The Pope to Pentecostals: Pray for Christian Unity!

The pope was invited to give a message to a group of Pentecostals (it seems to be directed to Kenneth Copeland Ministries and the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches). It speaks volumes that he was even asked to do so. In my view, he took good advantage of the opportunity. Here’s what he said:

The message is straightforward: we need to pray for Christian unity, and we need to mourn that we are not all united right now. The style is relaxed, suffused with catchy imagery (Biblical and otherwise), and Francis ends with a declaration of his belief that God will restore Christian unity. He’s addressing a topic that we both care about – Christian unity – as a Catholic, and as the pope. In my view, it’s seven minutes well spent.

Abraham Bloemaert, Joseph and his Brothers (1600)

That said, I have no doubt that there will be some frustration that he didn’t more specifically address doctrinal issues. One way to react is to be frustrated that he didn’t just say, “I’m the pope, I occupy the office established by Jesus Christ, go read Matthew 16 and come home.”

But let’s consider the question from the other perspective. Last January, Doug Wilson, a popular Calvinist writer, was asked what he would say to the pope (then Pope Benedict) if he had five minutes to talk to him. His response was that he would lecture him to “repudiate Trent’s repudiation of the Gospel,” to get rid of “all the Mariology, image worship, and intercessors,” and to embrace sola Scriptura. I’m thankful for Wilson’s own good that he didn’t get a chance to make a fool of himself like that. I don’t think it’s too much to say that he would have come off as an arrogant and clueless hack.

So I think that it’s worth considering two things: If not this, what message should the pope have sent? And if you were on the receiving end of that message (either as a Protestant, or as a Catholic with a Protestant saying something equivalent to you), how likely are you to take that message and respond positively to it?

With those factors taken into consideration, I think that Pope Francis has likely done quite a bit of good, perhaps accomplishing as much as possible given the limitations of the format (a short video presentation). He’s encouraged countless Protestants and Pentecostals to pray for Christian unity. They might have a skewed or incomplete idea of what that looks like. But God doesn’t.

What’s your reaction?

*By the way, this is only the second time that I’ve heard Pope Francis speak in English… which is remarkable, if you think about it. One of the most popular and talked-about figures in American culture right now barely speaks English. It suggests both a shift in communications media back towards the written word (we read translations of his communications all the time, but rarely watch him speak). It also says something about his personal charisma and his importance as the Successor of St. Peter.

Update: Speaking of text, Aggie’s Catholic has a transcript of the translation.

32 Comments

  1. I think it is smashing. He is humble and loving and attributes to the Lord all that is good. Quite Christian, loving, and disarming. I imagine those hearing him for the first time will now be anxious to hear more from him in the future.

    Kudos, Holy Father

  2. As a Protestant, this is amazing. God is already at work in my heart about this subject, then to hear Pope Francis speak on it…well, who knows what the Lord has in mind?

    I also long for unity, and I pray that the things I have not correctly understood God will make clear. This is coming from a former hardline Calvinist. God has broken me, however, and I am much more open to other ways of thinking, even now being in an Anglican church. A year or so ago, I was at dinner with a bunch of Catholics, and they told me I was on the road to being one myself. And I can’t help but think, if this is true, and if God himself has planned it, who else might he bring into unity?

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  3. Hi Joseph. Let me first commend you on your excellent blog. Thank you for all that you do. I’m an Anglican who is very sympathetic to Catholicism and I’ve a question regarding the Real Presence. A verse frequently used in defence of this doctrine is John 6:52-57.

    “The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Then Jesus said unto them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.”

    However, it seems that in John’s Gospel there is a pattern of people having difficulties with the Lord’s teachings by taking Him too literally.

    In John 3, Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born again, and Nicodemus, misunderstanding the metaphor asks “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”

    In John 4, Jesus tells the Samaritan woman of living water and she replies “Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?”

    In John 8, Jesus says “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” And His audience answers him “We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?” Again, Jesus is speaking of spiritual bondage to sin here, not actual enslavement.

    Why shouldn’t we take John 6 as being part of this pattern?

    If you’ve addressed this objection elsewhere, I’m happy to read a link.

    1. Cale,

      Thanks! I’m glad to know that you like the blog, and this honestly is a fantastic question. I hope you won’t mind if I turn this in to a blog post tomorrow: I think others would benefit from this.

