Re: [asa] ID as theological necessity (old Timaeus discussion, new PSCF artic...

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Wed Dec 17 2008 - 16:07:49 EST

That's kind of a foreign notion to me personally George, since I come
from a low church / independent / non-denominational background. For
better or worse, my mind and experience tend to work only in terms of
individuals being formally acknowledge as "members" of a local

David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

On Wed, Dec 17, 2008 at 12:48 PM, George Murphy <> wrote:
> I apologize for being too brief, & therefore unclear, in posing these
> questions. When I referred to "church fellowship" I really had in mind the
> question of what degree of theological agreement is necessary in order for 2
> church bodies to be in fellowship - the sort of thing that was dealt with,
> e.g., in discussions that led to the current agreement between the Episcopal
> Church in the United States and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
> ("Communio in sacris" is a fancier term than "church fellowship.") While
> the question of what is necessary in order for an individual to join a
> congregation may be similar, the issues will generally not be dealt with as
> systematically, and at as high a level of theological sophistication, as
> will negotiations between church bodies.
> & I should point out that the question is appropriate for this list only in
> the context in which I posed it - i.e., how much agreement about issues such
> as intelligent design, evolution &c is needed for church fellowship. Thus I
> resist, & encourage others to resist, getting into debates on the list about
> homsexuality, Buddhism, & other matters that might be provoked by Burgy's
> post.
> Shalom
> George
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "John Burgeson (ASA member)"
> <>
> To: "David Opderbeck" <>
> Cc: "George Murphy" <>; <>
> Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 11:56 AM
> Subject: Re: [asa] ID as theological necessity (old Timaeus discussion, new
> PSCF artic...
>> On 12/16/08, David Opderbeck <> wrote:
>>> What is necessary for church fellowship depends on context. My ideal
>>> is simply assent to the basic outline of the ecumenical creeds
>>> (Apostles / Nicene) and a desire to grow in faith and holiness.
>>> All IMHO of course.
>> "Church Fellowship" is a vague term. How about "church membership?"
>> But even that is vague in some places, particularly small rural
>> places.
>> In my daughter's Metropolitan church they recently admitted to
>> membership a fellow who was raised Jewish and did not want to give
>> that up. Being gay, he could find no other congregation that would
>> accept him.
>> There was quite a controversy. A few folks left.
>> I think admitting him to membership was the right thing to do, for it
>> placed his humanity over a narrow theological view. Most Metropolitan
>> members are quite familiar at being excluded from various groups.
>> We had no such problems in our small Rico church, although our piano
>> player was a gay buddist and at least one regular attender also tended
>> towards that position. Both were easier to fellowship with than some
>> orthodox Christians I have known.
>> I don't know the real answers to all the obvious questions this
>> raises. I do know that the accepting and welcoming of people of all
>> persuasions is an absolute essential of the faith I call Christianity
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Received on Wed Dec 17 16:08:12 2008

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