Tue. Oct 20th, 2020

I am so sorry that our Methodist brothers and sisters are going through a period of discord over doctrine that is precipitating a split. I am truly suffering for what you are going through, but this also presents an opportunity to discuss unity.
Christ founded a Church (singular). One of his most fervent prayers is voiced the night before His Passion. He prays in John 17, not just for His Apostles, but also for those who will believe in Jesus because of the preaching of the Apostles. In other words, He is praying for the Church. In fact, He is praying for all Christians of all time. What does He ask of the Father? That Christians may, “be one, as you Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us…” (v. 21) Remember, this prayer is uttered minutes before His arrest which leads to His death in a matter of hours. The unity of His followers was on His heart and mind.
I saw something on Facebook that disturbed me. It is from a document from the Methodist communion called, “Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation.” Sorry, but that is nonsense. Can you imagine speaking with friends who were having marital difficulties, and you asked them, “How’s it going?” If they were to respond, “We have achieved reconciliation.” You would figure that they worked things out and are staying together. Imagine how confused you would be if they then told you that there were divorced. A division is not reconciliation.
Reconciliation has not occurred, separation has. This is also the product of a Protestant sense of Church. We Catholics have a lot of problems. Our Church is filled with sinners, like me. Our priests are sinners. Our bishops are sinners. Sometimes I wonder how this thing has lasted 2,000 years. But one thing we do have, that none of our Protestant brothers and sisters have, is authority. The Catholic Church has a teaching that has been handed down from the Apostles. This teaching is passed along and interpreted by the successors to the Apostles, called bishops. When there is a disagreement the Church calls for a Council and hashes out what the true teaching of Christ is. It is completely foreign to us as Catholics to just leave and start a new church. Unfortunately, that is the historic reality of the Protestant movement.
— Pat Arensberg is the Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life. Email him at parensberg@mobarch.org
For more information concerning the events of this office, visit us at mobilefaithformation.org

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