Monday, April 1, 2013

Christian Unity

On another site it was recently suggested that no one appears to really be interested in Christian unity.  Obviously a bit of a hyperbole as there exist both national and international organizations for that very purpose.  However, it caused me to think about the issue.  What would constitute true Christian unity, and is it even a realistic goal? It appears to me that when such unity is attempted it brings about a semblance of that unity by using either a lowest common denominator approach, or by simply avoiding traditionally divisive issues, such as the sacraments.  Or, unity is just declared with the understanding that those so united can 'agree to disagree' on various items while retaining the right to claim unity.  So, not only is Christian unity a difficult reality to achieve, defining what that unity is presents an equally large challenge.

Personally I don't see outward visible unity as a realistic possibility this side of heaven, at least not legitimate unity.  Christians, by definition, enjoy a basic unity in their common faith in the Trinity, the deity of Christ, salvation by grace through faith, etc.  We generally understand what divides Christian from cult.  Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons are not true Christian churches by the historic understanding of that term.  Neither of these organization accept the fundamental Christian understanding of God, salvation, the person of Christ, and a whole host of other essential creedal beliefs.  

Unfortunately as the older mainline denominations age this traditional understanding of the fundamental essentials of the faith appears to be eroding.  A willingness to grant equal footing to other faiths as legitimate expressions of Truth causes denominations with historic Christian identities to shed the exclusive claims of Christ himself.  Thus, Jesus cannot be THE Way and THE Truth and THE Life if all roads ultimately lead to heaven.  Expressions of God have also warping into unrecognizable shapes.  Take the example of "herchurch," also known as the ELCA congregation Ebenezer Lutheran Church in San Francisco.  They no longer worship the revealed God of Holy Scripture, but now recognize the deity as "Goddess."  So even paganism is now placed alongside of Christianity with equal voice.  Yet that never works, for one voice always dominates.  In the case of herchurch the voice is that of paganism.  In the description of their proposed "Goddess Mural" write: "The Goddess mural will rise 64 feet high with four basic symbolic representations of the divine feminine: The Earth Mother, the Black Madonna, the Christ-Sophia, and an androgynous Kali-Kundalini figure whose chakras merge with the phases of the moon and the universe." The last figure is clearly a Hindu deity.  The "Earth Mother" reaches back into primitive mythologies and other non-Christian religions.  

So given such a diversity, where do we start?  Should we even attempt such a thing?  Would we not surrender the Faith itself in the end by compromise?

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Funny thing about tradition, it is often mistaken as being old fashioned. If people believe that it is old fashioned, it is easier to advance to the more liberal, everyone has their own reality, ideas. Unfortunately you do not have to go further then our own church to see this. If Jesus said there is only one road to heaven, then all roads cannot lead to heaven, or else Jesus is a liar. But we know that He cannot lie. He is the same yesterday, today and forever, so any changes we make in tradition, take us further away from Him. And yet to many churches seem to go out of their way to be hip. We end up with the Joel Olsteens and Bible mini-series that make you want to throw a foam brick at the TV.