Thursday, March 05, 2015


Ecumenism and Politics

Dale Coulter writes about theological bases and lack thereof for Protestant and Catholic ecumenism:
While I have no dog in the hunt as to how best to preserve the Catholic understanding of the church, I do wish to preserve the twenty years of togetherness Catholics and Evangelicals have experienced. I am particularly concerned about the attempt to wed so closely this debate over the nature of the church with religious and political communion. For Catholics and Evangelicals experience a real, albeit imperfect, communion that supplies the theological ground of a shared religious and political communion.
Coulter does some really good theology here, but one cannot simply set aside the understanding of the church in the question of political communion. If Christianity is to be effective politically, it must speak with authority and only and institution like THE church can garner that authority.

Evangelicalism, with its utter lack of ecclesiastical organization, is effective politically due only to sheer numbers. But it fractures one from another on an almost daily basis, and such fracture reduces the effective numbers. There is a strong need for organization unity to be politically effective.

Likewise, affecting culture, which in turn dictates popular politics in a Republic, is a matter of leading culture. That too takes some understanding of THE church beyond the simple affiliation view held by the average Evangelical.

I think what we need is to understand that theology and politics may not always meld well and that sometimes we need to simply operate them in separate spheres. Good politicians are not always going to be good theologians, and vice versa. What the church, no matter how you understand it, needs to be doing is making good politicians of good Christian character. Then let them go be politicians.


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