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Thread: What I Value About The Three Branches

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    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    What I Value About The Three Branches

    What do I think we can learn from each branch of Christianity?

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    Are there things to learn from every branch of Christianity? Let's plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    When my wife started looking into Eastern Orthodoxy to convert, I wasn't that happy. Reactionary at first, yeah, but over time, I have modified my viewpoint on this some. Now I am still a thoroughly convinced Protestant. At the same time, I have learned areas about my tradition I appreciate more and areas in other traditions that need to be emphasized better in my own Protestant tradition.

    So what do I see in my Protestantism that I emphasize? First off, I am convinced the history is largely on our side since I see many beliefs in the Catholic and Orthodox churches that I don't think can be traced back to the apostles. When I want to know what is reliable, I look at the history and I find the New Testament measures up well. For other traditions, it's a case by case basis. No one ever believes all traditions. Traditions contradict one another. Only select traditions are believed.

    Second, I really do think that the Protestants are known as people of the book and we are the ones that do some of the most in-depth research in Scripture. As my wife and I had lunch with an Orthodox couple one day they did say that we Protestants know our Bibles. If someone in the Catholic and Orthodox tradition agrees with this, the good news is our findings are available to all. Anyone can partake and accept them.

    Catholics I think have an edge on moral philosophy. Again, this is something that is open to all, but I am thankful they are on our side with pro-life causes and defending marriage. I don't agree with everything on this end still, but I do think some of the best comes from them.

    For the Orthodox, my wife and I meet with the priest on a regular basis every two weeks go get regular counsel. I find this to be helpful because if there is something I really like that Allie is getting, it is some ancient wisdom. Too many people in my tradition seem to cut ourselves off from the past as if we are the only people the Holy Spirit has ever led into truth. We're not.

    I do think also there is a proper emphasis on worship. This is not to say that I agree with much that goes on in the worship services, such as prayers to the saints and to Mary, but I do realize the heart of it all. Even though I don't agree with much of what I see, I do see a desire to take matters seriously and I have a great respect for that.

    So while I am still a thoroughly convinced Protestant, I do think my perspective has been enriched by this journey. I have a good friend online who is a Catholic priest and I get along just fine with the priest at the Orthodox Church. (And both have also let me know that they affirm the virgin birth, which I do affirm.) I sometimes wonder how we can be more ecumenical, but I think I see it when I get together to talk with my friends of a different persuasion. When we get to eternity, I don't think it'd be proper to say we'll all be Protestants, Catholics, or Orthodox.

    We'll all be Christians.

    Maybe we should just emphasize that right now.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters

  2. #2
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    I'm currently in a pickle.

    I'm the President of our local Ministerial Association (I must have missed a meeting where they voted) and we're currently talking about 'membership' in the 'ministerium'.

    They have a very vague mission statement, but no articles of faith, or faith statement -- it doesn't even say that it's a "Christian" organization, though that's generally accepted.

    Lately, I was presented with the question of "three ladies" who run a "ministry" outside of town, and would we accept their "ministry"? It sounds, at first listen, like some kind of New Age cult.

    But, more importantly, my personal focus as leader of this group has been "let's focus on the things we can agree on, and not worry about the stuff where we don't agree".

    Part of this appeal was because, a few years ago, some of the bigger "mainline" churches got together and hosted a conference on "Christian / Islam Relations", where it appeared that the "Christians" were being far more accepting of Islam than many other church leaders thought was healthy. To the point that some of these "Christian" leaders acquiesced to the Imam's suggestion that there "are many ways to Heaven".

    Then there was a push for the Ministerium to support the notion that our area be open to federal housing opportunities for illegal immigrants - that this was the "Christian" thing to do. Naturally, this is a very decisive issue, and caused a bit of consternation.

    Now we're talking about having an area-wide revival of some sort in the Spring of 2021, and the obvious questions will be - who do we get as a speaker, who will be "generic" enough to speak to the masses, but specific enough to be true to the Gospel. (In talks right now with Tony Evans)

    I'm thinking I'm definitely going to turn down the customary "second term" as President of the ministerial association, because I'm seeing it as, in a sense, herding cats. A number of the churches won't even be able to support the area-wide revival concept due to their obligations to their various denominations, and in our area, this is intensifying as, for example, the Methodist Churches have gotten their marching orders concerning same sex marriages and homosexual/lesbian pastors and leaders.

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