Friday, 22 February 2008

Bosch rather generous

I hate to be a meanie, but Bosch (Transforming Mission) seems to be going too far when in his final appraisal of the medieval paradigm of mission he says...

‘Still, our appraisal cannot only be a nagative one. Was anything wrong with the idea of attempting to create a Christian civilisation, to shape laws consonant with biblical teaching, to place kings and emperors under the explicit obligation of Christian discipleship? There can be no doubt that the paradigm we are exploring in this chapter certainly had its dark side, and yet it had its positive contributions as well. In addition, one has to realise that it was only logical that things would develop the way they did after Constantine’s victory; it was, moreover, and given the particular circumstances, inevitable that they would. So as we criticise our spiritual forebears, and do so relentlessly, let us remind ourselves that we would not have done any better than they did.’ (237)

Now there’s a philosophy of history if ever I heard one. It smells of determinism and sounds fairly happy to let the Christian faith exist as a victim of its circumstances. Bosch is elsewhere clear on certain irreducible features of Christianity that prevented and still prevent it from being overwhelmed by external cultural pressures (testimony to a historical incarnation, the historicity of the resurrection, celebration of Eucharist, etc) but here he seems to have slipped.