ONE UNIVERSAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH? BUT UNDER WHOM?

Mark 9:38-41 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

38 John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. 40 For he who is not against us is for us. 41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.

What was Jesus warning His disciples against? Was it sectarianism? Not exactly. Why were Jesus’ disciples trying to stop this fellow? He was working in Jesus’ name, but he was not part of the group. What Jesus made clear to His disciples was that following Him was what mattered, not the group.

When I first realized that the Bible actually is the Word of God, I was guilty of what Jesus’ disciples had done. Because my parents raised me as a Catholic, I angrily blamed Catholic Church for not making a greater effort to encourage Bible study. I blamed the Catholic Church for all those years I had not known my Savior. Later, after I had calmed down, I admitted I really had no one to blame except myself. I could point the finger of blame at multiple actors, but the choice not to study the Bible more carefully had been mine, just as it was when I finally took that step.

What is the function of a church? The church markets the Gospel. The church exists to baptize new converts and teach its membership about the Gospel so that we can live it and tell others about Jesus. The church exists to fulfill the great commission.

Matthew 28:16-20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Great Commission

16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Do all Christians have to be members of the same Christian organization? If we are Christians and we recognize the authority of Jesus, then we belong to His church. We may be members of a different human-run organizations, but we all belong to Him.

Would it be better if all Christians belonged to the same human-run organization? History suggests not. Consider what happened during the Protestant Reformation. Because the Roman Catholic Church had succeeded in gathering political power to itself, the Catholic Church had become monopolistic. It would not tolerate competition. Instead, the Catholic Church persecuted those who preached in Jesus’ name without the church’s authority. That was contrary to what Jesus taught in Mark 9:38-41.

What about today? Today each of the different Christian sects, including the Roman Catholic Church, peacefully compete to demonstrate that their church preaches the authentic word of Christ. In addition, each Christian sect competes to find the most effective way to market the Gospel and encourage its membership to live as the Bible teaches. Therefore, so long as we don’t persecute each other, this competition can be quite healthy.

As Christians, we need both to give out the Gospel and to receive it. Jesus does not want us to passively attend a church. He tasked each of us to do our best to tell the lost about the Gospel. He told us to fellowship and worship Him with other Christians. Therefore, we each need to look for a church home that helps us to do what He told us to do.

No church, however, will be perfect. Therefore, we must each strive to make Jesus’ Church better through fellowship with other Christians. We can do that by working with other Christians in our church home, with the people we have chosen to celebrate our share in Jesus Christ.

What about the fact that non-Christians condemn us for our divisions into different organizations, each with differing interpretations of what Jesus taught? How do we respond? We point to our Lord said, of course.

Philippians 1:6 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Here in this life we do His work as best we can. Because of Him, we live more joyfully than we might otherwise, but we are not perfect. Fortunately, He is not done with us.

55 thoughts on “ONE UNIVERSAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH? BUT UNDER WHOM?

  1. Those who really want to follow Jesus and respect him for what he has done, should recognise his position and not make him into their god but should worship the same God as Jesus Christ, namely his heavenly Father the god of Abraham Who is One and not two or three.

    You rightly say “As Christians, we need both to give out the Gospel and to receive it.” Too many who call themselves Christian do forget the important task Jesus has given to his disciples: to go out into the world and to preach the Gospel or the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God. As you rightly say “Jesus does not want us to passively attend a church. He tasked each of us to do our best to tell the lost about the Gospel.” But than you seem to go wrong by writing ” He told us to fellowship and worship Him with other Christians.” At no time Jesus ever asked to worship him; He asked to worship God and to pray to his heavenly Father like he did. Real Christians should follow in all aspects the one they call their master. Jesus knew very well his position, first lower than angels, later made higher, but never to be as high or equal to God. As a Nazarene Jew he worshipped the Only True god of Israel Who is One and not two or three, like the god of some groups in Christendom. Though all should work onto it that all become members of the Body in Christ belonging to Christianity where there is only place for the worship of Only One God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus and his disciples.

