I was asked recently by a dear friend why I wouldn’t visit a Calvinistic reformed variety church. I explained that I could visit, if I had to, a reformed congregation if the people that I was with understood perfectly that my confession on what the catholic faith has always been differed from theirs. As long as everybody involved was on the same page that I don’t confess making decisions for Jesus, I don’t believe Baptism is only an outward sign, and that I confess that the Eucharist isn’t a mere remembrance but is the same body and blood that was nailed to the cross even if “hidden” in, with, and under bread and wine, it would be possible to attend a worship service with friends and family who are standard American evangelical types. But that’s a pretty tall order.
But therein lies the problem. The friends and family that would invite me to a Sunday service either can’t understand or flat out reject my confession of faith as being too old school with ties going back too far in the historical church. Because, the thinking goes, there were problems in the Roman church we should all start over again every time we don’t like what is rubbing us the wrong way.
But I was hit with something that I’d never heard of before on a recently. I was accused of the sin of pride because I refused to attend any service with an individual who believes all churches are paths up the same mountain. “Why can’t you meet people where they are? Didn’t you just say that you believe God works His will where ever His Gospel is preached or read? What are you afraid of? Are you afraid that you will lose a part of yourself?” were the questions thrown at me by someone very well intentioned.
I don’t believe pride is the issue but rather syncretism. The more I read the more I find American style evangelicals calling anyone willing to stand and confess a core truth, prideful. By saying let’s just set aside our differences (confessions) as if they don’t matter, those who would do this are creating an entire new confession, unwittingly or not.
If we look at scripture we find that Christ all through the gospels is eating with Pharisees. But at no time does our Lord ever say, “Well, maybe you guys have a point, I’ll concede that we could all use a lot more law around here. So let’s just agree to agree and sit down and eat these tasty looking ham on rye sandwiches that one of the girls cooked up. I mean after all, I’m all about making peace.” On the contrary, He calls them on their misguided and self righteous doctrine of law and in turn they plot to kill Him.
If we look at Saint Paul’s epistle to the congregation at Corinth he tells them that their confession must be one and unified:
1 Corinthians 1:10 (NKJV)
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
So am I being prideful or not? I just can’t see how, after explaining (confessing) what the Church has always confessed and being told that that same confession (even the most basic confession like the Apostles, Nicene, or Athanasian Creeds) is (are) rejected for whatever reason, my sin is pride. In other words “In casu confessionis nihil est adiaphora”
Labels: Confession, Syncretism