A Brief History of Communion: Five Reformation Views

This post is part of an ongoing series on the history of communion.

The Reformation Church

Martin Luther

With the outbreak of theological reforms in the 16th century came considerable revisions and specifications of the theologies and practices of Communion. Essentially, five major views solidified: Tridentine, Consubstantial, Reformed, Via Media, and Memorialist. Continue reading

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On the Misuse of Christian Tradition: A Response

sola_scriptura_forumsThe proper relationship between the authority of Christian Scripture and authority of Christian Tradition avails itself to no easy answers. From a historical viewpoint, much of the early development of both remains hotly debated. From a theological perspective, centuries (and sometimes millennia) old debates continue to shape thinking and lead toward answers long before any explicit consideration of this relationship comes into focus.

Yet there seem to be boundaries—a “highway of orthodoxy” if you will—which suggest (or perhaps demand?) a certain perspective on the Christian understanding of the interplay between Scripture and Tradition, a stance which holds a) Scripture as inspired and authoritative (overly precise definitions aside); b) Tradition as important for properly interpreting Scripture (or, if you prefer more Protestant phrasings, “interpreting within the community” or even “Scripture interpreting Scripture”); and c) both Scripture and Tradition as necessarily in conversation with one another (i.e., neither allowed to dominate the other). Continue reading

Blogging Ecumenically: A Way Forward

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on Orthodox-Catholic online dialogue, originally delivered at the “That They May Be One” Conference.

Conciliar PostIn this series, I have drawn upon the ecumenical website Conciliar Post in order to examine how Orthodox and Catholic Christians dialogue in an online environment. Through this overview, I have argued for three basic approaches to dialogue: Cooperation against common opponents, Reinforcement of disagreements, and Coordination seeking unity. While cooperation and reinforcement must (to some extent) exist in a divided church, intentional Orthodox-Catholic coordination appears to be best way forward toward meaningful Christian dialogue and unity. Continue reading

Blogging Ecumenically: Coordination

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on Orthodox-Catholic online dialogue, originally delivered at the “That They May Be One” Conference.

bigstock-dialogue-between-man-and-woman-25597598The third category of dialogue between Orthodox and Catholic writers at Conciliar Post involves what I call “coordination seeking unity.” These types of interaction consist of Orthodox and Catholic voices not only agreeing accidentally or for the sake of defeating a common opponent, but also instances where agreements are sought for the sake of broad Christian unity. In contrast to cooperative approaches where arguments are presented from the Catholic or Orthodox perspective alone, coordinated approaches argue from positions of broad Christian faith (casting the Church as whole) or the perspectives of Orthodoxy and Catholicism together. Continue reading

Blogging Ecumenically: Reinforcement

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on Orthodox-Catholic online dialogue, originally delivered at the “That They May Be One” Conference.

thA second way in which Orthodox and Catholic writers at Conciliar Post dialogue with one another is through what I call “reinforcement,” namely, a reinforcement of disagreements. In these instances, after a) recognition of historical Orthodox-Catholic differences coming into play or b) a time of attempting to reconcile potentially non-synchronous positions, Orthodox and Catholic writers agree to disagree and effectively break off dialogue on whatever issue causes the disagreement at hand. Continue reading

Blogging Ecumenically: Cooperation

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on Orthodox-Catholic online dialogue, originally delivered at the “That They May Be One” Conference.

shutterstock_91130885First, there is Orthodox-Catholic cooperation, especially cooperation against common theological opponents. Depending on the topic, these opponents can range from secular perspectives to Protestants or from those who disregard church history to those denigrating the liturgy. When discussing such topics, Orthodox and Roman Catholic writers “go to bat” for their fellow writers, offering Catholic or Orthodox arguments in defense of each other’s positions. Continue reading

Blogging Ecumenically: Introductory Period

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on Orthodox-Catholic online dialogue, originally delivered at the “That They May Be One” Conference.

dialogueOrthodox-Catholic dialogue on Conciliar Post typically begins with a short introductory period. During this time, new writers introduce themselves to the site, get to know their fellow writers, and (occasionally) produce “foundational articles,” explanations of where they come from and how they hope to contribute to Conciliar Post’s dialogue. Additionally, this early period of interaction often includes a basic recognition of similarities and differences among writers, which often comes in the form of short, basic affirmations of a post or, conversely, an attempt to charitably question another’s position or meaning. An excellent example of how new Catholic and Orthodox writers work through this introductory period comes in the writing of a Roman Catholic whom I have named Frigus (note: names here and throughout the rest of this presentation are pseudonymous). Continue reading