The Word did not become flesh in order to become word again.

In the protestant reformation, divine authority was wrested away from the ecclesiastical institution and pushed back into the canonical tradition (i.e. Scripture). However, after five-hundred years, it has become apparent that this move was insufficient. This is why liberal theology (at its best) sought to push that authority back even further into the very person of Jesus Christ.

That is:

The Living Creator God – who is Love – personified in the historical Jesus Christ

Surely this is the only truly self-attesting authority in principle (from a Christian perspective). How can there be any other Christian epistemic principle? – – –

The Scripture has no authority apart from Christ – Yet, many seem to want it to lend credibility to the notion of Jesus-as-God (as if that were possible) along with everything else

I submit to you that this is a fatal mistake – albeit a well-meaning one.

Who upholds the universe by the word of his power? – – – (please don’t tell me that the canonical tradition – as artifact – is engaged in this reality somehow)

The Word did not become flesh in order to become word again.

* * *

There is only one Guarantor of meaning – which, not coincidentally, corresponds quite neatly with:

1) The existential object of (Christian) faith

2) The only possible (Christian) epistemic principle

3) The transcendental religious ground-motive in (Christian) philosophy

4) The most succinct summation of Christianity and its exclusive truth proposition

5) The only power upholding the cosmos (accounting for unity and diversity)

6) The definition of revelation per se (if any revelation exists)

7) The very gospel itself (in esse)

Namely:

The Living Creator God – who is Love – personified in the historical Jesus Christ

The difficulty with derivative authority in theological hegemonies (and the dogmatic creep that accompanies it) is that they want TO BE that guarantor of meaning. Well, that doesn’t work – and people are starting to become sophisticated enough to figure that out – en masse

Of course, liberal protestant theology (with its Christocentric approach) understood this very well – However, they failed to understand the implication that no theological hegemony was possible! As a result, neo-orthodoxy (the ultimate imperialistic theology!) imploded spectacularly into nothingness and liberals were left either deeply confused or outright devoid of any recognizable confession.

Institutionalist ecclesiological ambiguities just compound these intellectual problems. Protestants (wisely, I think) chose to restrict the raw material of theological speculation to the canonical tradition – while Roman Catholics have that (canonical) tradition and certain broader historical practices, oral, and even written traditions – Eastern Orthodoxy has its own (rather compelling) idiosyncratic set of such traditions. That is to say, whichever approach you favor, it is a speculative theological task you are engaging in on the basis of tradition.

All these approaches can be identified as a broader Christian intellectual tradition because they share a common hard-fought historical perspective (and consensus view) in the form of the creedal tradition (historical orthodoxy itself)

The question, I think, is what if anythingstands behind all this tradition?

Well, that’s the *philosophical* question: ‘What is revelation?’

And, perhaps more to the point…

How the hell would you ever know?

Personally, I think there is something (philosophically) compelling about the notion of the Living Creator God – who is Love – personified in the historical Jesus Christ. I also think it’s painfully evident that this same curious (absurd, as Kierkegaard says) notion is what is motivating all this tradition – predicated, indeed radically, on the Hebraic tradition (that of the Living Creator God of the Jews)

What could possibly render such a radical notion credible?

Surely not ‘the Bible’ (read: monolithic totality that unambiguously constitutes the revelation of God) seen as some object existing in a manner in which no other object has ever existed in our experience – such a book does not exist and would not be knowable, if it did.

Surely not the ecclesiastical institution, with its all too human origin and concerns…

No, it seems like a most incredible notion indeed. Yet, it is one which uniquely affords the opportunity to be unconditionally loving in life and uncompromisingly critical in thought.

That’s why I tend to feel the best (only?) way to argue for the truth of Christianity is that it leads to the most existentially loving and intellectually critical approach to life and thought imaginable in principle! –


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