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Ever since the first century church, there has been times when church practices and doctrine don’t match what Jesus taught. Even people who start out on the King’s Highway (a reference to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress) start going down the wrong road.
I recently picked up a book at a community meal at a Catholic church in Croydon, PA that addresses the corruption in the Catholic church: "Letter to a Suffering Church; A Bishop Speaks On The Sexual Abuse Crisis", by Bishop Robert Barron. The Bishop pleads for God's flock not to leave the Catholic church, or walk away from church alltogether but to stand and fight in order to resolve the problem and get the church back on track.
Bishop Barron points out that there is nothing new under the sun. He cites Biblical references where historically, church leaders and others have not followed their calling to feed the sheep and follow Jesus rather than abandon being an ambassador of Christ, reflecting Jesus and ministering to others. He challenges those who are "meant by ordination to be distinctively configured to Christ" and those who know about what is "peculiarly twisted and sickening" to conform to Christ and do the right thing. Rather than to give those who commit evil acts a pass, in a broad sence, exersize church disipline.
Although Bishop Barron wrote the book "for my fellow Catholics who feel, understandably, demoralized, scandalized, angry beyond words, and ready to quit", as a protestant I can appreciate the Bishop as a Godly man, who advocates a reformation of the church. Speaking of the Reformation (the protestant movement), Bishop Barron is gracious, as he basically documents the movement in the context of the history of the church.
The Bishop advocates policies to impliment in order to keep the church in line with God's ways.
The author makes a good argument in the book why the church is worth fighting for - God's love, grace and other treasures. He references the apostle Paul who "spoke of the treasure in earthern vessels." The Bishop rightly points out that we vessels are "fragile and compromised". Here he illustrates the sinful nature of humans, which is the "T" in John Calvin's TULIP, the total depravity of man. Mankind fell at the Garden of Eden, and although we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, we have to fully realize our total dependence on God.
"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." -Philippians 1:6 I have heard this called "progressive sanctification."
I was edified by Letter to a Suffering Church, a book most welcome to argue that we must follow God's path. God created us to live in community, to, as iron sharpens iron, minister and serve one another to keep us on the King's Highway, pointing the way back when a brother or sister strays.
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28 Dec 2019
Important message Jeff. Yes, reformation father than abandonment is that which is needed. Thanks for the share. God bless you!
28 Dec 2019
I enjoyed reading this article. We must commit to adhereing to God's standards without any form of compromise. My concern is with Chrisians who hide behind the phrses such as; nobody's perfect or we all have flwas. Though this is accurate; we must follow Jesus' example. He was in a physical body, yet without sin. In Colossians 3:20-23, we discover, through His sinless blood,He reconcied us. We can be holy, without blemish and reproach in God's sight. This requires a change of heart with accountability for our actions. Responsibility helps us see we can do better and grow in grace. Leaving the chcurch is never a good idea, but true repentance and change will set the soul free.
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