You want unity in the church? Then agree on these questions

January 13, 2016

Anne Kennedy, a gifted writer and evangelical Anglican blogger (of the American variety—ACNA?), reflects on the most important questions facing leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion as they gather this week in Canterbury. Despite what you’ve heard, these questions don’t pertain directly to homosexuality; rather, the debate surrounding that issue is an inevitable symptom of our problem.

We United Methodists should bear her words in mind when leaders from our denomination gather in Portland, Oregon, later this year for General Conference.

How is a person to be saved? More importantly, does anyone need saving? That is the question that the Anglican world has not been able to come to grips with. Tragically, I am of the mind that the human person, every single one of them in fact, is very far gone, is like a sheep who has gone astray, who can’t find her, or even his, way back, is needing to be rescued. I know this because the scriptures themselves say it. And I have taken the trouble to read and understand those same scriptures. I have discovered that they can be known, that they are reliable and true, and that Jesus can’t be grasped apart from them. He himself is the savior, he desires that all should turn from the self and sin and repent. For the one who repents he is faithful to forgive.

But you can’t pry him away from the scripture and expect him to be the savior who saves you. You just can’t do that. If you pry Jesus out and reform him into something that is more suitable to yourself and the culture, any culture, you no longer have a Jesus who can save. That is the essential point. It’s always been the essential point. It hasn’t changed. It isn’t complicated. Meeting together all day long, if you don’t agree about that, isn’t going to bring unity of belief and purpose. It only continues to confuse.

And confusion abounds in every direction. Christianity of every brand and flavor is in chaos. Prominent pastors and teachers are every day inching up closer to that alluring, siren call of heresy. Ordinary people in the west largely believe they are going to heaven, because they are good, and God, whoever he is, and it doesn’t really matter, loves them. In the era of the BuzzFeed Christian, a clear, full throated proclamation of who Jesus is is of the essence.

And on that note, I will go and enjoin my spirit to God in prayer, that he will not only save the lost, but that he will also save and rescue his church.

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