Matters of denomination are inside baseball, as they say, so if you are not Christian at all, then you can just skip to the next post. But for those of us who are Christian, I think Mark Pickup is asking the right question:
Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” – Mark Davis Pickup
I stumbled across this because he did a post about including people with Down’s. Which came from this post about a new clothing line for people with Down’s. Cool.
It has been 500 years since the Reformation. Surely it is time to let bygones be bygones, no?
As a Protestant, Melissa, I protest: the Roman Catholic Church has not substantially reformed. Instead she has entrenched her heresies by making them official theology in, for example, the Council of Trent.
Sharing the same Judeo-Christian morality, however, Roman Catholics and Protestants can work together against such evils as abortion.
Incidentally, it’s my impression that freedom of religion was originally intended for application to ecclesiastical diversity–of churches and maybe cults of Christian origin–not an unworkable multicultural setting such as we now have in Canada. The original understanding was a common Judeo-Christian morality.
Of course the Catholic position is that she is still the same Church that Christ founded, and therefore she doesn’t need to reform. Abuses corrected, yes, and they are all the time, but reform? No.
Sigh. I had thought that denominationalism was starting to not matter all that much. I was hoping that maybe, my children’s children could worship alongside Protestants who have no need of protesting anymore in one united Church.
The Muslim philosopher al-Ghazali said, “The Greeks have their ways and the Persians theirs – and God alone knows which one is right.”
This is true of the denominational differences within Western Christianity – where the family fight started by the Reformation and Counter-Reformation has been going on for a little short of half a millennium.
My guess is that when we get to the next world we will discover that all of the denominations got a lot of things wrong.
It’s time to bury the hatchet – given the extreme threats facing Christianity as a whole.
Andrea Mrozek says
Paul and Melissa–we are of the same mind.
CS Lewis is extraordinarily comforting to read. In all the many hours of driving I’ve been doing lately, I’ve been listening to a reading of Mere Christianity lately, where Lewis lays out the foundations of Christianity, in logical steps, for an atheist or non-believer. He speaks in the introduction of all Christians (and interestingly enough, he doesn’t divide into Catholics versus Protestants, but rather Catholics, Anglicans and he cites a couple of other denominations, which I forget) and then says we are all in the same house, in different rooms. He speaks of Christians who are undecided about what room they should be in as being in the hallway. He thinks it is better to be in a room, but that the hallway can provide a good reception for a while, anyway. And he asks all Christians of whatever denomination to pray for the others, earnestly, that they might get in the right room and above all, out of the hallway. He says if you find yourself in the hallway you yourself should pray earnestly to get out of the hallway. But that if God leaves you in the hallway for a long while, it is with good reason. Finally, he speaks about those who hold the gospel dearest being able to put aside the specifics of denomination better. This is not to say the differences don’t matter, but rather that for the sake of unity, we will work in service of Jesus Christ together. He acknowledges, carries and works through our differences in a logical, rational, respectful and above all, faithful way.
I, too, love C.S. Lewis. According to the movie “Shadowlands”, he said that we read to know that we are not alone. I love his space trilogy “Perelandra” and think that all thinking feminists should read it.
When we look at the Old Testament church, the nation of Israel, then can’t we see denominationalism? The ten tribes followed Jeroboam in his sin of attempting to worship God through the idolatry of his two golden calves. Some kings of Judah, such as Rehoboam, attempted to reunify God’s people by force, and Rehoboam was told not not to do so. King Jehoshaphat of Israel closely allied himself with King Ahab of Israel (leading to corruption of true religion) and was pointedly rebuked for doing so. King Hezekiah of Judah sent messengers into the ten tribes to invite them to the Passover at Jerusalem (true worship of God) and was praised for doing so. And when Elijah, a true prophet of God speaking to the ten tribes, despaired, God essentially told him that God’s measures of success are different than ours. Trust God and be faithful.
According to the book of Revelation, a day is coming when the twelve tribes will be reunited. Perhaps it is already here if I correctly recall Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman at the well. But He was speaking of unity in true religion, and as the pillar and ground of the truth, the church cannot compromise on irreconcilable differences over the authority of the Scriptures, the meaning of apostolic authority, the nature and number of the sacraments, the means of mediation with God, and the sufficiency of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
* King Jehoshapat of JUDAH