Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Unity Series, Ch. 2: Hindrances to Unity, part 4

In the early church the creeds that were put together by the church (the catholic [universal] church) were formed to separate Christians from non-Christians (the Apostles’ Creed) and to separate Christians from Christian heresies (the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed). Some of these “heretics” in the Councils were probably saved people. Later on, some of the church councils included heresies in their pronouncements. The Second Council of Nicea, the First Vatican Council and the Council of Trent are three examples. After the reformation, the whole church no longer got together to form the creeds. The separate groups no longer met with each other. They met separately and wrote confessions differing from or reacting to the confessions of other groups. These confessions now separated Christians from Christians. Even when there was agreement there were still factions among the churches.

Let me quote from the autobiography of Richard Baxter, who lived in the middle of the 17th century.

“I am more deeply afflicted for the disagreements of Christians than I was when I was a younger Christian. Except the case of the infidel world, nothing is so sad and grievous to my thoughts as the case of the divided churches; and, therefore, I am more deeply sensible of the sinfulness of those prelates and pastors of the churches who are the principal cause of these division. Oh, how many millions of souls are kept by them in ignorance and ungodliness, and deluded by faction as if it were true religion! How is the conversion of infidels hindered by them, and Christ and religions heinously dishonored!...I am more sensible that most controversies have more need of right stating than of debating; and, if my skill be increased in anything, it is in that in narrowing controversies by explication, and separating the real from the verbal, and proving to many contenders that they differ less than they think they do” (Richard Baxter, Autobiography, pp. 157-158, 161).


(Taken from Day & Night: Unity Series, 2003)

2 comments:

Steve Harding said...

Hello, James:
I know this will sound like an odd question, but when you were in Japan, and when your wife was teaching at the Bible college, did either of you know a man named Minoru Hasegawa? He was the director of a bible college in Yokohama at the time, though I'm not sure which one. I'm doing research for a book, in which Mr Hasegawa will figure prominently.

James I Wilson said...

Steve Harding,

Bessie was Principle of a Women's Bible College in Yokohama from 1948-1952. She does not remember any other Bible College in Yokohama in those years. The Bible College later merged with Japan Christian College in Tokyo. She does not remember Minoru Hasegawa. He was probably later.

In Christ,

Jim Wilson