Saturday, July 16, 2005

Should Congregationalist Ministers Believe Jesus Was Divine?

Eight conservative congregations in the United Church of Christ wanted the national Synod of the denomination to declare that the church believes that Jesus was really the Son of God, and further that individual ministers must agree to be ordained.

To those who aren’t in tune with “Mainstream Protestantism” (which isn’t really mainstream anymore) this might seem to be a slam dunk.

But the issue was indeed controversial.
[A] Woodbridge pastor said the denomination has to get back to basics.

“The whole point of this is that many of these people have a very fuzzy idea of faith in God,” said the Rev. Albert W. Kovacs of the Hungarian Reformed Church. “We have significant numbers of clergy who don’t believe in God.”

“We have people with all sorts of beliefs of what Christianity is — just like society does,” said Barb Powell, a spokeswoman for the Cleveland-based denomination. “The difference is that our polity allows us to talk about it and discuss it with one another.”
Of course Christians can discuss issues, but is the discussion a discussion among Christians, or one between atheists and Christians? In the United Church of Christ, it sometimes appears to be the latter.

When the denomination met in Atlanta, they threw the conservatives a bone:
ATLANTA - A national synod stated recently that the liberal United Church of Christ “celebrates and reaffirms our church’s faith in Jesus Christ, the head of the church” and noted that its constitution and other documents declare his “true humanity and divinity.”
However they refused to require that Congregationalist ministers must believe in the divinity of Christ.

Where their real priorities lay was revealed when the Synod endorsed gay marriage and bashed Israel.


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