The Church as a ”˜killer’ is an almost unbearable thought, a prime cause of theological vertigo, but Radner is unsparing in driving home his point. In fact, he has simply picked up a few pebbles on a vast beach of examples. A wholesale catalogue of horrors would probably make the third article of the Creed, ”˜I believe in ”¦ the holy catholic Church’, stick in our throats. There is, therefore, a profound challenge for theological work here: ”˜the reality of Christian division ought to be the topic of a central theological discipline’ (p. 125). Ecumenical theology as we know it, Radner suggests, does not do this because it is focused on the healing of divisions. The ecumenical movement today is far too tolerant of division. The urgent imperative of unity has been replaced by a view of Christian division as ”˜a collection of multiple benignities’ (p. 139). While eschatologically orientated ecclesiologies, that project unity into the future, are blind to the past, the Church only truly knows herself by looking backward to see what she has become over time (pp. 141, 160).
Unless there is passion, desire and radical intentionality there will never be unity. But that intention must be expressed in action, in a common life of activity. It is practice that shapes the Church. Unity is ”˜a life that is shaped by a single desire’ (p. 171). To be of one mind, as the apostle exhorts, is not a mental attitude, but an act or series of acts in time (p. 399). Radner’s definition of unity is ”˜charity lived in distinction’ (p. 88). Charity is self-giving, self-emptying (kenosis) ”“ not a giving away of our identity, but of power and privilege.
The antidote to division is conciliarity, the practice of the Church coming together in a representative way to wait on God in prayer and Bible study. The subject of conciliar activity is always the Scriptures (p. 211). T