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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Theology for the Church

Nicholas Lossky in his book on the preaching of Lancelot Andrewes captures the theological mind of Andrewes and how he approaches the study of theology. This is such a great quotation I had to blog it.This takes away all attempts to Gnostic approaches to studying theology and says something about "preaching services" developed out of the responses to the Counter Reformation. For Andrewes it was novel to make the primary focus on Sunday the sermon. He would have seen it as neo-Gnostic.
For Andrewes, an authentic witness to the apostolic faith is not simply someone who is content to think more or less correctly. It is someone who, like him, has made deeply his own the experience of the Church. It is someone for whom theology is not a system of thought, an intellectual construction, but a progression in the experience of the mystery, the way of union with God in the communion of the Church. In this perspective, theology is for the understanding an ascetic way, a way of the cross, by which it empties itself of itself, of its own content, in order to be made transparent to the light of grace and adapted to contemplation of divine things. Theology is then for the service of the entire man on his way towards union with the personal God, the way of deification. It is this most profound experience of the Church that the theologian expresses in the Church and for the Church. Theology is then a service of the Church, and not an exercise of private reflection on God. 345

1 Comments:

Blogger James the Thickheaded said...

Sounds very, very like Clendenin's collected writings on the Eastern Orthodox Theology where the EO Catholic "Way of doing theology" essentially forms prayer in the service of the church. As Anglo-catholics, seems to me the spirit of the undivided church is better understood in the theology of the Eastern church. This piece certainly seems to support that view. Way to go, Lance!

6:13 pm  

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    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
    --Bishop Lancelot Andrewes

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