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7 years ago  ::  Dec 09, 2007 - 3:59PM #1
RJMcElwain
Posts: 2,963
Comments in another thread got me to wondering, is the Episcopal Church, the Greater Anglican Communion and Christianity in general  in the middle of a New Reformation?

Unlike the first Reformation, which was about corruption in the Church, this current Reformation seems to have a list, including:

Clergy gender
Sexuality
Biblical Authority
Hierarchical Authority

And it seems to be universal, both among the Protestant Churches and the RCC.

Any thoughts as to whether we're in such a change and where it will lead?
Robert J. McElwain

"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." (Supposedly)Thomas Jefferson

"He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral."
St. Thomas Aquinas

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. Plato
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 09, 2007 - 4:33PM #2
rmatth
Posts: 1,951
“The struggle of the mind to keep itself free from every sort of bondage - to remain curious, open, unsatiated in all its relations with nature - is tenfold more difficult than the cultivation of a stable, satisfying point of view, but a thousandfold” - Gardner Murphy

I think that yes, it is a new reformation and it is still about corruption in the church. We're spiritually corrupt when hearts and minds are closed to the working of the Holy Spirit. When we lock down and refuse to let God continue revealing how to love we've become the antithesis of Jesus' teachings.

OTOH, people can only accept what they are ready to accept. They can only become what they're ready to become. They can only believe what they're ready to believe. Take a look at 1 Corinthians 13:10-12

10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.


Everything in creation evolves or dies. Everything. If the church does not evolve in its ability to love it will become extinct. So we're at an evolutionary crossroads and with that comes death and rebirth. Growing in faith beyond the understanding of a child is frightening to many. Somehow we have to just love them through it.
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 09, 2007 - 7:24PM #3
ToujoursDan
Posts: 1,065
Over the past 1,000 years or so, humanity seems to go through periodic bursts in knowledge which leads to philosophical revolutions. And while the church isn't against scientific discovery per se, it seems to have a lot of trouble digesting it.

The Enlightenment kicked off with the Copernicus' "discovery" of heliocentrism - a sun centred solar system. Since it violated the "plain meaning" of what the Scriptures had to say about the earth being immovable and the sun rising and setting, it was every bit as threatening for them as sexuality is to us.

Heliocentrism was condemned not only by the Roman Catholic Church but by Martin Luther, John Wesley, John Calvin and all the Protestant reformers. The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod held on to geocentrism (earth centred solar system) until the 1920s. Copernicus' book was on the list of prohibited books in the Roman Catholic Church until 1835.

From Wikipedia:

In 1616, in connection with the Galileo affair, the Roman Catholic Church's Congregation of the Index suspended De Revolutionibus until it could be "corrected", on the grounds that the Pythagorean doctrine that the Earth revolved about an immobile Sun was "false and altogether opposed to the Holy Scripture". The corrections, which omitted or altered nine sentences, were issued in 1620. The same edict also prohibited any work that defended the mobility of the Earth or the immobility of the Sun, or that attempted to reconcile these assertions with Scripture.

In 1633, Galileo Galilei was convicted of grave suspicion of heresy for "following the position of Copernicus, which is contrary to the true sense and authority of Holy Scripture", and was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life. The Index issued in 1758 omitted the general prohibition of works defending heliocentrism, but retained the specific prohibitions of the original uncensored versions of De Revolutionibus and Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. The Index of 1835, finally, dropped those prohibitions.


I can only imagine that some of the smackdowns we have on sexuality and other social issues had earlier echoes then. It must have been very painful for those conservatives. But now have turned all the statements regarding the immovable earth into metaphor and simile and don't lose much sleep over the discrepancy at all, even the inerrantists.

The Church really struggled with the discoveries of the Enlightenment and those discoveries' effects on philosophy. The Enlightenment laid the foundations of democracy and egalitarianism, which challenged the divine right of kings, bishops and popes. The scientific method was developed which challenged many assumptions the church made when interpreting Scripture..

In the past 50 years, there has been an amazing burst of discovery in the realms of psychology and biology. We have a much greater understanding of how the brain works and the biological and genetic roots of homo- and heterosexuality, depression, schizophrenia, transsexualism and many other things that were formerly attributed to some kind of moral weakness.

The transition from an agriculturally-based to a production-based economy, World War II, increasing mass education and the demand for additional labour to grow the economy brought women out of the homes and showed that they are just (and often more) capable of doing the same work men do. These things as well as the development of mass communication put us in much more intimate touch with different racial and ethnic groups and showed that they aren't all that different than we are.

