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Friday, April 01, 2011

I'm in trouble for writing this: "I cannot allow Green to use the word ‘Church’ (and the word ‘Eucharist’) in a catholic sense without a discussion of whether we mean the same things as they meant, or a note on how our own divisions make such generalizations dangerous. In our individual confessional positions, we may find agreement with the Fathers on some points, and disagreement on others. But as we make use of their insights—seemingly selectively and arbitrarily, I daresay—the degree to which we invoke them as authorities (and Green certainly does this) undercuts the legitimacy of critiquing them. And that reality simply amplifies the question of whether we can hold our confessional distinctness with any firmness at all, or if there is an invisible ‘Church’ to which we are joined at all, because it is defined by our various confessions, combined with a presumption of our ecclesial validity in its particularity." In other words, your definition of 'Church' (invisible) is as certain as your confessional distinctives. There comes a point where holding dogmatic certainty in a particular with a certain looseness in recognition of Christian truth outside of one's ecclesial visible expression must relativize those certainties (or relativize the boundaries of the Church). You have to choose. Evangelical Protestantism has largely chosen the latter, with disastrous effects for unified, visible Christian witness and influence in the culture.

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