Off topic: Christian unity

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This post has 31 Replies | 2 Followers

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Sleiman | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Feb 25 2014 1:14 PM

I know this is off topic but I'll argue you've probably not seen a better off-topic topic Smile

I don't know how many of you saw or heard this before, but here's a heartfelt message sent by Pope Francis through videophone to an American Pentecostal conference via an Evangelical Episcopal Bishop friend. This could well be to any Christian group, even yours.

Maybe it's a good idea to add a reminder to pray for unity on your Logos "My Prayer List". Imagine how much more powerful our message to the world would be.

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 25 2014 2:48 PM

Thanks for the reminder of Christian unity. You can definitely hear his heart in the message.

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 25 2014 3:30 PM

Yes Geeked Yes

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 25 2014 3:30 PM

Yes Geeked Yes

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 25 2014 3:48 PM

I wouldn't be surprised if before long we see Pope Francis moving to change the longstanding rule that Catholics cannot share communion with non-Catholics. That would be a welcome change towards what Jesus prayed for in John 17:11.

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BillS | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 25 2014 4:40 PM

Rosie Perera:
change the longstanding rule that Catholics cannot share communion with non-Catholics.

Geeked

Gift

Grace & Peace,
Bill


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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 25 2014 4:41 PM

Rosie Perera:
I wouldn't be surprised if before long we see Pope Francis moving to change the longstanding rule that Catholics cannot share communion with non-Catholics.

I would be very surprised if he extended it beyond the current exceptions which share a common understanding of Communion - although I would expect the circumstances under which the exceptions apply to be extended.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Alex Bui | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 25 2014 4:51 PM

Great message from the Pope, Yes.  I read a similar message from my Logos 5 homepage, yesterday, a great  reminder.

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Mike Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 25 2014 6:09 PM

It is a marvelous message, and seems to come from his heart.

I think unity of Spirit and unity around our common Lord Jesus Christ is a wonderful goal, and something I have often experienced with other traditions.  If someone loves the Lord Jesus Christ and God's Word, I can be one in Spirit with him or her.  If someone has a heart for God, I am drawn to them, and the Spirit of Christ in my heart leaps for joy.  We do not have to agree in every doctrinal point or belong to the same church.

For example, I am a United Methodist  (Wesleyan - Arminian in theology), but I more in common with a Calvinist who loves Jesus Christ and God's Word, than a spiritually dead Methodist. 

However, (and I don't think the Pope is calling for this, so I am not criticizing him) that does not mean that unity of organization / denomination is even desirable.  One in Spirit and even in many shared missions, yes!  One in church structure, no!  For example, there are good reasons I am not a Presbyterian, and good reasons why Presbyterians are not Methodist, and good reasons why both of us are not Catholic, and why Catholics are not Protestant.  (And there soon could be good reasons why I might no longer be United Methodist.).  Sound doctrine does matter, and unity at the lowest common denominator doctrinally does not glorify God.

I guess I am a little concerned that we live in an age that seems to believe that truth and doctrines do no matter.  But it does matter what one believes.  I agree with what John Wesley said (big surprise, huh?) John Wesley said, "But as to all opinions which do not strike at the root of Christianity, we think and let think. So that whatsoever they are, whether right or wrong, they are no distinguishing marks of a Methodist.". Wesley also said, "In these we may think and let think; we may 'agree to disagree.'  But, meantime, let us hold fast the essentials of "the faith which was once delivered to the saints;". Think and let think on everything that does not strike at the root of the faith, but hold on to essentials of the faith.  That is a delicate balance.

At the same time, I recognize that all who love Jesus Christ, and trust in Him as their Lord and Savior are my brothers and sisters. 

I love the Pope's message.  It would help me have more confidence in it if he would change his church's doctrine so that we could take Holy Communion together, recognize one another's clergy, baptism, etc.  In other words, if we could fully recognized one another as Christian brothers and sisters, without sacrificing our distinctive beliefs.

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 25 2014 8:45 PM

Michael, I read your input with some curiousity.  I'm well familiar with your struggles that you've shared. Let me share some examples as a 'prism'.

One day I was talking with the Lutheran minister (I'm not familiar with the appropriate titles). He was a happy guy and quite driven about his work. But he made an odd comment. He said I'd not find many Lutherans at the Lutheran church here (at the time). Most were from other denominations but wanted/enjoyed the liturgical 'doings' at his church. He saw that as humorous, since the only thing left was him and the sign outside.

In another case, four evangelical pastors wanted to have their associated churches meet together and share fellowship. Which they did. Except for communion. That was kept separate ... in the same room.  I thought that was interesting; reminded me some folks in Antioch.

In a third case, the jewish rabbi here offered to hold hebrew classes for the pastors (which they gladly took advantage of).  One time I attended the jewish meeting; they were quite open to discussion, though obviously not agreement.

In a fourth case, in the next community, the Catholic church was holding special meetings with the Protestants to at least try to understand each other. And our Pastor encouraged attendance.

And in a final case, one night the class was discussing a very core theology and the more they talked, the more it became obvious that none of them agreed, and their positions were actually strongly argued theological positions one learns in any seminary. But they saw no problem, finishing up with coffee and cookies. 

Although I agree with what you're saying, I'm impressed with 'walls' being more than issues of faith (not implying this from your comments).

