CHRISTOLOGY: WALL OR WAY?
Updated: Feb 20, 2021
After 2,000 years of history Christology is now at a crossroad. The evolution of spiritual consciousness going forward will be determined by the hermeneutics that interpret Christology to be either a continuing, ongoing form/religion or a gateway into an integral consciousness of the ultimate, that which the Biblical Narrative calls God/formlessness.
The ongoing interpretation of Christology as a form will perpetuate its walled-in nature, meaning that postmodern interfaith/multiple belonging/interreligious paradigms become the ceiling for any future growth.
In numerous podcasts and writings we have asked the question this way: Is Christology Form or Trans-Form? Is Christology a particularistic identity of some of the planet or is it the way into universal God identity?
If Christology is to be a gateway into a world-centric viewpoint, meaning that which Spiral Dynamics calls 2nd tier, it will have to be understood as role and function, not identity. God and God alone is Identity. Christology is that which points identity away from the self and its religious attachments. Christology as role or function points to God or that which is ultimate.
One of the hermeneutical challenges of Christological history is eschatology. Presence has spent decades drawing attention to the myriad of interpretations of eschatology. This range of interpretations has caused most progressive Christians to avoid the subject altogether. Many in the Jesus Seminar of the 80’s questioned whether or not the apocalyptic teachings of Jesus in the gospels were authentic. The textual evidence was so consistent in the various manuscripts and papyri that these major portions of Jesus’ teachings could not be denied.
Max King spent his life’s work setting the stage for the current discussions of Christology today. He framed eschatology as the movement from a first creation paradigm of Self/Doing into a new creation (new heaven and earth) wherein identity is from God, an identity innate in all humans. Max King further showed how the concepts of sin and death were specific to the adherence of identity to form. The first creation paradigm operated in an either/or identity—obedient/disobedient or faithful/unfaithful. This paradigm carried over into Christology. It led to concepts of true believer/unbeliever/heretic/apostate or saved/lost. The result was a religious form called Christianity. Because form requires human adherence, Christianity did what forms do—it divided. Christology became a denominated, separated group of disparate beliefs, dogmas and creeds defining its divided segmentation to this day.
King showed that the teachings of Jesus and the apostles were directly tied to the historical events of that generation. These events were near or at hand. The first Jerusalem had fulfilled its God-given role and function so that a New Jerusalem would manifest a world-centric blessing to all nations—as promised to Abraham. The concept of a New Jerusalem is a city transcending the walls of geography, ethnicity, gender, class and yes, even religion!
If Christology is to be a gateway into an integral understanding of God identity, we must not disconnect it from its historical roots. Christology is eschatology! And eschatology is transformational. It is not a form but rather a death to form (attachment) and rising to formlessness (not the absence of form but detachment from form).
So there are many things we can investigate using an integral approach to Christology. We’ve already discussed the Atonement in a previous series:
For most of the world Christology is working as a religious denomination. Our intent at Presence is not to attack or attempt conversion of the multiplicities of this divided approach to Christ. Christology has brought meaning to people of all backgrounds but we continue to enter into new possibilities. Presence is providing a platform for those who want to pursue a Theology Without Walls. (See our episodes on this new theological movement spearheaded by Dr. Jerry Martin).
We believe Christology has so much more to offer to the world. The time has come to take the next steps!