aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,
aefenglommung
aefenglommung

My two denarii worth

I read a lot of clergy's comments online that dismiss creedal statements generally and Nicene orthodoxy more specifically. They are proud to say that they believe in a different kind of God. Some think defining what kind of God we believe in is impossible or irrelevant. Others just think that what people thought important hundreds or thousands of years ago doesn’t matter, since they’re dead and we’re in charge now. I don’t suppose these folks are a majority of my colleagues, but they are surely noisy.

Among those who don’t make a lot of noise, some call themselves conservative or traditional or evangelical, but that doesn’t mean they’re teaching the orthodox faith. I know some of those guys (and gals). They didn’t see the point of all that Christology or didn’t pay much attention. They forgot it as soon as they learned it – or in the case of those who didn’t attend seminary, never learned it. So, they’re not pushing a different kind of God intentionally, they just assume that God is God and definitions don’t matter.

But you know, it matters what kind of a God you believe in. The gospel only makes sense as an initiative from the God we know through the Bible. And the creeds stake out important territory that was argued over intensely for several centuries. Is Christ really human? How you answer that affects what you offer as the Christian hope. Is Christ really God? Same thing. “Not by Conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God” is not only a statement about Christ, but about the mode in which we are saved, for God works according to his nature.

And, yeah, it probably doesn’t matter a whole lot if the people in the pews don’t know all the technical formulae. We are saved by grace, after all, not by good theology. But if people are to know what grace to hope for, it’s important that their leaders know all the technical formulae, and teach a gospel consistent with them. I don’t spend a lot of time (outside of confirmation class) teaching the creedal statements, but I use the ancient creeds in worship, and what I believe about God informs everything I teach about “life, the universe, and everything” (to borrow a phrase).

So, for those of my colleagues who believe in a different kind of God, I respect your beliefs but remind you that you promised when you were ordained to teach this kind of God. If you can’t or won’t do that, then it would seem to me that integrity demands that you seek honest employment elsewhere. And for those of my colleagues who think that the job is about something else and who pooh-pooh theology, let me ask you this: why would anyone want to use a bridge designed by an engineer who thought math unimportant?
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