      First of all, I think you’re right to see a parallel between John 3:4, John 4:11-12, and John 8:33 on the one hand, and John 6:52 on the other. In all four cases, we have crowds taking Jesus’ comments literally. I’d add a fifth case as well: John 2:19-21.

      But there are two important difference between John 6 and those other four cases:

      (1) In John 6, Jesus has to lead them to this literalism: In John 3, John 4, and John 8, Jesus uses imagery that His audience initially takes literally, and He (or John) has to clarify that it’s not meant literally. John 6 is different, in that the crowd doesn’t initially take Jesus’ comment literally. He has to use this image three separate times before they finally take it literally.

      First, in John 6:32-33, Jesus says: “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.”

      The people think that He is referring to literal bread, but they don’t think that He’s referring to Himself. Their response is (John 6:34), “Lord, give us this bread always.”

      So He approaches it a second time, explaining that He’s referring to Himself. This culminates in John 6:41, in which He says, “I am the Bread which came down from Heaven.”

      The crowd still doesn’t take Him to literally mean that His Flesh is Bread. They take the saying figuratively, and their shock is instead at the implication that He is saying that He came from Heaven. They say (John 6:42) ” “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from Heaven’?” Notice that in the way that they have reframed it, they’ve disregarded the “Bread” reference entirely, assuming it to be metaphorical.

      So Jesus addresses it a third time. This time, He emphasizes the explicitly Eucharistic aspect, in a way that is virtually unavoidable (John 6:48-51): “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

      It’s only at this point that they take Him literally.

      So that’s the first difference. Here, you don’t just have some naive overly-literal crowd. You have Jesus hammering this point over and over until the people finally take Him at His word.

    2. Here’s the second difference:

      (2) In John 6, there’s no correction: When Nicodemus takes being born again to be a reference to a physical rebirth (John 3:4), Jesus corrects Him, explaining that He doesn’t mean it literally, but as a spiritual rebirth (John 3:5-8).

      When the woman at the well mistakes Jesus to be speaking about water in an earthly sense (John 4:11-12), He corrects her by revealing that He is the Messiah. She gets the implications of this, and goes into the city to proclaim Him as Christ. John notes that she left her water jar behind at the well (John 4:28), showing that she figured out that what He meant by Living Water.

      In John 8:33, when the people assume that Jesus is talking about physical slavery, He immediately corrects them to say that He’s talking about spiritual slavery (John 8:34-38). He does the same thing with being a physical v. spiritual descendant of Abraham in this passage.

      As a result, nobody takes the overly-literal position of Nicodemus, the woman at the well, or the crowd in John 8. There’s no room to, because Jesus clarified His meaning. On the rare occasion when He doesn’t, as in John 2:19-20, the Evangelist does so: cf. John 2:21.

      As we just saw in the prior point, Jesus’ response in John 6 is the polar opposite. Instead of getting the people to take Him less literally, He keeps pushing them to take Him more literally. So finally, as we saw, the people come to take Him literally, and are shocked.

      So the shocked question in John 6:52 is “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” And here, if it was like John 2, John 3, John 4, and John 8, we should see Jesus immediately clarifying His meaning, to show that He doesn’t mean it literally.

      And He does clarify His meaning, but He does so by doubling down on the literalism (John 6:53-58:

      “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.”

      His language is even more strongly literal after He’s challenged on than before. It’s 180 degrees opposed to how He responds in every instance in which He’s using figurative language.

      Basically, in John 2, John 3, John 4, and John 8, we have people taking Jesus literally, and Him immediately saying (in essence), “You misunderstand: I mean this figuratively.” In John 6, we have people taking Jesus literally, and Him saying (in essence), “Yes. Now what are you going to do about it?”

      This becomes even clearer in the verses following. After Jesus has emphasized (for the fourth time now) that He means this literally, His disciples say, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (John 6:60). Jesus then presses them on it again, and John 6:66 says that “After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.” Then, Jesus confronts the Twelve, and presses them on it (John 6:67): “Will you also go away?”

      He could scarcely make it clearer that He meant this literally, and that it’s an essential part of Christianity, such that rejection of it is rejection of Him.

      Hopefully, that shows the two major reasons: in the other cases, the people just assume that Jesus is speaking literally, and He has to explain otherwise. In John 6, their starting assumption is that it’s not literal, until Christ leaves them no room to take it figuratively.