"I didn't know God made honky tonk angels."

Posts 339
Steve Farson | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 25 2014 10:00 PM

Happened to view a video clip recently from N.T. Wright where he was asked the biggest problem facing the church.  He said it was a lack of unity, that a watching world isn't impressed.

Posts 382
Sacrifice | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 26 2014 3:39 AM

Whenever I see this topic raised, I remember one of my professor's books:

http://www.frame-poythress.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/FrameJohnEvangelicalReunion1991.pdf 

Yours In Christ

Posts 487
Carmen Gauvin-O'Donnell | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 26 2014 3:46 AM

Unfortunately, we can't have unity at all cost... while I desire true unity with my Roman Catholic brother and sisters, DOCTRINE still gets in the way. As an example, even if Pope Francis removed the restriction on RC and Protestants taking communion together, as a Protestant, I would still be unable to take communion because of conscience and RC doctrine surrounding that sacrament.

(And I speak as someone who was raised RC and who actually came to Christ in adulthood and then started to actually study the differences between Protestantism and RC in general before deciding "I protest!" Smile ).

That having been said, I certainly am appreciating this new Pope... he does seem to be a breath of fresh air insofar as the "if you have done this for the least of mine, you have done it for me" department goes... Yes

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Willard Scott | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 26 2014 4:13 AM

Sorry, I can't jump on the Kumbayah, Big Tent, Bandwagon. Do we just forget about the inquisition? Do we reduce to nothing the Reformation?...The blood of the reformers? Possibly, The best way to show love for others is to point out the errors in their doctrine. That's what Luther did. .... Ezekiel 33:6 

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 26 2014 4:26 AM

Michael Childs:
(And there soon could be good reasons why I might no longer be United Methodist.).  Sound doctrine does matter, and unity at the lowest common denominator doctrinally does not glorify God.

Well said, Michael. Pray that God will give you wisdom in whatever decision you make in this regard.

Michael Childs:
I think unity of Spirit and unity around our common Lord Jesus Christ is a wonderful goal

Agreed, with the reservations quoted above.

Posts 1011
Mike Pettit | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 26 2014 4:51 AM

This is why posts like this are a bad idea, and why people should not comment on them either way, you cannot agree then be perplexed when some on else takes an opposing view. And people will be offended by the counter view.

Posts 64
Hermann Fritz | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 26 2014 5:02 AM

I absolutely agree with your statement. My name ist Hermann Fritz, and I grew up in an little roman-catholic village in Württemberg/Germany. In my childhood, I never heard about the importance of our Lord and Saviour Jesus, - I only knew stories about the child in the stable and all the glitter and romance in the holy night. In my youth, I was a helper (Ministrant) in my local rc and wanted to become a catholic priest. But because of some disappointments with the priest, I changed my goals and was trained in Administration. Then, - I was 23, a Methodist girl told me about Jesus and his atonement for my sins. Five years later, I studied Theology and since 2000 I am Pastor in a Freie evangelische Gemeinde (its like an Evangelical Covenant Church) in Cologne, Germany.

I left the RC, because I don´t see much difference to the wrong teachings of a lot of smaller christian heresy.

Greetings from Germany. By the way: Logos is great and I like to read the comments of this community. It is a great help for me.

Excuse my unskilled Englisch Smile

Hermann Fritz

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Milford Charles Murray | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 26 2014 6:53 AM

Peace to you, Hermann!  

                            *smile*                           You are INDEED welcome in the Logos Community Forums, and I am very pleased to welcome you, acknowledging your first post!!                   

                                         What a joy for us to greet one another from the four corners of the world -- supporting and informing our mutual use of Logos Bible Software -- to the Glory of God and to the Benefit of humankind!    

                                 Thanks for participating in this "thread," and we look forward to "touching base" with you on many levels at many times as the days and weeks and months roll by!

Philippians 4:  4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand..........

Posts 64
Hermann Fritz | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 26 2014 9:32 AM

Dear Milford,

hello again! Thank you very much for your kind reply and your cordial welcome! Here in cologne, it is now 18.20 PM and i am preparing for the Bible Study Class at 19.30 PM. It´s also exciting and joyful for me, to come in contact with brothers and sisters in Christ from "the four corners" oft the world.

An addition to my first post to make clear:

I am not an opponent oft rc believers. I have roman-catholic friends, who love our Lord Jesus. It was a catholic woman, who paid a large amount of my fees that I could become a pastor. She told me that Jesus spoke to her to pay my fees and she made it true.

Nevertheless, I think that we have to prove all things and to hold fast that which ist good (1 Thes 5:21).

Jesus bless you and the whole community here.

My best wishes,

Hermann

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Milford Charles Murray | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 26 2014 11:42 AM

Blessings, Hermann!                 I dare to accept your kind words in behalf of the whole Logos Forums Community.  The love and kindness and compassion of this group, I believe, has grown wonderfully (if not exponentially!) in the last few years!

               As we inform and encourage one another -- growing and learning and sharing in our Lord Jesus Christ -- using the Holy Bible -- and Words guided by the Holy Spirit of God -- I fully expect further "good things" to "happen" even though there may be the occasional "bump" in the road, eh ?!?!           *smile*

Philippians 4:  4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand..........

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