THE ONE FAITH
The One Faith For their fifth and final module for the year 2015, the first badge of students of the Institute were looking into Ecclesiology, a branch of theology which they were made to understand has been in continuous development for the past 2000 years. One of the reasons, as explained by the Chancellor, is simply because the Church is known as the great mystery; hence the ontology of the Church is still unfolding. This module was dedicated on answering the question, what is the one true faith? What is the nature of the Church that you must be part of in order to be saved? The students were introduced to a maxim given by St. Cyprian, when he expounded his treatise on “The Unity of the Church”, a section of it which says “Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus”: Outside of the Church, there is no salvation. The implication of St. Cyprian’s claim is that the Church is the community wherein our salvation is experienced and partaken of. Dr. Shawn Smith explained to the students that unless we understand our connection with ancient and patristic Church, we might be facing a situation where there are churches which are para-synagogues – a church which exists for none other than itself; an assembly that is not connected to the body of Christ in salvific efficacy.
Cyprian’s claim, as the Chancellor revealed, shows that a faulty ecclesiology has great soteriological implications. Some of the faulty ecclesiology the students were made to recognize are:
The institutional view of the Church, which considers the Church as a centre where autonomous Christians gather for encouragement.
The confessional view of the Church which sees the Church as a place where people with similar beliefs gather.
The Docetic view, which does not give clear understanding of the visibility of the Church.
The mystical and the empirical natures of the Church was equally explained, because, as the Chancellor clarified, the Church is the body of Christ, who is the theanthropic person – truly God and truly man; hence the Church is divine and human. In other words, although the church is present in this world, the Church is not of this world. The invisible and the invisible interpenetrate one another. He pointed out this is something which is lacking in most people’s understanding of the Church. The module outline this time included subjects like Ecclesiology, One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic; Apostolicity, A Critical Appraisal of the Protestant Reformation, The Patristic Celebration of the Holy Mysteries, and “Missio Dei” or The Mission of God.
The Chancellor expressed to his students that the Church has received a mission from God. Through the gift of participation by the Holy Spirit, he said, the Church is involved in the ongoing mission of the triune Godhead to include all humanity into their shared love and to be infused with their shared life – what he called the greater commission adding that the Church makes the Gospel incarnate. As part of their assessment for the first phase of their studies at the Institute, and to move to the advanced stage, the students were partitioned in groups of three, with the purpose of each group going out on a fact-finding mission. This assignment was actually inspired by the focus of their second module 2, Christology. It consists of producing a five-minute film documenting their findings on the Christological beliefs of any given community or religious groups within the country, with particular focus on Jesus Christ as truly God and truly man, two natures in one person. The students look forward to delivering the outcome of their mission next January, 2016.
Theosis Institute is an institute of patristic and apostolic understanding, it is "A revelatory and educational program to reclaim the ancient apostolic and patristic vision of the cosmic and universal Lordship of Jesus Christ."...Read More...