Catholicity key to Church Unity

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Jude, Apr 3, 2004.

  1. Jude

    Jude
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    Jesus prayed,
    John 17.20-23 NIV “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

    The unity that Jesus is praying for here has not been the experience of the Church since 1054. The European and English Reformations widened the gulf. Some argue that there is a 'invisible' Church, but that doesn't seem logical, at least to me. The theological differences amongst Protestants are vast, damaging to our corporate Christian witness, and also, means that some are holding to doctrines and practices contrary to historic Christianity. The question is, how can unity, REAL unity be achieved? How can this prayer of Jesus find an answer in this age, where 'everyone is doing right in his own eyes'? I've argued before that Vincent of Lerins offers a solution. Just recently, I've read a short article by Thomas Oden that might help in this discussion...

    “Source: Thomas Oden, _The_Rebirth_of_Orthodoxy_,
    HarperSanFrancisco, 2003 (ISBN 0-06-009785) pp. 177ff

    In the final chapter of the book, Oden introduces the reader to
    Vincent of Lerins’ (5th century AD) systematic analysis of the
    classical ecumenical method of maintaining Christian orthodoxy.
    Vincent’s fourfold test, in short, according to Oden:
    1. The universal prevails over the particular (the whole is
    preferred to the part – ubique, semper, omnibus.)
    2. The older apostolic witness prevails over the newer alleged
    general consent.
    3. Conciliar actions and decisions prevail over faith-claims as
    yet untested by conciliar acts.
    4. Where no conciliar rule avails, the most reliable consensual
    ancient authorities prevail over those less consensual over the
    generations.

    Oden goes on to describe Vincent’s case studies, one of which
    involves Donatism and Arianism. Oden’s account has a hauntingly
    familiar ring. The question that the Donatists raised for Vincent was: Suppose
    a view, even if wrong or unwise, becomes normative in a
    particular area – even a vast area, such as Africa (as Donatism
    did.) Does it not deserve to be respected as highly as the
    fuller consent of the worldwide worshipping community? The
    answer reached by the faithful was no. … The larger church held
    that any doctrine had to show concurrence with prevailing
    worldwide intergenerational Christian lay consent.
    Arianism was another kind of test, since at one time numerous
    bishops were Arian. In spite of its relative pervasiveness for a
    few generations, it was ultimately voted down by the early church
    because … it could not be found either in the apostolic teaching or in
    other generations before Arius. … [It] confused believers, who
    heard voices of ecclesial authority arguing for both sides of the
    issue. … The movement was doubly poisonous because it appealed
    to both antiquity and universality on the thoroughly unbiblical
    point that the Son of God is not quite God. …
    Vincent attributed the power of Arianism to four causes, each of
    which has a current analogy:
    1. The lust for novelty. Arianism thought of itself as a new
    corrective to older, distorted views of the sacred text. … The
    premise of superiority has its counterpart in the intrinsic
    inferiority of antiquity.
    2. … Arianism treated the apostolic testimony selectively. It
    did not sufficiently compare text with text by the analogy of
    faith under the guidance of the Spirit.
    3. The widespread default of the teaching office. … Where the
    teaching of the elders is taken captive to novelty, how can the
    laity trust the faithful transmission of the tradition?
    4. … Well-grounded apostolic communities were undermined and ruined by the facile novelties of Arius, ending in the temporary overthrow of clear apostolic testimony in favor of political powerbrokers.

    … What finally mattered most in the struggle against Arianism was the willingness of ordinary faithful laity to give their lives in defense of classical Christian teaching.

    It took a century and a half of that willingness for Arianism to
    be generally exposed as a distorted innovation. … The faithful
    eventually defeated Arianism …
     
  2. BobRyan

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    The Jews of Christs day were seeking "unity" in attacking the Messiah and rejecting the gospel.

    Herod and Pilat began finding "unity" over their trial and treatment of the Christ.

    The RCC has sought to "exterminate" (see Lateran IV council) those Christians that opposed it and thus "create unity".

    The inquisition was a Catholic instrument of torture created in an age where the church "ran the state" and sought "unity" at the "expense of the heads of those that opposed them".

    The Catholic-concept-of-unity is one that we can "all live without".

