As one who has heard, read, and appreciated Peter Leithart over the past few years, and who has recognize that Leithart values tradition and values a strong ecclesiology, I was particularly fascinated to read his account of why, in light of those values, he will not become Roman Catholic (or Eastern Orthodox). I find this, on the face of it at least, a valid objection to a Protestant joining one of these older, closed communions. It seems a reason to pause, however much a Protestant (especially of the frustratingly amnesiac, hyper-pragmatic “evangelical” variety) may wish to affirm the greatness and integrity of much historic catholic theology and practice.
The executive summary of what Leithart argues here is this: true ecumenism is incompatible with joining either Catholicism or Orthodoxy.
Here’s a sampling of his thought on this score:
“Here’s the question I would ask to any Protestant considering a move: What are you saying about your past Christian experience by moving to Rome or Constantinople? Are you willing to start going to a Eucharistic table where your Protestant friends are no longer welcome? Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Catholic Church, Catholicism, conversion, ecumenism, Eucharist, evangelicalism, orthodoxy, Peter Leithart, Protestantism, Roman Catholic Church, Roman Catholicism
Piety and high finance. Christian ecumenism and Middle Eastern tension. The Vatican and a Kentucky businessman meeting to fund a Holy-land venture. A ruined 1st-century Jerusalem synagogue excavated while laying the foundation of a 21st-century hundred-million dollar hotel complex. (Then its old coins and other relics captured, one imagines, under plexiglass cases in the behemoth’s gleaming lobby).
All of this and more surfaces in yesterday’s news story about the “Magdala Center,” coming soon to the Sea of Galilee.
I’m sorry, I just find the powerful gospel associations of the Holy Land creepily incongruous with accommodations that will undoubtedly prove both luxurious and unattainable to 99.99% of the world population–not to mention the crew of fishermen who once hung around the Messiah. Continue reading
I’ve been browsing the Deep Creek Anglican Church Blog‘s chapter-by-chapter review of John H. Armstrong’s new book, Your Church Is Too Small: Why Unity in Christ’s Mission Is Vital to the Future of the Church.
I was unfamiliar with John’s [no relation, as far as I know!] ministry until now. But having skimmed the review at the above blog, I think I find in him a kindred spirit. Sectarianism based on epistemological modernism is indeed a scourge of the church today. A balanced, critical ecumenism rooted in a heightened appreciation for tradition is indeed a much-needed balm. What I see here makes me want to know more about Armstrong’s ministry. Continue reading
Here is a brief summary and commentary on the seventh lecture of Nicolaus Ludwig Count von Zinzendorf, Bishop of the Church of the Moravian Brethren, from Nine Public Lectures on Important Subjects in Religion, preached in Fetter Lane Chapel in London in the Year 1746. Translated and Edited by George W. Forell, Iowa City, University of Iowa Press, 1973.
Again, this was from early in my graduate experience, 1994-1995, in Dr. Richard Lovelace’s class on the Pietist Renewal at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Lecture VII—On the Essential Character and Circumstances of the Life of a Christian
‘The seventh gives the essentials of a Christian inwardly and outwardly.’ (xxxii)
Text: John 21:16. “Do you love me?”
From the bit ‘Not of Paul, Cephas, Apollos, Christ’ (I Cor 1:12) Zinzendorf comes to the conclusion that a true Christian is ‘neither Lutheran nor Calvinist, neither this nor the other religious denomination, not even Christian.’ (He adds, ‘Paul excludes Christ himself . . . ‘) (Erb 311) [Note: it looks like the edition I was using for all of these lectures is found in the Paulist Press Classics of Spirituality series, the Pietist volume edited by Peter Erb] Continue reading
Posted in Resources for Radical Living
Tagged assurance, denominations, ecumenism, Holy Spirit, Ludwig von Zinzendorf, missions, Moravianism, mysticism, Pietism, religious affections, religious experience, salvation, witness of the spirit
Do ecumenism and culture-engagement lead to a loss of the gospel? Let’s put this to a historical test (article previously posted at Christianity Today’s history blog):
Ecumenism, education, culture-engagement and the “slippery slope” argument
The vision of John Comenius and the story of the Unity of the Brethren give us a good way to test a hypothesis.
by Chris Armstrong
History is a great place to go to test “slippery slope” arguments–claims that “Questionable Belief or Practice A” will inevitably lead us to “Horrifying Situation B.” One way to answer the argument is to appeal to precedent: “Let’s look back and see whether things like ‘A’ have led to situations like ‘B’ in the past.”
These days evangelicals with a heart for (1) ecumenical dialogue, (2) liberal education, and (3) cultural engagement are being told by fundamentalist watchdogs that they are leading good, faithful, Bible-believing people straight down the road to “liberalism.”
Let’s put this to a historical test. Continue reading
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Tagged Christ and culture, ecumenism, education, fundamentalism, John Amos Comenius, John Wesley, liberalism, Ludwig von Zinzendorf, Moravianism, the Royal Society, Thirty Years War, Unitas Fratrum, Unity of the Brethren
Check out this Orthodox history Facebook site’s account of what happened when the Episcopalian and Eastern Orthodox Churches in America dialogued and neared union . . . until an orthodox saint named Raphael, who was the hinge of these talks, did an about-face . . .