Sunday 27 June 2010

Ecclesiastical condoms for Calvinists

Jason Goroncy reports on his blog about the grand sounding United General Conference of the newly formed World Communion of Reformed Churches, where he is a delegate for the New Zealand Presbyterians. He writes:

One of the issues that I was keen to ‘place on the table’ at this gathering concerned the relationship between Reformed Churches and the State. It seems to me that a tradition like mine which is so heavily imbedded in what is now a rapidly-disappearing Christendom has well and truly entered (in most parts of the world) a time in which our relationship with the State is overdue for a rethink. Put differently, is it time for Reformed Churches who have long been in bed with the State to start thinking about wearing an ecclesiastical condom, at least at more ‘risky’ times of the month? Conversely, is it time for Reformed Churches who have long sidelined themselves from their societies to re-think their bed etiquette?

What Jason states here with great eloquence goes twice over for confessional Lutheran bodies which infamously have hidden behind a wooden reading of Romans 13 and the bizarre doctrines of "two kingdoms" and the "left hand of God" to consistently excuse the utterly inexcusable. He goes on to cite four points (excerpted from a longer remit) which he offered at a session of the body:
  1. We will not kill one another.
  2. We will make disciples in our congregations who might learn to resist participation in the State’s machinery of violence and thereby offer a distinctive Christian witness to an alternative way of living that is determined to not perpetuate the practices of that world which is passing away but which is formed by the new creation inaugurated in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
  3. We will communicate – in word and in action – to our respective states and governments that our principle allegiance is to Jesus Christ.
  4. We will offer our full support to all those in our communion for whom this commitment will come at great cost.
The motion did not pass, though that seems to have had as much to do with the dynamics of the council organisation rather than the merits of the proposal. Perhaps though it might inspire others...

1 comment:

  1. “We will not kill one another.”

    At first I thought this was talking about internal or internecine religious squabbles of the “Die, heretic!” variety, and I must confess my immediate reaction was: “Spoilsports!”

    Seriously, though, if the ideal being advanced here is that human beings representing state and church respectively should live and let live, well, that really would be a desirable – and revolutionary – state of affairs.

    Bit lost with the condom analogy, though, as I always thought the church was feminine. Maybe I’m just too naive.

    One final tangential thought: I went to a “Church of England (controlled)” state school (go figure!) and it didn’t seem to **** me up the way Philip Larkin’s poem says “your Mum and Dad” do.