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  3. BobRyan

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    Here is another "experiment in unity" reported by Catholic sources - well accepted and well published.

    The answer from Fr. Ken Ryan:
    In the article above – Fr. Ken Ryan makes the meaning of “extermination” of that group and “many other groups” clear for modern readers.
    Catholic apologists like Catholic Digest’s Fr. Ken Ryan quoted above often argue that the RCC isn't accountable for the Inquisition, since the state carried out the torturing and the executions. It was the RCC who defined these people as "heretics", however, and the RCC handed them over to the state (John 19:11).

    </font>[/QUOTE]In Christ,

    Bob
     
  4. BobRyan

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    Not all attempts by the RCC to "force unity" resulted in crimes against humanity.

    But some that "did" are as follows ---

    Other councils, such as Vienna, issued anti-Semitic decrees that ordered the persecution of Jews. The persecution of other groups, such as the Waldensians, was also ordered by the RCC.
    For example, Pope Innocent VIII issued a bull in 1487 ordering that people "rise up in arms against" and "tread under foot" the Waldensians.

    Roman Catholic and former Jesuit Peter de Rosa writes in Vicars of Christ (Crown Publishers, 1988),
    The Catholic historian von Dollinger writes in The Pope and the Council,
    </font>[/QUOTE]In Christ,

    Bob
     
  5. BobRyan

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    A number of non-Catholic sources have observed that the catholic church has been the motivator and instrument of some pretty horrible crimes in history.

    But here we see various Catholic sources - who concede that in fact the RCC did authorize and even conduct crimes against humanity in the dark ages in an effort to attain 'unity'.

    </font>[/QUOTE]In Christ,

    Bob
     
  6. Kathryn

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    Jude:
    When the Church faithful really love God above all things and love their neighbor as themselves, then and only then will the there be unity in the one Church Jesus established. They will know us by our love Jesus says. To love our fellowman and contend earnestly for the faith, is Christ’s work for us and brings about unity. When members of the body of Christ sin, it creates disunity and drives people away. The answer to unity is personal holiness and ongoing conversion of the heart to Jesus Christ, of every member of the body of Christ. Your posts are very helpful.
     
  7. BobRyan

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    History is filled with experiments in unity.

    Particularly the dark ages.

    Unity is eventually achieved when each person guided by the John 16 "Spirit of Truth" that "Guides you into all truth" is allowed to be in control of that person. But since it is individual choice that determines if the person will listen to the Spirit - it will never be "group wide".

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  8. Kathryn

    Kathryn
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    Bob:
    *inflammatory statement deleted* The unity Jesus prayed for is not an “individual” thing...just me and Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ prayed for His Church to be one body___His body.

    "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one , just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. John 17:22-23

    [ April 04, 2004, 03:04 PM: Message edited by: Gina L ]
     
  9. Pastor Larry

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    The reason why there is not and never will be unity between the Catholic and the Christian churches is the key phrase that underlines Christ's prayer. Notice how he prays for them who believe on him through "their message." It is the message that gives unity, not the catholicity of the church. All through the NT we see that unity is based on adherance to the message. The RCC abandoned that message in favor of their own. For that reason, there will never be unity. If you wish unity, then it is necessity to turn to Christ alone in faith alone as Christ himself taught. It is necessary to align yourself with a NT church rather than with the Catholic church.

    Again, we must remember that the division was over real issues that are not resolved by a "let's get along" mentality. Truth is at stake and we, as Baptists, have aligned ourselves with that truth and committed ourselves to the defense of that truth. To abandon the truth in pursuit of a faux unity is to show that the truth is secondary to people and their feelings. We cannot entertain such a notion. We must stand for the truth and lovingly but firmly against those who have compromised. That is the NT command and it is why the Reformers and others before them rejected the trappings of the RCC.

    There should be unity in the body. But that unity is for those in the body, not those outside of it. The body is composed of those who through faith alone in Christ alone have come to him for salvation. That necessarily excludes those who adhere to Catholic doctrine.

    The unity problem is not bad on the inside. It is when you have those on the outside trying to be a part of the unity on the inside that such misunderstandings take place. But as always, the text of SCripture gives the answer: The unity Christ prayed for is among those who believe on him through "their message" -- that is, the apostolic gospel, not the RCC way of salvation.
     
