20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. – John 17:20-23
I have been moved to create this blog as a counterpoint to the heated and, dare I say, often vitriolic posts in christiannews.net regarding Roman Catholics. Sadly, the free-for-all atmosphere of the comments arena does not lend itself to the dispassionate and reasoned discussion we need if we are ever to achieve Jesus’ prayer that we “be as one.”
I think perfect Christian unity is not something that we, as fallen people, will ever achieve in this world. But I do believe that there exists common ground where it is not necessary to label as apostate other devout Christians. I do not think for a moment that unity means Protestants coming back to Rome or Catholics forsaking the Eucharist.
I do think that unity means that the “world may know that thou hast sent me”. Our unity in Christ is the face of Christ to the world. What face are we showing? It’s bad enough that there is such rancor between Catholics and evangelicals. How much worse that even evangelicals are seen occasionally attacking each other over doctrinal issues.
I was raised in an evangelical family and, in spite of my youthful rebellion, returned to it as an adult. I was baptized in a full-gospel church and received the anointing of the Holy Spirit. I was very opposed the the Roman Catholic Church and never in a million years thought that I would one day belong. While debating with a Catholic friend about our different doctrines she challenged me to actually read the Catechism. It was shocking to find that it differed from Protestant doctrine in surprisingly few places. I was already a student of the bible but returned to it with a desire to refute Catholic doctrine. I was only partially successful.
I now believe firmly that sincere evangelicals stand on solid theological ground. I also firmly believe that sincere Catholics likewise have a scripturally sound basis for their beliefs. How is this possible?
It is because we all see in part and we all know in part. We will never be in total agreement until we see Him as He is. For now it will have to be enough that I can accept the possible truth of your beliefs without having to adopt them, and you mine. Anything less and the world has already triumphed.