Many churches AnglicanRoman CatholicEastern Orthodox MethodistCongregationalPresbyterian BaptistSalvation ArmyPentecostal BrethrenCommunity churchesetc., etc.
Many churches AnglicanRoman CatholicEastern Orthodox MethodistCongregationalPresbyterian BaptistSalvation ArmyPentecostal BrethrenCommunity churchesetc., etc. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. John 17:20-21
Many churches AnglicanRoman CatholicEastern Orthodox MethodistCongregationalPresbyterian BaptistSalvation ArmyPentecostal BrethrenCommunity churchesetc., etc. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. John 17:20-21 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
Unity Is it expressed by belonging to a denomination? Is it expressed by sharing the same creed? (filioque = and from the Son) Is it expressed by the same understanding of the Bible? (so only with evangelicals?)
Truth Expressed in three ways (says the Anglican church) Scripture Tradition Reason
The Reformation In England Henry VIII’s divorce Wanting to be Supreme Governor of the church Input from Protestants from Europe Edward VI’s reign: an English prayer book Mary: reconciliation with Rome for 5 yrs (bloodshed) The Elizabethan settlement – the Church of England
The Reformation In Scotland John Knox and Presbyterianism The Prayer book and bishops as “popery” Refusing the bishops Charles I tried to impose The Church of Scotland as a Presbyterian church The Episcopal Church of Scotland (with bishops, with a different prayer book from England, not established) as a smaller denomination
The Middle Way The Roman Catholic church Recusants Support from Rome CHURCH OF ENGLAND Varieties of churchmanship Bridging the divide Always a High Church party Puritans Presbyterians Calvinists Support from Geneva
More splits Roman Catholic Church of England Presbyterian Independents (Congregational) Baptists Quakers
Still more splits Roman Catholic Church of England Presbyterian Methodists Salvation Army Also: Brethren (mixed origins) Pentecostal (Assemblies of God, Elim) Charismatic ( House / community churches) (Vineyard, Now Frontiers etc.)
Why the splits? A new move of the Spirit – especially when not recognised by existing churches Desire to belong to a purer, more spiritual church (but is there such a church?) Impatience with a set-up which seems to quench the Spirit Belief that forming another church in this way isn’t wrong
Churches coming together Church of South India (1947) – of all protestant denominations (followed by Church of North India, Church of Pakistan) Three branches of Methodism came together in 1932 The United Reformed Church in 1972 from the Congregational Church in England and Wales and the Presbyterian church in England Sadly some churches stay outside those reunions
Bringing churches together The World Council of Churches Organises the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Has “Churches Together” branches at different levels RC church co-operates but is separate Evangelical Alliance Does much advocacy for Christians behind the scenes Has sister bodies in other parts of the world Events like Keswick, Spring Harvest, New Wine
So what is unity? Some say it isn’t the same as uniformity Is it a structure of everyone using the same prayers? Paul says we should make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3) Paul adds that we should grow until we all reach the unity of the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature (Ephesians 4:13)
Do you think the Reformation was a tragedy? If so, what should have happened? Which do you regard as more important, unity or truth? Why? Given that we can't undo the divisions of the church since the Reformation, how can we keep the unity of the Spirit and how can we attain to the unity of the faith? Does a new work of the Holy Spirit inevitably lead to divisions in the church? Do you think that reunification into a single structure of church is necessary to achieve the unity that Jesus prayed for?