Dear Protestants #2 – Why We Should Fight

It doesn’t help that
it’s incoherent, either. Really?
The long withstanding hatred
between peace and women
needs to be resolved? And “The Bab”
are major players all the sudden?
In this pristine and relativistic world, the hardest part of any decent fight is starting a decent fight. Specifically in terms of religion, we are taught that argument shouldn’t happen at all, that it’s bad taste to believe you are right. Haven’t you seen those cute little bumper stickers demanding that we religions coexist? (Which are wonderful stickers really; liberals finally admit the strength of religion – we are agitated, caged lions. I imagine a certain breathless fear is present whenever someone buys one of those stickers. “Just coexist, please! Just don’t start anything…objective. Don’t offend, don’t fight, please, please, coexist. I don’t want Holy Wars to ruin my brand new Prius.” Pssh. I want to buy a “coexist” bumper sticker in which every single damn letter is a Christian symbol. Next to this I will have a bumper sticker that says “Get at me.” I will do this in defiance of those Chesterton said “who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.” )
Well that was a long side note. My point is that we humans were designed to fight, and when we don’t, we go one of two ways. We make big pointless wars that would never have happened if Muslims and Christians were allowed to scream at each other, have refined philosophical and theological debates, and otherwise not coexist. (Oh yeah, and if Muslims could drink, that would help.) Or we end up looking something like modern American society. Apathetic, flaccid, wallowing in our own lack of action, and our even graver lack of fun. When really, we should look like this:
YouTube Preview Image

 

Alright, let me get even closer to something like a point. There are two ways of bringing people together, by becoming more specific or more vague. As we speak, vagueness is the fashion. The common definition of the Universal Church is not something specific like, Oh I don’t know, the Catholic Church, but something vague, along the lines of “anyone who believes Jesus is God and isn’t too weird.” If this is the Universal Church then any argument outside of the divinity of Christ is superfluous, and thus any debate between Protestants and Catholics is detrimental to the Church; we really should just be co-existing. Holding hands and singing kumbaya, the only song that everyone can be equally offended by.
But hold up. In the Garden of Gethsemane, our Lord Jesus Christ’ prayer was that they might be one: 

And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth. I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. (John 8-26)

Does Our Lord’s concept of ‘one’ fit with the fashion of vagueness mentioned early? No! Jesus wants such unity in the Church that by merely looking at her, pagans will be impressed with the message of Christ. Now that’s some specificity. The prayer is not, “let them all believe that I am God, regardless of whether they truly believe I am bread and wine, regardless of whether they believe I’ve predestined half their numbers to hell, and regardless of their views on the taking of innocent life.” The Lord wants the Church to be one.

Here’s the deal. The Catholic Church is making the radical claim that we are the unity Christ prayed for. That we are one. That we are the Universal Church. (Spoiler Alert: Catholic means Universal). If we are wrong, then we have made the most presumptuous statement that can be made, and feel free to damn us to hell. As it turns out, we’re right, but never mind all that. The point is that the way to the unity Christ prays that we might have does not lie in vagueness, in making the message of Christianity more and more general until is unrecognizable from a rather hyped up therapy session. It lies in specificity, in unity of action and purpose that can be recognized by the world and bring them closer to God. And I don’t think it’s too much of stretch to say that pagans aren’t exactly impressed by the “unity” of Christians. Why should they be, as we speak there is a church for every idea you can have, and for any interpretation of the Bible you can make? It just ain’t right, ladies and gentlemen. We were meant for much more than vague, watered-down Christianity.

So that is why we should fight. That is why we should never shirk for fear of offending someone. That is why we should not be satisfied in the words “Well we all believe in Jesus so there’s no need for argument.” That’s like saying we all believe in the Vietnam War, so there’s no need for argument. Jesus happened. And he begs to the Father that we might be able to figure that out. So Catholics, have tradition-fueled arguments with Protestants. Protestants, have biblically-referenced arguments with Catholics. It’s what God wants. For the love of peace, fight!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01658116461483425280 Brandon Vogt

    "I want to buy a "coexist" bumper sticker in which every single damn letter is a Christian symbol. Next to this I will have a bumper sticker that says "Get at me." I will do this in defiance of those Chesterton said "who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.""LOL

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10740611327082314715 Sean

    "For the love of peace, fight!" This is striking… I like it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04808756472395991237 T. D. S.

    Marc,Have you seen "Into Great Silence", about a Carthusian monastery in the French Alps? I watched it yesterday and today. I thought of your blog.Sincerely,One of the pagans. Kinda.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12679230722483582032 Marc

    Dear pagan,I have not BUT have heard great things, and have a friend who owns a copy. I will watch and get right back to you with a review!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12679230722483582032 Marc

    @SeanI was visiting your wonderful blog the other day and was delighted to find some underoath on your music player. Now thats a band thats sparked some debate in my life, and some spiritual exaltation as well. I knew the singer's aunt.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10740611327082314715 Sean

    @Marc Thanks for checking it out! I haven't listened to a huge amount of Underoath, but what I've heard I like. They are truly unique. Never heard the like anywhere else. Songwriting gets tricky to decipher sometimes, but always goes for deep questions. What's not to like?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12679230722483582032 Marc
  • http://www.facebook.com/JonAskonas Jon Askonas

    Luckily enough for the papists, presumptuousness isn’t a damnable offense, only unbelief.

  • CoachMikeGreen

    your quote of John is not 8-26 but 17: 20-21
    John 8:26 is “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.”

  • Ben VB

    So I suppose it’s been rather a long time … hopefully you still get alerts or some such from comments. A friend of mine put together a draft image to your specifications:

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1124506/coexist.png

  • James Buccini

    Who on earth is suggesting that coexistence means existing without tension? To be in relationship with each other us to talk, to argue, to hash it out… Have you really come across a liberal Christian that wasn’t interested in sharing their views?!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Timothy-Burdick/22402125 Timothy Burdick

    But to do so with “gentleness and reverence” (as our first Pope put it) makes a bit more than most are willing to give. It is all based on our approach; Do we love the people we are “fighting” against (like Chesterton) or are we merely winning an argument and loosing the soul? When it comes to ecumenism, our words, actions and love must be contagious to the point that, as you elude to, all others will want what we have.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KDQFQTMD56CJAKMLXRFYUDNCPQ Montague

    No Worries; I am willing to Fight.

  • BroKen

    Hello, came to your blog from my friend Rick at brutallyhonest.org. I share his enthusiasm at your insight and wisdom beyond your years. Keep up the good work.

    Now, I’ll say, perhaps as a prelude to a good fight, that you are not completely right about the vagueness of the Church Universal as apart from Roman Catholic. I’m sure you are aware of C.S. Lewis’ image of a great hall surrounded by many rooms. That is not so vague as you depict it. Also, I recall a line by Lewis lamenting the cracks within the Body of Christ but also saying that he remembers well how the unity of the faithful was to him, when he was outside the faith, a fearful thing. So, your view that pagans aren’t impressed may not be completely accurate. I couldn’t find the quote but while looking for it, I found this that I’ll leave you with:

    “Though you have taken a way which is not for me I nevertheless can congratulate you — I suppose because your faith and joy are so obviously increased. Naturally, I do not draw from that the same conclusions as you, but . . . I believe we are very near to one another . . . In the present divided state of Christendom, those who are at the heart of each division are all closer to one another than those who are at the fringes . . . Let us by all means pray for one another: it is perhaps the only form of “work for reunion” which never does anything but good. God bless you.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1125166276 John C. Wright
  • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

    The solution is obvious.

    Churches need to have basketball tournaments so we can then fight it out and set each other’s couches on fire.

    We’ll call it the NCAA – National Christian Antagonists Associations.

    (hey, I’m protestant and i agree with you here – wait, that’s not what you were going for, was it?)

  • http://www.facebook.com/dean.dickens.395 Dean Dickens

    I know that this post is mega-old but still, If I ever get the time I would love to reply to this. I’m studying to be a pastor and this is a fantastic opportunity.
    In the mean-time however….
    I had a hard time finding a good “C”

  • dave Australia

    What an amusingly frivolous catholic lad you are. Without the antichrist of Rome we would not be protestants. Intolerance of evil is no game. Without the sacrifice of many men who had the integrity to forgo the comforting traditions of “mother church” for the truth, you would not have the freedom to publish an opinion today, without sanction from your priest. Read Council of Trent session 4 for confirmation.


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