October 28, 2008

Thought for 10.28.08

Lay Presidency and the Cultural Revolution:
— compare and contrast.

Tobias Haller BSG

4 comments:

rick allen said...

Both are fueled by an attempt to apply the ideology of egalitarianism to a situation where there is, in fact, a legitimate difference in function that justifies treating different people who do different things differently?

Tobias Haller said...

I'll buy that, Rick. Ideology does seem to be at work.

Erika Baker said...

I buy it too, as a principle.
In practice, however, this argument has always been used by traditionalists fighting against any change in the status quo.

In itself, it is neither theology nor social science.

It takes good theology and good social science to work out whether the principle applies in each individual case.

Tobias Haller said...

Exactly, Erika, which is why Hooker placed Tradition a distant third in his systematic -- and less as an "authority" than as a track record of the thinking and acting of the saints of the past, always open to review and examination by the "incumbent church" -- making use primarily of reason to see how well our predecessors were acting in consistency to the sound principles that the church accepted as "constitutional."

The problem with the move to lay presidency, as I noted in the other post lies with the apparent unwillingness to wrestle with inconsistency of the idea with those constitutional principles. I think in the long run the agenda in Sydney is being driven by a different ideology: one that simply sees no real value in ordained ministry. This, it seems to me, rests on the same kind of false democracy as the Cultural Revolution -- a failure to recognize that there are real gifts required for leadership, balanced by the notion that leaders need somehow to be ratified by the body, and not just usurp power. Ordination, at its best, seems to balance these concerns.