[COMMENT: Protestant Christianity is slowly being submerged into the secular matrix, much of it via the "civil rights" logic which replaces Biblical morality and practice. The collapse of the Biblical worldview in the minds of Western Christians has been catastrophic. It is changing slowly for the better, but much more damage will be done before things turn around.
In the meantime, we must circle the wagons and get our offensive strategy ready. We have lacked an offense for well over two centuries -- due to our lack of intellectual credibility. But that, too, is changing.
I have some serious theological disagreements with the Roman Catholic Church, such as infallibility and their theory of magesterium and the development of doctrine. I am not aware of any theological disagreements with Orthodoxy, but they have some serious cultural baggage, and emotional attachments to a wrong connection between Church and State. But I believe that the Anglican Way, to which I am committed, is quite compatible with the best of both the RC and Orthodox traditions. The Anglicans will survive the current absurdity and emerge, at least in some ways, a purified Church. The Big Question is whether we will get the truth issue and the worldview issue under our belts.
The "true Church" is where we are making ourselves a living sacrifice to God and to one another, as Paul exhorts in Romans 12:1 ff. Such a Church will be a three-fold cord of evangelical, catholic, and charismatic.
The Orthodox are wanting to strike an alliance with the Roman Catholic Church
(see below). Will orthodox (small 'o') Anglicans have the stability to
join with them and still maintain our own identity? Good question.
Orthodox church sees gap with Protestants growing
21st February 2006
PORTO ALEGRE: Liberal reforms allowing female clergy and same-sex marriage
are creating a widening gulf within world Christianity, a leading Russian
Orthodox bishop said.
That growing divide may prompt Orthodox churches to consider a tactical
alliance with Roman Catholicism to defend traditional Christian values,
Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev said on the sidelines of the global assembly of the
mostly Protestant World Council of Churches (WCC).
While Orthodox churches, with some 220 million members, are members of the
WCC, now holding its global assembly in Brazil, Alfeyev - the chief Russian
Orthodox delegate - said they have less in common with fellow members than
they once had.
"The gap between the traditional wing, represented mainly by Orthodox
churches and the Roman Catholic Church, and the liberal wing, represented by
many Protestant churches, is only growing day by day," he said.
"We (Orthodox and Catholics) are on the same side of the divide."
"Traditional Christianity's very survival is in jeopardy. We have no right
to delay this strategic alliance, because in 20-40 years it will be too
late," he said in an interview, citing threats like "warrior secularism,
warrior Islam or warrior liberalism present in Protestantism."
Alfeyev, the Bishop of Vienna also in charge of Russian Orthodox Church
relations with the European Union, said the alliance should not be a matter
of dogma and should precede the resolution of many centuries-old differences
between the two oldest branches of Christianity, some dating back to the
Great Schism of 1054.
His comments echoed ideas supported by Roman Catholic Pope Benedict, who has
said closer ties with Orthodox churches are a top priority of his papacy.
The Catholic Church represents over half of the world's 2 billion Christians
but is not a member of the Geneva-based WCC.
Alfeyev said Russian theologians thought decades ago to "establish full
Eucharistic contact" with the Anglican church.
"In the past years, it has become clear that it is completely impossible -
dogmatically, ideologically and from the point of view of moral teaching, as
the Anglican church shifted very far away from Orthodox dogma," he said.
Some Anglican churches in North America and Europe, as well as other
Protestant churches, ordain non-celibate gay clergy and bless same-sex
unions. Some also ordain women bishops.
These stances, Alfeyev said, make "any talk of unification very hard
nowadays." The Orthodox Church does not accept the idea of female clergy as
it attributes that development to the influence of secular processes of the
past few decades.
Alfeyev said "a revelation from above" is needed for Orthodox churches to
start ordaining women. The Russian Orthodox Church recently broke off
relations with the Lutheran Church of Sweden after it established an
official ceremony to bless same-sex marriages, he said.
Alfeyev said his church accepts homosexuals as parishioners, treating them
"with a sense of pastoral responsibility," but still considered gay
relationships "sinful and not to be blessed or promoted," as seen in some
Protestant churches. This echoes the traditional Catholic view.
In the wake of the growing differences with liberal churches, Alfeyev
suggested an alliance with the Vatican and stressed there was no time to
Alfeyev said the sides were trying to resolve their own issues, including
the more modern problem of Catholic proselytism in Ukraine and Russia.
"I'm not calling for a dogmatic alliance. . .. We should unite in a joint
testimony of traditional Christian values."
Alfeyev said the two sides were working to prepare a historic meeting
between the Pope and the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, which had
not yet taken place "not because of our denial, but because we want it to
actually change things and not be just a protocol event."
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