Wednesday, November 23, 2011

One perspective on church splits...

Caught an international service in English here in Munich Sunday afternoon.  It was a church that has had one or two splits in the past (in good Protestant fashion).  A gentleman stood up to greet the church who had been there since its beginning.  His comments were interesting in the light of the church's history.

He said, if you have differences, try to come to an agreement.  But don't waste too much time if you can't.  We will need thousands more churches to spread the good news to everyone, so part company in peace and go start a new church.

Never heard it put that way before! ;-)


Angie Van De Merwe said...

Well, I suppose he used the scripture about whether one preaches out of the wrong motives or right ones, it doesn't matter as the "gospel is preached! So, "all things work together for good" those called and uncalled are called according to "His Purposes". Fatalism.

This is the very problem with transcendent "truth claims". Isn't it?

One side holds to an individualized understanding such that one could believe anything (or "hear anything" ;-) ) and still be within the evangelical long as they are sincere and can point to a scripture that "God inspired" to them personally. Subjectivized to the extreme.

The other side holds to a structure that isn't unlike Islam in making judgments about the lines of the moral. I just read a piece about a girl having to choose to marry her rapist or go to jail. This happens all the time when there are "moral indiscretions" in ultra conservative circles (maybe not jail time, but some form of "punishment" or "banishment"). Where are the two people that make the marriage? Do they have any say about what they desire or want? Can they choose to part ways? Not in communal/tribal/familial types of social structuring that are based on an "honor code". The community's honor is at stake. This is the reason for the girl's horrible choices; dishonoring her family!!! Where is HER honor, as a person?! Does she exist as an individual in her own right apart from such an understanding? NO, as to do so would be blasphemy against "God"! No Free Speech for her! (Those that believe god annoints people to certain tasks or leadership are prone to this kind of thinking.) Objectivized thinking to the extreme...

(I could go on, but I won't. And I know you are thankful for that!)

Angie Van De Merwe said...

The questions today around moral theory have to do with the "oughts" and desires of humans.

Those that believe in an absolutist moral order believe that what one should do also correlates to what one chooses (or desires to do).

If Church unity is the "moral ought", then one should desire and choose to forego one's personal belief system or understanding under an absolute moral governing authority. Then moral compliance will be congruent with transcendent values. This is the Catholic Church's stance..(or Statist views to governing).

Laws will represent what goals are necessary to further certain ends. But, what are the "ends"? Are these to be determined by religous or scientific concerns/values? And where do human needs play into such framing?

Self responsible behavior, meaning one is held accountable by the law to protect liberty of conscience, which is an internalized way to evaluate "moral order".

While it is more subjective, the "moralists" are concerned that it leaves little room to "conform" humans into their particular 'moral concern" (equality, or alturism possibly?) it "moral" to regulate human behavior to such an extent?

The moral realist, in this sense could not allow liberty, because such liberty might not "produce" what is considered the "right" moral outcome, "unity" and peace!