It is all ablaze here as we pass the 1000th post mark with speed!
Peter's recent post on Orthodoxy and the Incarnation is a fascinating counter-point to this discussion, and the two are feeding into each other in a fascinating way; I'd love to get your take on Peter's last post.
I love your formulation thus:
Quote:a gate manned by the passionate follower of Christ who has a zeal for the inner life, for the true life in the Spirit of Christ.
is that not where the rubber and the road really do meet? It is not a gate where all may enter regardless; it is one where all who believe on Him shall knock. However hard we may find it in our relativistic society, we accept, as Christians, that there is an Absolute Truth and that He is Christ; there is an absolute Law, and that is God's.
In St. John 8:3-8 we have a perfect example of God's justice. He judges, and it is surely we who are being judged when we attempt to take God's prerogative? His judgement is that she should live and repent; that is what we are being told to do.
How then can we condemn our Christian brothers and sisters unless, and until, we know that the Gospel they are preaching is not that of the Lord? As we are told in Mark 16:15-16:
Quote:"And he said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned"
Just as in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Paul tells the Church there:
Quote:"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, and in which you stand; by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received; that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures."
But we need to be sure that others are not preaching another Gospel - which means we have to be firm in our own tradition and know that it is preaching the True Gospel.
We so often focus upon the implications of this is a negative sense, but in ecumenical dialogue could it not be a strength? If we ask the hard question:
- do we think the EO are preaching a perversion of the Gospel?
- do we think the RCC preaches a perversion of the Gospel?
- do we think the Anglicans preach a perversion of the Gospel?
- do we think this of the protestant Churches?
When we talk of the fullness of the Faith being found within Our Church, is that the same as saying the other Churches preach a false Gospel? If it is then clearly ecumenical dialogue is pointless - and we enter into the thought-world of those who see such a dialogue as heresy. BUT do we know enough of what others really hold to say that?
Does a belief in Papal Infallibility mean the Gospel is a false one? Or does it mean that the RCC has inflated ideas of the importance of Rome, which may show a want of humility ... but? Purgatory? A false Gospel or not? The Immaculate Conception seems to me a key yest here, as at one level it could indeed look like the preaching of a false gospel; but do we know how the RCC reads this and does that amount to a false Gospel?
More questions, I fear, than answers. But perhaps the framework within which the question lie is wrong?
Quote:What does this transcending of all divisions in Christ look like?
and perhaps we do get glimpses of it here and there.
But Peter is right, we need to understand our own tradition, and to know it is rooted in the preaching of the right Gospel. If, as the Apostolic Churches claim, they all have succession to the Apostles there ought to be a common Gospel being preached; is there?
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)