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    1. @Christadelphians

      I am a bit puzzled when folks think Jesus did not claim to be God, but the concept of the Trinity is strange to us. I certainly cannot explain it. Nevertheless, I do think Jesus claimed to be God. Here is an old post on that subject => https://citizentom.com/2009/11/15/did-jesus-claim-to-be-god/.

      Since the issue is related to apostasy, I provided some updates in the first post of a series I wrote => https://citizentom.com/2014/02/16/answering-jesus-skeptics-part-1/

      Here are the other two posts in that series.
      => https://citizentom.com/2014/04/06/answering-jesus-skeptics-part-2-2/
      => https://citizentom.com/2014/04/15/answering-jesus-skeptics-part-3/

      So does your lack of belief in the dirty of Jesus Christ make you an apostate? I have to go by verses like this one.

      1 John 4:2-3 English Standard Version (ESV)

      2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

      Language is a thing of man, imperfect. Because we are imperfect, our Lord God can use just the right words, and we still will not perfectly understand Him. Even though His words, imperfect because they are for us may be entirely sufficient, because we are so imperfect, we may still not understand.

      So does your lack of belief in the trinity make you an apostate? I don’t know. If you believe Jesus is from God and believe He died for our sins, I suppose not. I just wonder why you think Jesus tasked us to baptize new believers in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:16-20).

      Did Jesus also tell us to pray to the Father? Yes. Did He tell us to pray in His name? Yes. Do we sometimes pray to Him, believing — knowing — He is of God? Yes. Does He still intercede for us with the Father? I imagine that depends upon the nature of the prayer, and I imagine that depends upon what He knows about each of our hearts. Love does cover a multitude of sins.

      What is my attitude towards apostasy? I think it is more important to stand for something than it is to oppose something. I think it makes more sense to advocate the cause of preachers who I think teach the Bible well than it is to complain about those who I disagree with. Therefore, I thank you for your criticism, I am happy to explain why I disagree, and I chalk that up as a form of fellowship, sharing in the things of Christ. And I pray our discussion helps us both to understand our Savior a little bit better.

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      1. You yourself give the answer: we do believe Jesus comes from God, him being the sent one from God, the authorised one and the mediator between god and man, things you do not believe. You quote: “every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God” which what we claim, “3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.” is what you claim because you claim Jesus to be God and not coming from God. So according your quote your spirit “is the spirit of the antichrist”.

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      2. We do believe what God Himself says and what Christ Jesus says about himself and about his heavenly Father, all things you do not seem to believe.

        “ And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found {1 } favor with God. {1) Or grace } And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob {1 } for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. {1) Gr unto the ages } And Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: wherefore also {1 } the holy thing which is begotten {2 } shall be called the Son of God. {1) Or that which is to be born shall be called holy, the Son of God 2) Some ancient authorities insert of thee } (Lu 1:30-35 ASV)

        “ but when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,” (Ga 4:4 ASV)

        “ Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that, Jesus also having been baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form, as a dove, upon him, and a voice came out of heaven, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. And Jesus himself, when he began to teach, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli,” (Lu 3:21-23 ASV)

        “ And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is {1 } my Son, my chosen: hear ye him. {1) Many ancient authorities read my beloved Son; See Mt 17:5; Mr 9:7 } (Lu 9:35 ASV)

        “ and lo, a voice out of the heavens, saying, {1 } This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. {1) Or This is my Son; my beloved in whom I am well pleased. See Mt 12:18 } (Mt 3:17 ASV)

        “ While he was yet speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” (Mt 17:5 ASV)

        “ {1 } Behold, my {2 } servant whom I have chosen; My beloved in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my Spirit upon him, And he shall declare judgment to the {3 } Gentiles. {1) Isa 42:1 ff 2) See marginal note on Ac 3:13. 3) See marginal note on Mt 4:15 } (Mt 12:18 ASV)

