Christianese

What is Worship?

My last post mentioned the dispute as to whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God, and suggested some reasons why the answer is not obvious.  These in particular have to do with the range of meanings given to the verb “to worship,” and the difficulty of determining precisely the object of worship when that object is unseen.  I think the result is that Christians who believe the same theology may nevertheless answer the question differently, depending on the contextual meanings of the words and the philosophical underpinnings.  Therefore I suggest we should avoid being dogmatic on this question.  I am not opposed to dogma on other questions, such as the “three-ness” (Trinity) of God or the deity of Christ, but it seems to me that whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God is not a question which admits of a single correct answer, nor is it a question whose answer is essential to the maintenance of Christian faith. (more…)

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Basic Ecclesiology: Unity and Plurality

As I have argued that ecclesiology matters, we might then ask what we ought to believe about the Church.  So I thought I might lay out a few basic ecclesiological ideas in a series of short(er) posts.  Of course, our ideas about the Church tend first to be informed by our experience of actual churches, and what we like or dislike about them, and only secondarily (or tertiarily) consult the Bible or any reputable theological source.  But God’s revelation is always there to challenge us, just as Apollos was challenged by Priscilla and Aquila in Acts 18:26, to think better about the subject.

The first point is that there are multiple churches, and yet there is one Church.  The Church is simultaneously singular and plural. (more…)

Hoc Est Corpus Meum

In honor of yesterday’s feast of Corpus Christi, in some Latin liturgical calendars, here is a narration of my experience leading up to my first communion.  I remember how I described those events at the time, without Christian jargon which was then unfamiliar to me, because of the impression they made on me, both because of their force and because of how unexpected they were.

When I decided to become a Christian, I started visiting churches on Sunday mornings, and in the course of four weeks I visited three churches, one a Calvary Chapel and the other two both Presbyterian churches.  I think none of these churches offered communion more than once per month, but in four consecutive weeks I was offered communion three times. (more…)