Sunday, June 6, 2010

Reading Group, 4a

The Moral Idea of the Dogma of the Church

a. When an author offers his readers an explanation of Christian dogma, he reckons least of all to introduce anything new into the consciousness of the Church. Even before the fourth century the Church knew from the Gospel and Tradition that the Father and Son are one, but how to relate these truths to the human philosophical concepts of person and nature was taught to people by the fathers of the First Ecumenical Council.

b. If a contemporary person discusses the truths of the faith in new terminology, while remaining in agreement with Orthodox theology, he will be met with ill will by those who are devotees of scholastic textbooks.

c. While the moral content of the faith has always been evident in liturgical worship, contemporary theology, as a science, is in want of clearly expressed and consistent formulations of precisely what moral concepts are contained in the truths of the faith.
a. Of all the dogmas of the faith, that of the Church is subjected to the most intense attack.

b. It was precisely the truth of the Church which was the main force for attracting the newly enlightened peoples and nations to Christ.

c. An explanation will follow of how the dogma of the Church possess for the spiritual perfection of the individual.

d. God revealed to us all of His properties and His providential decrees that are needed for our salvation and concealed all that does not have a direct relationship to this purpose.

e. The purpose of the Church is clearly set forth and defined: the spiritual growth of Christians.

f. It begs the question to define the Church as a society, as it doesn’t say what it’s forth. A contemporary definition of the Church as the Body of Christ didn’t vary from the essential premise shared by scholastics.

g. Thesis: for man’s salvation or, what is the same, for the spiritual perfection of man, three elements are necessary: man himself, God, and the Church.
  1. What is the nature of the polemic that Metropolitan Anthony is engaging in vis-a-vis contemporary treatments of the Church? What understandings of the Church is he objecting to, and (based on what’s been read so far) how does he propose to respond to them?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

1a. I understand the nature of the polemic to be, specifically, communicating eternal truths, in this instance – the dogma of the Church, into contemporary culture and in a way that the contemporary culture can understand it. Generally, he knows that his opponents will be those who only “know Christianity through textbooks” and therefore he will be speaking with the awareness of these detractors, these uncreative sorts.

b. The understanding of the Church that Met. Antony is objecting to is that which is understood by those who seek to define it as a “society” with various characteristics, structures, functions, rites, etc. The Church is that place where spiritual perfection takes place. He will proceed to unpack this truth “theorematically,” that is, he will elucidate what others might not see to be self-evident.