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Ecclesiastical v. Kingdom

In his book Kingdom Come in Everyday Speech (London, SCM Press 2000), Don Cupitt distinguishes between the "realist" Ecclesiastical theology of Christian institutions (with its hierarchy, authority and dogmatism) with the "anti-realist" Kingdom theology evident in the New Testament.

Ecclesiastical TheologyKingdom Theology
world to come here and now
God is transcendant God is immanent
mediated by priests/scriptures immediate/intuitive
credal and dogmatic visionary
hierarchical egalitarian
one Tradition/Canon global
mysterious explicit
discord one equal music
sacred versus profane all on same level

The above summary comes from page 97 of Nigel Leaves' review of Cupitt's work "Odyssey on The Sea of Faith" (Polebridge Press 2004).

This leads Cupitt, (ibid pp103-104), to write:

  • religious meaning has become dispersed across culture in everyday language and the religious/secular distinction has been erased. The whole of life is religious.
  • Life is outsideless and we should commit ourselves unreservedly to our own transient lives.
  • Salvation is found, not by withdrawing from the wrld, but in expressive, solar living.
  • Life and death are not polar opposites but are always mingled. Life involves the awareness of the closeness of death.
  • Humanism and humanitarian ethics are expressions of a new global religious way of life.
  • Ecclesiastical Christianity is to be replaced by informal religious associations which emphasise sharing one's story and Kingdom values.
  • There is no absolute religious object, but there are valid religious attitudes towards Be-ing.