Friday, December 29, 2006

More on covenants

I have now seen a bit more about the New Wine participation in the Covenant issue. The use of that term itself is interesting, as it clearly is intended to imply Divine authority.

John Coles (who runs the New Wine conferences and network) made a statement in response to some disquiet being expressed by NW associated church leaders. The interesting feature in his text is the regular use of the word orthodox. It left me wondering who gave him (or the leaders of Reform, Church Society or any other group) the authority to determine orthodoxy. Furthermore, since when has one's opinion on a specific issue (in this case homosexuality) been a test of orthodoxy?

Evangelicalism and 'orthodoxy' has thus far accommodated people with differing views on: creation, women, war & peace to name but three. It's also interesting to note that at least some of John Coles's allies on the signature list probably think that the 1 Corinthians 12 gifts of the spirit expired in the apostolic age. The logical conclusion is, therefore, that a good chunk of the New Wine summer festivals is emotional hysteria masquerading as the work of God!

The flip side of this is that last summer's New Wine north included a talk which effectively stated that Jesus was more equipped for his ministry after his baptism, which was essentially being used as a paradigm for 'baptism in the spirit'. Of course orthodox theology states that at conception Jesus was fully human and fully divine (the feast of the Annunciation was originally known as the feast of the Incarnation). His divinity was in no way enhanced at baptism - that is a heresy known as adoptionism. No-one in the leadership appeared to be at all perturbed at this, despite New Wine's stated desire to be orthodox. I noticed, and had a lively conversation with my fellow campers (who were largely mystified as to why it was important to me!)

What it all reveals is that the sexuality issue can't be treated by many people as an issue of Christianity meeting a new culture, but has become an article of faith. I can't help thinking that something has gone very wrong when an ethical question overtakes fundamental doctrines about God on the orthodoxy list.


Emma said...

Mike, you said, "I noticed, and had a lively conversation with my fellow campers (who were largely mystified as to why it was important to me!)"
I don't think that's terribly fair, from where I was sitting I felt that the discussion mostly went with people either agreeing that what had been said was incorrect and bad theology or else that you were twisting the speaker's words and that they hadn't interpreted what he had said as adoptionism and that he hadn't intended it to be so. I didn't get the impression from the discussion that anyone there thought that what had been said was perfectly correct and orthodox.

Mike Peatman said...

Fair enough, Emma. It was more that I ws aware that some people thought I was making a mountain out of a molehill and over-reacting. It's fair to say I did go on a bit about it!

Belisha Deacon said...

Hi Mike, sorry I missed this when it was posted, and yes, I too have toe-curling moments when the people who would excommunicate homosexuals and personally throw them into hell given half a chance then preach/teach the most half-cocked common-sensical Trinitarian doctrine as if it were fact.

I also baulk at the assumed authority to dictate what is and isn't 'orthodox' from some of the least orthodox theologians we could ever hope to meet.

I think of it as 'Daily Mail' Christianity where just as some people believe something because it is in a newspaper without ever considering the qualifications of the writer to make such a statement or the ethos of the paper in general, people believe these leaders just because they are hugely self-confident in their alleged ability to 'know the mind of God', which would only lead me on to an even longer rant as to how people who fundamentally believe that all scripture is God breathed (and inerrant) and feel justified in using it to generate division and hatred can then go on to ignore the fact that God's thoughts and ways are higher than our own lesser human capacities (Isaiah) and therefore they CANNOT know the whole kit and caboodle.....

Keep it up, brother!!