Unity and how to respond to this reply


#1

Dear brothers and sisters,

I have been in dialogue with a friend of mine and was wondering how to respond to his conclusion of what unity is. I am posting his reply to me when I sent him stuff on our Blessed Mother and why she is important and not something that can just be tossed aside.

Here is his reply:

*I really have no argument with any of the points you make. One thing I have come to appreciate from what knowledge I have of the various Christian denominations is the fact that all of their practices, each taken as sacred and essential within their denomination, have a Biblical and Godly purpose. As such, I can not dispute any of them. The fact that different of Christ’s teaching are given emphasis within each denomination seem to reflect the richness of how he comes to different peoples to call them home. The fact that Biblical basis exist for different practices, and that all matters are not specific (never mind that some within every denomination think it is so clear to them … but they need to back away and look at the whole of Scripture to see otherwise) is what leads to many of the issues that Christian spend too much time worrying about.

I liken it to any family, with one Head. As His children, we all recognize Him and receive Him as our Father. As his children, we are not all the same, and he does not make us be the same. Perhaps we are in fact more effective in our differences, in that we are able to reach people around the world that are drawn to some aspect that calls them home to Him. That is why I respect Christians who call themself spiritual (Pentacostal, and yes they are our Christian brothers and sisters … forget the stereotype) as they are drawn most near to God through an emphasis on the activity of His Spirit (which is a part of all denomination as well). But this very emphasis that draws some can scare away others. The result … people find God (God finds people).

So the bottom line, I do not have to agree with you to agree that I do not disagree with you. Does that make sense? Let me try again … I fully respect the basis for all that you believe, and in not seeing the same thing, walking with the same Christ, does not in any way mean that I think you are incorrect. In fact, I rejoice in your journey and your walk with Christ.

Unity to me is an upward alignment (with God, to His glory and service) more than it is a horizontal alignment among believers. If the focus is up … He will align us on the things that matter to Him. This sameness yet difference was a part of his early church across Asis Minor … long before there were Catholics, Baptist, etc.

So again … I have no argument to offer. You know I would offer one if I had one . Because I know that you would receive it in the spirit if would be offered. The word argument is in fact too strong. I do not even have a concern about the difference between our practices. Not for your soul or mine or for the rest of our brothers and sisters who each is struggling in their walk. It is not the details of practice that are our challenge. It is the same old things … denying self, taking up the cross, following Christ. These are areas where Christians are united. *

It seems he thinks these things are non essential and not important. But I know they are of course I know others besides Catholics are saved, because God will judge us on the measure of our love we have had here on earth, but nonetheless, It is He who desire us all to honour Mary as our Mother and His Mother and to have devotion to her and to accept the real presence, and all the other sacraments, and is it not love to desire all of our brothers and sisters to acknowledge these truths and one day share at the Eucharistic table together, united in mind and heart?

God Bless,
Kaily


#2

It sounds as if he is treading dangerously close to relativism. He does apparently acknowledge the truth of Christ in general, but he doesn’t seem to understand the implications of his broad-minded approach to orthodoxy. If God is Truth, then there must be only one truth that is entirely united with Him. If we seek to be closer to God we must seek to find that truth. So when he says that all Christian denominations emphasize different truths, that is partially correct. But he overlooks the fact that there are many, many denominations which emphasize beliefs entirely at odds with each other and the Catholic Church. Two beliefs which contradict each other cannot both be true.


#3

[quote=Dr. Colossus]It sounds as if he is treading dangerously close to relativism. He does apparently acknowledge the truth of Christ in general, but he doesn’t seem to understand the implications of his broad-minded approach to orthodoxy. If God is Truth, then there must be only one truth that is entirely united with Him.
[/quote]

Why one, only ? Perhaps a bit of “broadmindedness” is called for. It’s not as though dogmatic truth has not had time to be tried - it has been tried: and look at the results: squabbling and persecutions and refusal to budge from one’s own idea of God’s truth, schisms and hatre that would make a rock weep - that is what dogma has brought us. All in the Name of a God of Love.

FWIW, if Christ is the Truth, God’s Truth, then He may be all that is needed to hold Christians together.