      I.X.,

      Joe

    3. Very good answer, Joe. The Eucharist, once understood properly, will be the food one seeks and will bring about true unity with our separated brethren. They will come once they realize what they lack elsewhere. The communion with Christ in the Eucharist is as personal as you can get in a relationship.

    4. Cale,

      In John 3 Jesus provides an extended explanation to Nicodemus about exactly what it means to be “born anew”. There is no doubt in my mind that Nicodemus did not understand the sacramental implications of what Jesus was saying, but it would be hard to believe that he didn’t finally understand what Jesus meant by being “born anew” after he clearly links it the entrance to eternal life.

      In John 4 Jesus continues to expand on what he means culminating with John 4:26 where he confirms to the Samaritan woman that he is indeed the Messiah. She shows her understanding by running off and testifying about him to her fellow Samaritans, who then welcome him and believe (John 4:41).

      In John 8 immediately answers the objections of his listeners. They don’t like his answer and continue to debate with him right up until they challenge his credentials so to speak, and he tells them bluntly exactly who he is in John 8:58. They try to stone him in John 8:59 for his answer because they have a crystal clear understanding of what he meant.

      You’re right that Jesus doesn’t always clarify his parables to a wider audience, but the Gospels tell us that he regularly did this with the twelve, as he does in Mark 4. It should be noted in John 6 that contrary to his habit Jesus doesn’t further clarify. Instead Jesus turns back to the twelve after the other disciples are leaving. He has already spoken plainly and now he wants to know if they will also leave. Peter answers emphatically for the disciples in one of his most famous statements in John 6:68-69.

      I know it’s hard to believe that the Eucharist is the body and blood Christ. This is why early Christians were accused of cannibalism. I urge you to continue praying about it and studying. There are many, many good resources out there to explain the Eucharist and the Liturgy more fully. I found them and benefited from them when I was on my way to the Church from Reformed Protestantism. I encourage you to pray, continue reading Scripture, and to try reading it while consciously dropping your preconceptions as much as possible (I know I had them). You will see that all of the Scripture we have on the Eucharist speaks to the subject plainly, and in some cases (e.g. 1 Corinthians 10, 11) is non-sensical if the sacrament is merely symbolic. Also, read the earliest Church fathers. You can find a great free resource for their writings on newadvent.org. If you connect the Scriptures with what it is clear that the early Church believed about the sacrament perhaps you will find yourself where I have, welcoming a beautiful and precious gift.

      God Bless you in your search for the truth.
      Chris.

    5. Hah! I hadn’t refreshed my page from last night, so I didn’t see the much better and more thorough answer from Joe. I’m looking forward to the blog post. It’s nice to have good resources out there to share with family and friends.

    6. Cale How can anyone who loves Jesus even call himself an Anglican knowing their part in the murders of Henry the VIII’s wives! The church, King Henry, set up declared, as the Catholics declare of the Pope, that the king was indeed Christ on Earth. That he was without sin thereby calling God a liar. No one on this blog knows history, that is plainly apparent by their blind acceptance of the Pope and the Catholics. Almost as many have clearly never studied their Bible much less read them.

  4. I watched the whole thing over at Aggie Catholic. Tony Palmer said, “It’s the glory that glues us together, not the doctrine.”. This is absurd because divine revelation is from God and our doctrines are based on that same divine revelation. I guess I would just say what Pope Piux XI has said about such movements as witnessed in the videos…

    Mortalium Animos- 1928

    4. Is it not right, it is often repeated, indeed, even consonant with duty, that all who invoke the name of Christ should abstain from mutual reproaches and at long last be united in mutual charity? Who would dare to say that he loved Christ, unless he worked with all his might to carry out the desires of Him, Who asked His Father that His disciples might be “one.”[1] And did not the same Christ will that His disciples should be marked out and distinguished from others by this characteristic, namely that they loved one another: “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another”?[2] All Christians, they add, should be as “one”: for then they would be much more powerful in driving out the pest of irreligion, which like a serpent daily creeps further and becomes more widely spread, and prepares to rob the Gospel of its strength. These things and others that class of men who are known as pan-Christians continually repeat and amplify; and these men, so far from being quite few and scattered, have increased to the dimensions of an entire class, and have grouped themselves into widely spread societies, most of which are directed by non-Catholics, although they are imbued with varying doctrines concerning the things of faith. This undertaking is so actively promoted as in many places to win for itself the adhesion of a number of citizens, and it even takes possession of the minds of very many Catholics and allures them with the hope of bringing about such a union as would be agreeable to the desires of Holy Mother Church, who has indeed nothing more at heart than to recall her erring sons and to lead them back to her bosom. But in reality beneath these enticing words and blandishments lies hid a most grave error, by which the foundations of the Catholic faith are completely destroyed.

