Thursday, May 12, 2005

Orthodox Peace Initiative

I'm working through the idea of getting together (organizing?) those who are theologically "conservative", yet opposed to our nation's current policies, whether internationally or domestically. In America, it's quite common to see the intertwining of supposedly theologically conservative beliefs with socially and politically conservative ideology, with the opposite being those who adhere to a liberal belief, both theologically and politically. This dichotomy is false on several different levels, in that it ignores the inherent problem of assuming that Christian orthodoxy can be fitted to any political ideology. As many commentators have pointed out, Christian teaching transcends the political spectrum, in that modern liberalism and conservatism both presuppose an essentially materialist framework for their ideologies, which orthodox Christianity cannot accept. Thus, while individual positions can be agreed with in a limited way, the underlying assumptions propping up these modernist beliefs are diametrically opposed to the beliefs of the historic Christian faith. Every Christian, no matter their denominational affiliation, is to always test whatever is presented before them through the testimony of holy Scripture. Christians may, and should, also use the testimony of other believers from throughout Christian history, and even pre-Christian history, in order to better understand the issues at hand. And Christians should also use to their advantage the sanctified reason of non-Christian thinkers from every age on a host of different topics. Yet in using these various resources, every Christian is to always examine these varous views in light of what Scripture already attests to, whether on issues related to theology directly, or any any others issues of importance. The difficulty in doing this has always been in keeping the proper balance of seeking to be faithful to God and His revelation, while allowing for relative wisdom from those outside of Christian teaching. Often times, the tendency among Christians is to lurch towards only listening to those from within their own tradition, as though God only spoke through them as the "holy remnant". This tendency relegates all other views, whether from outside that particular Christian tradition, or even from outside of Christianity itself, as being wholly corrupt, not having any use under any circumstances. The other tendency, just as wrong, in the other direction, is to assume that since their can be a relative wisdom in other traditions, whether within Christianity's expressions, or further, in other non-Christian beliefs and practices, then that thus proves that each view, whether Christian or not, is a reflection of a deeper, though ultimately unknowable, truth, that is to be given equal weight. This tendency eviscerates the centrality of Christian witness, both to spiritual and temporal claims, and thus cannot be claimed as an orthodox expression of the faith.

to be continued...