Christian that everyone among us woulduniformly affirm, which is why we
find ourselves worshipping in differentcommunions, emphasizing different
essentials, and giving voiceto multifarious paths toward faithful discipleship.
Certainly we profess the same Lord and submit ourselvesto the same sacred
writ, whichtogether forms the dual affirmation that unites our
organization--whether we call it evangelical or simply Christian. But
however important these shared commitments(and I don't deny that they
are), they do little more than to fashion a context for Christianfellowship and
a bigtent under which many diverse voices can speak and explore. To
presume that these nominal professions providean adequate basis for
exploring faithand history is to settle for a monotonic high school garage
band when the Cleveland Orchestra is available and willing to play atno cost.
In order to hear themélange of significant voices represented in our
membership, in all their wondrous rangeand ponderous depth, we must
consciously reconnectto our respective traditions of Christian faith and
practice and consider the resources they provide at our disposal.
We're asking members of the organization neither togive up their
own distinct conception ofChristian belief and practice, nor to flatten their
sense of orthodoxy as ifall perspectives were equally valid. Quite the
contrary. We hope instead that all willfeel even freer to assert openly the
distinctives of their traditions, while speaking to and learningfrom others
whose commitments are theologically and historically farfrom their own.
We can hereby remind ourselves of the obvious: the Conference on Faith and
History is not achurch, but a strictly voluntary organization--without any
ecclesiastical authority--for believing historians who desire asetting in which
to explore the ways in which faith relates to thework of scholarship and
teaching. Univocality isn't essential or even desirable! As we enter this
association, while celebratingour common commitments to Christ and the
Scriptures, we likewise come clothed in our confessional garb, bearingthe
weight of our ecclesiastical traditions. We hope that our October meetingwill
provide a more self-conscious exploration of these realities,but, in order to
work out many of their implications,your presence and participation is
essential. Please consider traveling to sunny Indiana this fall andadding your
voice to the mix. Yourcomments and suggestions are welcome. Send them
to me at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.