The Church is the Church for the World!

















































inmedia.png
disseminary-hoopoe-divide.png




inthelibrary.png
disseminary-hoopoe-divide.png

The conception of Christ was perfectly natural from the standpoint of His Person and purpose, and it could hardly fail to differ in method from the conception of a purely human child; for the causal antecedents of nativity determine the rank in being of what is born. But when considered from the standpoint of the native capacity of a human virgin, His conception was plainly supernatural and, in the order of sensible phenomena, miraculous. The effect - the entrance of very God into human life - transcends the potentialities of the sphere in which it emerged, and therefore demanded the working of a transcendant factor, the Holy Spirit; but this did not interrupt the continued validity of the laws of purely human birth. The event was not contra-natural, but super-natural.


Posted by Trevor at 04:32 AM | Comments (0)

inthejournal.png

disseminary-quadriga-divide.png

Elaine Pagels, Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas. New York: Random House, $24.95.

In Beyond Belief, Elaine Pagels presents a touching, insightful series of chapters whose common thread proposes that Christianity has lost touch with its own truest insights.

Pagels, whose scholarly works on diverse versions of early Christianity have consistently attracted a broad popular audience, now addresses her readers directly with a readable collection of essays that rest on her outstanding scholarship in the field of Gnosticism and early Christianity. Instead of teaching her readers how to understand better the earliest centuries of the church, however, she here invites them to re-imagine a contemporary Christianity that more closely resembles the faith she sees in the ancient texts she has studied so thoroughly.

Pagels frames the work in the context of her own spiritual life. From the devastating grief of her young son's death to a moment of exaltation shared with her daughter at a Christmas Eve service, she has pondered her persistent attraction to and aversion from Christianity, and this book begins to explain those feelings.

As a tract aimed at evangelizing its readers into a sort of non-conforming faith, the book derives its strength from Pagels’s manifest commitment to the vision that she describes. Here unfold the passions for ancient sources that lurked latent in her more strictly academic books; here she makes explicit connections between her scholarship and her spirituality. Few readers will not be moved by Pagels’s accounts of how her evolving understanding of Christianity comforted and clarified for her the ways of God and humanity.

Moreover, she rebukes orthodox Christianity for its narrow insistence on doctrinal conformity. Time and again, she adduces the weak arguments and awful consequences of authoritarian theological leadership. Pagels does not soft-pedal the harsh language that church leaders directed against those with whom they disagreed, and she invites readers to identify more closely with the free thinkers whom she admires than with Athanasius, Irenaeus, and other bishops of the dominant tradition.

Finally, she advances theological arguments in favor of the traditions she favors. She sets the Gospel of John over against the Gospel of Thomas and suggests that John was written as a somewhat peevish rebuke to Thomas’s mystical spirituality. She argues that the orthodox churches committed themselves to a fourfold gospel canon and to the creedal definition of sound faith; thus they shut out the profound spiritual insights of the many texts that she has devoted her career to understanding, translating, and expounding. Pagels lobbies gently for Christians to devote their energies more generously to spiritual growth, so that they might welcome the resources that non-canonical texts (and non-Christian faiths) stand to offer. Pagels sketches a non-judgmental, deeply personal, open-hearted faith that stands, as her title suggests, beyond mere belief.

The chapters of the book follow one another only loosely, and the book would benefit from more clarity at many points. Although the book seems to be written for non-specialists, Pagels doesn’t devote much attention to the content of any of her preferred texts; the book’s subtitle mentions the Gospel of Thomas, but Pagels expounds the Gospel of Truth, the Acts of John, the Secret Gospel of John, and other texts as much as Thomas. Her argument that the canonical Gospel of John marginalizes Thomas sounds forced; if John wanted Thomas to appear heretical, John would hardly have shown Thomas identifying Jesus as “my Lord and my God?(John 20:28). Pagels’s loose argumentation will attract readers already disposed to be sympathetic to her position more than it will win over either committed mainstream Christians or critical nonpartisans.

