Can the world-wide Christian Church be re-unified?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Wittenberger, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. Wittenberger

    Wittenberger
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    Can the Christian Church, the bride of Christ, be re-unified?

    I doubt it, at least not the entire Church.

    Why? I believe that Christianity today can be divided into three groups: Liberals, orthodox, and evangelicals.

    I am willing to bet that within the next 50 years, liberal Christians will abandon the term “Christian” as a non-inclusive, divisive term and will consider anyone who continues to use it as bigoted. “Jesus is the only way” will be considered a bigoted mentality. “All faiths/beliefs lead to God (whatever HER name is!).”

    That will leave orthodox Christians (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, confessional/conservative Lutherans, Anglo-Catholics, Coptics, etc.) and evangelicals. Could these two groups re-unite.

    Hell would probably freeze over before such an event would occur!

    Evangelicals, with their relatively new doctrines of symbolic baptism and symbolic communion, and their rock-concert style worship services would have a hard time returning to liturgical, orthodox doctrine and worship. I don’t think they would even consider the idea.

    Among the orthodox Christians, the easiest merger would be the RCC and the EOC. But if they wanted to include conservative/confessional Lutherans, the doctrine of Justification would have to be agreed upon. I think it could be handled this way: The RCC and the EOC would accept that Justification is by grace alone, through faith alone, and Lutherans would accept that good works are a must (for Sanctification).

    The other big issue would be the role of Mary, the Mother of God. I think Lutherans could agree to allow for the veneration of Mary (asking her, in prayers, to go to her Son with our requests) but the Lutherans would insist that Mary could never become the Co-redeemer as some in the RCC would like to make her.

    If orthodox Christians reach agreement that Justification is by grace alone, through faith alone, several other contentious differences can be resolved:

    There is no need for a Purgatory: Christ has paid the punishment for ALL sins.
    Lutherans could accept Seven Sacraments, with the condition that all agree that God only gives justifying grace in the sacrament of Baptism; He gives sanctifying grace in the other six.

    Form of government? Revert back to the form of government in the early church. Church Councils would have the final word, based on the Final Authority, the bible, relating to doctrinal issues, as they did at the Council of Jerusalem in the days of the Apostles.

    And the Pope? Make him the First among Equals, similar to the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Anglicans. He would be the spokesman for the Church but not an all-powerful ruler. infallible, etc. Re-establish the Patriarch system, with Patriarchs in each of the Christian regions of the world.

    Anyone else have ideas on Church unity?
     
    #1 Wittenberger, Aug 2, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2012
  2. Thinkingstuff

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    An FYI just like the Catholic Church established an Anglican Ordinariate for Anglicans wanting to unite with the Catholic Church such work is being done for the Lutherans.
     
  3. Yeshua1

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    The TRUE Church, the Body of Chrsit/His Bride are already united by jesus, as we are all One in Him, its up to us to keep that unity!

    The "church" that will be unified in a physical sense is the Apostate Church in last Days, the One that will have Antichrist as Its "messiah!"
     
  4. Wittenberger

    Wittenberger
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    I would be interested in reading about that. Do you have any web links to read about this issue?
     
  5. Thinkingstuff

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    I'll look up something and pass it on to you.
     
  6. Yeshua1

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    Looks like Revelation is starting to come to pass!
     
  7. Wittenberger

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    Join us, brother Yeshua, to pray for the unity of the Church before the Second Coming of Christ, as mentioned in the book of Revelation!
     
  8. Yeshua1

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    My prayer would be that you and others come out from among the RCC while there is still time!
     
  9. Wittenberger

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    I will pray that you will see the truth, that your "symbolic" doctrines are not those held by the early Christians, they are new and false doctrines, and that you will join us in an effort to bring unity to the Body of Christ, by restoring the true and historic catholic/orthodox doctrines and worship to the Church.

    I'm not advocating full capitulation to Rome. Rome will have to do an equal amount of compromising to get us to full unity. But it is a good and noble goal.

    See my suggestions above.
     