I think we are in the midst of a philosophical revolution driven by scientific discovery and economic change that is every bit as big as the Enlightenment, and frustratingly, the church is a conservative institution that again has trouble digesting the implications of it.

The discussions of gender and sexuality, the hypersensitivity toward heresy and the overall obsession of drawing lines in the sand, separating oneself and being "pure" are the symptoms of the issues, not the issues itself. Schism is driven by an effort to create a utopia where everything is good and right and where one doesn't have to deal with the tainted. But utopias never last long. And at some point we will digest these discoveries and they will be incorporated into how we read and interpret Scripture, just as Christians did with heliocentrism. Younger people aren't as troubled by gay couples and women in leadership roles as the Silent Generation or Baby Boomers. This too will pass.

And while the following seems played down in the States, in the rest of the world, people are increasingly discussing  the environmental degradation that is happening - climate change, overfishing and the collapse of the oceans, desertification, plummeting soil fertility and erosion, increasingly widespread water shortages as well as the implications of burning through fossil fuels which may become too expensive to bring to market in a couple decades. This may cause either another scientific revolution or a collapse. It will be interesting to see what happens and how the church copes with it.

But I suspect the next generation or the one after will look at us and call us fools.
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 09, 2007 - 7:43PM #4
rmatth
Posts: 1,951
[QUOTE=ToujoursDan;127799]
I think we are in the midst of a philosophical revolution driven by scientific discovery and economic change that is every bit as big as the Enlightenment, and frustratingly, the church is a conservative institution that again has trouble digesting the implications of it.

The discussions of gender and sexuality, the hypersensitivity toward heresy and the overall obsession of drawing lines in the sand, separating oneself and being "pure" are the symptoms of the issues, not the issues itself. Schism is driven by an effort to create a utopia where everything is good and right and where one doesn't have to deal with the tainted. [/QUOTE]

Exactly what I mean about thinking like a child.
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 09, 2007 - 7:52PM #5
DietoWorms
Posts: 351
Hello Bob,

I think one of the most significant changes in Christianity we are witnessing today is the move of Christianity from a primarily white/western religion to a primarily black/global south religion.  The whole Episcopal squabble and the arugments on sexuality and Biblical Authority is a historical footnote to this larger shift in the global demographics of Christianity.

While Christianity is mostly dead in Europe, and starting to lose ground in North America, Africa is seeing steady and massive growth in the number of believers.

There is a good article about this shift at this link.

Personally, I predict we will see massive growth in Christianity in China, so that in 50 years China will be the most Christian country in the world.

DoW
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 09, 2007 - 8:05PM #6
rmatth
Posts: 1,951
[QUOTE=DietoWorms;127860]
Personally, I predict we will see massive growth in Christianity in China, so that in 50 years China will be the most Christian country in the world.[/QUOTE]

What do you think that will look like? Catholic, protestant, pentecostal? IIRC, the Pentecostal church is gaining a lot of ground in China and 3rd world countries.
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 09, 2007 - 4:33PM #7
rmatth
Posts: 1,951
“The struggle of the mind to keep itself free from every sort of bondage - to remain curious, open, unsatiated in all its relations with nature - is tenfold more difficult than the cultivation of a stable, satisfying point of view, but a thousandfold” - Gardner Murphy

I think that yes, it is a new reformation and it is still about corruption in the church. We're spiritually corrupt when hearts and minds are closed to the working of the Holy Spirit. When we lock down and refuse to let God continue revealing how to love we've become the antithesis of Jesus' teachings.

OTOH, people can only accept what they are ready to accept. They can only become what they're ready to become. They can only believe what they're ready to believe. Take a look at 1 Corinthians 13:10-12

10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.


Everything in creation evolves or dies. Everything. If the church does not evolve in its ability to love it will become extinct. So we're at an evolutionary crossroads and with that comes death and rebirth. Growing in faith beyond the understanding of a child is frightening to many. Somehow we have to just love them through it.
Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Dec 09, 2007 - 7:24PM #8
ToujoursDan
Posts: 1,065
Over the past 1,000 years or so, humanity seems to go through periodic bursts in knowledge which leads to philosophical revolutions. And while the church isn't against scientific discovery per se, it seems to have a lot of trouble digesting it.

The Enlightenment kicked off with the Copernicus' "discovery" of heliocentrism - a sun centred solar system. Since it violated the "plain meaning" of what the Scriptures had to say about the earth being immovable and the sun rising and setting, it was every bit as threatening for them as sexuality is to us.

Heliocentrism was condemned not only by the Roman Catholic Church but by Martin Luther, John Wesley, John Calvin and all the Protestant reformers. The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod held on to geocentrism (earth centred solar system) until the 1920s. Copernicus' book was on the list of prohibited books in the Roman Catholic Church until 1835.