        “ But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh even until now, and I work. For this cause therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only brake the sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God. Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father doing: for what things soever he doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner. For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and greater works than these will he show him, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth the dead and giveth them life, even so the Son also giveth life to whom he will. For neither doth the Father judge any man, but he hath given all judgment unto the Son; that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father that sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that {1 } hear shall live. {1) Or hearken } For as the Father hath life in himself, even so gave he to the Son also to have life in himself: and he gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have {1 } done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment. {1) Or practised } I can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is righteous; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. It is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye have sent unto John, and he hath borne witness unto the truth. But the witness which I receive is not from man: howbeit I say these things, that ye may be saved. He was the lamp that burneth and shineth; and ye were willing to rejoice for a season in his light. But the witness which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father hath given me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.” (Joh 5:17-36 ASV)

        “ Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I came forth and am come from God; for neither have I come of myself, but he sent me.” (Joh 8:42 ASV)

        “ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful. Ye heard how I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced, because I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe. I will no more speak much with you, for the prince of the world cometh: and he hath nothing {1 } in me; {1) Or in me. But that…I do, arise etc } but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.” (Joh 14:27-31 ASV)

        “ But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (1Co 11:3 ASV)

        “ And when all things have been subjected unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subjected to him that did subject all things unto him, that God may be all in all.” (1Co 15:28 ASV)

        Clearly all those Scriptures sayings are very clear that Jesus is the son of man who is also the son of God. There are still many verses which show you clearly who Jesus is and what he really has done. You make of him a schizophrenic charlatan god who would have done if he was tempted (because God cannot be tempted) and would have died (God cannot die) and who prayed to himself even asking himself why he would abandoned himself (something which is impossible – plus God never abandoned Jesus); You also make a liar of your godhead because the Only One True God of Israel says clearly no man can see Him and live and that He knows everything. Jesus was seen by many and they did not fall death. Jesus also said he did not know when he would be coming back or who would be seated next to him because it was not given to him to know that because only God knows that. When Jesus is God he told a lie there and on many other occasions.

        Our God, the God of Abraham, is a singular God Who does not tell lies and Who is a God of order and clarity. According to the Scriptures the Nazarene Jew worshipped the God of Israel and showed people Who that God is and how we should only worship That One God.

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        1. @Christadelphians

          It seems to me you think you know more than you do.

          Did the early church debate whether Jesus was God? Yeah. They looked at all those scriptures. According to the early church (the vast majority then and now), Jesus was both God and man. How is that possible? How would I know? Since Jesus’ relationship with the Father is something I don’t understand, I don’t know how to explain it. So if you want to believe Jesus was archangel or some such thing, so long as you believe He was from God, I don’t see what there is to get upset about.

          The main thing is that Jesus lived in perfect obedience to the Father (which we can’t do), died on that cross for our sins, and was resurrected and glorified by the Father.

          Do I believe Jesus is part of the Godhead? Yes. When I read scripture, I see why people believe in Trinity. I don’t think the Book of John leaves much doubt about that matter. Still, some doubt. Why? If Jesus was a God/man, He was certainly from God, and He would be able to live a perfect life. If Jesus was One with the Father, then it is as He said. When we see Him, we see the Father. Yet because Jesus is both God and man, scripture would show Him as both divine and as one with the frailties of a human being. Those frailties create doubts, especially that death upon that cross.

          If all that upsets you, I think it is because you are missing the forest for the trees. No two people agree about absolutely everything, but what matters is that we both believe Jesus was from God, and God is love.

          When we are dealing with people, each of us has to respect the right of others to their own opinions. We belong to God, not each other. We have an obligation to protect each other, but we don’t own anyone, not even our self.

          As Christians we seek to be like Jesus, but we cannot understand everything that Jesus understood. None of us comes close to being an angel. We most certainly are not above them.

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          1. You seem to have a wrong idea of what we believe. We do not believe So if you want to believe Jesus was archangel or some such thing. You also write”so long as you believe He was from God, I don’t see what there is to get upset about”. But you do not accept it was a man who did the will of God and gave himself as a ransom offering for all. God cannot die and man can do God nothing, but Jesus was bullied and killed by man. In him we also find an example that man can arise from death. By making Jesus into God you take that hope away.

