Christian differences

Christian differences

Alan Barron

Peter D. Howard (November AD2000) seems to have glossed over the main thrust of my previous letter. It is plain to me that Catholics and Protestants are not going to agree on matters of faith and practice.

Despite the very real differences which exist between Catholics and Protestants, we should love one another as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it. Christ wants all believers to be 'one' as He and the Father are 'one'. We should resist the easy temptation to sit in judgement on each other - no matter how convinced we are of the veracity of our own arguments and traditions.

In my view God permits diversity of worship thus allowing each person to worship Him according to the dictates of conscience (or religious tradition). As St Paul says, 'Let no one make rules about what you eat or drink, or about Holy Days or the New Moon Festival of the Sabbath ... Do not allow yourselves to be condemned by anyone who claims to be superior because of special visions and who insists on false humility and the worship of angels' (Colossians 2: 16-18).

God is not primarily interested in the denominational label we may wear with misguided pride, but rather the amount of love we have in our hearts for Him and the brethren. We do not all have to belong to one particular denomination to worship the living God or to serve Him.

As Peter Howard rightly points out, obedience as well as love is part and parcel of walking with the Lord. The Holy Spirit Himself will guide each believer to worship in spirit and in truth. Certainly there is a place for theological discussion (in love!).

In Luke's Gospel it is recorded that when the Apostle John says to the Lord, 'Master, we saw a man driving out demons in your name, and we told him to stop because he doesn't belong to our group' (my emphasis). The Lord replies to John, 'Do not stop him, because whoever is not against you is for you' (my emphasis) (Luke 9: 49- 50 and Mark 9: 38-41).

Unbelievers will be drawn to Christ and His kingdom, not because of one's devotion to a particular religious tradition, but because of the love shown by those who profess true religion - to each other.

Grovedale, Vic

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