How beautiful it is when brothers dwell in unity…

Here in Australia it is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, with the theme “Pray Always”.

If only these pictures were a true reflection of reality:

One could almost imagine all the ancient wounds healed, could one not? Why is it that we are so powerless to translate our obvious love for one another as Christian brothers into practice?
I do “pray always” for the full visible unity of all Christians. My prayer is one long continuous wailing but (ultimately hopeful) “Kyrie Eleison!”
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5 Responses to How beautiful it is when brothers dwell in unity…

  1. Mild Colonial Boy, Esq. says:

    This quote from an Anglican, I think is appropriate in regard to Church unity.

    “We have no right to expect anything but the pure Gospel of Christ, unmixed and unadulterated,- the same Gospel that was taught by the Apostles,- to do good to the souls of men I belive that to maintain this pure truth in the Church men should be ready to make any sacrifice, to hazard peace, to risk dissention, and run the risk of division. They should no more tolerate false doctrine than they would tolerate sin. They should withstand any adding to or taking away from the simple message of the Gospel of Christ.

    … peace without truth is a false peace, it is the very peace of the devil. Unity without the Gospel is a worthless unity; it is the very unity of Hell.

    Unity which is obtained by the sacrifice of truth is worth nothing. It is not the unity which pleases God ….

    Controversy in religion is a hateful thing …. But there is one thing which is even worse than controversy, and that is false doctrine tolerated, allowed, and permitted without protest or molestation …. There are times when controversy is not only a duty but a benefit. Give me the mighty thunderstorm rather than the pestilential malaria. The one walks in darkness and poisons us in silence, and we are never safe. The other frightens us and alarms for a little season. but it is soon over, and it clears the air. It is a plain Scriptural duty to “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
    J.C. Ryle

  2. Schütz says:

    We’re back on that topic again, it seems. Truth or Unity. Either/or.

    It has been said before that the big difference between Catholics and Protestants is that the former are “both/and” and the latter “either/or”. It is an over characterisation, but it applies in this case.

    The fact that our unity with each of the Churches represented here (Canterbury, Moscow and Constantinople) is far from perfect is an indication of the fact that our unity in doctrine is not yet (and may never be) in perfect harmony.

    Yet we speak of an “imperfect” but real communion with each of them. “Imperfect” in the sense of “not-yet-complete”, rather than “flawed”. Seeking unity AND seeking agreement in the faith is the both/and of the Catholic Church.

    It seems to me that it would be a fearful thing to undertake, cause, or maintain schism from the Church over matters of doctrine unless one were quite certain that one’s own doctrine was in fact pure truth. I cannot disagree with what your Anglican divine says, but I do draw back from his tone, and the ease with which he assumes that his own doctrine is true. Even Luther trembled on that score.

    And, it is curious, that in fact what you have posted contradicts your own “founding myth”, namely that Luther didn’t leave the Catholic Church, the Catholic Church expelled him.

    If this story is true (and it is a matter of interpretation, but lets grant it for the moment), then despite the fact that Luther himself ranted and railed at the “false teaching of the Pope”, he did not act to separate himself from the Roman Church but sought rather to reform and purify her while maintaining unity with the Church. While I cannot agree with the accuracy of this interpretation of events, I do point out that it is in drastic contradiction to the reasoning outlined by your Anglican divine.

    Then there is the paradoxical fact that just as True Unity in the Church cannot be found apart from Unity in the Truth, so the One Truth cannot be found outside the Truth of Unity. Think about that, for a bit.

    And there is Jesus’ own advice: “Judge not and you shall not be Judged” and “By the measure you use you will be measured”.

    Hence, I prefer the “Kyrie eleison” stance rather than the “Die, heretic scum!” stance.

  3. Mild Colonial Boy, Esq. says:

    The passage I quoted was written around the time of the Puseyite controversy in the Church of England. Ryle strongly opposed the intrusion of Romish doctrine into the Church – and the passage advocates strenuously opposing false doctrine within the Church of England and those who advocate a false unity with heretical teachers (within and outside the COE) for the sake of peace.

    Nothing in this passage contradicts the story of Luther and the beginning of the Lutheran Church.

  4. Mild Colonial Boy, Esq. says:

    DS wrote:

    “And there is Jesus’ own advice: “Judge not and you shall not be Judged” and “By the measure you use you will be measured”.

    Hence, I prefer the “Kyrie eleison” stance rather than the “Die, heretic scum!” stance.

    The Bible also says:

    In that same chapter in Matthew 7:15-24:

    “15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

    16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

    17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

    18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

    19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

    20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

    21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

    22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

    23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:”.

    Also in 2 Timothy 3:16, KJV :

    “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

    Then in 2 Corithians 1-15:

    “1I hope you will put up with a little of my foolishness; but you are already doing that. 2I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 5But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.” 6I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.
    7Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. 9And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so. 10As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine. 11Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! 12And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”

    I could go on quoting Bible verses on the importance of testing teachers and remaining faithful to the Gospel until the cows come home (and remember you started the proof-texting).

    I’m a simple layman and all I that I know is this: I have read the Catholic Catechism and (most of) The Book of Concord and I know which one is consistent with the Scriptures and which is based on the Traditions of Men.

  5. Past Elder says:

    Looks more like Halloween at the Old Folks Home than anything else.

    Nice costumes!

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