Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Presiding Bishop's Christology ... and Openness

Bishop Pierre Whalon (Convocation of American Churches in Europe) today offers a few impressions from the House of Bishops meeting. Like many others, he proclaims it the "best meeting ever." He then offers one "inside story" from the meeting:

One image I will always remember: a new bishop asked her [Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori] to clarify her stand on the uniqueness of Christ. +Katharine replied that her view is similar to that of Vatican II (Nostra ætate, actually), namely that Jesus Christ is the final self-revelation of God in the world, but that salvation is possible outside of the Christian Church. He seemed dissatisfied with this reply. After adjourning the session, she went right over to him and they talked for fifteen minutes, alone in the meeting room.

This showed two things about the new Presiding Bishop. First, contrary to some reports, her Christology is orthodox. There have been some who have held that extra ecclesiam nulla salus—outside the Church there is no salvation. But this does not jibe with Jesus’ behavior toward Gentiles nor to Paul’s teaching about grace. What is essential, as the PB noted, is that Christians do not know how God saves people outside the New Covenant. Somehow Jesus Christ, through whom all things were made, makes provision, since through him all people are offered salvation.

The other aspect of this incident is that +Katharine Jefferts-Schori cares about people who do not agree with her. She did not know that I was standing outside the meeting room with two other bishops, chewing the fat, until we realized that the two of them were still talking in the room. So this was not for show.
Click here to read it all.

Bishop Whalon promises he will write further reflections on the content of the meeting, and we look forward to that.


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