A United Resistance
Recently, I had been involved in a lengthy discussion at Christian Apologetics Alliance (CAA) regarding the “about” page of Walking Christian. I made a simple proposition to unify a failing and divided church, but I was met with 100% resistance. But perhaps that’s just the problem, I had an overly-simplified philosophy of how this could be accomplished. The objections were no doubt humbling, but I was just surprised at how united their opposition was. Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, and even Protestants were all united, which is a strange thing given how divided they are on other issues. I suppose some of this hostility can be attributed to the inflammatory premise from which I began: “The church has failed us”. I quickly learned the hard way that I should never begin with a premise that attacks what a person holds dear to them. It just seemed self-evident to me at the time that most people would see how the church has in general failed to be the intellectual, moral, and spiritual force that it should be in the secular world. From here I began to offer a philosophical solution by illustrating what a christian should be in hopes that we can be unified by similar goals. I have never been more wrong. It quickly became discouraging, however, because none of them attempted to offer better proposals. Some just pretended the problem of “division” did not exist in being or practice, while others just told me that it was impossible to do this with a blog.
I got called “arrogant, misguided, and destined to fail” because I have a desire to repair the church through a blog. To an extent though, they’re right. How can a 20-year old hope to ever change such deeply integrated divisions? Their active resistance alone is proof of this. They recommended I fix the church from within instead. Except I never once intended to do this without the church. To start from within, you need to start with the individuals. That’s precisely what I want to do for readers of WC. This is why, for example, you see an “Ask” page on here. It’s my desire to help others in any possible way that I can, not just online but the real world as well. But I think some of the older generations consider it impossible to produce real friendships, real discipling, and real spiritual formation in the online world. The internet does indeed lack certain features that physical interactions provide, but I know from experience that it is indeed possible to build real relationships online. In fact, I have had experiences where meeting an online person in real life is truly not that much different. Obviously, I do think it is preferable to have face to face relationships, but the internet is a good stepping stone for making this happen. Which is precisely what I think WC is, a stepping stone for the church to interact in a greater way.
The general consensus on CAA is that this idea is not going to work. According to some of them, if I were to accomplish this, I would need to be the one who “decides” what is essential to Christianity or not. Others objected that there cannot be division in the church in principle or in practice, thereby removing the problem altogether. This is because anyone who is not a part of their church is necessarily not a part of the body of Christ. Several others misinterpreted my statements by claiming that I want to replace the church, ignore our disagreements, find fault with all churches, and advocate a relationship-only christianity. This cannot be further from the truth, but it does at least show that I could perhaps be a bit more clear on this matter. There’s also the need to present a “plan of action” for how this will work, because it’s one thing to come together and agree with doctrines, but it’s another to actually work together. How can do we do that? The internet is spread out across the globe. It’s not like we can all come together at a specific location and help that neighborhood. That’s not going to happen, each person has their own community and church to partake in.
To answer all such detractors: It’s impossible if I am to do this alone. This wall of doctrine that divides us cannot be torn down by my own power. In fact, like Hadrian’s wall, it was developed to keep the “church intact” from the barbarians and if I work to tear down that wall, I will only bring fear and resistance. Even if I demonstrated my good intentions, it would not help to detach the barbaric nature of my acts as they perceive it. Almost every church has their own wall, it doesn’t matter what denomination you are from. For example, I attend Grace Church and they think that Roman Catholicism is from Satan. Do you see how both sides tends to paint each other as barbaric? And each attempts to bring unity by declaring the other as “wrong” or by creating different churches. There’s a place for doctrinal correction, to be sure, but I think more has been done throughout the history of the church to use it to justify division, instead of creating true unification. Are we going to change that or should we just shrug our shoulders and continue doing what we already know has failed?
I choose the former. In spite of all the seemingly insurmountable difficulties, in spite of all the criticism, and in spite of all the prophets that predict I will be an inevitable failure, I make the choice to do this anyway. Isn’t that irrational? No, because if God is for me, who can be against me? This is my calling, but even if I fail, at least I’ll know I tried to do something. When no one else would, a young shepherd (David) went to battle with Goliath in spite of all the mockery, in spite of all the arguments for its impossibility, and in spite of his predicted failure. Even if David failed, he showed more courage to fight than all the Israelites combined. That’s the kind of biblical character that I want to imitate. If you think it’s impossible, then may I suggest that you underestimate the power of God. You can either choose to do nothing and continue the problem, or walk with me as I follow Christ and do something that can change the world. This is a battle, and if you’re not prepared to endure through the endless struggles that will inevitably follow, then I suggest you’re not prepared to follow Christ.