Friday, June 28, 2019

What is Church--P2--When Christendom coopts the church

In the fourth and fifth century, several things happen
  • Constantine converts to Christianity
  • Constantine makes Christianity the Roman world's official religion
  • Constantine takes initiative to make the church define itself through a belief system--CREEDS
  • This unites the established church, and the belief system both solidifies governmental power and church power individually, and together 
This had several results:
  • "We go from thinking about church as something we do to a church as an article of belief"
  • If we extract a belief out of practice is moves the church toward coercion"
Examples based on "one, holy, apostolic, catholic church"
  • "one"
    • What happens when unity becomes something we believe instead of something we do?
      • Reconciliation becomes forced from the top down
      • see confession, excommunication
      • See Radner "Brutal Unity"
  • "holy"
    • Holiness becomes an article of faith that needs to be enforced
    • "Whenever you extract belief out of practice of the church it becomes coercive. God cannot change people through coercion.
  • "Catholic
    • references a universal church made up of all believers
      • "church is a way of life not a thing you go to"
      • this establishes on church as THE institution
  • "apostolic"
    • Used two ways
      • "sentness" of the church
      • apostolic succession
      • The practice of being sent gets lost in Constantinian church
      • "Words only make sense by their use"
      • "If we don't have a word that uses the practice to change lives we have lost its meaning"
      • "We extract belief from practice and it turns into something enforced"
      • "Coercion does not work in Post-Christendom"
      • "Church is in mission if it starts with practices that embody beliefs as a way of life"
  • Belief doesn't make sense apart from practice.
    • Wittgenstein--"Words don't make sense apart from their use'
    • James--Faith without works is dead

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