How Rome Sucked the Life Out of the Celtic Church

In chapter 3 of The Celtic Way of Evangelism, George Hunter shares how an insecure Roman church wrestled back control of the growing missional movement in Ireland anceltic-cross.jpgd effectively killed it. Hunter speaks of two issues that drove this. 1. Conservatism versus Change: Quoting David Bosch, he says, "By and large... Catholicism endorsed the principle that a 'missionary church' must reflect in every detail the Roman custom of the moment.'"

2. Indigeneity versus Uniformity: States Hunter, "The Romans wanted Roman cultural forms imposed upon all the churches and peoples-- a policy that was alien to the Celtic movement's practice and genius."

Hunter explains: "The driving issue, of course, was control. That is why it was so important, to the Romans, for everyone to do church the "Roman way." Once any society accepted Christianity, the politically dominant Roman wing of the Church insisted that the young churches organize in the Roman pattern of dioceses led by bishops and learn to worship in Latin, follow the liturgy of Rome, sing the music from Rome, etc."

Also, says Hunter, "They assumed that Roman ways were superior to the ways of all other cultures. Furthermore, they were supremely confident that Christianity could only be adequately expressed in Roman cultural forms."

He goes on to speak of how Celtic priests who refused this road were banished. He talks about how church leaders "pressured Celtic leaders to conform, and they praised and rewarded those who did."

Does this sound familiar anyone?