Ah, Jared's Java. Pleasant taste. Slight Monsterism.

Welcome to the home of my mind, where I brew my intellectual and spiritual joe. Sit back and let me pour you a cup or two. I promise not to cut you off, even after you get the caffeine jitters.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A radical idea that is sure to piss you off...

One of my new favorite people in the whole-wide world is Brant Hansen.  He's very astute at noticing how things are vs. how they should be.  Before reading the rest of my post, go check out his hilarious and enlightening post here...no, seriously, go do it.  I'll wait.
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Okay, now that you're back, here's the radical idea that is sure to piss you off.  Contemplating what Jesus called us to, versus what we, as the body of Christ, are doing (or rather failing) to do today, I postulate that anything short of questioning the deity of Christ, his perfect life on earth and the salvific efficacy of his work on the cross, there is no legitimate reason to spilt, divide or otherwise create denominational lines.

Jesus called us to a way of living, not of new rule-making and doctrine dividing.  We are actually out of God's will by dividing into different denominations because it causes us to major on the minors and become distracted from the true work that God has put us here to do.  Unity isn't just a call that Jesus and Paul made that is fulfilled by us all belonging to the universal to the body of Christ, it is the willful and intentional act to continue on in faith together in-spite of our doctrinal differences, which you see Paul appeal especially to the Corinthians about throughout his epistles to them.

The fact is, by dividing over differences in doctrine (as minute as they are), we are saying that they are far more important than our common faith in Christ.  Who cares if it is before or after baptism?  Why not just be ready to baptize at the moment of a person's profession of faith like in the early church?  Who cares if God's will or man's choice is the emphasis of saving us?  Why not just care about the salvation of those who need Jesus?  Who cares if you want communion at the same time every Sunday or once a month?  Why not special emphasis on an extended period of communion once a month, and a slightly shorter form of communion on Sunday mornings?

The fact of the matter is, Jesus didn't say that we'd be known by our correct doctrine, as much as we try to prove that by how we live and act toward fellow believers who differ from us doctrinally.  Jesus said we'd be known by our love for one-another...and we're failing miserably as a "church culture" at doing that one simple thing.

The greatest command is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbor as our self.  Further, we are to go out into all the world and make disciples among all the nations.  As long as we stay divided, we'll be failing these greatest commands.

If the American church joined together, and focused on what's really important, we could single-handedly wipe out hunger and poverty across the nation.  There is that much money in the Church.  Do we really care about our doctrine so much that it will keep us from doing this?

I know many will jump on the, "What about the warnings against the gnostics in the early church?"  Again, they minimized or neglected parts of the deity of Christ and changed parts of the story.  That's obvious to spot.  And, lets remember the parable of the wheat and the tares.  It's not our job to pluck up what we think are tares (which I know I've been guilty of in the past).  It's our job to love, instruct and disciple.

So, my appeal to the Church in the entire world, but especially the American Church (we should be examples and positive trend setters), won't you give up endless, petty arguments about your pet doctrines?  Won't you join with your brothers and sisters in the Lord and do something meaningful to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth?  Won't you be obedient to He who you call Lord, and be unified, rather than choosing to divide, because of your faith in Him?

8 comments:

Catholic Nutjob said...

Given your post, I think it is time to join the Catholic Church. Luther always considered himself a Catholic and even as late as the 1960s, in Lutheran seminaries, their pastors were taught that they were Catholics first and Lutherans second, with the desire that the rift created by the Reformation be healed.

If it is unity you want, then maybe its time to encourage churches across America return to the root of the Christian tradition. And, that would be truly radical.

KingJaymz said...

A couple of problems with that. One being that some Catholic doctrines compromise the salvific efficacy of Christ's work on the cross. The other being that there are too many doctrines of the Catholic church I can't give ascent to, so I doubt they'd have me.

It's very Catholic-centric to assume that my post asserts, by logical deduction, that everyone should rejoin the Catholic church. That's unity on Catholic terms and all else be damned. That's not unity. That's arrogance.

If Catholics want unity, by this same idea, then they must join the conversation as equals, not defining themselves as the only legitimate expression of the body of Christ.

KingJaymz said...

Chris, there's no point in continuing this discussion. Your first post now comes across as nothing more than bait for an argument. It strongly appears that you care much more about being right, proving your point and to maintaining intellectual superiority over those you disagree with. There is nothing loving in any of that. This has also come across in my personal interactions with you. If this is the case (and you really come across that way), please find somewhere else on the Internet to troll.

Christopher Sowers said...

Maintaining intellectual superiority?

Troll? Really? How loving, Jared.

You made a claim and I offered direct quotes and information to demonstrate why that claim was false. This is what you are supposed to do in an exchange.

Why delete my comment? It raised fair questions and answered the ones you presented. Are you worried that people would read your blog, see that the Catholic Church makes more sense than they thought, and also see that you may have been mistaken about what they teach?

