Ecumenism Presupposes Postmodernism

Categories: Theology
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Published on: April 6, 2005

Since the death of the Pope there has been much discussion on Roman Catholicism and the differences between protestantism. On one side you have some people using this as an opportunity to demonstrate the great errors of the Romish gospel, while others have focused on the social/moral commonalities. While I fall into the former camp, my goal with this blog entry is not to discuss that issue. What I do want to mention is that the ecumenicism of the latter group brought some things to mind.

My first observation is that this type of ecumenism presupposes postmodernism. What do I mean by that? The blurring of the importance of specific contradictary propositional statements leads to a blurring of the distinction between contradictary propositional statements in general. When we fail to recognize that the gospel proclaimed by protestants is opposed foundationally to that proclaimed by Roman Catholics, we must by extension retreat from the position that truth is objective and that the law of non-contradiction is valid and universally binding with regard to logic and thought. That kind of thinking already assumes that neither side is EXCLUSIVELY right even though at face value, the claims made by each side are mutually exclusive of each other.

One cannot say that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone by Christ alone and at the same time acknowledge the Roman Catholic system of meritorious works, infused righteousness and doctrines of purgatory and praying to Mary & the saints without adopting a postmodern view of truth. Yet we have seen this being done by many “evangelical” groups in the days following the Pope’s death.

This of course leads logically to the idea that all of these “doctrines” are just man-made anyway and completely overthrows, not just the sole authority of the Scriptures (sola scriptura), but in effect ALL authority of the Scriptures as being the infallible Word of God. You see, if two contradictary claims are regarded as equally true, neither claim can be labeled as the “Word of God” although many try to hold onto that out of habbit or tradition.

I do hope that more people and ministries will stand up and declare that objective debate grounded in the written Word of God is needed to bring clarity to God’s people, and that compromising God’s revealed truth is not (despite assertions to the contrary) the way in which we demonstrate love to our fellow men. The only way to love each other (the 2nd greatest commandment) is to love God with all our heart soul mind and strength (the 1st greatest commandment), and that cannot be done if we do not honor God’s truth as revealed in the person of Christ and the Scriptures.



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  1. If you are interested in some new ideas on ecumenism and the Trinity, please check out my website at http://www.religiouspluralism.ca, and give me your thoughts on improving content and presentation.

    My thesis is that an abstract version of the Trinity could be Christianity’s answer to the world need for a framework of pluralistic theology.

    In a constructive worldview: east, west, and far-east religions present a threefold understanding of One God manifest primarily in Muslim and Hebrew intuition of the Deity Absolute, Christian and Krishnan Hindu conception of the Universe Absolute Supreme Being; and Shaivite Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist apprehension of the Destroyer (meaning also Consummator), Unconditioned Absolute, or Spirit of All That Is and is not. Together with their variations and combinations in other major religions, these religious ideas reflect and express our collective understanding of God, in an expanded concept of the Holy Trinity.

    The Trinity Absolute is portrayed in the logic of world religions, as follows:

    1. Muslims and Jews may be said to worship only the first person of the Trinity, i.e. the existential Deity Absolute Creator, known as Allah or Yhwh, Abba or Father (as Jesus called him), Brahma, and other names; represented by Gabriel (Executive Archangel), Muhammad and Moses (mighty messenger prophets), and others.

    2. Christians and Krishnan Hindus may be said to worship the first person through a second person, i.e. the experiential Universe or “Universal” Absolute Supreme Being (Allsoul or Supersoul), called Son/Christ or Vishnu/Krishna; represented by Michael (Supreme Archangel), Jesus (teacher and savior of souls), and others. The Allsoul is that gestalt of personal human consciousness, which we expect will be the “body of Christ” (Mahdi, Messiah, Kalki or Maitreya) in the second coming – personified in history by Muhammad, Jesus Christ, Buddha (9th incarnation of Vishnu), and others.

    3. Shaivite Hindus, Buddhists, and Confucian-Taoists seem to venerate the synthesis of the first and second persons in a third person or appearance, ie. the Destiny Consummator of ultimate reality – unqualified Nirvana consciousness – associative Tao of All That Is – the absonite* Unconditioned Absolute Spirit “Synthesis of Source and Synthesis,”** who/which is logically expected to be Allah/Abba/Brahma glorified in and by union with the Supreme Being – represented in religions by Gabriel, Michael, and other Archangels, Mahadevas, Spiritpersons, etc., who may be included within the mysterious Holy Ghost.

    Other strains of religion seem to be psychological variations on the third person, or possibly combinations and permutations of the members of the Trinity – all just different personality perspectives on the Same God. Taken together, the world’s major religions give us at least two insights into the first person of this thrice-personal One God, two perceptions of the second person, and at least three glimpses of the third.

    * The ever-mysterious Holy Ghost or Unconditioned Spirit is neither absolutely infinite, nor absolutely finite, but absonite; meaning neither existential nor experiential, but their ultimate consummation; neither fully ideal nor totally real, but a middle path and grand synthesis of the superconscious and the conscious, in consciousness of the unconscious.

    ** This conception is so strong because somewhat as the Absonite Spirit is a synthesis of the spirit of the Absolute and the spirit of the Supreme, so it would seem that the evolving Supreme Being may himself also be a synthesis or “gestalt” of humanity with itself, in an Almighty Universe Allperson or Supersoul. Thus ultimately, the Absonite is their Unconditioned Absolute Coordinate Identity – the Spirit Synthesis of Source and Synthesis – the metaphysical Destiny Consummator of All That Is.

    After the Hindu and Buddhist conceptions, perhaps the most subtle expression and comprehensive symbol of the 3rd person of the Trinity is the Tao; involving the harmonization of “yin and yang” (great opposing ideas indentified in positive and negative, or otherwise contrasting terms). In the Taoist icon of yin and yang, the s-shaped line separating the black and white spaces may be interpreted as the Unconditioned “Middle Path” between condition and conditioned opposites, while the circle that encompasses them both suggests their synthesis in the Spirit of the “Great Way” or Tao of All That Is.

    If the small black and white circles or “eyes” are taken to represent a nucleus of truth in both yin and yang, then the metaphysics of this symbolism fits nicely with the paradoxical mystery of the Christian Holy Ghost; who is neither the spirit of the one nor the spirit of the other, but the Glorified Spirit proceeding from both, taken altogether – as one entity – personally distinct from his co-equal, co-eternal and fully coordinate co-sponsors, who differentiate from him, as well as mingle and meld in him.

    For more details, please see: http://www.religiouspluralism.ca

    Samuel Stuart Maynes

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