            By saying “The main thing is that Jesus lived in perfect obedience to the Father (which we can’t do),” you give the impression God gave man rules He knew they never would be able to hold them, which would make of Him a terrible cruel being.

            You write “He was certainly from God,” as if we would not believe that but that is just what we say and also tell you you should believe: that Jesus is the sent one from God.

            Concerning the 4th century debates about the Trinity it where those who agreed to the Roman emperor to have peace and to avoid further persecution. It was not as such that all agreed on that doctrine. When you look at your history books you shall see that the matter has been debated for centuries and that many theologians also did not agree with such a false doctrine of a tri-une god.

            You also agree what we say that “As Christians we seek to be like Jesus,” and should know that Jesus asks us to be one with him like he is one with the Father and we should also be one with his Father like him. Your idea of that oneness meaning Jesus is God would make us to be Jesus and as such would also make us to be God, which is absurd. Also you say “None of us comes close to being an angel. We most certainly are not above them.” but nowhere in Scripture nor in our teachings is such a teaching or saying, so we wonder where you get such an idea? Thoug you seem to mix it with what is written about Jesus that he was lower than angels, which he was, but you seem to forget and seem to forget that God is, was and always shall be the Most High.

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          2. @Christadelphians

            There are a great many obscure religious sects. Christianity was once one such sect. So I am not trying to be insulting. I am just pointing out the fact than none of us have the time to figure out in detail what everyone believes.

            I am perfectly happy to read and reply to your comments, but unless you say something that makes me especially curious I probably won’t do much more research.

            As a God/man I believe Jesus did the will of God. Could an ordinary man do the will of God perfectly? I don’t think so. Either you believe there was something special about Jesus or you don’t. It appears you believe in the virgin birth. That is sort of special.

            I didn’t find your brief review of 4th century Christian history convincing. Constantine insisted the Christian bishops to resolve their differences, but he did not tell them how. Fortunately, they did not have many differences that they had to resolve. When people stick to the essentials, they solve the rest of their problems by leaving well enough alone.

            The first version of the Nicene Creed was fairly simple (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicene_Creed#Comparison_between_Creed_of_325_and_Creed_of_381). Latter versions have gotten more complicated. Because of our pride, we won’t leave well enough alone. Why do you think Adam and Eve ate that apple?

            Jesus taught against sectarianism (Mark 9:38-41). Paul in various places counsels against making mountains out molehills, to focus on the essential truths. What God commands we must obey, but if we don’t know what to do? Then all we can do is our best to love God and each other.

            As a personal matter, I know I cannot obey the law perfectly. Peter said the Jews could not do it (Acts 15:1-29). I don’t know makes you think you can do it. I believe I am saved by faith in Jesus. If you believe you are saved by your own works, then I think you will encounter the same problem the Pharisees ran into. That only works in theory.

            It appears that before God will let us spend eternity with Him He is going to deal with that problem we call sin. Like most parents, it seems He finds punishing His children more hurtful to Him than it is to His children. Thus, I thank Our Lord God for His Grace and Mercy.

            I am only a man. I cannot see God. I can see some of His Creation. I see my fellows, made in His image. I can read His Bible and learn the story of our redemption. I can open the door to my heart, let Him in, and learn to worship Him as His Son did.

            Is Jesus God? It seems to me that He was. At the very least He said that He and the Father are One. So if I seek to know Jesus, I will learn about the Father. When I worship what is divine in Jesus, I worship the Father.

            We don’t need to satisfy one another with our beliefs. The object is to please our Lord. It is He, not some other human being, who will examine our consciences. As best we can, let each of us prepare for Our Lord.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Wish I coyld give 2 stars! Ive been involved , due to travel, in nearly all the branches of the Church.We exist to refine and challenge each other, and to love and uphold our family of Christ where we cant agree.
    Thanks!

