The New Christians

Yesterday I posted about the optionality of the Trinity.  A good debate ensued, which is exactly what I hoped.  And that brings me to my thought for the day: I think those of us committed to the social web will become the new magisterium.

Church historians will tell you that we had

  • The Apostolic Period (29 – c.100)
  • The Patristic Period (c.100 – 325)
  • The Conciliar Period (325 – 787)
  • The Holy Roman Empire/Scholasticism (754 – 1309)
  • Babel

Prior to Babel, there was relative consensus — though not unanimity

Babel happened for a couple different reasons, most notably the papal schisms of 1378-1417, followed by the Reformation a century later.  Since then it’s been schism after schism, with each schismatic group deeming all other groups unorthodox.  Protestants consider Catholics heretical for praying to Mary or believing that the sacraments exclusively impart real grace.  Catholics consider Protestants heretical for breaking from apostolic succession.

And internecine schisms are the order of the day.  The Vatican recently silenced a Jesuit theologian who has written a book attempting “to express traditional doctrines about Christ and salvation in a language appropriate to postmodern culture.”  Meanwhile, a Southern Baptist who does not adhere to biblical inerrancy feels unwelcome at the communion table with his co-religionists.  The last century has been one of each brand of Christianity sinking deeper into their own echo chambers.  Attempts at ecumenism have been futile.

But the social web promises to change all of that.  Christians are climbing out of their denominational silos and listening to Christians of other flavors.  Some are even (gasp!) listening to the wisdom of other religions.

I really do think that we’ll enter a new age of theological discussion and even consensus, and it will be made possible by new media.

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