  10. mont974x4

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    Did the RCC rescind the Unam Sanctum? I ask because it is in that document that the demand that salvation only comes through submission to the pope. The only way that I, and many others, would join such a church is if they repent of that and their many other heresies.


    That said, I think the question of the OP is a false question. The true Church is made up of every follower of Christ and is not impacted by denominational titles. Our unity is in Him, united in the Spirit and yet so many people seek a false spirit of unity at the cost of truth.
     
  11. Walter

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    I found this Lutheran Monastery and Benedictine order and, if you have the time to look through their past Newsletters, I think you will find some wonderful insights in regard to the OP. I think they give a great model for grassroots work towards Christian unity.

    http://www.staugustineshouse.org/

    Small excerpt from the latest 'Newsletter': "Fr. Richard along with Fr. Del Baier and Fr. William
    Kirsh-Carr drove to Chicago the end of September to
    attend the three day general retreat of the Society of
    the Holy Trinity. The retreat this year focused on the
    history of ecumenical relations between the Lutheran
    and Roman Catholic Churches."
     
    #12 Walter, Aug 2, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2012
  12. Michael Wrenn

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    I don't claim to be a prophet or have the gift of prophecy, but I am going to issue here a prophetic word of warning to all genuine, spiritually reborn followers of Jesus: The "unity" that is being proposed here has nothing -- and I emphasize absolutely nothing -- to do with the unity and oneness for which Jesus prayed. What is being proposed here -- and I believe in good faith and with good intentions -- is nothing more than a superchurch, an artificial, outward unity that is as dangerous as anything which has ever existed in the history of Christendom.

    The only true unity and the only one in which freedom can be assured is a spiritual unity of believers and followers of Jesus -- that is the only kind of unity needed.

    When the talk and vision is for a uniting of denominations into one monolithic superchurch, run the other way as fast as you can; this is the groundwork being laid for the apostate counterfeit "church" from hell. And I am not a fundamentalist or dispensationalist, and yet I can say this. The pattern is there in the past, and some would like to see this re-established, except this time it would be a thousand times worse. Remember the saying: "Absolute power corrupts absolutely". Man, even supposedly regenerate man, cannot be trusted with this kind of power. The horrific example is there in the past; those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, as the saying goes.

    When Jesus prayed that we would all be one, He wasn't talking about a superchurch. But it should be no surprise that many today still commit the error of Jesus's day -- the desire to set up an outward kingdom, a monolithic superchurch.

    God give us the wisdom and strength to resist such with all our might.
     
  13. Thinkingstuff

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    Just a point of information to you. I'm not really debating the matter her but just want to say that. Unam Sanctam still holds. The Anglican Ordinariate and if there becomes a Lutheran Ordinariate both must recognize Papal primacy. It was the Issue sepearating the SSPX from the Catholic Church now they will have their own prelature if all goes well.
     
  14. Wittenberger

    Wittenberger
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    As I stated in the OP, if I were to support a reunification between Lutherans and Roman Catholics, there would have to be mutual compromises, one of those being a more democratic form of church government. Church Councils and a council of Patriarchs would make decisions, not one man in Rome. I'm ok with the Pope being the spokesman for the Church, the First among Equals, but not his current, all-powerful role.

    Church unity is a long, long way off, unfortunately, if at all.

    The fundamentalists and dispensationalists have no need to get themselves too worked up yet. Church division, splintering of denominations, Christian bickering, will continue for the forseeable future.

    Just as a point of interest, the book of Galatians refers to the Church as our mother. The Mother Church is a scriptural term.
     
  15. Bro. James

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    Ecumenism? Yes. Defiled Bride? No.

    II Cor. 6:14-18, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you."

    We will give an account of the above.

    The true people of God have come out, have been out, and continue to stay out of those who have apostasized. There are no ecumenical movements for the people of God.

    Jesus said He would never leave nor forsake His Bride. He has kept His promise. He is faithful, even when we are not.

    Even so, come Lord Jesus.

