A most interesting phenomenon is Jess’ ability to house a mass of different flavorings over along the Watchtower. These flavorings consist of nearly every different contention that names itself Christianity, and yet, although the strife is evident, a sense of civility is normally present. Her site is productive even amidst the rift.
The rift will no doubt remain. It is the net between the volley, and it seems a net with no hope of removal.
Through the course of my writing here, I often wonder why all of professing Christianity cannot come under one roof for the greater good of being the body that stands for things that are honorable; things that are pure and commendable. In an offering of highlight, I suppose I will always see the urgency that we find our common ground and stand firm there, for the sake of morality if nothing else.
There is something grander though at stake, to say we will unite despite every difference, for every difference includes an understanding of how God enacts His salvation upon His image-bearers.
Every good Protestant at some point, poised with even the hint of curiosity, has enquired, “What is it that divides me from my dear friend worshipping up the road in the Catholic Church?”
That inquiry is too often responded to with slanders against Rome that are absolutely false. We would be told often that the Catholic Church is a works-based religion, one where faith plays no role. There is no truth in a statement such as this whatsoever.
From all that I can gather, every Catholic who knows the Catechism of the Church will confess that sinners are saved by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
The contention, it will seem, is in the Latin Sola declarations, for in these only-s, the Sacraments, as the Catholic believer would see them, become second cousin ordinances; they lose their mystery.
The Protestant denominations confess that salvation is enacted through faith alone and that this faith generates good works, the first of which is confessing Jesus is Lord through baptism. The Catholic sees salvation given through faith, but that the Church is a necessary instrument in the implementation process, enacted through the Sacraments, beginning with Baptism. The core issue is how the sinner finds salvation in Christ. For one, it is through faith alone; the other, through faith by Sacraments. Both will declare it is all of grace.
Personally, and sadly, I see no opportunity to reconcile fully, for the divide is too great. However, I do think we can understand one another better and remove the false premises, those that keep us from uniting to stand against the tyranny of the day as citizens of the nations of this world. We do, after all, possess like moral attributes.
Vatican II demonstrated the willingness of the Catholic Church to humbly acknowledge (sort of – kind of) true believers can exist outside of their visible walls. At the very least, they offered interaction.
Some Protestants have shown a willingness to be extenders of grace themselves and consider seriously why Rome does what Rome does.
These are both monumental steps in a positive direction if we will keep a voice against the atrocities inflicting our societies as the godless gain more and more ground in lands that once hoisted goodness and compassion. There is that age-old adage to remember, “A house divided against itself…”