AGAIN – CHURCH UNITY

Read the following quote and think of a famous church leader who could have said this.

“At the same time, we Christians must never hesitate to proclaim our faith in the uniqueness of the salvation won for us by Christ, and to explore together a deeper understanding of the means He has placed at our disposal for attaining that salvation. God “wants all to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4), and that truth is nothing other than Jesus Christ, eternal Son of the Father, who has reconciled all things in Himself by the power of his Cross. In fidelity to the Lord’s will, as expressed in that passage from Saint Paul’s First Letter to Timothy, we recognize that the Church is called to be inclusive, yet never at the expense of Christian truth. Herein lies the dilemma facing all who are genuinely committed to the ecumenical journey.”

How serious are Protestants about unity in the body of Christ? Are we at all willing to think that God would love to see His Church as one body, Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox? I must admit, I get a bit frustrated when protestants, when I mention the word orthodox, still ask: “What are you talking about, the Jews?”, or when they do realise that I am talking about a Christian group; “Are they really Christian, were do they come from?” How did it happen that we grew so far apart that we have no knowledge of one another only perceptions.

When will Protestants ever come to a point of understanding that the Catholic Church does not worship Mary as our saviour, that the Catholic Church is a church and not a different religion? But, in all fairness, will the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church ever admit that there are also children of God in the protestant tradition and that we are also Church, part of the body?

We all need to sit down and carefully rethink our commitment towards unity. It is important for Christ that the body should be one. (John 17). Why not try and start a conversation in your area with people from different religious backgrounds? Start the conversation with time in silence and experience the unity in Christ that is calling at us.

O, yes, the quotation – for all my protestant friends: Pope Benedict XVI, Great Hall, Lambeth Palace, 17 September 2010.

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Church unity – Ignorance

At a meeting in Mainz, Germany in 2007 Cardinal Walter Kasper made this comment on church unity: “I do not think that I will see unity in my life time, but because our Lord asks it from us, I will keep myself busy with unity until my death.” He was referring to unity between the Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Churches. As a Protestant I often wonder when will my fellow protestant brothers and sister realise that there is such a church grouping as the Orthodox Church and that they confess, as do the Catholic Church, that we believe in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? I am troubled by the lack of knowledge we have for one another.

When will protestants start to realise that the Catholic and orthodox believers do not worship Mary in their prayers? She receives their adoration. She intercedes for us, not as mediator in the sense that Christ Jesus is our Mediator and Saviour, but as someone living now in the presence of God. Hebr 12:22-24 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. (KJV)