Tuesday, March 02, 2004



The following is a pseudonymous Instant Message conversation between two historical figures:

Sosthenes: i need to blog on this topic...
Sosthenes: but the gnesios always say the same thing, "Satis est", right proclamation and right adminstration of sacraments, no ecclesiology necessary
Sosthenes: the church is wherever the above happens
Sosthenes: but then they never take the next step... what does this look like?
Sosthenes: it's a kind of a strange positivism or idealism, imho
Sosthenes: is this your read as well?
Aristarchus: 100%
Aristarchus: plus lutherhimself complicates the picture:
Aristarchus: the view of the church from the 1519 sermon on the blessed sacrament puts forward a full communio view of the church
Aristarchus: and that hooks up with 1 Cor
Aristarchus: and from there, the whole world of communio ecclesiology becomes pursausive to me
Aristarchus: Jesus shares with us and with with each other in his supper
Aristarchus: thus the slogan, "The Eucharist makes the church"
Sosthenes: so when a gnesio throws that quote at you, how to respond...
Aristarchus: hmm
Sosthenes: they're very self-righteous on this point, as we've experienced
Aristarchus: because the office is necessary
Aristarchus: the hearers and preachers themselves take up space--have got bodies and so on
Sosthenes: no, it's not necessary, it is just a vessel through which the satis est is accomplished
Sosthenes: :-)
Aristarchus: i have a tough time arguing with them
Aristarchus: the phenomena of hearing matters
Aristarchus: we don't act outside of ourselves
Sosthenes: i do agree that the body issue is important... on this point the gnesios start sounding like the hyperspiritualists that they despise
Aristarchus: the space we take up is the space to which God's word comes
Aristarchus: i would also take the divine/human action angle that i often do
Aristarchus: that's my oldest tact
Aristarchus: proceeding socratically, we would look at "vessal acting through"
Sosthenes: perichoretic divine human action
Aristarchus: nothing wrong with that
Aristarchus: but it neglects the big picture
Aristarchus: Jesus' work, the "actuallity of atonement" and the Temple of the Spirit
Sosthenes: in fact, to continually harp on proclamation/sacrament without continuing in the thought in the way it is embodied is to succumb to the hyperspiritualist position
Sosthenes: maybe we can start calling the gnesios schwarmerei... they'd love that
Aristarchus: Ritschl called the neo-lutherans of his day: "Bekenntnisschwaermeri"
Aristarchus: delicious
Sosthenes: sehr gut
Sosthenes: i'm using that from now on
Aristarchus: what do you think of communio-ecclesiology?
Sosthenes: you mean that the church needs a structure because communion takes place around a table?
Aristarchus: one way to approach it
Aristarchus: more like "church is a communion of persons" and the "church is a church of churches"
Aristarchus: which allows more flexibility of event vs. institution
Sosthenes: would your formulation still allow for a very congregational approach, though?
Aristarchus: well
Aristarchus: "the one church is from and in the churches" as well as "the churchers are in and from the one church"
Aristarchus: so sort of
Aristarchus: it is congregational in that no churchly reality is abstracted from a local church
Aristarchus: thus, no biship worth the name is a bishop without being a pastor
Sosthenes: i agree with this... but what about Forde's argument that visible uinity is a chimera
Aristarchus: supervisory and jurisdictional power tied to the evangelical responsiblity of sacrmaents and word
Aristarchus: this isn't visible unity
Aristarchus: at least not in the usual sense
Sosthenes: oh
Aristarchus: it is unity in the sense of unity in word/proclamation
Sosthenes: right, and so you're saying the structure ensures the office in some sense?
Aristarchus: the failing in the gnesio angle is that it does not understand the relationship of one proclamation to the next or all proclamations going on on any given sunday
Aristarchus: it is too punctilear and doesnt' see hwo congregations are related to each other
Aristarchus: it places the whole church and local churches on completely different ontological planes
Sosthenes: well, it does... Sasse would respond, where Christ is, there is the church
Aristarchus: the whole church is the sweet bye and bye
Aristarchus: in a sense, yes
Sosthenes: so congregations are related to each other in Christ... that is the unity
Aristarchus: but where is Christ?
Sosthenes: amen
Aristarchus: answer: where the gospel is preached
Aristarchus: see the gnesio is tautological
Aristarchus: reduced to nonsense
Aristarchus: communio ecclesiology allows for a non-tautoloigcal ecclesiology
Aristarchus: it is wholly extra nos and understands the church in good reformation fashion as creatura verbi
Sosthenes: because it makes the move towards an embodied church?
Aristarchus: 100%
Aristarchus: the whole church is made up of, ta-dah, the baptized
Sosthenes: then the question becomes, what does this body look like?
Aristarchus: it is not made up of anyone who isn't preached to in some way, i guess
Sosthenes: that's why I like the comparison of charisms and institutions
Aristarchus: so the indivdual churches are related in christ, but if they are so related, their failur to relate to each other denotes something screwy
Aristarchus: not just sin
Sosthenes: i believe they parallel each other in a helpful way
Aristarchus: because you can approach the issue in terms of an individual congregation
Aristarchus: the failure for mutual recognition in Christ is a failure of an actual local communion
Aristarchus: and therefore a failure in some way at the Table
Aristarchus: you are 100% on the charism/institution thing too

to be continued...

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