No one can gainsay the testimony of Pagels’s own experience; she writes with grace about her heart-breaking pain and about the consolations she finds in the texts that orthodox Christians rejected. At the same time, it’s not exactly clear how this functions as an argument. Many people, after all, have experienced consolation from reading many different texts. Presumably some further criterion of spiritual soundness rules out The Greatest Salesman in the World, while including the Gospel of Truth ?but Pagels doesn’t articulate the basis on which one might make that judgment. Indeed, it would be difficult for her so to do without sounding judgmental in the same sort of way as the early bishops whom she chides. The necessity of discernment, however, lies at the heart of many spiritual traditions, and at precisely this point, Pagels leaves her readers to their own devices.

Pagels justifiably deplores the violent words and harsh actions with which early Christians distanced themselves from the various constituencies they deemed heretical. That granted, the questions concerning the ethos of dissenting groups involves some further complexities. Early Christians seem sharp-tongued in debate, but that property applies not only to ancient Christians, nor only to the orthodox. Church leaders of various persuasions were quick to stifle dissent, and when the Empire deployed its coercive power to settle ecclesiastical conflicts, both sides of the dispute customarily hustled to win imperial favor and thwart their enemies. Heretical groups spoke roughly about their orthodox adversaries, and took advantage of state power to oppress theological opponents. If we should apply contemporary Western standards of politeness and toleration to ancient theologians, we should apply them even-handedly.

That rhetorical equity could even extend to the ways we weigh contemporary church policies and theologies. Pagels decries the practice of requiring participants in religious congregations to assent to things they don’t believe, and proposes her more inclusive Christianity as though it were the only alternative to fundamentalism. In so doing, she conceals from view the many Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant theologians who have spent recent decades explaining a variety of ways that doctrines do not function as propositions to which believers must assent. A reader who wasn’t already acquainted with the last forty years of theological deliberation might think that Pagels’s position represents the only non-propositional approach to Christian faith.

Pagels’s book does present an appealing case for a spirituality that prescinds from assessing truth-claims other than its own reliance on a universal inner light, a theology that dovetails with the felt needs of many in contemporary Western culture. This spiritual path offers solace and affirmation, indeed; a seeker risks misplaced faith only when she or he neglects the authoritative guide that abides within her or him.

On the other hand, as much as the contemporary cultural moment favors comfort over criticism, everyone benefits when sharp minds lend themselves to the task of assessing the stakes in matters spiritual. If the dissenters in the early church were wiser than their orthodox rivals, Pagels could help readers by citing specific reasons for such a judgment and promulgating some criteria by which one might recognize sound (and mistaken) faith. Her approach to spirituality shows an admirable openness and fluidity, but it remains to be seen whether this recipe offers hungry souls a hearty, nourishing soup on which one might thrive, or simply a watery broth that slakes the thirst with neither nutrients nor flavoring.

