"Let unity, the greatest good of all goods, be your preoccupation." - St. Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to St. Polycarp)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Some recent interactions, and a response to Peter Leithart

"Pursue peace with all men" (Hebrews 12:14)

How much more does that imperative apply to our responsibility to our brothers and sisters in Christ with whom we are presently not at peace because of differences in doctrine, practice, and magisterial authority? There was a generation of young people that broke down a concrete wall in Berlin in 1989. I remember watching them by television as they joyfully chipped away at it with sledge hammers. I pray to God and plead with my brothers and sisters in Christ to make every effort to break down those walls that still divide us, by reaching through them to dialogue sincerely, charitably and humbly with those on the other side. Far more than that one do these present walls demand tearing down.

I will not be able to post as often, given my other responsibilities. So here I will mention a few discussions I have participated in relatively recently. In early June I had a discussion with Jonathan Barlow in the combox of his post titled "Frame on Confessional Subscription". There we talked about what sort of authority tradition has, and I presented a dilemma regarding sacramental magisterial authority. In mid-June I also participated in a discussion about individualism in the combox of Jon's post "PCA Adopts GA Report on Federal Vision". Around that time I had a brief exchange with Gabe Martini on his post titled Sin and unity; Ephesians 2:14-16. Shortly after that I discussed the doctrine of assurance with Wayne Larson and Joel Garver on Wayne's blog article titled "Peter on Assurance". I also discussed the nature of true ecclesial unity with Alastair Roberts at his post titled "Thoughts on Denominations, Church Union and Reunion 2". In late June I discussed that same topic with Jonathan Bonomo and Peter Escalante at Jonathan Bonomo's post "Eight Points of Clarification on who we are and where we are Coming from". In mid-July I discussed imputation with Jonathan Barlow in the combox of his article "Clark on Imputation (Again)". Toward the end of July I had a discussion with Jeff Myers in the combox of his post titled "Trinity & Church X - John 17" where I argued that the unity that Christ refers to in John 17 includes ontological unity, not merely affective or volitional unity. In mid-August I again discussed the Trinity with Jeff in the combox of his post "Covenant & Trinity". There I argued that generation and spiration are necessary to avoid modalism and tritheism. And during the past few days I discussed sacramental magisterial authority with Lane Keister in the combox of his post titled "The Church".

A few weeks ago Jon [Barlow] posted a link on his blog to Peter Leithart's Aug/Sept 1995 article in First Things titled "Why Protestants Still Protest". It is a significant article, and I couldn't find any published response to it. (I confess that I didn't look very hard, so it wouldn't surprise me if there are responses that I missed.) So I wrote a response and uploaded it today. It is available here.

Nobody thought that wall would come down for a long time. We have to believe that we can tear down those walls that now divide the Body of Christ. Protestants and Catholics are ten years away from being separated from each other for five hundred years. Catholics and Orthodox are forty-seven years from being separated from each other for one thousand years. Come, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us tear down these walls, for the glory of Christ, and the sake of His sacred pierced heart that continues to cry out for the peace and full unity of His covenant people. Our lives are short. What are we waiting for? Will it be our generation or some future generation that tears down these walls?

Lord, may it be ours. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matthew 5:9)


Weekend Fisher said...

And then there're the others like the Copts who left at Chalcedon ... The apostolic church hasn't been one/holy/catholic since Chalcedon.

The time is ripe for reunion. But the healing has to go deep enough that everyone who belongs back in the fold is back.

Take care & God bless

Bryan Cross said...

Thanks for your comment weekend fisher. That's a good point. We tend to overlook the Copts. I'm very hopeful for a reunion of Copts and Catholics.

- Bryan