Monday, 23 April 2012

Unity of the Church? That would be an ecumenical matter...


Or, rather, not.


A century of 'ecumenical' discussions about reunification of the main separated denominations of the Christian Church led to nothing except a heap of books, conferences and international travel for churchmen.

Any unification there has been has been a result of weakening/ abandonment of the faith until there is nothing left to disagree about - and substitution of secular values (Leftism - which unites the elites of all major mainstream religions in the West).


It is clear that the only true reunification is for one denomination to subordinate itself to another.

This is a real possibility at any time: e.g. the Anglican Ordinariate is the subordination of the ex-Church of England to the Roman Catholic Church - retaining certain aspects e.g. liturgy.

(But this simple negotiated or unconditional surrender was not what the ecumenical movement was supposed to be about.) 


What does it matter?

A personal view.


Schism is an evil, schism weakens the power of the Church, schism reduces the scope of salvation and hastens the end times - but for real Christians schism is not fatal to salvation, nor to the unity of the mystical Church.

None of the denominations is The Truth, none provide an assured path; all have corruptions.

Some aim higher - some achieve a higher average; some are mostly right while others are mostly wrong; each has a different emphasis, all have a particular weakness (or more than one weakness) - in all of them salvation is a middle path between corrupt extremes.

(These extremes vary between denominations, and the temptation to one particular extreme rather than another always dominates at a given time.)


All real Christian denominations are potentially valid ways to salvation - some are harder or easier, for different people, in different circumstances.

Yet all real Christians participate in the mystical Church via their relationship with Christ; Christians are unified through Christ, and (ultimately) only through Christ.

Christianity is very simple; becoming a Christin is very simple; living as a Christian is often difficult; attaining a high level of sanctity/ holiness (theosis) is always difficult - and will be (almost) impossible for some times and places and persons.


Denominations are complex and necessary, but never sufficient.

The unity via Christ is primary and sufficient.

However in many circumstances to love Christ, and via Christ to be unified with other Christians, may be very very difficult - and (because it is mandatory) if this fails then there is no salvation.

The mystical Church is not an optional extra to individual salvation - it is the only path of individual salvation.

We can save-others and be-saved-by others - but we can do nothing for ourselves.


Salvation depends on individual choice. It must be accepted. But it is not an individual matter.

Neither is it a matter of human institutions or institutional arrangements.

But human institutions make a difference, a significant difference, to human choices.


Advice (to myself) for the End Times.

Real Christianity is of individuals, not of institutions. (Although institutions matter, especially negatively.)

Forget about ecumenism - it is worldly.

Mourn, but do not try to mend, schism.(Once broken, always broken.)

Practice the fullness of denominational paths, if you can.

Seek unity of the mystical Church, via Love of Christ


The subtitle comes from the mantra taught to Father Jack - the continually drunken and debauched priest - for use in talking with a visiting bishop in the TV series Father Ted



dearieme said...

"...schism.(Once broken, always broken.)"

The history of the Kirk is a counterexample to that claim. Here's a resume.

dearieme said...

P.S. The example of the Kirk is particularly important since that is God's Church.

Bruce Charlton said...

@dearieme - look here, I haven't had a chance to follow up your references yet; but when I do I will prepare a devastating come-back...

I confidently expect to find that the schism of the Scottish church was (since Scotchmen were involved) a big fuss over nothing, and therefore does not count as a *real* schism, so the papering-over of a petty squabble would not be allowed to count as a refutation of my sweeping generalization that schism is permanent.