How to work with Roman Catholics and Orthodox people
 Throun
 2009-08-12 2:22:00

Position Paper Seoul Council 2009

- How to work with Roman Catholics and Orthodox people -

 

                                                             by Throun

 

1. Situation

 

  Members of AMCF are predominantly evangelical. We are an association with

the motto All One in Christ Jesus. This motto is the distinctive defining factor

of AMCF and allows all who are Christians to be invited to be associated

within AMCF, but for some there remains the questions of who is a Christian ?,

or what is a Christian church ?

 

  We must realise today that AMCF does already encompass more than one

Christian confession and several predominantly Orthodox and at least one

Roman Catholic MCF are with us in AMCF as well as protestant denominations.

 

  Church is the body of Christ. Each church or denomination is part of this

universal Church. No single church or denomination is the whole body.

In Jesus Christ we are brothers and sisters, not mere friends but relatives.

Brothers and sisters will stay being related, even if they denounce it or

hurt and harm or even persecute each other.

 

2. Who is part of this body ?

 

  The Bible explains:

  Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Acts

     2:21; Joel 2:32 [3:5]; Ro 10:13).

     We tend to add further conditions to distinguish somebody as a Christian or

     to agree a denomination is following the Lord properly.

 

     This started with the disciples while following Jesus. John said:

  We saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to

    stop, because he was not one of us (Mk 9:38) and the disciples were

    reproved  by Jesus.

 

    But scripture does give us some marks for discernment :

  No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit 1 Cor 13:3

  By their fruit you will recognise them (Mt 7:16)

    Every church or denomination in which people worship Jesus Christ is

    fruitful.

 

3. What interferes with unity of the body?

 

  When one church claims to be the only true one.

  When one church has overwhelming predominance and tends to misuse

     its position.

  When a church allies with worldly power.

 

 

     On a more personal level:

   Selfish ambition and vain conceit (Compare Phil 2:2-5)

      Our Lord is too great to be worshipped sufficiently only in one, two or

      three ways.

 

4. What to do concerning RC, Orthodox and others

 

     Have sincere love for your brother, love another deeply from the

      heart (1 Peter 1:22) and when they behave like adversaries, then love

      at least in them your enemies (Mt 5:44-45).

     If we love only those by whom we are loved: If you love those who

      love you, what reward will you get? Mt 5:46

     Do not think yourself more highly than you ought, but rather

      think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure

      of faith God has given you. (Ro 12:3).

     In humility consider others better than yourselves (Phil 2:3)

      That is, we shall find out what we can learn from the other denomination.

     Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the

      discerning get guidance (Prov 1:5). Encourage a positive creative approach

      by valuing and learning from different traditions their concepts of being a

      Christian, along with their approach to worship and being church.

     If we follow a credal formula at the expense of a relationship with

      the personal Lord.