 
Windows 81 Enterprise Keygen Download  | windows 81 enterprise keygen download  | key windows 8 professional x86  | key windows 8 professional download  | product key for windows 7 professional  | office 2010 key checker  | windows 10 key paypal  | windows 8 enterprise evaluation 64 bit product key  | windows home server 2011 oem key  | windows 81 pro x64 serial key  | windows 8 pro enterprise online activation mak key  | windows 7 genuine key  | product key for office 2010 professional plus  | microsoft project professional 2013 serial key  | purchase windows 7 home key  | key microsoft office professional plus 2013 x86 volume license  | windows 7 home premium sp1 key code  | buy genuine windows 7 home premium key  | discount microsoft office standard 2010 key  | windows 8 enterprise 32 bit cd key  | office 2010 dell oem key  | windows 81 enterprise key activation  | windows 81 pro key sale  | windows 8 pro key serialsws  | windows 7 ultimate genuine key 32 bit  | buy win10 key  | purchase windows 7 enterprise product key  | microsoft visio professional 2013 key serial  | product key for windows 7 home premium 64 bit  | windows server 2012 license key  | cheapest windows 8 pro key  | microsoft windows 10 download with product key  | windows 7 home edition serial key  | windows 8 pro license key buy  | windows 7 oem key purchase  | buy genuine win10 key  | windows 8 pro key oem  | microsoft office 2010 key serial  | windows server 2008 key serial  | windows server 2012 64 bit product key  | windows 81 enterprise product key price  | windows 7 key code checker  | windows 81 standard key buy  | windows 8 enterprise serial key 32 bit  | buy windows server 2008 key  | cheap windows server 2012 key  | windows 7 professional 32 bit cd key  | windows 8 pro key shop  | windows 7 ultimate oem key 2012  | discount windows 7 ultimate sp1 key  | genuine win10 key buy paypal  | windows 8 license key  | microsoft office standard 2013 key serial  | windows 10 enterprise key online  | purchase windows 81 pro key  | cheap office 2010 key  | microsoft office 2010 key online  | windows 8 pro serial keygen  | office 2010 activation key download  | windows multipoint server 2011 keygen  | product key for windows 7 premium  | office professional plus 2013 activation key  | windows 7 ultimate oem key toshiba  | activation key for windows 10  | purchase windows 81 professional key  | Office 2010 Serial Key Finder  | windows 81 cd key not working  | win 10 key original  | microsoft project professional 2013 32 bit cd key  | windows 81 serial key 2014  | windows 10 professional 64 bit cd key  | windows 7 ultimate key shop  | microsoft office standard 2010 key sale  | windows 8 pro key paypal  | office 2010 serial key finder  | windows server 2012 essentials serial key  | windows server 2012 r2 standard activation key  | windows 10 professional cd key  | windows 7 cd key finder  | buy windows 7 professional sp1 key online  | office 2013 professional plus online key  | product key for windows 8 standard  | product key for windows 81 pro preview  | windows 7 home key code  | key windows server 2008 enterprise 64 bit  | windows 2003 server r2 sp2 enterprise edition key  | Microsoft Visio Professional 2013 Key  | windows 7 professional key purchase  | windows 8 professional genuine key  | microsoft visio professional 2013 key  | product key for windows 7 home  | win10 professional genuine key  | windows 7 license key location  | win 10 professional license key  | adobe cs6 master collection serial key  | product key for windows 7 professional 64  | windows server 2008 r2 product key purchase  | office 2010 32 bit product key  | windows home server power pack 1 mit key  | cheap windows 81 professional key  | windows server 2008 serial key download  | office 2010 license key purchase  | key windows 7 enterprise 7601  | windows 8 professional oem product key  | windows 7 professional key only  | windows 7 home premium key online  | win10 enterprise genuine key  | windows server 2008 enterprise r2 product key  | office professional plus 2013 key card  | office professional plus 2013 key activation  | windows 7 professional serial key dell  | windows 7 home premium oem key acer  | windows 10 key sale  | product key for microsoft visio professional 2013  | windows 7 professional genuine key  | windows 10 enterprise activation key 10130  | windows 8 pro 64 bit product keygen  | product key for windows 81 pro 9600  | buy win 10 ultimate key  | windows server 2012 r2 essentials key  | office 2010 key oem  | win10 key buy  | windows embedded 8 standard product key  | buy adobe cs6 master collection key  | office 2010 cd key change  | windows 81 professional x64 serial key  | buy windows 7 professional upgrade key  | windows server 2008 product key serial  | windows server 2008 r2 standard keygen  | key windows 7 ultimate 32 bit 2014  | windows 10 enterprise activation key 10061  | microsoft office standard 2013 64 bit cd key  | microsoft office standard 2010 key online  | purchase win10 enterprise key  | windows storage server 2008 standard key  | windows 8 enterprise evaluation 32 bit product key  | windows 8 64 bit product key for installation  | windows server 2003 r2 enterprise x64 edition with sp2 serial key  | download windows 10 serial number keygen crack  | windows 7 professional 64 bit product key finder  | windows server 2008 activation keygenexe  | windows 2003 r2 sp2 standart key  | dell windows 7 professional key oem  | genuine windows server 2008 key  | exchange server 2007 standard und enterprise edition key  | windows 7 professional key code  | product key for windows 8 professional x86  | adobe acrobat xi professional key paypal  | windows 10 key code  | win 10 enterprise cd key activation  | cheap windows 7 ultimate product key  | microsoft project professional 2013 cd key  | discount windows server 2012 key  | windows 10 key points  | product key for windows server 2012  | buy windows 81 pro product key  | win10 professional key paypal  | adobe acrobat xi professional key on sale  | windows 7 enterprise serial key build 7601  | windows server 2012 r2 license key  | windows 8 standard key buy  | windows multipoint server 2011 key  | windows server 2008 key finder  | windows 8 serial key download  | windows server 2008 activation key management service is not enabled  |