Theology for the Long Haul

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Switching Christianities: Personal Reflections on Christian Diversity and Confessional Identity

For many Christians of various confessional traditions, the principle holds true that what unites us is much greater than what divides us. The diversity of our unique cultures, languages, and traditions does not obscure our fundamental unity in Christ…a unity described by C. S. Lewis as “mere Christianity.” Such a vision has inspired numerous participants in the ecumenical movement. It is also a vision that has been contested by many, especially, apologists of particular Christian traditions. Such a unity, they claim, can only lead to a watering down of the truth preserved by the authentic custodians of the apostolic faith. They see the claims of Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant forms of Christianity as mutually exclusive and fundamentally different.

Most of us have encountered both of these views. Assessing the merits of either approach can be complicated at best and discouraging at worst. How does one account for the diversity in Christian belief and practice? Some choose to look to the past, drawing on the history of the early Church and the patristic literature. Others like to focus on the present realities of our post-modern culture in which a plurality of perspectives is not questioned but rather assumed to be the status quo. Others still look to the future with the eschatological reign of God in mind, a time of perfect unity between all of God’s people.

For the rest of this post visit Jacob's blog at Inter Christianos.

1 comment:

  1. Too often, when talking about Christian unity, we forget the Catholic and Orthodox traditions. I really appreciate your willingness to address unity on this level. Though we may at times disagree on important issues, evangelicals should also learn to recognize the contributions of Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy to the greater body of Christ.