A couple of weeks ago I wrote about The Jesus Wars. Yesterday a colleague spoke about a debate with someone over the purpose and actions of the Council of Nicaea (which really touched off the whole set of controversies that councils were called to discuss. I see a pattern with these discussions. Jesus asks his followers “Who do you say that I am?” We respond with St. Peter’s confession, “The Messiah of God” (St. Mark’s gospel). However, for those of us who seek to think and to speak about God (theologians) that answer is not intellectually satisfying enough. “What does is mean?” We ask. I propose our problem lies there.
Jesus never said to Peter. “Well now that is a good start.” He pronounces a blessing on him because Peter has already been blessed with a special revelation from God (St. Matthew’s gospel). I believe this is important because the knowledge Peter and then the Church claims is not experiential knowledge. It was something God revealed which was later retold. Attempts to unpack, clarify, and magnify this statement is neither the mission of the Church nor the Promise God makes to the world.
The Church is given a mission to worship God and to help people become followers of Jesus Christ in this world. Attendant upon these acts are other important acts of healing and benevolences that benefit humans beings and all other living things of God’s creation. The Church is to be in the process of working with God to help achieve the healing (salvation) of the world.
The controversies over which words of Greek philosophy or which historical fallible human being had the correct doctrine has done nothing but cause grief, heartache, the separation of the people of God, and even Christians shedding the blood of other Christians. Torture, vanity, controversy, back-biting, fighting, and evil do not belong in the kindom of God. Love, peace, patience, kindness, grace, goodness, compassion, and speaking truth belong in the new heaven and new earth promised by God.
The purpose of the Church is to help heal this world.