This is the final paper that I turned in for my Church History class on two atonement views: the classic "satisfaction atonement" of Anselm of Canterbury and the "theological anthropology" of René Girard.
For my final project I have chosen to construct a liturgy for the Affirmation of Baptism. While the original context for this work was inspired by discussion around the need for such a service in the UFMCC, the liturgy could be used in any emerging church setting where people from multiple denominations have come together as a single congregation.
What roles have art and music played in worship history that we could reclaim today? Think about the importance of beauty in the lives of believers – how does this speak to the roles we give them today?
Do we consider communion with the same importance that the Church across the ages has considered it with? Is there a way to see baptism today that might be closer to the intentions of the early Church, and possibly the historic Church? How would this change our worship celebrations?
What can we learn from the journey of the Church as it has embraced prayer and scripture reading as central activities in its worship experience? Are we treating the scriptures in a healthy way in our integration of them into our worship expressions? How can we facilitate prayer in fresh ways in our communities?
What if we could see baptism as inclusively as we see communion, and really made it our own, got comfortable with it, reinterpreted it with the authority and power with which we celebrate communion week after week? (Wilson, Baptized paragraph 21).
Be aware of the gifts of time and space in your own worship history. Do you recall times and places that were meaningful to you in your own worship story? How could you begin some fresh thinking related to how time and space is a part of your own worship activity now?
From early in the history of the Metropolitan Community Churches, the Bylaws have stated that in order to attain good standing as a member of an MCC congregation, one must be a baptized Christian. Though other requirements have changed over time, Baptism has remained a constant. At the same time, anecdotal evidence suggests that individual churches within the Fellowship have begun to dispense with this requirement, accepting members without Baptism, thus raising the question: should Baptism be required for membership in the MCC? I propose to approach this question as an issue of epistemology, ecclesiology and, more broadly, MCC corporate identity. My contention is that as long as the MCC identifies as a part of the Church universal, Baptism as a sign of profession of Christian faith is essential to church membership.
The 19th and 20th centuries saw a great expansion in Protestant missionary activity. With the growth of European colonialism often came missionaries, spreading the gospel to new lands as well as covering some old ground. However, mixed with the good news were cultural values and commercial interests that produced mixed effects among indigenous populations. While the meta-narrative of progress tells us that the modernization and development of the non-Western world was generally a good thing, it is often difficult to distinguish the oppressive side of missionary activity from the empowering side.
At its inception, the Church of England had much in common with the Roman church from which it was separating. However, as the English Reformation continued, many reforms from the Protestant movements were incorporated into the new church’s theology and polity.