    […]

    12. Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See, set up in the City which Peter and Paul, the Princes of the Apostles, consecrated by their blood; to that See, We repeat, which is “the root and womb whence the Church of God springs,”[27] not with the intention and the hope that “the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth”[28] will cast aside the integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government. Would that it were Our happy lot to do that which so many of Our predecessors could not, to embrace with fatherly affection those children, whose unhappy separation from Us We now bewail. Would that God our Savior, “Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,”[29] would hear us when We humbly beg that He would deign to recall all who stray to the unity of the Church! …

    God created us without our consent but He will not save us without it. In order for God to complete the good work He has begun in us, we must cooperate with His divine will. Not my will but Thy will be done.

    I guess we will just have to wait to see how many Catholic confirmations we get in the next few years.

    Dominus vobiscum.

    1. The doctrine of the Catholic church (over 1,000 years) was to murder anyone who owned a Bible. In my humble opinion that’s one LARGE doctrinal difference!

  5. It was beautiful to watch. Partcularly the story Tony Palmer gave: Diversity is divine. Division is diabolic.

    Sure his thoughts about fullness of Truth are a bit glossed over. That’s something to iron out. But you have to start somewhere.

    Take evangelizing. Pentacostal evangelicals (some not all) treat Catholics like atheists. Not like fellow brothers. I’ve seen the reverse with Catholics acting that PEs arent brothers ( although not nearly as often). There is a difference between teaching the fullness of doctrine and intending to undermine and disregard what truths a person already knows. We all know Christ saved us.

    That’s what I like about your blog, Joe. It seeks to teach the fullness of Truth without demeaning a person. And I think that is the Pope’s goal. He is starting off by acknowledging what we share, embracing the evangelical aspects, while still upholding the Truth. It is the Holy Spirit who brings a person to completeness of Truth. We are merely tools meant to share what we know.

    Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.

  6. It is great to hear such humility from the leader of a church. We pray for unity every Sunday during the prayers of intercession. You said, “They might have a skewed or incomplete idea of what that looks like. But God doesn’t.” Does the RC have a vision for this that treats all parties involved as brothers and sisters in Christ? I ask because it seems (and I hope I am wrong) that the vision in the RC for unity involves everyone else in the world graveling for repentance from the Pope. Please share if there is a vision of unity that treats all with the respect of a brother or sister in Christ!!!

    Thank you for speaking about the context of John 6. It is just a week too late for me though! I am preaching from John 6 and the real presence at communion this Sunday. The nice thing is that Jesus preaches most of the sermon for us. The sermon is almost done. I better get back and finish it. Grace and Peace to Joe and all who read this!

    1. Rev. Hans,

      There is room for the position you’re longing for. In fact, it is the Catholic Church’s position, as explained in section 3 of Unitatis Redintegratio:

      “Even in the beginnings of this one and only Church of God there arose certain rifts,(19) which the Apostle strongly condemned.(20) But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions made their appearance and quite large communities came to be separated from full communion with the Catholic Church – for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame. The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection. For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect. The differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church – whether in doctrine and sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church – do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion. The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body,(21) and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.(22)”

      So we are brothers, and both Catholics and Protestants did blameworthy things (both during the Reformation, and down the line to the present). We consider you separated brethren already, and long for a fuller union.

      Now, none of this is doctrinal relativism, of course. We’re not saying “maybe Catholicism is right, maybe Lutheranism is right.” The Catholic Church is established by Jesus Christ, so She’s protected from doctrinal error. But that’s due to the merits of Jesus Christ, Her Head, not due to the merits of Her members. But the fact that we’re doctrinally right doesn’t mean that our personal conduct is always defensible. Nor does the fact that Protestants are doctrinally wrong on certain points mean that they’re entirely cut off from the Body of Christ.

