As Christmas draws closer, Dr Geoff Thompson’s new book, In His Own Strange Way, turns back to ways that the Basis of Union can continue to confront and disturb our theological foundations.
The book, he said, will “offer little” to readers who were trying to place the the Basis into “the various boxes required by the ‘evangelical’ or ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ camps.”
“Rather than employ that approach, I’d invite you to engage the Basis on its own terms. You may not agree with everything it says, but try to be open to the possibility that contained in this document is a vision of faith which creatively cuts across the theological fault lines of contemporary Christianity. You may well want to agree or disagree with that vision, but it might turn out that you need a different set of boxes than those which exist on the prevailing check lists.”
In His Own Strange Way is Dr Thompson’s second for 2018 after June’s A Genuinely Theological Chruch. It is also one of several that he has written on the subject of the Basis of Union. When asked by Insights as to what keeps him returning to the Uniting Church’s foundational document, he said that it, “can actually take a reader by surprise. It can even knock you slightly off your theological balance.”
“It cuts across the theological fault lines which our various theological tribes have so carefully and painstakingly drawn. You don’t have to scratch too far beneath its surface to realise this, but the Basis doesn’t always say what you might expect it to say. That’s why reading it can be such a rewarding and stimulating experience.”
“My intentional engagement with the Basis during the last ten years has convinced me over and over again that whilst it was obviously a document of and for a particular time and place, it has an uncanny capacity to speak into other times and places – including the quite particular dynamics of the post-Christendom context of the twenty-first century Australian church. It offers particular ways of understanding Christ, salvation, the Scriptures, Baptism, Eucharist, the Church, and mission.”
In His Own Strange Way is available now via Mediacom
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor