Saturday, April 9, 2011

Logic and Ecclesiastical Divisions/Unity

It is common for many groups to harp on the many denominations or ecumenical groups as being a sign that there is no "universal" truth. They will then declare that their individual group bears the truth, as all their churches and leaders are united in faith and creed. Therefore, people are invited to join, in order to escape the chaos from the outside world. This kind of argumentation is common from groups such as Mormonism, Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy or otherwise. However, when analyzed logically, this is simply a self-fulfilling prophesy. Permit me, God willing, to explain.

Let us say you have Churches A, B, C and D. Church D labels the other three as examples of a division in the truth. D then proclaims that, because of the disagreements between A, B and C, the truth should be found in D, as all the members of D agree with one another and they have a common creed. Immediately, what is the fault in D's logic? The most obvious should be that what is true for D is likewise true for A, B and C as well. Unless there is complete ecclesiastical chaos, all of the members of A would agree with one another and have a common creed, as would the members/creeds of B and C. While you might have the occasional rogue members or minor disagreements, the individual churches are for the most part unified.

Let me put it another way. I am a Reformed Baptist, and though I am neither Lutheran, Methodist, nor a member of any other Christian branch, I have much fellowship in theology with my brothers. That is, if I were to travel to China and meet a Reformed Baptist, we would have the same creeds and fundamental beliefs as other Reformed Baptists. The division of the outside world does not affect my specific branch, just as it wouldn't affect a member of the Evangelical Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church of America, or otherwise.

The case of Church D, therefore, is a subtle example of special pleading, where a party attempts to exempt itself from the standards put in place. Even though D is technically of themselves part of that division, they do not hold themselves to the fault of that. Nor do they hold the other churches to the positive aspects they have within their own unity. This entire argumentation is simply a surface-level one.