Friday, March 20, 2009

Historical Ways of Being Christian

1. Early Church: variety of ways, Gnostic, Pauline, Montanist, Arian, Docetist, and many others. Saw that gospels didn't present one view of Jesus. Matt and Luke show virgin birth but Mark, John, and Paul don't mention it.

2. Roman Catholic: formed around 300 C.E. and came out of a reaction against the Arian and Docetists. Drew up the Nicene and Chalcedonian Creeds. Also built on views of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, affirms virgin birth and immaculate conception, sin is transmitted biologically.

3. Orthodox, Lutheran and Calvinist: Affirm Nicene and Chalcedon as well as virgin birth (not I.C.) and use lots of bible references.

4. Oriental Orthodox: like the Egyptian Copts or Armenian church. Affirms Nicene NOT Chalcedon.

5. Free Church: Bible Fundamentalism and Virgin Birth. Jump over 15 centuries to get to first century. Baptists, Evangelicals, Congregationalists, Pentacostals and nondenoms all here. my assumption is most of the DeCons came out of this tradition.

6. Rationalist: Christianity conveys universal ideas and morality. no creeds adopted.

7. Liberal Christianity: Jesus is the teacher of love, kingdom of God, and an apocalyptic prophet. No Nicene or Chalcedon. uses the "Modern Criticisms" to study the bible.

8. Pietist: Ignores the Enlightenment of the Rationalists and Liberals as well as the dogmas of the past. Emphasis on Jesus as personal Lord & Savior. Methodist and Anabaptist movements.

9. NeoOrthodox/Emergent: Karl Barth and others: Ecumentical and Christocentric. Nicene and Chalcedon creeds translated into modern and personal language. Rejects both virgin birth and adoptionist ideas and states "To Know Jesus is to know his benefits" God present in Christ and fidelity of God is so perfect, one could say God is in Christ. very postmodern, sees that modernity is debunked, not about secularization, institutions are debunked. looking for honesty and transparency.

books to read on #9 which is where i feel i fall into would be: A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional, Evangelical, Post/Protestant, Liberal/Conservative, Mystical/Poetic, Biblical, Charismatic/Contemplative, Fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, Catholic, Green, Incarnational, Depressed-yet-Hopeful, Emergent, Unfinished CHRISTIAN by Brian McLaren
and the Phoenix Affirmations by Eric Elnes as well as any Barth or Matthew Fox


Erudite Redneck said...

I came up as 5, am now at 7 with doses of 1 and 9. !

Anonymous said...

Based on this list I would have to say that I grew up 8 as the Nazarene church came out of Methodism but there was a lot of 5 in there too. I would have to say that I am now mostly 9, but am very interested in the various Orthodox groups (I think this is because I am tired of the "show" that is an evangelical church service).

Sally said...

How interesting that #9 is the one that is the most fleshed out. Using literary criticism I might conclude that to the writer, this is the most important part of the document...:-?

Luke said...

yeah, i grew up 1, saw a bit of 5, moved through 6,7, and 8 and now am at 9, yet with elements of the others... complex and strange journey.

as Sally points out the obvious, i am baised toward 9 but see elements i really jive with in most. this list was to function to the DeCons over at as proof that there's more than one way to be Christian.

i make no claim to superiority or objectivity ;-) good call Sally.

Sally said...

I would say that I basically like the list as a framework. I would love to see it fleshed out some more. Is this original work Luke, or adapted from somewhere?
One thing I'd add is that although J Wesley was influenced by the Pietists through the Moravians he ultimately rejected their theology and separated the Methodist movement from them.

Anonymous said...

I have jumped from 5-9 in my years in the church - and while in bible college we studied more of the historied elements of church - but I always hated the creeds - so goddamn impersonal.

At this point in time I am in category 10 - my own personal category - for the realists out there - an aChristian. I am a Christian - but I am not like the types we see in most churches around us - I am more into the living of those teachings in a 21st century context and in my I am 'a'Christian but I also am not 'a'Christian according to some.

But if I could I'd be a fundy (lol)

Luke said...

svs, you are on your own level, no doubt! happy to have you anyway. and i agree, if i could, i think life would be easier as a fundie.

Sally, it's borrowed from my doctrine notes, with my own tweeks. i would like to flesh it out, but i think it'll stand as a framework... i would like to do some sort of flow chart, i think that would be better to demonstrate what came out of what traditions and what combos made certain denominations.