From Wikipedia:

In 1616, in connection with the Galileo affair, the Roman Catholic Church's Congregation of the Index suspended De Revolutionibus until it could be "corrected", on the grounds that the Pythagorean doctrine that the Earth revolved about an immobile Sun was "false and altogether opposed to the Holy Scripture". The corrections, which omitted or altered nine sentences, were issued in 1620. The same edict also prohibited any work that defended the mobility of the Earth or the immobility of the Sun, or that attempted to reconcile these assertions with Scripture.

In 1633, Galileo Galilei was convicted of grave suspicion of heresy for "following the position of Copernicus, which is contrary to the true sense and authority of Holy Scripture", and was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life. The Index issued in 1758 omitted the general prohibition of works defending heliocentrism, but retained the specific prohibitions of the original uncensored versions of De Revolutionibus and Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. The Index of 1835, finally, dropped those prohibitions.


I can only imagine that some of the smackdowns we have on sexuality and other social issues had earlier echoes then. It must have been very painful for those conservatives. But now have turned all the statements regarding the immovable earth into metaphor and simile and don't lose much sleep over the discrepancy at all, even the inerrantists.

The Church really struggled with the discoveries of the Enlightenment and those discoveries' effects on philosophy. The Enlightenment laid the foundations of democracy and egalitarianism, which challenged the divine right of kings, bishops and popes. The scientific method was developed which challenged many assumptions the church made when interpreting Scripture..

In the past 50 years, there has been an amazing burst of discovery in the realms of psychology and biology. We have a much greater understanding of how the brain works and the biological and genetic roots of homo- and heterosexuality, depression, schizophrenia, transsexualism and many other things that were formerly attributed to some kind of moral weakness.

The transition from an agriculturally-based to a production-based economy, World War II, increasing mass education and the demand for additional labour to grow the economy brought women out of the homes and showed that they are just (and often more) capable of doing the same work men do. These things as well as the development of mass communication put us in much more intimate touch with different racial and ethnic groups and showed that they aren't all that different than we are.

I think we are in the midst of a philosophical revolution driven by scientific discovery and economic change that is every bit as big as the Enlightenment, and frustratingly, the church is a conservative institution that again has trouble digesting the implications of it.

The discussions of gender and sexuality, the hypersensitivity toward heresy and the overall obsession of drawing lines in the sand, separating oneself and being "pure" are the symptoms of the issues, not the issues itself. Schism is driven by an effort to create a utopia where everything is good and right and where one doesn't have to deal with the tainted. But utopias never last long. And at some point we will digest these discoveries and they will be incorporated into how we read and interpret Scripture, just as Christians did with heliocentrism. Younger people aren't as troubled by gay couples and women in leadership roles as the Silent Generation or Baby Boomers. This too will pass.

And while the following seems played down in the States, in the rest of the world, people are increasingly discussing  the environmental degradation that is happening - climate change, overfishing and the collapse of the oceans, desertification, plummeting soil fertility and erosion, increasingly widespread water shortages as well as the implications of burning through fossil fuels which may become too expensive to bring to market in a couple decades. This may cause either another scientific revolution or a collapse. It will be interesting to see what happens and how the church copes with it.

But I suspect the next generation or the one after will look at us and call us fools.
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 09, 2007 - 7:43PM #9
rmatth
Posts: 1,951
[QUOTE=ToujoursDan;127799]
I think we are in the midst of a philosophical revolution driven by scientific discovery and economic change that is every bit as big as the Enlightenment, and frustratingly, the church is a conservative institution that again has trouble digesting the implications of it.

The discussions of gender and sexuality, the hypersensitivity toward heresy and the overall obsession of drawing lines in the sand, separating oneself and being "pure" are the symptoms of the issues, not the issues itself. Schism is driven by an effort to create a utopia where everything is good and right and where one doesn't have to deal with the tainted. [/QUOTE]

Exactly what I mean about thinking like a child.
Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Dec 09, 2007 - 7:52PM #10
DietoWorms
Posts: 351
Hello Bob,

I think one of the most significant changes in Christianity we are witnessing today is the move of Christianity from a primarily white/western religion to a primarily black/global south religion.  The whole Episcopal squabble and the arugments on sexuality and Biblical Authority is a historical footnote to this larger shift in the global demographics of Christianity.

While Christianity is mostly dead in Europe, and starting to lose ground in North America, Africa is seeing steady and massive growth in the number of believers.

There is a good article about this shift at this link.

Personally, I predict we will see massive growth in Christianity in China, so that in 50 years China will be the most Christian country in the world.

DoW
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