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The End of Myth

By Jonathan Brink:

I’d like to propose a question. What if the real provocative element of the emerging church is that it is the outcome of the end of myth? And with the end of myth comes the loss of traditional powers and the freedom and responsibility to become what Jesus invited us to be.

Tony Jones recently posted the provocative question, “Who Decides Orthodoxy?” At its heart is the question of authority, power, and even control. He proposes the following statement:

The Magisterium were those responsible for the traditions of the church, or essentially deciding orthodoxy. Wikipedia describes it this way:

    Magisterium is a “teaching authority, of the Roman Catholic Church”.

    The word is derived from Latin magisterium, which originally meant the office of a president, chief, director, superintendent, etc. (in particular, though rarely, the office of tutor or instructor of youth, tutorship, guardianship) or teaching, instruction, advice.

    “The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him.”

In many ways, the Magisterium enjoyed tremendous power. They were the holders of orthodoxy or truth, which is a rather profound responsibility. They were THE authority of the church for the people. The historical reasoning for the Magisterium was the necessity of protecting church doctrine in response to gnosticism. Someone has to hold the discernment of truth.

But with that role came the adulterated power of myth. The adage, “absolute power corrupts absolutely” became true. Truth is fueled by information, and the Magisterium controlled the information. And if an idea can control people, why not use it. (And I am in no way suggesting that every Pope or bishop abused the power given. But history clearly reveals some did. Pope Leo X’s indulgences, their response to Galileo’s discoveries, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and even our century’s priestly molestations. Sadly, the bad Popes happened.)

The power of myth is essentially this: If I control truth, and you want to know truth, you need me. And if you need me, I can tell you what to think, how to act, and even where to give your money. I can even create visions of a hell that exists when you don’t follow me. I can in essence control you through fear. And when the cost is your soul, the weight gets increased exponentially. And worse, I don’t need to be right. I just need you to believe I’m right.

Over time, this truth that I have told you becomes established truth, meaning a large group of people buy into it. It becomes tradition and even myth. The stories becomes larger than their original ideas. And in an era that relies on tradition and even myth, stepping outside of it becomes a ticket to excommunication, torture, and even death.

(click here to read the entire article)


"I can even create visions of a hell that exists when you don’t follow me." This has been way to true throughout church history. The universalist, annihilalist or conditionalist have usually been branded as heretics. The dilemma of hell is much more complicated than what is described in Jonathan Edwards sermon, "Sinners in the hand of an angry God."

Thanks for posting Ryan

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