  10. Kathryn

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    Catholics are members of the Body of Christ and pray along with Jesus Christ for the same unity He prayed for in the gospels. This unity in Jesus Christ and His Church will not compromise the truth. Jesus Christ is always in charge and is the cornerstone of His Church.

    "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one , just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. John 17:22-23

    "Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity." Colossians 3:14
     
  11. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Catholics are not members of the body of Christ if they believe what the RCC teaches about salvation. The Catholic church has denied the simplicity of salvation as taught by Christ and his followers. Individual Catholics may indeed be a part of the body, but if they are, it is in spite of what their church teaches and not because of it.

    So often, this becomes such a personal subject becuase it goes right to the heart of personal religious commitments. But there comes a time, when for the good of our eternal souls, we must put aside those things and come to the truth that is found in Jesus Christ alone.

    You are right that the church of Jesus Christ will never compromise the truth. That is yet more testimony to the fact that the RCC is not the church of Christ. They have compromised the truth in many areas for centuries. Jesus Christ is always in charge and is the cornerstone of his church. There is hope, even for those who have been blinded for years by the teaching of the RCC. There is hope in Christ alone for those who will believe the message referenced in John 17:21. There is glorious unity in the church for those who are in the church. There is tremendous love and the most loving thing that the church can do is go out and tell the truth about salvation in Christ. We can do no less if we love Christ and his gospel.
     
  12. Kathryn

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    I am saved by Grace through faith, as the Church and Holy Scripture both teach. I am also born again as the Church and Holy Scripture teaches. Catholics are members of the Body of Christ and pray with Jesus Christ for the same unity He prays for. Jesus Christ is my Lord and my God. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of the Church. The Church prays together for the Father's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven__just as He taught. The Catholic Church teaches what Jesus Christ taught, that we are saved by Grace through faith.

    "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one , just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. John 17:22-23

    "Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity." Colossians 3:14
     
  13. neal4christ

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    Bob,

    I really didn't read anything you posted; all I had to do was glance and know that you went on the attack. Please, Bob, tell me, did Christ pray for unity of believers? Are you denying this or saying that Jesus was wrong? Maybe he was mistaken, right?

    In Christ,
    Neal
     
  14. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    But herein lies the problem, Kathryn. The RCC and the Scriptures do not teach the same thing about salvation. This statement is, in and of itself, a contradiction. If you are saved as the Holy Scripture teaches, then you are not saved as the RCC teaches. If you are saved as the RCC teaches, then you are not saved as the HOly Scriptures teach. This is a contradiction that cannot be done away with simply by ignoring it or pretending it isn't there.
     
  15. Hamtramck_Mike

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    I am sorry Kathryn, but I, being a former Catholic, can say with NO HESITATION that Pastor Larry is speaking the truth to you about who the Lord Jesus Christ is referring to when He speaks of unity in Him; Catholics that believe what the RCC teaches and practices are NOT a part of that unity. I will pray for you Kathryn.
     
  16. Kathryn

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    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cathy: I am saved by Grace through faith, as the Church and Holy Scripture both teach.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I know what the Catholic Church teaches, and I know what Holy Scripture teaches. This is both the teaching of Jesus Christ in Holy Scripture and His Church. We are saved by Grace through faith. Scripture is quite clear and the Churches teachings are quite clear.

    "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." Ephesians 2 8-10

    Getting back to the unity that Jesus Christ prayed for, and which seems to be dismissed by many as unimportant:


    "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one , just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. John 17:22-23

    "Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity." Colossians 3:14
     
  17. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    Neal & Catherine,

    Your lopsided view of Christian unity is that Protestants and non-Catholics will finally return to the fold of Catholicism.

    Jesus did not mean this when speaking the words of John chapter seventeen. If you read this carefully you will find that Jesus was praying to the Father, that He would make all true Christians one in Christ. This was a spiritual unity, for the most part, known to God, and He is informing the Christian church that all Christians will be saved unto eternal life because of Jesus death and atonement.

    Jesus is not saying that we should all get together under one church name such as the Catholics and all non-Catholics joining the Baptist denomination, or that all non-Catholics should join under the authority of whoever is Pope at any given time. This is the concept of men and not from the Lord.

