Disciples eclessiology


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A look at the Disciples eclesiology with Hispanic eyes.

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Disciples eclessiology

  1. 1. The History of the Authority of the Local Church in the CCDC and the implications within the Hispanic ’s Disciples ethos Rev. Dr. Huberto Pimentel National Pastor for Hispanic Ministries
  2. 2. Ronald E. Osborn The Faith We affirm - 1979 <ul><li>Osborn presented in his opinion two wrong ways of exercising authority in the local church: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Coercion ( heteronomy ) - hierarchical </li></ul><ul><li>2. Self-rule ( autonomy ) – No structure beyond local church </li></ul><ul><li>With a third better option </li></ul><ul><li>3. God ’s reign ( theonomy ) which depends on freely given human consent to the will of God. </li></ul>The Faith We affirm, pag 87-89.
  3. 3. Ronald Osborn The Faith We affirm <ul><li>Autonomy take the form of “nobody can tell us what to do”, “We make up our own minds about what we want”, “We decide all matters that concerns us by congregational vote, and abide by the voice of the majority”. </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes no reference is made to the sovereignty of God, or to the Lordship of Christ, no suggestion of prayer. It is simple “We decide”. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Ronald Osborn The Faith We affirm <ul><li>Then, Osborn said something like this: The principle of mutual consent as it operates in the fellowship of the CCDC: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Congregations may be persuaded to act in a particular manner, which the majority regards as God’s will for the church, but they cannot be coerced.” (pag 91) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Ronald Osborn The Faith We affirm <ul><li>After much saying about the local church task (pag 93-94) he ended with: In the adoption in 1968 of a Provisional Design for the church, we began to operate as a total church through three manifestations: congregational, regional, and general. </li></ul><ul><li>Each manifestation shares in the church mission, and the effort of all are essential to its fulfillment (covenant). </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Result of the New Design in 1968 <ul><li>Name change: From Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) to Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). From independent and autonomous congregations names like First and Second CCDC to one church. From plural to singular (Mark G. Toulouse, pag 238.) </li></ul><ul><li>The chief executive officer of the denomination is a minister, a pastor for the general work of the church. </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Result of the New Design in 1968 <ul><li>All congregations have covenanted with one another to form one church body, complete with acceptance of all the responsibilities implied by such relationship. In the language of the Design: “As a response to God’s covenant, we commit ourselves to one another.” (Touluose, pag238). </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Result of the New Design in 1968 <ul><li>No more the notion of viewing ourselves as a collection of independent and autonomous congregations known by names like “First Christian Church”, or “Second Christian Church”. (Toulouse pag 238) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Regional General congregational Is this chart represent the Design?
  10. 10. Our covenant conception of church requires that in devising these means, we acknowledge that congregations, regions, and general units functions as inseparable, interdependent, and complementary parts of the one body. The Church of the Disciples of Christ, Paul A. Crow, pag 84
  11. 11. Result of the New Design in 1968 <ul><li>As a result a significant number of congregations discontinue any formal identification with Disciples (over 3,500 and 300,000 members) in the period of 1967 and 1972. </li></ul><ul><li>The Disciples outreach support increased by 1.3 millions dollars no matter the depart of members of the brotherhood. (money vs relations). (Toulouse, pag 239.) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Result of the New Design in 1968 <ul><li>It is interesting to see the emphasis of the following words of Toulouse book Joined in Discipleship: What does the concept of covenant represent theologically against the notion of the autonomy of the local congregations? (Toulouse, pag 241). </li></ul><ul><li>The emphasis is opposing the autonomy to the concept of covenant. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Result of the New Design in 1968 <ul><li>Though our congregations are in full control of their property and resources, and we affirm the basic principle of congregational freedom, we understand all our congregations to be in covenant with one another. (Toulouse, pag 277) </li></ul><ul><li>Section #11 in the Design </li></ul>
