Random, obscure, yet eminently important, theological conclusion

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I’ve wrestled with it for a while, coming first to understanding it, then holding off until I get a good feel for the various arguments.

But, I think today is the day. This is it.

I do not believe in, and will not profess, the filioque clause.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.

So there you go. With this I break loose of the bounds the Western Church has created, though I suspect I will still not be accepted in the East. I dance somewhere in the middle now, a heretic on all sides, except in regards to the Triune God, who matters the most in these sorts of concerns.

I guess I could explain why I arrived at this conclusion… but where’s the mystery in that. Suffice it to say that this connects with my understanding of Church in this world and my approaching a stronger understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is not limited to Christ. The Spirit is a unique person, a unique and distinct person in the Triunity, and has a mission in this world which is intimately related to Jesus, yet has a style and form and approach that differs from what we see of Christ. Christ and the Spirit work in diverse unity, neither having priority, both sending and being sent by the other.

The filioque clause is a limitation on the work of the Spirit, which then encompasses the work of the Spirit within the context of those who seek to manage the message and work of Christ. As it is Christ who sends the Spirit, so also it is the Spirit who sent Christ, and as it is Christ who founded the Church, so also it is the Spirit who constitutes the Church. The Spirit is both the content and the creator of the Church, not limited to the Church but instead working broadly to bring all creation back towards redemption.

The filioque clause is an obscure discussion, except in certain circles, but I think it has profound influence on how we approach this world, and how we understand our communities in this world. Essentially, this late addition to the Nicene Creed has enabled the power structures of the Church, as supposed representatives of Christ, to maintain power and control over the Spirit, declaring what are the bounds of the Spirit, and who the Spirit works through. These limitations, then, create an anemic picture of the Spirit’s work, a picture painted by particular men, with particular interests, rather than a full reflection of the Spirit’s work throughout the total Body of Christ.

To see the Spirit and Christ as co-senders opens the doors of our participation, demanding a humility even in our doctrinal assertions, and definitely within our domains of authority. We do not control the Spirit, for it is the Spirit who forms us and our message and our power, and only in freeing the Spirit from the bounds of the filioque clause, can the Spirit be free within our communities to express the fullness of Christ.

At least that’s what I think. I know you’re keeping track of such things and will make a note of this movement in your report.

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