    Bro. James
     
  16. Thinkingstuff

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    Often the nature of the Papal infallibilty is missed understood. The doctrine is a prohibiter for the Pope to teach something against established teachings or the deposit of Faith. Bishops hold a more direct involvement in their diocese than the Pope and the Pope rarely infringes upon the Bishops unless its an issue against an already established teaching of the Church. For example the Some Bishops want to allow for gay Marriage this stands against the already established Catholic Teaching in this matter and clarified in Humanae Vitae. At this point the Pope will request the Constitution for the Doctrine of the Faith to do an investigation on the actual teachings of the Bishops and submit a public report showing where the error lies with the Bishop. Then the pope will take action. However, No Doctrine is singularily declared by any Pope with out consulting the college of Bishopes.
     
  17. Michael Wrenn

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    I am actually anti-fundamentalist and anti-dispensationalist, and I oppose what you are advocating with all my being. It has absolutely nothing do with "church unity". What would be unfortunate is if such a monstrosity ever came into being.

    The Church is the Body of Christ, composed of all believers from all ages; it cannot be equated with any outward institution.

    I have no doubt that what you are proposing would turn out to be the greatest apostate persecutor of all time.
     
  18. Yeshua1

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    The RCC will NEVER budge/compromise, for in their eyes, being the true Church founded by Christ...

    they will demand ALL to come under their banner and change their views, and become }proyselized" Cathiolics!
     
  19. Doubting Thomas

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    Great post, Wittenberger--this is something that I've thought and wondered about as well.

    It does seem very unlikely, but with God all things are possible.

    And within the 'orthodox' and within the 'evangelicals' there are divisions as well. Of course, I've know of confessional Lutherans who've preferred the term 'Evangelical'.

    That's probably a safe bet.

    Good question. It would be hard to see how, since the latter have abandoned the historic episcopate (and so have many Lutherans for that matter).

    .

    Many in the Reformed camp would argue that they don't believe in a 'symbolic baptism or communion' at least in the Zwinglian sense, and many in the same camp would also bristle at rock-concert style worship services. However, it does seem to be the trend among Neo-Evangelicals to do the whole seeker-friendly service thing, complete with smoke, rock music, power point presentations, theatre style seats, and Starbucks coffee.

    There are however Evangelicals who do consider Church history and the early patristic consensus important in establishing doctrine (Thomas Oden and D H Williams come to mind)--they just need to be more consistent in their application of this principle. :smilewinkgrin:

    Not as easy as you would think. There's the whole Papal infallibility and supremacy thing along with the Filioque. There are some other issues as well, but these are the biggies. I could see the latter being resolved more easily (ie dropping the Filioque altogehter or changing it to "THROUGH the Son"), but the issues regarding the papacy would be much more complicated to resolve to the satisfaction of both--I think the RCC would have to do a lot of creative backtracking on papal infallibility to satisfy the EOC (and other Christians)

    But neither the RCC or the EOC agree with justification 'sola fide', strictly speaking, particularly given James 2. I think that perhaps the relevent Anglican Articles and Homilies on Justification can provide a common ground to come up with a well-orbed statement on Justification that carefully considers both St. Paul's and St. Jame's concerns. However, I do know that there has already been a joint statment of sorts on justification by the RCC-Lutherans if I'm not mistaken.

    I DO think it's important for all sides to agree that the MERITORIOUS GROUND of our justication is Christ's work alone and that we receive this by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

    I also am all for giving Our Lady the proper respect, but some of the prayers or statements I've read about her in both the EOC and the RCC are somewhat scary in that they seem to dangerously blur the distinction between her role and the unique role of her SON (the Akathist hymn comes to mind).

    I believe this is important to agree upon.

    This is more or less true I'd suspect.

    True, but before this takes place, the different groups would have to be in communion with each other again first (which would involve ironing out the differences listed above) in order to have a truly Church wide council. The RCC and the other 'orthodox' groups would have to agree on the role of the papacy. The East and West would have to agree on 'the Filioque'. The RCC/EOC would have to agree with the Lutherans and Anglicans about justification. And the Copts and other Oriental Orthodox communions would have to accept the teaching of councils 3-7 (if not the exact wording)
     

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