Deck Chairs and Bishops
August 22, 2012 27 Comments
Here, at All along the Watchtower, and at Catholicism, Pure and Simple, several of us have been discussing relations between our various churches, problems we see within and without of them and the threats to us all. It’s a very interesting and illuminating discussion, conducted with great respect, for in the last analysis, we all recognize that we are all the Children of God.
I can’t speak for the others but I have learned more about the Anglican and Catholic Churches in the last month than I have in my entire life, and I hope I have imparted a bit of knowledge of my Lutheran church as well. The main take away of our discussions so far for me is that they are my brothers and sisters, our beliefs are so close that you really have to look for differences, we do all have leadership problems which tend to magnify them and hurt the church as well but we are all on the journey to the foot of the cross, although by somewhat divergent routes.
My dear friend Jessica in her post yesterday, entitled On the ‘Titanic? said this:
My comment was inspired by a sense of frustration that in the face of the attacks to which Christianity is subject, our churches are far from united, and grown adult men who are certainly bright enough to know that the addition of the filioque to the Creed does not mean that Rome believes in double-procession, still seem to think it a barrier to acting together. Knowing a little of the history of the Church in the fifth and sixth centuries, it reminds me of how the disunity which followed Chalcedon in 451, weakened Christianity and helped pave way for the rise of Islam. Well, those who will not learn from history will be taught their lesson until they do.
Now the point here is that those involved in the Christological disputes which my co-author has described all thought they were arguing over ‘essentials’ – but what was the result? Within a few hundred years many of the inhabitants of Egypt and Syria were Muslim. Those who rejected the results of the Council of Florence (1438/9) on the Orthodox side thought they were arguing over essentials. In 1453 the Eastern Roman Empire ceased to exist and thousands were killed or sold off into slavery, and Constantinople became a Muslim city.
I very much agree with her. The disputes here may be important doctrinally but, is doctrine more important than shepherding the flock. Does it really matter to the parishioner if the bread and wine of the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of the Christ, if He is in them and under them, as Martin Luther said, or a symbol of his sacrifice, in all cases the words of institution are “Do this in Remembrance of Me,” and all three lead to a reverence for the Lord. I’ve read the arguments that split the Coptic and Syrian churches off at Chalcedon, and I haven’t quite figured out, what they meant. The filioque that Jessica refers to above is one of the things that rent the Orthodox Churches from Rome.
None of these disputes, in my mind, would have affected the average parishioner, not even one with an above average education, let alone an uneducated peasant (with no disrespect, uneducated is not a synonym for stupid), they are the thing that concern Bishops and theologians. Personally, I think there might have been a bit of pride and vanity involved. That holds for the Reformation too, of course. And the rifts in the Protestant churches, Martin Luther as well as the Catholic Church condemned predestination, after all, even though Zwingli was a friend of Luther’s. And we are all, of course, sinners.
The thing is, these arguments over doctrine, are fine, when conducted with respect, in fact they are interesting and fun, and help us to understand our heritage as well.
But the thing is: We have real enemies. And they are not each other, Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Orthodox, Fundamentalist, Evangelical, or any other. I may think you are a heretic, and you may think I am but, if you believe as I do that: A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you … John 13:34. You are my friend and my coreligionists, our differences are slight enough that I’m completely willing to place the case in God’s hands, there are many roads to the foot of the Cross. But there is only one Triune God.
Over at the Watchtower last afternoon I said, “For the others, they are the enemy of my God, my faith, and me, and they should not be surprised when I act accordingly. Who was it that said, “Yes, turn the other cheek but, remember you only have two cheeks”?”
So, now about our enemies, I call them that because they are. The first ones are the Islamic Jihadists, They propagandize as peaceful but, they don’t assimilate, they attempt to take over, and they are not willing to live and let live. We all remember that dark day that they killed 2500 people in my country, because they were in my country, no other reason. Dan Miller in Panama brought an article to my attention today, on Huma Abedin, (if you don’t know, she is Anthony Wiener’s wife and an assistant to Secretary Clinton). I have not written about this because a lot of what I have seen has smacked of conspiracy theories and such, but this article appears to be well researched and sane, if so, it is a singularly bad thing the for us, and the free world. Here it is.
The assertion ought to be infamous. But this is, after all, Islam we are talking about – meaning, we are not talking about it.
You won’t read it in the American media, nor will you hear it from our bipartisan Beltway profiles in courage. Both the Obama Left and the Republican establishment are deeply invested in the fantasy that Erdogan, like Islam itself, is our moderate ally – ironic, given that Erdogan himself is profoundly offended at the very suggestion that there is such a thing as “moderate Islam.” Yup, what you have been told is the plinth on which American Middle East policy rests, is, according to Erdogan, not only a house-of-cards but:
… an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam, and that’s it.
The prime minister is an excitable sort. Waxing metaphoric about his aggressive, ascendant ideology, he has also observed:
The mosques are our barracks, the minarets our bayonets, the cupolas our helmets, and the faithful our soldiers.
Continue reading Huma Abedin’s Muslim Minority Affairs: Not Just a Journal. If this is even close to the truth we, all of us, have willingly let a fifth column penetrate deeply into our countries.
Our other enemy are the secular humanists, we have all seen their work, many are overtly atheists, and are in open opposition to us. That’s all well and good but, many have also penetrated into our churches since the 60’s, and have influenced our doctrine from worshipping God, to proclaiming Jesus is Love. That is true, of course, but our God is so much more. he is a God of justice as well as mercy, He is a God of works as well as faith. God has standards, and he is our ultimate judge, there is no appeal. He does not grade on a curve, nor is his worship a cafeteria plan. He has inspired the works which have created western civilization, and without him it will fall.
One other thing, If the Church of God falls to either of these enemies, the Islamists will win. Why? Because while the humanists think they can convert the Islamists, they can’t. However flawed, Islam, or their system of belief in Islam, may be, they have a very firm belief, they will happily die for them, in this they are like our martyrs, who built our faith. The secularists will follow us because nothing can not stand against something.
In fact, what they will use, in the last analysis is the advice given to French Crusaders in the Albigensian Crusade at Beziers. When the Papal representative was asked how to tell the heretics from the others, the representative,a French Cistercian monk named Arnaud Amalric, supposedly replied, “Kill them all. God will recognize his own.”
The humanists will not survive without the tolerance of Christendom to protect them, whatever they think.
At the Watchtower, Jessica’s co-author Chalcedon451 has been publishing some sermons of John Henry Cardinal Newman, let us close with a paragraph from yesterday’s offering.
And yet we shall be obliged steadily to confront ourselves and to see ourselves. In this life we shrink from knowing our real selves. We do not like to know how sinful we are. We love those who prophesy smooth things to us, and we are angry with those who tell us of our faults. But then, not one fault only, but all the secret, as well as evident, defects of our character will be clearly brought out. We shall see what we feared to see here, and much more. And then, when the full sight of ourselves comes to us, who will not wish that he had known more of himself here, rather than leaving it for the inevitable day to reveal it all to him!
Faith and Prejudice, chapter 2 – Preparation for Judgment.
Our churches need to unify at least informally, any thing else is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic
- United We (Should) Stand (nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com)
- Lutheran “Austerity” v. “Catholic” Profligacy? (deprofundisclamaviadtedomine.wordpress.com)
- The Silence of the Pulpits (americanthinker.com)
- Breakaway Group Seeks Unity with Rome (frstephensmuts.wordpress.com)
- Martin Luther’s Devotion to Mary(Ecumenical) (nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com)