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  3. “What do you want to do with Nazism, Communism, the numerous religions that practiced human sacrifice, and so forth. Just ignore all that? Such tyranny is so normal you cannot logically do that. Even in this nation we sacrifice the unborn in a million abortions a year, and lots of people think that no big deal. In fact, they harvest the organs.”

    I felt like I did deal with this preemptively. To repeat what I wrote:

    “You will point out cultures that have despicable moral norms, and I will argue that you are focusing on the imperfections that come to all cultures. This does not prove that knowledge of virtue is not universal, it just proves that all cultures, just as all men, stray from what we innately (because it is the Will of God planted in our hearts) know to be true. The test is easy: just as with individual people, if a given cultural norm derives from selfishness (greed, pride, lust, etc.) it is a human aberration from the universal truth. In contrast, if a given cultural norm comes from unselfish love (service, sacrifice, courage in helping others, etc.) it is a universal virtue that serves God’s will.”

    I’m not sure how we disagree on this. You have already stated that you think that people innately know when they are doing wrong. If our culture is innately superior because of our Christian heritage, then how, as you say, can we even have all the evil that you say is becoming ingrained in our cultural norms? I agree with you that it is because we are straying from Christian values. I’m just clarifying those values as virtues that proceed from God and are therefore universal truths. This is not radical. It is very old and traditional Christian philosophy. I’m not being obtuse here. I really don’t understand what your argument here is.

    “Consider what our lives might be like if Jesus had not lived, died, and been resurrected from the dead 2,000 years ago.”

    You’ll get no argument from me on that one. I think that you misunderstand my point. Did you expect Jesus to come to Earth and speak in Martian? Simply because God talks to us in the language that we already equipped by God to understood does not make His message is any less the most profound message ever given. It just makes it coherent.

    Furthermore, it does not diminish the perfect truth of Jesus’ story that there are lesser stories of virtue. It enhances it. The pure virtue of Jesus does not become less because other heroes in other cultures in other times were also virtuous. Truth and virtue simply do not work that way. Our universal reverence for virtue makes it universal. The human embodiment of God in a Person of perfect virtue literally manifests that universality, that truth. As you say, it changed everything.

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    1. @tsalmon

      Don’t be silly. You know that an unsupported assertion is nonsense. How can a virtue be innately known? If we don’t understand and therefore uphold the same virtues, how can we universally revere the same virtues?

      If we can learn to be virtuous, then virtues consist of knowledge of what is virtuous. If we have to be taught knowledge, then knowledge is not innate. When C. S. Lewis argues for an innate moral law, that is not necessarily the same thing as virtue.

      When we wrong someone, both the person we wrong and we our selves generally know what we have done and why it is wrong. Because all men are men, and all men have similar needs and wants, all men have a similar understanding of what is hurtful to another person. Therefore, all men share a similar understanding of right and wrong. Is that the moral law? No.

      What then is the moral law? I think it is simply about love. Our hearts call upon us to have empathy for one another, to love one another. As we grow, we can heed what our hearts say when we form our consciences. We can learn the Golden Rule and strive to obey it, or not.

      If we are properly taught, chances are we we will learn the Golden Rule. If not, and most are not well taught, we will at best learn the Golden Rule applies only to certain people, people like “us”. Therefore, two peasants will most likely respect each others persons, and two noblemen of the same rank will also respect each others persons. However, whether a nobleman will respect the person of a peasant will depend upon what he has been taught and, upon the amount of love and empathy in his heart, and upon that strange thing we call wisdom.

      What then is virtue? What is virtuous depends upon cultural beliefs. The culture of a people is what that people know and believe. Because some cultures more wisely uphold better virtues, some cultures are superior to others. Multiculturalists absurdly deny this. In fact, denying this obvious truth is what makes modern day multiculturalism an “ism”.

      Where does Jesus figure in? He is God. It stands to reason we should do as He taught. His Bible, which gives us knowledge of His teachings, commands parents to see to the instruction of their children in the teaching of His Word. That is because we each have to hear and read His Word to have knowledge of it. Because the Bible is knowledge of God, we have to study it to know what it says to what we can of God.