If we seek to be closer to God we must seek to find that truth. So when he says that all Christian denominations emphasize different truths, that is partially correct. But he overlooks the fact that there are many, many denominations which emphasize beliefs entirely at odds with each other and the Catholic Church. Two beliefs which contradict each other cannot both be true.

Why can’t they, though ? Besides, all Christians share Christ. There is far more to faith in Christ than a lot of doctrines, valuable as they may be; are, indeed.


#4

[quote=Gottle of Geer]## Why one, only ? Perhaps a bit of “broadmindedness” is called for. It’s not as though dogmatic truth has not had time to be tried - it has been tried: and look at the results: squabbling and persecutions and refusal to budge from one’s own idea of God’s truth, schisms and hatre that would make a rock weep - that is what dogma has brought us. All in the Name of a God of Love.
[/quote]

Your opinions on dogma notwithstanding, my appeal was to logic. Look at what I said: there can be only one truth completely united with God. It’s just common sense. Which denomination, if any, is closest to that truth is another matter. My argument is that they can’t all be right, and pretending they are doesn’t lead anyone closer to God.

Why can’t they, though ? Besides, all Christians share Christ. There is far more to faith in Christ than a lot of doctrines, valuable as they may be; are, indeed.

Are you asking why two opposing ideas cannot both be truth? I thought this was common sense as well. A case in point would be opposing viewpoints on John 6 and the Eucharist. The Catholic Church maintains that Christ is present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Host, which is changed substantially such that the bread and wine no longer exist. Many Anglicans and some others maintain that while it is a substantial change, the bread and wine still exist with the Body and Blood. Most Protestant denominations view it as simply symbolic. Christ is present spiritually, as He is in Scripture and prayer, but the bread and wine are still bread and wine. Can you give me a way to reconcile any of those views with each other? The fact is that they simply cannot all be right.


#5

[quote=Kaily]*I really have no argument with any of the points you make. One thing I have come to appreciate from what knowledge I have of the various Christian denominations is the fact that all of their practices, each taken as sacred and essential within their denomination, have a Biblical and Godly purpose. As such, I can not dispute any of them. *
[/quote]

I am inclined to agree with Dr. Colossus here. This is essentially theological relativism, or something veering dangerously close to it. Relativists have this curious tendency to refuse to make assertions about truth and falsehood, preferring instead to gloss over very real differences with lofty rhetoric, and claim to see a certain oneness where there is none. They likewise confuse purpose with truth itself, giving us the impression that good intentions, gives them an aura of truth.

Judging from the statement, you cannot dispute with another who emphatically denies that we can ever pray to the saints, and for our dearly departed ones. We cannot dispute with one who denies that Christ is really in the Eucharist. With one who proclaims that Catholics are essentially pagans who are beyond redemption. With those who affirm that Christ is a mere man, not God!

Is this man implying that there is truth in both sides, and that none can be regarded as wrong? Whatever happened to the teaching that the Catholic Church alone, possesses the** fullness** of Truth?

What then is the point of evangelization, and conversion, if others can likewise claim that they are just as true?

The following paragraph is quite telling:

Unity to me is an upward alignment (with God, to His glory and service) more than it is a horizontal alignment among believers. If the focus is up … He will align us on the things that matter to Him. This sameness yet difference was a part of his early church across Asis Minorlong before there were Catholics, Baptist, etc.

He suggests that there was an early Church long before there were Catholics? Does that mean that the early Church isn’t even Catholic, in every sense of the word?

Gerry :slight_smile:


#6

Dear Brothers and sisters,

Thanks for your replies. I do agree, this does sound close to relativism. I don’t know if its worth talking to him about anymore, sincie its not we who can convince others, only the Holy Spirit can do that, but I may at least bring up this last point you made. Than I will stop, because we have gone back and forth on stuff for awhile and it doesn’t seem to go anywhere. He even believes in purgatory, he’s baptist you know. Not a fundamentalist though. May the Holy Spirit always help all of us to share the truth in love. Because the TWO KEYS to unity are HUMILITY and LOVE and it will come in a way least expected, according to the mind of Christ not our poor human minds, and in the end everyone will acknowledge the truths of Mary and the Eucharist…etc… So let us patiently wait for this wonderful day full unity which The Pope is working so tirelessly for, there has been much talk on unity with our Orthodox brothers and may this day come soon!

God Bless You All,
Kaily


closed #7

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