingdom • Vatican II Sacramental theology • Church resides in the world as one among many expressions through which the Spirit is nourishing creation towards its fulfillment. • Certain forms of Liberation Theology • Pluralistic theologies.