      Even after we are reborn in Christ, and we come to know Jesus as our Lord, we need to study the Bible. Fortunately, if we heed the Holy Spirit, our hearts will call us to do so.

      You want an example? Even honesty is not a universally shared virtue. https://citizentom.com/2016/05/02/when-shame-becomes-a-weapon/ is a post I wrote during the last presidential primaries. The beginning is the relevant part, but you may or may not find the rest interesting and amusing.

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  4. Tom wrote:

    “I am not interested in debating the differences between Protestant and Catholic theology. If you want to look up the beliefs of people like Martin Luther and John Calvin, it is easy enough.”

    I think it is very interesting, and very apropos to your post that began this discussion. This subject is the natural and logical topic that comes from conclusions you have already drawn when you asked why we should have many Christian churches instead of just one. My question essentially is: Do we already really have just one? And if not, what differences are keeping us apart?

    I’ve read from Catholic theologians that the differences are either insignificant or they have been resolved. I’m interested in why you think otherwise, not to be belligerent, but just the opposite, to see why we don’t agree.

    The rest of your reply I don’t know how to deal with earnestly. You seem perturbed. You have once again assigned to me (and it would seem to Brooks) extreme positions I do not hold, and have not argued, nor want to defend. Forgive and correct me if I’m wrong, but if I don’t agree with you completely on every point, then your response is to draw battle lines and push me over some wall into the enemy camp, and in so doing, assign me every extreme attribute that you wish to assume your extreme enemies share. I’m not looking to convince you that we are at war. I, like Brooks, am trying to find common understanding and peace.

    Let me just say:

    1. I am not for extreme collectivism any more than I am for extreme individualism.
    2. I am not a radical anything and my beliefs in the institutions of government are fairly traditional to what Democrats and Republicans have agreed on for over a century.
    3. As a Catholic, the older I get the more orthodox I get.

    If that makes your enemy, then who really is the one pretending to be a traditional conformist conservative here and who really is the radical nonconformist liberal?

    Like

    1. @tsalmon

      If you look at this post, https://quotesthoughtsrandom.wordpress.com/2018/01/04/give-to-the-one-who-begs-from-you-and-do-not-refuse-the-one-who-would-borrow-from-you-jesus/ and read the commment, you will see the author and I have a small difference in the interpretation of scripture. Mike and I generally agree, but no two people always agree.

      Do Catholic theologians think that the differences between Protestants and Catholics are either insignificant or that they have been resolved? Maybe, but do Protestant theologicians share that opinion? If not, then perhaps Catholic theologians don’t understand and share the concerns of Protestant theologicians. Of course, that would in and of itself be one of their differences.

      Am I perturbed? It is useless and childish to be that way, but I suppose I am. I want to change what I cannot. That is hard to accept.

      Are we enemies? Are there battlelines drawn between us? Well, consider the difference in our political philosophies. As a Conservative, I am not interested in trying to make other people do things they don’t want to do. I think government exists primarily to make other people leave each other alone. Are there unavoidable exceptions? Yes. Sometimes, for example, to build infrastructure for public utilities we have to use the right of eminent domain. Sometimes we must weigh the rights of the many against the rights of a few and come up with a workable compromise. Makes things fuzzier than I would like, but the ability to rationally work out such compromises is what we call wisdom.

      Am I wise? Well, I hope I am wiser than when I was 20, but…. Well, consider.

      Proverbs 12:15 New King James Version (NKJV)

      15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
      But he who heeds counsel is wise.

      And.

      Proverbs 26:12 New King James Version (NKJV)

      12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
      There is more hope for a fool than for him.

      I am not the source of wisdom. God is. What each of us should try to do is what we think would be wise in God’s eyes, and most of the time we are just guessing.

      What about your political philosophy?

