Rethinking the Body of Christ
This chapter examines the ecclesiological foundations of the theological debate between Severus of Antioch and the separatist elements within the anti-Chalcedonian camp over the incorruptibility of the social body of Christ. It reveals the correlation between christology and ecclesiology in the debate over the validity of Chalcedonian baptism, chrismation, and ordination. After considering the divisions within the anti-Chalcedonian movement about the proper attitude to the imperial church, along with their roots and their significance, the chapter argues that Severus was and remained a staunch supporter of imperial ecclesiology, and that he retained his ecumenicism even in the face of popular currents that consistently advocated secession from the imperial church. To show that Severus did not change his ideology, the chapter analyzes his stances on three questions relating to charismatic authority, persecution, and the reception of heretics. It also discusses the arguments of John Rufus and John of Tella and concludes with an assessment of Severus's case against rechrismation.
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