      It’s also true that the pope is the head of all Christians (whether they recognize him as such or not). But I don’t think that this requires “grovelling” in some way contrary to human dignity. We believe that husbands are the heads of families, but that doesn’t translate into thinking that wives and children are reduced to degrading grovel, or that wives and children are to blame for everything that goes wrong in the family.

      I.X.,

      Joe

    2. “Does the RC have a vision for this that treats all parties involved as brothers and sisters in Christ? I ask because it seems (and I hope I am wrong) that the vision in the RC for unity involves everyone else in the world graveling for repentance from the Pope.”

      Could you elaborate?

      I’ve never heard anything about groveling. We’ve had dialogues with evangelicals, Lutherans, Methodists (the full video illustrates this), the Orthodox, etc. In fact we’ve even got the Anglo-Catholic ordinariate which maintains many traditions of Anglicans while including them as members of the Church. Nobody has made them grovel.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_ordinariate

  7. Deltaflute, I have used strong language with the use of “gravel” in my reply. I am aware of the Personal Ordinate for Anglicans. I have heard that part of the reception into full communion with the Holy See involves repentance and a pledge of obedience, which sounds like graveling to this Protest-ant. Is that true of the reception? I am not sure.

    Joe, you bring up a great resource I was not aware of, UNITATIS REDINTEGRATIO. To quote the Joke, “Where does he get all those wonderful toys?” Apparently you get them from the Vatican archives. I was not aware of such a statement, and it really does answer my post. Dang, now I need to find some other excuse for this division in the Body of Christ.
    It makes me wonder about all of that “Ecumenical Dialogue” going on since Vatican II. Were they just discussions to hear what the positions were, just talks for the sake of talking, or were they serious attempts at unity? hhmmm.

    1. Rev. Hans,

      Did you just compare me… to Batman? I knew that there was a reason that I liked you.

      As for ecumenical dialogue, I think that there were a lot of motives for going into them, including all of the ones that you mentioned. Even “talks for the sake of talking” have some limited merit, just because it can thaw some of the ice that had built up in the centuries after the Reformation. The pro-life movement has been a good example of this: by devoting themselves to the protection of unborn life, shoulder to shoulder, Catholics and Protestants have seen with fresh eyes what we share in common.

      Sometimes, unfortunately, it seems that precisely the wrong people were involved in the ecumenical discussion. The representatives for each side need to be well-versed and devout members of their particular side: open-minded, but with a backbone. Too often, it seems that the dialogues ended in vague declarations of common faith: both sides said X was true, but they meant distinctly different things by X (and knew it, and just ignored this fact, for the sake of a pretextual ecumenism). This, of course, seems prime for disappointment and frustration when it turns out that the two sides have less common ground than they pretended. So I have to agree with the old Vulcan saying: “Only Nixon could go to China.”*

      I think that as we increasingly acknowledge one another as Christian, we’ll be faced with two choices: (1) doctrinal relativism, in which we say “we’re all Christians, so it doesn’t really matter what we believe!” or (2) reunion. Obviously, my hope is that we push against doctrinal relativism and towards a meaningful reunion, in which we don’t just say the same things, but believe the same things.

      I.X.,

      Joe

      *Admittedly, a less cool pop culture reference.

    2. Hello Rev Hans,
      as a member of the Ordinariate, I just wanted to answer your question about extra statatements of repentance and vows of obedience for former Protestants. We made the same profession of faith as anyone else being received into full communion: “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.”

      As our conscience led us closer to God we found that, having been formed in our faith family of origin, we would come up against things in Catholic teaching that seemed to violate our conscience. And our ancestral Protest-ant instincts would rise to the occasion. But truly following the commandment to love God with all our hearts, minds and strength led us to learn from authoritative sources (the Catechism, all those Vatican Documents) more about ”all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims”. This in turn gently pruned and continued the formation of our conscience, and has borne the fruit of unity. And by their fruits…

      God bless

    3. Happy Feast of the Chair of St Peter!

      and thanks for the interest. I have been asked to write up our story and it is currently being prepared for eventual release by the Coming Home Network… watch that space 🙂 On this feast I would love to chime in briefly in on the notes that Pope Francis’ address pealed with such joy. It is such a model of the New Evangelization.

      First of all Joy: he gave thanks for his separated brethren yearning to embrace them.

