Catholics and Protestants Can Find Unity in Christ
- Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
- 2001 9 Jul
People who love and follow Christ - whether they worship in Catholic or Protestant churches - are meant to love and respect each other as well. Christ's fervent prayer for unity among His people, recorded in John chapter 17, can be fulfilled in today's world if modern Christians focus on the core elements of true Christianity.
Here are some ways you can connect with God and other Christians in the bond of His love:
- Ask God to help you see every person as He sees him or her - someone made in His image who is worthy of love and respect. Know that you can't truly love God if you don't also love other people.
- Study the early church to see how first century Christians expressed their faith. The purity of their devotion to Christ is a model for Christians to follow today. They wholeheartedly embraced the truth of Christ's resurrection and His power to save people from their sins and reconnect them with God. They served people enthusiastically, reaching out as much as possible to share God's love.
- Understand that Christ's universal church is not institutional in nature. Rather, it is comprised of people who experience living relationships with God through Christ. Since those people have different temperaments and cultural customs, they worship God in different ways, through different types of churches. But every church that believes the entire Bible and helps people put that faith into action is a part of Christ's universal church.
- Don't rely on someone else's theological ideas. Instead, study the Bible for yourself, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom through the Scriptures as you read them. Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal God's truth to you as you seek it, and trust the Spirit to faithfully answer you.
- Understand that God is concerned foremost with how much you follow His leading and how much you love others. Simply agreeing with a particular church's doctrine or performing a lot of charitable deeds don't mean as much to God as the condition of your heart. Also, if two people both deeply love God and others, but worship in different styles or have different theological ideas about nonessential parts of faith (such as whether to baptize someone by immersion or sprinkling), they can both be Christians with whom God is pleased.
- Seek to know Christ intimately, rather than just believing in Him.
- Show your love for Christ by serving other people out of the love He gives you for them and in ways in which He leads you to help them.
- Realize that the church is not political in nature, and that Christ transcends politics. But be willing to express your faith in every aspect of your life.
Adapted from Yes, We Can Love One Another!: Catholics and Protestants Can Share a Common Faith, copyright 1997 by Warren R. Angel. Published by Magnus Press, San Jose, Ca., 1-800-463-7818.
Warren Angel is a minister in the Congregational Christian Churches. A writer, editor and pastor, his calling led him into several interdenominational ministries. He has studied at both Catholic and Protestant seminaries, and has a master's degree in religion from Pepperdine University.