Archives For introduction to ecclesiology

Religious Squatting

November 24, 2010 — Leave a comment
“Revelation is what God wants human beings to know and to do, and faith is the authentic response to that revelation from the midst of human lives. Religion, then, is what we make of the revelation.”
-Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, An Introduction to Ecclesiology

“Does Christianity buttress a way of life that everyone is seeking, or is it an alternative
way of life that orders the rest of life, and benefit others?”

-Dr. Jason Clark in an online chat, 11/22/2010

In my previous post on Kärkkäinen’s book, I ended by noting my unresolved tension between my conversionism oriented Baptist upbringing and the “rootedness” I longed for finally being found in the Eastern Orthodox church. Yet there is a sense in which I feel like a voyeuristic foreigner whenever I seriously consider the possibility of converting to Orthodoxy. I have not yet been able to resolve the draw that I have toward the Eucharistic celebration of the Divine Liturgy with the Free Church indoctrination which still governs my own ministerial raison d’être. And I’m not the only one in that boat. My colleague and friend Russ Pierson notes a similar tension in his reflections on the same book. He asks,

Might we someday all meet around the Eucharist? And might this Eucharist be led for us by an Orthodox bishop?

Somehow, I think we might, but after reading the third part of Kärkkänien’s book, I believe it will become because those leading the church lead forward with eyes in the back of their heads. Allow me to explain. Continue Reading…

…And Might End Up Orthodox

November 21, 2010 — 5 Comments

(This is the continuation of the post “I Started Out Baptist…” which, together with this post, contain some reflections on the first two parts of Kärkkäinen’s Introduction to Ecclesiology. Please read the other post first and then come back here!)

My journey away from the faith was, in retrospect, largely due to an overwhelming feeling that I just could never measure up. I never doubted the efficacy of my salvation. There is a “once saved always saved” doctrine of assurance within the Baptist tradition that gave me confidence that nothing I could do would ever nullify my eternal resting place. However, I continued to sin despite my best efforts to the contrary. This was disobedience in the highest and called into question the depth of my love and gratitude for the savior who’d died for me. We called such bouts “backsliding” and they were usually combated by redoubling one’s efforts to be “in the word” and withdraw from “the world.” Continue Reading…

I Started Out Baptist…

November 21, 2010 — 2 Comments
“This has always been the main task of theology: to reflect on and makes sense of what is happening in Christian churches.”
Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Introduction to Ecclesiology (Kindle Location 52)

Recently I’ve been getting some kind-natured ribbing from my DMINGML colleagues suggesting that I am, or should be on a path toward converting to Eastern Orthodoxy. While I think it is meant in jest (except perhaps for Tom who might run there with me) it highlights some very real tension that I’ve felt as I’ve navigated my own mixed-theological and ecclesiological journey.
Continue Reading…