      Then Mercy: he acknowledged the sins for which ‘men on both sides were to blame’ (Unitatis Redintegratio 3) and lived out CCC 817 -819: “one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers”. As an Anglican I found those passages enormously helpful both as an open door to walk through and as comfort as I yearn for reunion with my still-separated brethren. Who knows what fruit God will bring from their individual journeys of healing and reconciliation?

      Thirdly he called to the heart of any disciple: Aren’t you hungry for more of God? He acknowledged the ‘currency’ of our respective cultures and traditions – but with his inimitable language of the heart gets past our defences: ‘you can’t eat money’! What a wonderful seed to plant- longing for embrace as a prelude to sharing the bread of life. In separated communities who cherish the warmth of their fellowship and have retained a sacramental sense these are seeds of the miracle for which Pope Francis prayed.

      Finally, for any readers with roots in Anglicanism: Blessed John Henry Newman kept his belief in two of the three foundational principals of the Via Media he explored before his conversion: The Doctrinal Principal (as opposed to relativism), The Sacramental Principle, and opposition to the Church of Rome (as outlined in the pre-Trent Thirty Nine Articles of Religion). It was exploring the history of and response to that opposition that led us home…

      God bless

  8. Ah. Totally misread you (and I think Joe did too. Joe I think I need to brew us some java). Pesky letter a and o.

    I guess my question is what you think true reception looks like? To be fair the Church asks everyone to repent. The pledge of obedience isn’t unusual either. I believe priests make pledges. As a congregation we say the creed (in Canada its apostle’s and US its Nicene). We also renew baptismal promises at Easter. It’s sorta a Catholic thing I guess.

    What does unity look like to you?

  9. I’m not aiming to be offensive, but I probably will be taken that way anyhow. Catholics and Protestants should unite. It really won’t make a difference in the end anyway. The Bible has been misrepresented and misinterpreted by both. I don’t understand why the Protestants haven’t “gone back home” anyway. We should be keeping the commandments they way they were intended to be kept. I.e. no pork, observing the Sabbath, keeping the Holy Days and not things like Easter and Christmas, and the list goes on and on. I’ll pray for you all. God bless.

    1. What would this united Church look like? You appear to be operating under a Sola Scriptura presupposition. How would you imagine that to work in a new united Church where the vast majority of its members (former Catholic and Orthodox) would vigorously oppose such a doctrine as unworkable, unscriptural and ahistorical?

      It’s rather ironic that you say we should reunite and then list of a bunch of things in both Catholic and Protestant would all unite…in rejecting! Apart from anything else they go against the pronouncements of the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 and the teaching of St. Paul.

    2. The united church will require all followers to accept the Catholic view that the Pope is without sin, thereby calling God himself a liar. I for one will never submit to such blasphemy.

  10. Let’s not forget the Jesuits sent agents around the world to murder by “burning at the stake” all who printed or otherwise kept copies of the Bible. Let’s not forget that all the titles for Pope spell out 666. Let’s not forget the Pope calls himself Christ on earth. Let’s not forget the Pope says he’s infallible (without sin) thereby calling God a liar (1 John 1:10). Let’s not forget that the Catholics killed upwards of 10,000,000 people during the inquisition & carefully documented every excruciating detail). Let’s not forget that protestants support the Pope is like chickens voting for Col Sanders! YOU PEOPLE NEED TO STUDY HISTORY! Mathew 24:24 READ YOUR BIBLE AND DON’T ALLOW YOURSELVES TO BE DECEIVED!

    1. Ohyan2912,

      I don’t even know where to begin with this: every “fact” you gave is totally false. Show me the people that Jesuits went out and killed for having Bibles. Or where any of the titles for the pope spell out 666. And “infallible” doesn’t mean “without sin.” Pope Francis goes to confession: what do you think that he’s going there for?

      And the Inquisition didn’t kill anything like 10,000,000 people. The best estimates are that there were about 3250 deaths… and these people were killed by the state, not the Church (heresy was a capital crime, because it was viewed as undermining the Christian basis of the state, the common good, the social order, and the king’s legitimacy to rule). If the Inquisition really kept the records of having murdered 10,000,000 people (at a time when that would have been a huge portion of Europe’s population at the time), you wouldn’t have any trouble proving this ludicrous claim.

      You talk about the importance of reading the Bible, but none of these claims are Biblical. Nor is slander.

      I.X.,

      Joe

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