Ordinary Time 31/4th Week before Advent – Wednesday
Feast Day of St. Charles Borromeo (d. 1584), Archbishop of Milan, Reformer of the Roman Catholic Church (RC Kalendar)
Michael Spencer (a.k.a. Internet Monk) has got one helluva series of interviews with Roman Catholic philosopher and blogger, Bryan Cross on his blog at the moment. It’s quite amusing (and pertinent) to me to read of yet another person who has crossed the Tiber from evangelicalism (in Cross’ case, Pentecostalism->Reformed Church->Anglican->Rome). Well worth a read if only to broaden your horizons (especially if you only have contacts with those within evangelicalism or within one’s own church denomination).
Here are the direct permalinks to the interview parts:
Christian Unity has been something that has lurked at the near back parts of my mind (is that a contradiction in terms?) ever since I started looking at theology seriously and abandoned my previous views of “Arminians/Calvinists/Catholics/Eastern Orthodox/Anglicans/Methodists/Presbyterians/Baptists/*insert name of Christian grouping here* are wrong” (that was back in 2002-03). I wonder how on earth Protestants can say that we have unity in Christ, when we don’t actually have unity in doctrine (it could be Celebrity Deathmatch if you put an Arminian/Remonstrant and a Calvinist into a wrestling ring), let alone ecclesiology (i.e. how the Church is set up, run, governed and its ultimate purpose), Biblical hermeneutics and exegesis, sacraments/ordinances and a whole bunch of other stuff.
I’ve always wondered how we can sing verse 3 of hymn 425 (“Onward, Christian Soldiers”) in the EMP hymnal of choice, Hymns of Universal Praise where it says:
“We are not divided, all one body we, One in hope and doctrine, one in charity”.
Yes, maybe one in charity. Maybe. But “We are not divided, all one body we”? If one only looks at the church as being some mystical body, then yes. But visible unity? In Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, yes, that exists. But amongst Protestants? You gotta be kidding me.
“One in hope and doctrine”? The hope bit yes, for me that’s a reference to our one real hope, i.e. Christ. But one in doctrine? Again, see above. We Protestants (I include myself in this grouping as technically I am still in this camp) can’t agree amongst ourselves on matters of doctrine and instead of there being one pope, we’ve set up potentially 60,000+ popes instead (assuming one for every Protestant sect/denomination out there). For the most part, Catholics and Eastern Orthodox would be well over 50% in agreement of doctrine (there’s about 75% of agreement in doctrine if I just make a rough guesstimate).
It’s enough to make me want to jump ship. Almost.
Now time to try and get to sleep. Have yet another long day of work ahead of me tomorrow. And I am so over life (in all of its facets) for this week. Looking forward to dinner on Friday. One of the very few highlights of my week.