  14. 14. People of the Chalice Colbert S. Cartwright - 1988 <ul><li>It is important to understand what it means for Disciples congregations to be “uniquely responsible” for its “integrity”, self-government”, authority, rights and responsibilities”. “Each congregation is required to take responsibility for truly manifesting the nature of the church within itself”. (pag 30.) </li></ul>
  15. 15. The Church for Disciples of Christ Paul A. Crow, James O. Duke -1998 <ul><li>The Design structures us as one church with local congregational, regional, and general (including international manifestations). </li></ul><ul><li>These are not levels of power, as in a hierarchy of dominance and subordination. (pag 31) </li></ul>
  16. 16. The Church for Disciples of Christ Paul A. Crow, James O. Duke -1998 <ul><li>They are distinct but inseparable and interpenetrating spheres of association and activity, each relating to each other, serving with each other, and fulfilling certain special obligations on behalf of all. (pag 31) </li></ul>
  17. 17. Every manifestation or expression of the church – congregational, regional, general – has a particular responsibility to discern and respond to God ’s call, but to do so in covenantal interdependence. The General Assembly, for example cannot dictate to the congregations, but neither are congregations free to ignore the corporate decision-making of the church in assembly ( M. Kinnamon,Jan Linn, pag 14)
  18. 18. Covenant and Local Church M. Kinnamon, J. Linn 2009 <ul><li>Freedom with accountability. Accountability without coercion. Making plenty of room for dialogue, diversity, and dissent (pag 11). </li></ul><ul><li>A church built on covenant must accept, even value, diversity of perspective (pag. 12). </li></ul><ul><li>A healthy church, as we envision it, will allow, even encourage, the three “d’s”- dialogue, diversity, and dissent (pag. 24). </li></ul>
  19. 19. Covenant and Local Church M. Kinnamon, J. Linn 2009 <ul><li>The Word to the Church on Authority – Commission on Theology – “A church which is unwilling to search for a common understanding of Christian Authority will be controlled by Biblicism, self-seeking individuals, or self-serving institutions” (pag 25) </li></ul>
  20. 20. The Church for Disciples of Christ Paul A. Crow, James O. Duke -1998 <ul><li>The services of every member of this one body, the church, are joined – so the Design states- by unbreakable covenantal ties of equality, complementarily, and mutual responsibility. (pag 31) </li></ul>
  21. 21. The Church for Disciples of Christ Paul A. Crow, James O. Duke -1998 <ul><li>Our diversity of opinion a hallmark of Disciples leads at times to factionalism and acrimony. The inclination to vie for power and prestige persists, and struggles for turf control are played out among and within our structures. </li></ul><ul><li>Some in our church experience marginalization, powerlessness, even oppression. (pag. 32) </li></ul>
  22. 22. The Church for Disciples of Christ Paul A. Crow, James O. Duke -1998 <ul><li>Certainly women and people of color still encounter barriers to full participation and equal opportunity. </li></ul><ul><li>Our church has not yet vanquished prejudice or eliminated power elites. (pag 32.) </li></ul>
  23. 23. Hispanic Representation <ul><li>No Hispanic representation </li></ul><ul><li>in The Commission of Theology. </li></ul><ul><li>A word to the Church on Ecclesiology - 1979 </li></ul><ul><li>A word to the Church on Witness, Mission and Unity -1981 </li></ul><ul><li>A word to the Church on Authority – 1983 </li></ul>
  24. 24. Hispanic Representation <ul><li>No Hispanic representation </li></ul><ul><li>in The Commission of Theology. </li></ul><ul><li>A word to the Church on Ministry – 1985 </li></ul><ul><li>A word to the Church on Baptism - 1987 </li></ul><ul><li>A word to the Church on the Lord ’s Supper - 1991 </li></ul>