How does your actions here not make you look equally arrogant? I have no problem with people who disagree with me. I just think they should do so with opinions that are fully informed. You said you wanted unity. You said that you thought most theological ramblings were petty. So, why are you engaging in this sort of political maneuvering?

As along as we are picking at the speck in each other's eye (and knowing that you will not let this comment post), you should take some stock of your own attitude. And, the next time you wish to pine rhetorically about something you haven't really thought through, you should probably take the time to do so. This has come across in my personal interactions with you. You use sloppy reasoning and then get all bent out of shape when someone points that out to you.

KingJaymz said...

Note: I never asserted for certain you were any of those things. I merely stated how you were coming across. You chose to infer the definitive. I said "if it were the case".

People can make their own decisions, and I have many Catholic friends who I plan on spending many days here and in heaven with. How people choose to follow Jesus is not my concern.

At the time I read it, your previous comment came off as rude (this is my blog, and I reserve the right to take down any comment that I want to; I don't allow others to choose the rules here). You are right. Removing your comment was a bit harsh. It wasn't as rude as I first read it. You'll find it restored below. You'll have to forgive me, as I'm pent up in my apartment on a couch, and I'm going on week two of just that. I'm very ill, and my brain isn't firing on all cylinders. A little slack in the leash of social courtesy could be used here.

I do want unity. It is more than just a hollow cry. I'll respond to your previous post in a while. I have to run off and do some inescapable errands (sucks).

Catholic Nutjob said...

As for the first point, are you sure you understand the Roman Catholic Church's teaching on the efficacy of Christ's work on the cross?

In Part 1, Art. 2, Sec. 2 and 3 of the Catechism make it clear that Christ died as a ransom "that would free men from the slavery of sin." As Paul taught, for our sake God made him to be sin who knew no sin. God takes the initiative of universal redeeming love, "prior to any merit on our part." It affirms that Christ's whole life is an offering to the Father and that he is the lamb who takes away the sin of the world. Further, it states that Christ's death is the unique and definitive sacrifice that restores men to communion with God by reconciling him to God through his blood, "the blood of the covenant, which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." Jesus substituted his obedience for our disobedience and his work on the cross satisfies God, as a reparation for sin.

What stronger statement on the efficacy of Christ's work on the Cross is needed?

Additionally, in Part 2, Art.2 on justification, it is made clear that Catholic teaching is that conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit effecting justification. Only after this occurs, is man able to turn toward God.

So, unless you wish to make other dogmatic issues "pet doctrines" I fail to see why you and others could not look past endless petty arguments to seek reunion.

Of course, this perspective is Catholic-centric. The Church wasn't created in a vacuum. For the majority of the Church's history, it has been Catholic, either in Western or Eastern expressions. It is historically short-sighted to not recognize that this is not the case.

And, as the Reformation created splinter groups that broke away from this tradition, it seems strange to insist that the Church needs to follow them. If a family exists and a child chooses to leave that family, it is not the family's task to return to the child but the child to return to the family. For the child to demand that the family do as they do is the very definition of arrogance.

Your comments make your call, in the post, for unity sound hollow (a shame because I really liked what you had to say in it). Do you really wish unity or just unity on your terms?

I would encourage you to read through the Catechism and see, if in the end, the only differences that remain could be described as "petty" or "trivial." A brief and open investigation would reveal that the Catholic tradition is broad enough to embrace, as it always has, an amazing amount of diversity.

Christopher Sowers said...

I'm sorry to hear that you are not feeling well. I hate being sick. And, worse, I hate trying to think about things and contribute something meaningful when I'm feeling ill. So, I completely understand and I apologize if I got a little snarky or came off rude in some way.

Thanks for restoring the comment. I only desired to provide verifiable examples of Catholic dogma that illustrated how seriously they do take the question of Christ's efficacy and how orthodox their answer really is.

I get a little worked up over this because many people out there assume they know what the Catholic tradition is all about and what it teaches, when in fact they don't. I don't think you were doing that, but I wanted to make the record clear in case one of your readers were inclined to do so.

I hope you feel better and I'll be praying for your speedy recovery. As for this thread, if you get the energy and the time, we can continue it. Or, take it to email. Or, just let it drop. In all cases, I'm cool.

wingnutsunited said...

I desire unity, which is why all of you MUST AGREE WITH ME!!!! NOW!!!!

Just kidding! The historical doctrines of the Catholic church haven't been an issue for me, just the Council of Trent, which some argue was a reaction to Luther and his message, but nevertheless spells out a doctrine of justification by works, contrary to what was taught in the past. If this one issue was set aside, I would feel more comfortable with folks following the Catholic tradition, even though I don't personally desire to follow that tradition.

And, Jared, I hope your feeling better soon. We have some beer to drink this Sunday!