      1. You say you are not for extreme collectivism, but everything is relative. I suppose communists might agree with you, but from my perspective you are for extreme collectivism. You and I both know the Framers of the Constitution would also think you are for extreme collectivism. Don’t kid yourself.
      2. If you are for extreme collectivism, then you are a radical. By the standards of their day the Framers of the Constitution were radicals too. So the term “radical” does not tell us much. The issue is what you are radically in favor of. It ain’t traditional. When you voted enthusiastically for a presidential candidate who promised to fundamentally transform our country, you proved that.
      3. Are you becoming an orthodox Catholic? That is something for you to decide. Can you compare what you believe with the Apostle’s Creed and honestly affirm the words of that creed? Why or why not?

      What Obama did was radical. Was Obama my enemy? No, but much of what he did was lawless and unconstitutional. He did not keep his oath of office. Obama was not a good president. He was an awful president, but our country chose him, and we got what we deserved, a thoroughly dishonest president. Since our people refused to remove Obama, we were stuck with him for eight long years. In fact, Trump’s primary virtue is that he is not Obama.

      See Romans 13:1-7, and keep in mind that the man who wrote that had his head chopped off by the Roman Empire. When Christians choose to make someone their enemy, they have no other choice. It has become the lesser of evils.

      So are you my enemy? No. Not an enemy? Then what? You are a sinner like me. You are one of my misguided brothers.

      Like

      1. This is a lot to contemplate so I’ll think on most of it. Just a few observations:

        1. My ideas on government are traditional, if our nation’s 200 year history are taken as a whole. You yourself admit that yours are based on an extinct notion of what you channel that a very diverse and argumentative group of men over 200 years ago thought. We don’t live in that world. It started changing as soon as the ink was dry, just as it was designed. You want a revolution against our nation’s traditions and institutions based on a day dream. And yet you think me the radical and you the conservative.😝

        2. I think that most of the major Christian denominations’ theologians are in some agreement that the differences are insignificant or they are resolved. I’ll try to cite particulars if you are interested, but you don’t seem to be.

        3. I am no doubt a sinner, and you are one of my misguided brothers as well, but I have hope. 😏 Maybe you will someday see that you may be elevating our differences. Anyway, I enjoy the discussions with you even though I fear that it sometimes frustrates you.

        4. I have come to believe the Apostles’ Creed based on faith more than claiming complete understanding. Like I said, I’m becoming more orthodox by the day. If someone as stubborn as me can learn to be open and accepting maybe there is hope for anyone, even my stubborn big brother.

        Like

        1. @tsalmon

          1. What are you gloating about? The fact that foolish people immediately ignored the plain language of the Constitution? How can you not realize how stupid that is? The men who wrote the document had no illusions that what they wrote would last. They knew something about the character of mankind. War reveals the character of men, and they had been through a long and bloody one. At the Constitutional Convention, they were trying to create a charter that would avoid war between the colonies. So you are joyful because it is now traditional to twist the meaning of that charter? Don’t you understand you are reveling in the “success” of our sinfulness? When the primary purpose of the Constitution is to keep peace between us, it is an abomination to twist it into a pretzel.

          Read Matthew 15:1-20. That is what Jesus thought of twisted traditions.

          2. I am not.

          3. Thank you.

          4. I can always use more cause for hope.

          Like

  5. Tsalmon

    You stated

    “I am not your enemy and I am diffinitey not Tom’s. You don’t need to “convince” me of anything. I understand your concerns and share many of them. We agree on far more than we may disagree. I am just attempting to get to the core of the problem, find that common understanding that comes from our shared universal values rather arguing past one another across walls of our own making.”

    I apologize If my remarks implied I was trying to imply I am an enemy or want to argue.

    Frankly, I appreciate your insightful and well written comments which give me a clue your mindset on issues.

    I also agree that finding shared opening values with bloggers may lead to better understanding of both sides of issues.

    CT has a great blog to stimulate commentary and debate.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @scatterwisdom

      The news media has Liberal Democrats all worked up about Trump. Given their reaction you would think Trump must be the anti-Christ.

      With luck, Trump’s policies will work well enough so that they calm down. Pray!

      Liked by 1 person

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