I find it very annoying when Christians fight among themselves - perhaps especially in this era - these End Times - when the Christian churches are shriveling and spiritually-eviscerated, and have joined-with the powers of evil dominate all the 'Western' nations, and nearly-all the major social and political institutions of the world.
My evaluation is that real Christians are now rare, and are scattered across many denominations and churches - despite that individually all of the denominations and churches are net-corrupted by their convergence with significant policies of atheist-materialist-Leftism (as evidence by the Litmus Tests).
In such a situation it is maddening to find to many Christians 'having a go at' each other - Western and Eastern Catholics sniping and snarking; Catholics denigrating Protestants from the rich well of historical grievances, and vice versa; both of these denigrating Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses; and all the church-obedient Christians excluding Christians who are unaffiliated.
It is maddening but inevitable; for so long as each denomination, church, sect claims exclusivity as to salvation or theosis with respect to whatever it regards as vitally important.
Such exclusivity seems almost impossible to avoid when each group has a complex and multiple set of self-definitions that are regarded as essential to being-a-Christian; or of being the kind of Christian that is at all worth being.
Yet it is clear that the 'liberal' alternative - pursued for more than two centuries, of loosening and relaxing the criteria for 'being a Christian'; by permitting more and more latitude, by taking the old laws, rules and exclusions less-and-less seriously - has been a colossal disaster.
Liberal Christianity leads - not to a new and more comprehensive Christianity - but to a subordination of Christianity to politics: specifically to leftist politics.
And leftist politics leads to destruction of churches, assimilation to evil, and the enlistment of self-identified Christians to the strategies and policies of Satan.
What is needed is twofold.
First; a Core Christianity, few and simple definitions by means of which a real Christian can discern the realness of others who claim to be Christian - whatever their denomination or church may be.
And secondly a shift away from the primacy of churches and to the full responsibility of individuals as the basis of Christianity - i.e. Romantic Christianity.
These factors can be distinguished, but are inseparable. It is the simple definitions of Core Christianity that enable Romantic Christianity to be tough, incisive and positive in content. And it is the personal responsibility of Romantic Christianity that enable Core Christianity to escape from the elaborate (and institutionally self-serving) claims of particular churches.
Romantic Christianity without the clarity of Core Christianity would drift away from Christianity; Core Christianity without the individual responsibility of Romantic Christianity would never get off the ground; because each church would simply implement its own already-established, exclusive and excluding, definitions of Christianity.
Put-together; Core and Romantic Christianity offer a way-out of the current impasse, and a way by which real Christians may be allied in their faith, across a wide range of churches and outside churches; while excluding those who are not Christian.
I was wondering what true statement is characteristic of a Christian. 'I will follow Jesus Christ, our saviour, at the resurrection' is the best I could do. It requires a belief in eternal life, or at the very least, resurrected life, without which there doesn't seem much point!
I personally have no problem assenting to the Nicene Creed, but I recognize there is a great deal in there that surpasses human understanding and which is quite unnecessary to believe to follow Christ.
@Crosbie - Follow the links I provided!
I was meditating recently on the Tarot card 'The Tower', which is regarded as one of the most precipitous and calamitous symbols of the Tarot. It occurred to me that these Christians you refer to (traditionalist, very sectarian) are essentially enslaved to a certain Tower. It's the Tower of the Middle Ages. It's the Tower of the Constantinian alliance between Church and State (and among some Protestant sects the angry reaction to that alliance). It's the Tower of a life and a society where everything is laid out for you in clear symbols, clear hierarchies, clear rituals, clear gestures — where everyone has their assigned place, work, identity. It's wanting to get back to earlier, 'safer' times, away from the chaos of modernity and postmodernity. The Tower of a built and fortified civilisation, and a theology which provides the ceiling to that civilisation. It's the Tower of the Bible and the Ecumenical Councils and the Systematic Theologians and Dogmas—as a be-all and end-all answer to every human question. It's the Tower of a Church which believes it owns the world by right of rule and conquest. It's the Tower of a Christianity which is little more than a declaration of tribal allegiances.
'The Tower' is not exactly secular power, nor exactly ecclesiastical power, nor exactly the union between the two. It's not exactly spiritual or material power. It doesn't exactly stand for armies, or governments, or courts, or bishops, or kings, or celebrities. It's more the sum of every human desire to raise up a Babel, a totem pole that will cut short the division between heaven and earth, that will make the powers of God manageable by human resources. The modern day secularists are constructing their own version of it, but fleeing from that to an earlier version certainly isn't the answer.
Getting past the Tower, breaking your dependency upon it, defeating its power— is one of the great spiritual tasks of human life. 'The Tower' is what the New Testament calls 'the world'. It's worldliness. It's the secular pride and obstinacy, the apostasy of the ages. The final, ultimate card of the Tarot is in fact called 'The World', but that is regarded as a wonderfully positive card, because it stands for the world in its true, divine, creative sense. 'The Tower' is the antichrist parody of it.
I fear a lot of Christians (myself included for a considerable time) end up embracing Christianity as a more subtle form of worldliness... They don't abandon the Tower, rather, they ascend it, move up it a few levels, and think that their now "higher" position is the essence of religion. Then they judge those lower than them on the Tower, or start a war against those who are apparently standing on another Tower (but I think there is ultimately only one Tower, because like Christ says, the devil's kingdom is not divided).
There is another card, the next to last one, just before 'The World' — 'Judgement', not as in human judgement (that is contained in a much earlier card called 'Justice'), but divine Judgement or Apocalypse. It shows St Michael blowing the final trumpet and the dead being resurrected. Christians, when they assume this lofty spirit and start judging each another — need to distinguish ... is this the loftiness of The World and Judgement, or merely the loftiness of The Tower?
@Jack - Interesting comment!
"Meditating on the Tarot" has apparently spread from Tomberg to other Christians, in addition to WmJas Tychonievich.
@ja - I don't understand your comment; do you want to try rewriting it?
The denominational bickering, especially on Twitter, gets on my nerves. I believe that God has allowed institutional Christianity to fall in order to rebuild a unified Church of the heart.
However, you correctly point out the pitfalls on modern ecumenicalism. While it may have been intended to build Christian unity, it instead led to religious indifference.
What I appreciate about the "Romantic Christian" blogs is that there is a genuine spiritual unity despite commenters coming from different backgrounds. Yet this has not led to a shallow liberal faith that is concerned w/ imitating the world.
A commenter Tina who posted on your initial Core Christian post stated it best. John 3:16 is the heart of Christianity. Without it nothing else matters.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
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