    This will never happen, because the chasm is far too deep and separated from each other, meaning all the denominations, and especially between Catholicism and Christians who know all the truth of the Bible.

    In fact, according to Revelation chapter seventeen 'the woman arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold . . .' is Catholicism and apostate Protestant denominations, who do not hold to Biblical truths of the Bible. These denominations will be destroyed during the Great Tribulation era in the future. [vs. 2, 12, 16] While Catholicism has some quasi-spiritual clout, she has no military power and the anti-God/ and non-christian armies, probably including the Muslim national leaders will grind her into the ground. That is why the Lord shouts to the people of the world, 'Come out of her, {Catholicism} My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.'

    The Vatican has said in her heart, 'I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.'

    We all know of the Inquisition of Romanism in Europe and Spain. The Apostle John did not know who he was speaking about when he said it, but God speaking through the Apostle John said, 'And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain on the earth.'

    In democratic nations the Vatican speaks of Ecumenism, in all Catholic nations, she demands strict obedience of Catholics and persecutes non-Catholic missionaries and preachers.

    Take off your 'rose colored glasses' and look at the truth; think clearly and stop hiding behind the skirts of Mary, the mother of our Lord.
     
  18. Brother Adam

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    _____________________________________
    I suggest the following for reading:

    Catechism of the Catholic Church

    Vatican II Documents- Especially Lumen Gentium, Ad Gentes, Dei Verbum, and Nostra Aetate

    Crossing the Threshold of Hope by His Holiness Pope John Paul II

    Hail, Holy Queen by Dr. Scott Hahn

    Rome Sweet Home by Dr. Scott Hahn

    The Lamb's Supper by Dr. Scott Hahn

    Letter's Between an Evangelical and Catholic by Father John Waiss (Opus Dei) and James McCarthy

    How the Reformation Happened by Hilaire Belloc

    The Salvation Controversy by James Akin

    Upon This Rock by Stephen Ray

    Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating
    ----------------------------------------------

    That should be a good starting point, but only a starting point.

    The Church teaches salvation is by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ. Because the Catholic Church is thousands of years old salvation isn't defined in the modern terminology "The instantaneous moment wherein one is adopted into the family of God brought about through the work of prayer".

    Redemption is the "total liberation from evil" found in new life through our only mediator, Jesus Christ. It is found in the participation of man in God's redemptive work. An individual’s salvation begins at one moment in time- when we are adopted into God's family, and is fulfilled in our entrance into heaven. Biblically Christians have been saved, are being saved, and will be saved.

    [ April 04, 2004, 07:34 PM: Message edited by: Gina L ]
     
  19. BobRyan

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    Neal without reading anything you post - this will be hard for me to answer.

    And without reading anything I post - I don't know what you expect as a response...

    But here goes --

    Christ spoke of "unity" to a group of reformers, a group "protesting" against the practices and doctrines of Gods ONE true Church started by Christ at Sinai.

    He spoke of "unity" to the nucleus of a reformation minded group of "protestant" Jews within the Jewish church. Even though the Jewish church ITSELF was established as the "one true Nation Church started by God at Sinai" with "forever promisess of the Holy Spirit" given in places like Isaiah 59.

    This is not a point of debate - just a fact of history.

    And no - Christ was not wrong to speak to that little band of "protestants" of "protesting Jewish reformers" seeking to initiate a "reformation" within the "One True Church" started by God at Sinai.

    That has always been the right course of action.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  20. Pastor Larry

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    Kathryn (and Adam),

    You still have the problem with what God said about salvation in his word compared with what the RCC has said. The two are clearly not the same. By reading the Catechism and the Council of Trent as well as other doctrines, this is painfully obvious. My POV is not based on what Protestants say about Catholic teaching. It is based on what Catholics say about their own teaching. I would think that they certainly know what they teach.

    Again, this comes down to whether or not one is willing to accept the word of God or the word of the church about salvation.

    The point of unity that Kathryn returns to is still based on belief in the message delivered by the apostles. Until one believes that message, they are not in the body of Christ. The RCC for more than a thousand years has rejected that message. We cannot simply pretend that smooth speech and tricky verbiage makes that go away. It won't. The problems have always been recognized and they have not gone away.
     

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