You're quite right that sacramental issues have been divisive
since the Reformation. Ecumenical dialogues over the past 40 years
resulted in a great deal of progress. So simply not talking about
them or agreeing
to disagree isn't the only way to promote peace.
OTOH, the creation-evolution issue has been even more divisive over the
past century, & as you point out, issues about stem cells &c are
becoming so. &
the issue of homosexuality is likely to cause major splits in churches over the
next few years - including, I fear, my own. & in many cases that will be
especially painful because not only are some people separated from others with
different views but many of us feel internally divided.
I think, however, that the sacramental issue is relevant to all these
matters because (& this is the 2d reason I alluded to below) it gets
to the heart
of what Christian faith means for embodied creatures in the physical world.
George L. Murphy
"The Science-Theology Interface"
Jonathan Clarke wrote:
> Hi George
> I suspect the lack of response is a recognition that the sacraments
> are great fault lines in the church over which much blood has been
> progress has been made in Christian unity over the past century has been by
> agreeing to disagree on these matters.
> However I go use your argument with extreme literalists to try and
>get them to
> think through their hermeutic in choosing to read some passages literally and
> other symbolically. Usually without success.
> It has been on my mind over the last few days that the great fault
>lines in the
> church are no longer along denominational lines, or at least not
> exclusively. A
> baptist who believes in YEC may find more in common with an
>Adventist that with
> an OEC. A Charismatic catholic may seek fellowship with a AOG over a fellow
> catholic. Conversations with my rector yesterday suggested that opinions on
> stem cell and cloning research my be the beginning of another yet another
> trans-denominational rift. His words were to the effect that he
> the evangelical credentials of any evangelical who defended research into
> embryonic stem cells. he, and other evangelicals of this
>denomination, seem to
> have more in common with catholics in this area than they do with other
> Like the age of the earth or organic evolution in many places this issue may
> become (and seems to have already done so in my congregation) a
>litmus test for
> whether one is truly evangelical, rather than a more thoughtful
>response as to
> the issues involved.
> george murphy wrote:
> > Adrian Teo wrote:
> > I have posed similar questions in the past here about
> > with Baptism and the Lord's Supper and have been met with an embarassed
> > reticence to discuss the topic, as if I had committed some kind
> > faux pas. Discussion about sacraments is considered unseemly
>while it's OK
> > for us to go at it about creation & evolution, creatio ex nihilo
> > theology &c. Frankly I don't get it. There are at least 2 good reasons
> > why the topic is germane, only one of which [tease] I will point out here.
> > Are we to interpret texts "literally" or "figuratively"
>(to put it
> > rather simplistically)? A large body of Christians (mostly conservative
> > Evangelicals) insists that Gen.1-3 must be understood literally but that
> > "This is my body", "born of water and Spirit" & other sacramental texts
> > must not be understood literally. Another large body of Christians (many
> > Roman Catholics, Lutherans, & Anglicans) says that Gen.1-3 either needn't
> > be or shouldn't be read as literal history but that the sacramental texts
> > should be interpreted in their literal sense. (There are also
>some who say
> > that neither should be understood literally & some who say that
> > be but let's not confuse things right now.)
> > Neither group simply approaches scripture with the
> > everything in it is to be read literally (whatever they may say). So what
> > criteria are being used to decide the question? & it ought to be
> > emphasized that this is not just a question of historical accuracy. Those
> > in the first group will agree that Jesus did in fact say "this is my body"
> > (or actually the underlying Aramaic) but that what he said is not to be
> > understood in the literal sense.
> > The point is that we all approach biblical texts with fundamental
> > principles of interpretation which may or may not be explicitly
> > recognized. What are those principles? & where do they come from? Are
> > they foreign criteria imposed on scripture or are they themselves
> > scriptural? & are the ways in which we deal with Genesis & the
> > texts consistent or are we simply influenced far more than we think by
> > denominational traditions & implicit assumptions about what's
> > "fitting" &c?
> > I think that some attention to these questions might shed some
> > light on the different ways in which we deal with Genesis - which seems to
> > be the #1 item of interest on this list.
> > Shalom,
> > George
> > George L. Murphy
> > http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
> > "The Science-Theology Interface"
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