At church, we finished the well-known evangelism tool, “The Alpha Series,” which is a collection of videos used to promote the gospel. It is known for its ecumenical approach in trying to find common ground across denominations in an effort to promote that which is agree on. Its origins are Anglican (Church of England) and includes many interviews with Catholic priests. It even includes a clip from Pope Francis in which he says,
“I feel like saying something that may sound controversial, or even heretical, perhaps, but there is someone who “knows” that, despite our differences, we are one. It is he who is persecuting us. It is he who is persecuting Christian today. He knows that Christians are disciples of Christ: that they are one, that they are brothers! He doesn’t care that they are Evangelicals, Orthodox, Lutheran, Catholics, or Apostolic…he doesn’t care! They are Christians. And that blood (of martyrdom) unites.”
The main guy of the series, Nicky Gumbel, wraps it up by saying, in essence, that we are all children of God and that we should seek common ground and share God’s love with all.
This certainly strikes a chord with the many people who are disenfranchised by the quarrels between Christian denominations. After all, the problem with religion is religious people, right? Truly, I understand this perspective. But is the wide-net, common-ground approach truly better?
The answers depend on who you ask. Ultimately, most would agree that God’s opinion is what truly matters. Hence, we begin the process of disagreement. How do we know what God thinks? Is it even possible to know? To take it a step further, if it is possible, does it even matter? If God is love, can’t we simply let this emotion rule our actions? After all, doctrines divide while love unites, right?
Having personal experience within the Anglican, Catholic, and Evangelic denominations, I can assure you that there are BIG differences in doctrine. Further, the more one studies these faiths, the more one sees that these differences cannot be casually brushed aside. But is it even possible that they can?
I don’t see how, unless one is perfectly willing to compromise firmly-held beliefs. All that does is create a fourth (and perhaps sixth) denomination out of the three. That will most likely look like post-modernism, which is nothing new.
Getting back to The Alpha Series. Is there wisdom in making efforts to blur the lines so that all denominations may be united in an effort to share the gospel?
I don’t see this supported by scripture. We’ll spend a day or so looking into this.
Father, guide me in this. Amen.
Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers