“faith traditions of the Church”

I responded to a question recently about “an attempt to comprehend in one body the catholic, evangelical and liberal faith traditions of the Church. With which of these three faith traditions do you most closely identify? Why? How does it affect your ministry?”

I believe that, at its very best, the catholic tradition of the Church is about an apostolic and orthodox ecclesiology and liturgy, and the majesty and the solemnity of God the Father reflected in our worship. At its very best the evangelical tradition of the Church is about the unapologetic exposition of the Word of God; we teach Jesus, we study Jesus, we worship Jesus, and we emulate Jesus in all aspects of our lives. At its very best the charismatic tradition of the Church is about the leadership of the Holy Spirit and the manifestation of God’s loving, healing power in the ministry of the baptized. At its very best the liberal tradition of the Church understands that love is a verb and that we must do something with the faith that is ours. The liberal tradition of the Church advocates for social transformation and justice in the world. The liberal tradition grounds the Church in real ministry and the Trinitarian traditions of the Church keep the liberal tradition Christian. For my entire ministry I have asked the question which part of the Trinity do we not want represented in our worship; and how will our worship [i.e., what we believe] influence our lives? I have always understood myself as polyvalent with regard to these various traditions of the Church. The Church requires a balance, a harmony between each and all of them if she would be both Trinitarian and incarnational.

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