Monday, June 28, 2010

An Emergent Ecclesiology?

If I were "emergent" (if "emergent" still were), I'd hook my wagon to the much-discussed "Provisional Theses" of Kerr, Siggelkow, and Doerge as the (anti-)ecclesiology we've been waiting for. Because whereas Caputo's theology of the event comes with the cost of a low christology, the "apocalyptic" ecclesiology of Kerr et. al. gives you an anti-Catholic, anti-institutional theology of the "event," but with a high Christology. You get a rejection of "religion" and a theology of mission. This is everything Pete Rollins is looking for.

Granted, I'd probably be beset by a bit of a nagging worry, vexed by a bit of a theological thorn in my side which would keep prodding me: "But if it's all about the 'event' of Christ, how would you even know you want a high Christology? Indeed, how would you even know this event of Jesus was the Christ apart from the fruit of the church--the body of Christ--which yielded the Gospels and the Scriptures?" And I suppose it would be a little tricky for me to assert anything like a Nicene or Chalcedonian understanding of Jesus Christ given that such formulations were not part of that original or primitive "event" which was God in the flesh (though, again, I'm not sure how I'd know or be able to affirm that the crucified One was God-in-the-flesh apart from receiving the fruits of His body as authoritative in some way).

But I think I could wriggle out from under these worries with some sort of ontology/epistemology distinction--that the ontological "reality" of the "event" does not depend on our epistemological access to it (I'm pretty sure Barth could help me here). And voila! We'd finally have an "emergent" ecclesiology.