This is an important article, though I think there are far more “parties” within evangelicalism today than the two mentioned. I’d be very interested to hear readers’ thoughts on this one, however brief. Y’all come back and post once you’ve read it!
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Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Chris. I for one am frustrated by the division, which seems false to me since Wright’s work is very consonant with a traditionally Reformed emphasis on the redemption of all creation, not just human beings.
Among the stranger, paradoxical side effects of any such division is the internal division among fellow partisans–those for whom negotiation with the outgroup is anathema and those for whom it is essential. I know a guy who would probably like to excommunicate everyone who doesn’t want greater church unity and ecumenism… Sigh.
Oh wow. If it weren’t such a serious matter, your guy who would excommunicate the non-ecumenical would elicit a jester- or clown-level belly laugh.
My favorite quote:
Unity, said Wright, “sends a message to the would-be rulers of the world that Jesus is Lord and they are not.”
Well, AMEN! But that makes me wonder – what message is the divided body sending to these would-be rulers of the world? The “I am Lord and Jesus is not” message? I think so!
If you ask me, the two groups mentioned in the article should forget about conferences and theological debates for a while. They should go home, pray, read the Bible, and learn to listen to the still small voice of the holy spirit. That would solve this issue and probably several others…
~God has combined the members of the body…so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.~
(1 cor. 12:24-26)
What? Theologians praying and not arguing with each other? That’s crazy talk.
From the Anglican perspective, preventing schism is a prime concern, as the Communion threatens to be torn into shreds with different views on sexuality. (Which is, in my opinion, the reddest of all herrings.)
And I admire the writer for the fortitude and patience to attend back-to-back theological conferences.
I agree with you, Chris, that there are many parties; these are perhaps the usual suspects. But this is the real issue, in my view: Christians still form into camps over points of theology that they simply cannot crack open and understand. We talk about unity, but we pick dissent and schism over understanding God’s purpose in Creation.
I don’t truly understand grace, justification, the atonement, sacraments or the nature of the Trinity. Who can but God?
The spriitual truth is that points of theology become points of pride. To attain renown and fame and influence for one’s writing is a place where writers and theologians want to go. So that place then needs to be defended. I know I would liek to be there, in my selfish humna heart of hearts, and I sometimes resent that daily life (cooking, cleaning, care for others) keeps me from it! On the other hand, that might be God’s grace to me!
And as for Anglicans, schism, and my own place in that great historic church – I’m tryng to stay, but do they want my Quakeresque sensibilities? Again, how serious is the church about unity? I agree with Bp. Wright on this, that unity is primary, but at what price?