Lumen Fidei: The Unity & Integrity of Faith

With so many denominations and parachurch organizations on the earth, even if we believe in Christian unity we cannot think of it the way the Church did until1054 a.d., when the Roman Church split dramatically for the first time.  We come to the notion of unity from a different place.

The Pope provides three good reasons why the light of faith shines brightest when there is unity.  Each bears pondering.

But the elements converge in a call to be “one” at the level of Creed.  The farther we go into our institutional differences, the more difficult unity becomes.  I think that is one reason why the Creeds do not nuance every doxtrine–and–one reason why God worked in the Church to create the Creeds before the schisms began.  I doubt we would be able to produce Creeds today, given all the ways we are separated today.

But what we do have is the Creeds.  Unity is possible there.  We can profess a common faith there.  And, like Pope Francis, I believe the light of faith shines brightest there.  We are the ones who think the light increases when we “spell out” all our thoughts about everything.  Instead, God thinks we shine brightest when we declare our faith without all the details.

I may not be allowed to join every Christian at the Communion rail, but we can all stand out in the congregation and say, “I believe in God the Father almighty…..”

About jstevenharper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 31 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
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