Christian Evolution

New Church theology posits that the growth of faith, historically, moved through several “churches” – groups who had a deep understanding of God and His Word.  Some of that was specific to a given church body.  Other elements were far more broad, more shared as it were, constituting a church of the heart, a universal church that crossed denominational boundaries.

Each phase was inaugurated within God’s plan to uniquely serve humanity at that time.  Within the Christian tradition, that means the Old Testament was to serve humanity at that time as was the New Testament and as is New Church theology for this time.   Each builds and adds on to what went before, adding its own unique layer of meaning to what preceded.  As each sows itself together, married with experience, it constitutes for a Word for now.

The author Parker Palmer wrote: “All of our propositions and practices are earthen vessels. All of them are made by human beings of common clay to hold whatever we think we’ve found in our soul-deep quest for the sacred or in its quest for us. If our containers prove too crimped and cramped to hold the treasure well, if they domesticate the sacred and keep us from having a live encounter with it—or if they prove so twisted and deformed that they defile rather than honor the treasure they were intended to hold—then our containers must be smashed and discarded so we can create a larger and more life-giving vessel in which to hold the treasure.”

At a certain point we do outgrow the older forms he references. losing touch with the treasure within.  We then need to find “a more life-giving vessel.”  That does not change the sacredness of revelation.  It does however call us to be aware of the “pots” we place it in, including worship and Christian community.

Just as revelation “moves”, so much churches.    The trouble  is “when any religion insists that the treasure cannot be carried except in their earthen vessels ….”

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