  25. 25. The result of no Hispanic involvement in the process <ul><li>Hispanic churches continues in the tradition of the autonomy of the local church. </li></ul><ul><li>The movement toward a liberal leaning church within the Disciples ethos had no impact within the Hispanic Disciples churches. </li></ul><ul><li>We believe that the idea of covenant vs. autonomy has not landed well within the Hispanic ethos as well as within the general church. </li></ul>
  26. 26. The result of no Hispanic involvement in the process <ul><li>The idea of covenant and freedom mix together in the Design and expressed in the Disciples polity books has no clear boundary. </li></ul><ul><li>It is confusing to say that the local church is entitle to have the deeds of their property and so on – (language of autonomy) vs. saying that no decision in isolation but in community is really confusing at all manifestations of the CCDC. </li></ul>
  27. 27. The result of no Hispanic involvement in the process <ul><li>We relate to each other in a covenantal manner and we are committed to mutual accountability. (K. pag 17) </li></ul><ul><li>General units (and others), various regions have broken covenant by making unilateral decisions about the distribution of mission funds, and programs. (K. pag 17) </li></ul><ul><li>These are comments regarding others than Hispanics. </li></ul>
  28. 28. The result of no Hispanic involvement in the process <ul><li>The attitude seems to be: When you do it, it is breaking the covenant; when we do it, it is exercising appropriate freedom to oversee our own affairs. (K. pag 17) </li></ul><ul><li>As an obvious result of no involvement in the restructure, structure of the CCDC the Hispanic ’s has been developing their own Hispanic Disciples Identity. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Hispanic Disciples Identity <ul><li>Formed and nurtured in the margins of the church. </li></ul><ul><li>Firmly rooted in the Authority and Inspiration of the Bible. </li></ul><ul><li>Deeply spiritually based in prayer and the will of God. </li></ul><ul><li>Equality and worthiness of lay and ordained pastor ’s. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Hispanic Disciples Identity <ul><li>Priesthood of all believers. </li></ul><ul><li>Strong ministry to the undocumented people in the USA and Canada. </li></ul><ul><li>Christ centered – High Christology. </li></ul><ul><li>Family is important and marriage is between a man and a woman. </li></ul><ul><li>Contemporary worship. </li></ul><ul><li>Holy Spirit reality as a promised of a baptism of power to witness the gospel. </li></ul>
  31. 31. Hispanic Disciples Identity <ul><li>We believe in the autonomy of the local church in covenantal relationship and accountability within all expressions of the church. </li></ul><ul><li>We believe in the self-support and self-governance under the basis of empowerment, dignity and equality. </li></ul><ul><li>We believe that the covenantal relationship must be live out in an interdependency and mutual affirmation of all. </li></ul>
  32. 32. Hispanic Disciples Identity <ul><li>The Hispanic ’s have developed a healthy and vigorous differentiation. </li></ul><ul><li>Differentiation is the creative activity of separating and binding that results in patterns of interdependence. </li></ul><ul><li>Separating includes connection, difference and heterogeneity. </li></ul>
  33. 33. Hispanic Disciples Identity <ul><li>We are both separate and connected ; distinct and related , barriers and bridges. </li></ul><ul><li>Barriers mark our identities bridges enriches and enhances our relationships. </li></ul><ul><li>As Hispanic ’s Disciples we don’t mean extreme separation. We don’t mean isolation or the illusion of self-identical beings as we experienced and perceived expectations for assimilation. </li></ul>
  34. 34. Hispanic Disciples Identity <ul><li>The Hispanic ’s Disciples want to come to the table as equals. We want to come to the table as partners in mission. </li></ul><ul><li>We want to relate to all the expressions of the CCDC as a self-governance body . </li></ul><ul><li>We want to come to the table as equals with dignity. </li></ul>
  35. 35. The question is <ul><li>If the existing structure of the CCDC does not provide for justice, respect, and dignity. </li></ul><ul><li>If the Regional and General level’s of the church still look at the ethnicities as a group within the group, then, let the ethnicities live out as a non-geographical region as every entity of the CCDC is structured. </li></ul>