It seems to me that Christian churches and denominations are getting less and less important - and individual serious self-identified Christians regard each other as allies and colleagues (at a pretty deep level) even across what were regarded as major distinctions - such as the divide between Catholic and Protestant; and the divide between Catholics and Protestants and other self-identified Christians such as Mormons and unaffiliated Christians.
Even across what were regarded as such major distinctions of belief and practice, that one group formerly regarded the other as not-really Christian at all - people may find themselves more trusting of basic good motivation, than among the large majority of their 'co-religionists'.
One reason is that the former antipathy among Christians was primarily at the group level. It was a by-product of the needs of the group. Such distinctions as by doctrine, authority-structure, tradition, ritual... seem to be necessary and beneficial for groups to emerge, grow and survive.
But now that all the major churches have become bureaucracies, and all these bureaucracies have become horizontally-linked by many ties to to the other bureaucracies (national and local government, tax, employment, law, police, media, medical, education etc)...
And now that all these bureaucracies have been brought under a single totalitarian world government with a single (but constantly evolving) materialistic and leftist ideology...
All the churches are themselves becoming converged onto the same global ideology, whose primary concern is with such issues as 'health' (officially defined), equality and human rights, antiracism, feminism, the sexual revolution, 'the environment'...
So at the institutional level, the differences between 'Christian' churches are dissolving away as they become not-Christian, and are merely distinguished by their different modes of pursuing the same ideology.
So the ecumenical movement of pretend-Christians are downplaying distinctions between denominations and churches - and the leaderships see themselves all all engaged in the same core activity; for example uniting in pursuit of the birdemic/ peck agenda, carbon environmentalism, antiracism and/or the 'great reset' strategy.
Thus, among the mass majority of institutionally-affiliated secondary-Christians; past distinctions are being discarded along with Christian belief. remaining differences are merely bureaucratic distinctions, and church rivalry is just management 'empire building' and 'office politics' happening within a single mega-bureaucracy.
While at the individual level, serious Christians have necessarily detached themselves from obedience to Church authorities that are now obviously corrupted and worldly; that no longer puts Christianity first - but merely use Christian-type language and concepts to justify the secular left agenda, as it continually develops - the "Christianity" passively following the secular fashions and imperatives.
Therefore, serious Christians find their faith stripped down to a tough core of sustaining and motivating assumptions, which may itself be unstated and implicit.
Yet this individual core-Christianity must be strong enough to resist The World, and enduring enough to resist the continual psychological and physical pressure to compromise, conform and be corrupted.
Most core-Christians show this by their behaviour ('revealed preferences') rather than by their statements of belief - indeed core-Christians may be hard-line, traditionalist, orthodox and exclusive in their professions...
While at the same time spending their time hanging-out-with and discoursing-with serious Christians of extremely different assumptions, practices and doctrines! Learning, teaching, analyzing, and discussing possible ways forward.
It seems to me that most serious Christians are now core-Christians; but most of them are not at present prepared to acknowledge the fact!
At present, there does not seem to be a need to be explicit; and the situation is still so new that individuals have not yet sorted out which specifically, among their many 'beliefs', are core, essential, 'saving' beliefs - and which can (and eventually should) be regarded as secondary and optional among Christians.
Sooner of later there will need to emerge some kind of very simple, explicit statement which can be endorsed by all Core-Christians - and about-which they can explicitly unite.
Perhaps something to do with being followers of Jesus Christ, who is divine; and about the Christian hope for Heavenly, resurrected life eternal. Although any such short statement would need to be understood in a broader context of assumptions concerning the nature of God, creation and its purposes.
In the meanwhile, I think serious Christians are following their hearts, rather than their rational minds or inculcated gut-feelings; and are feeling drawn to regard other serious Christians as allies - and most of their supposed co-religionists as on the side of the enemy.
And I think this implicit Core Christianity is both right, and hopeful. We should stick with it, and see where it takes us.
"Sooner of later there will need to emerge some kind of very simple, explicit statement which can be endorsed by all Core-Christians - and about-which they can explicitly unite.Perhaps something to do with being followers of Jesus Christ, who is divine; and about the Christian hope for Heavenly, resurrected life eternal. Although any such short statement would need to be understood in a broader context of assumptions concerning the nature of God, creation and its purposes."
The Bible itself:
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoseever believeth in Him shall not perish, but shall have eternal life."
"In the meanwhile, I think serious Christians are following their hearts, rather than their rational minds or inculcated gut-feelings; and are feeling drawn to regard other serious Christians as allies"
I agree. This alliance of Christians based on heart thinking is exactly the sort of new means of cohesion that we are supposed to be developing towards in this era.
I agree wholeheartedly. Moreover, I believe this has to happen; otherwise the future of Christianity is quite bleak.
I think doctrine is important, because truth is important.
But, as a traditional Catholic, my doctrine is closer to that of a traditional Protestant than to that of a liberal Catholic.
I regard a traditional Protestant as a misguided Christian with good intentions ("separated brethren", as they are called in the Catholic tradition) . I regard a liberal Catholic as a non Christian and son of the evil one (worse than an atheist).
When a Protestant denomination is in decline, like the Anglican Church, I feel grief and sadness.
We are in this together. Most traditional Catholics think like me.
I agree. In my interactions with serious Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, and Mormons, it's striking how rarely denominational differences even come up.
"Sooner of later there will need to emerge some kind of very simple, explicit statement which can be endorsed by all Core-Christians."
A creed? I think that would be a mistake. Any explicit statement is likely to exclude some real Christians and include some fake ones. Ours is a brotherhood of the heart, and codifying it in a legalistic way would be a step backwards.
"Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be kicked out of their church. I want the liberty of believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled. It doesn’t prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine" (Joseph Smith).
@Wm - There is space between simple statement of principle and a creed that must be sworn to. There are several such statements in the Fourth Gospel, including the one Tina highlighted, that represent the kind of thing I mean.
I think something of the kind will be necessary at some level, if only to give people some idea of what is meant; although I think the last century has taught us that creeds are ineffectual at enforcing orthodoxy or preventing apostasy (much as laws have been ineffective at enforcing morality or maintaining freedom).
"...from obedience to Church authorities..."
What's there to obey? They seldom make demands nowadays.
@ap - They are usually pretty ruthless in enforcing politically correct leftism on their clergy.
Your own circle of bloggers and their commenters form such a grouping of core-Christians from widely-different denominations.
I have a group of friends who mostly first met in the comments of a certain blogger's posts almost 20 years ago. We include multiple flavors of large and small Christian denominations, plus a handful of non-Christians. But in very real ways, our community is a "church" of core-Christians. Most of us still attend our own local churches in person, but I personally get the bulk of my community support of my Christian discipleship from my friend group, particularly when it comes to your litmus tests.
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