[CS-FSLUG] Forward or Backward WAS: Open Source Theology

Ritchie, Josiah S. jritchie at bible.edu
Thu Jun 15 12:50:26 CDT 2006

> From: Michael Bradley, Jr.
> Sent: Thursday, June 15, 2006 11:53 AM
> To: A Christian virtual Free Software and Linux Users Group.
> Subject: Re: [CS-FSLUG] Open Source Theology

> How can a discussion which is about "methods of doing church" fail to 
> incorporate the Church Fathers? Sorry, I couldn't resist ...   ;-)

Not directly addressing you point, as is my habit, you bring out a point I've been mulling over. It seems there are 2 paths to respond to the errors of modernism. Forward (emerging) or Backward (to history of the church); however, many of the same problems and characteristics exist between the two responses. As we move away from modern in either direction, the waters seem to get muddy. If you go to emerging, the path doesn't yet exist. If you go backward, the history exists, but the question of the validity of the path of history remains. In other words, the path is heavily overgrown. In either response you have to resolve who or what you trust. Perhaps that could be rephrased as you have to decide how God speaks to his people. Those moving forward in emergent ways seem to be trusting scripture, experiential feelings, common culture and so forth. What they don't trust is the past outside scripture. Those moving back and depending on the history beyond scripture have to affirm the dependability of certain sources of history in order to move forward.

As an example of the overgrown history path, Michael, your view of church history and mine differ. As Catholic, your viewpoint is certainly very different from mine as an "evangelical fundamentalist". Like any good protestant, I've been taught the "evils" of the Catholic Church. >From the teachers of the reformation and even down to the men who formally adopted the Nicean Creed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D., how do we know that they were following Paul's command you quoted, "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter." The Catholic church certainly has a much firmer line drawn throughout history, but still, the question remains if it is valid spiritually or man-made. I'm not suggesting we solve that as it would likely be divisive, just speaking to the difficulty. 

My understanding of the emergent path is that it is mostly an emergence from modern evangelicalism. Has there been any "emergent" activity among the Catholic world that you are aware of?


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