Sunday, February 25, 2007

"Spirit" -> The Divided Church

See the spires to the side? They are on a Eastern Orthodox Church.

If you look at the Christian Church, you will find that this branch is about half the size of the Protestant Church.

Christians 33%
  • Roman Catholics 17%
  • Protestants 6%
  • Orthodox 3%
  • Anglicans 1%

At several times, the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church got very close to reuniting in a bigger fashion, but it was due to the Filioque Clause in the Nicene Creed that the fracture remained large.

The Filioque Clause. Doesn't sound like much, but for this, we could have had one common creed in all of those that call themselves Christian.

Now, I gave you a break down of Christians in the world. As long as we are here, we can see the rest of the data. According to the CIA Fact Book (our government dollars at work), we get the following breakdown of people in various religions other than Christianity:

Muslims 20%,

Hindus 13%,

Buddhists 6%,

Sikhs 0.39%

Jews 0.23%

Other religions 12.61%

Non-religious 12.03%

Atheists 2.36%

From this data we know that almost 1/3rd of the world population is exposed to Christianity. Christianity is the world's dominate religion in terms of exposure. The question becomes "what ties together all of these Christian beliefs?" For all practical purposes, the Nicene Creed does, except for one small little piece.

Now you may remember that I've talked about the Nicene creed before. Let's look at it again.

If you look at the Nicene Creed, you will see two slightly different versions:

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets.

See the phrase "and the Son?" This is the whole break of the clause. The Eastern Orthodox Church says that it is critical that the Holy Spirit does not proceed from both the Father and the Son. "From the Son" is basically the word "filioque," and now you know why it is called the filioque clause.

Mind you, the eastern orthodox don't disagree with the trinity, all they are arguing is the nature of how the Spirit proceeds.

The Orthodox believes that the Son is Begotten of the Father.

The Orthodox believes that in a similar fashion the Spirit proceeds fro the Father.

Now, I don't want to get into the theology of which is the better version. I think that both can be argued from scripture. What I do want to point out that I believe that it is by divine guidance do we have this fracture. If not for this fracture, we would not have 3 separate branches of the church.

There is one holy universal church. These are those that belong to Jesus Christ. However, if the church had been united under one creed, I believe that the Church would have turned into even more of a political instrument than it is today.

In as much as we are united in Love, this is the will of God.

In thinking that we need to be perfectly united in ever doctrinal thought is to set ourselves up for failure. To prevent us from destroying ourselves, divine providence caused us to be divided in some aspects.

Don't argue with God on this one. Simply let him lead you to the church that he wants you in.

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