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A New Post

Well, I guess it's time for my annual resolution for renewed summer blogging. I'm honestly going to try to blog more for the rest of the summer. Honestly. (We'll see how it goes.)
Last weekend, I attended the wedding of Ben and Christy Keele. You can view photos of the wedding here. (A Facebook photo album is forthcoming, and, FYI, all the photos are courtesy Zach Nelson.)

I was a groomsman in the wedding, which was a wonderful experience. First, I was thrilled for Ben and Christy, as I have been friends with Ben since 7th grade and have known Christy pretty much since when Ben began to befriend her. They had a wonderful wedding, and I was very happy for them.

On another note, a wedding has a completely different perspective from the front. As I watched Christy walk down the aisle, the imagery of the Church's being the bride of Christ became much more vivid than it ever had been. As I watched her father give her away, I wondered whether it would be the Holy Spirit giving us away to Christ as the Father officiated over the wedding. The Holy Spirit certainly has been the one who has cared for us, nurtured us, and been the one who has enabled us to adorn ourselves with good works (Revelation 19:7-8)--why shouldn't he be involved in the wedding?

Earlier in the summer, the one issue that was closest to my heart and mind was the unity of the true Church of Christ. I need to return to thinking and praying about this because it is not quite so important as it was earlier, but here are a few thoughts:
  • It is interesting that, of all things that Christ might have prayed for on behalf of the believers for whom he was going to die, Christ prayed specifically for the unity of the Church ("that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you....that they may be one even as we are one, 23I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me."--John 17:22-23). Granted he also prayed that people might see his glory and that they might be with him, but Jesus prays twice for the unity of the Church.
  • I do not want to argue for unity at all costs, but it seems like this should be much more of a focus for the Church than it has been, specifically since the Reformation. During these past few months, I heard someone pose the question, "Is it possible that, even if the Reformers were correct in their theology, that they sinned in not loving the Church to death, withdrawing rather than seeking to restore those who were lost?" I know that those in power within the Catholic Church had their own faults, and I love the Reformers as much as the next guy, but this question really has been haunting my ways of thinking (i.e., theological correctness over unity) lately.
  • Is it possible that the reason there is such a focus in the New Testament on love for the brethren (rather than, say, on love for anyone and everyone) is that the apostles recognized the ever-present possibility that the Church could be split by a multitude of factors. Something to think about...

That's all for now. I will really try to keep more coming. Honestly. Hopefully. Maybe.

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Hey Jacob, this is J.D. I read your and Andrew's blog from time to time, and I think it's extremely interesting (and I like Sufjan and Sigur Ros). I just read your thoughts on Church unity and I thought you might like to read the book "Is The Reformation Over?: An Evangelical Assessment Of Contemporary Roman Catholicism" by Mark Noll and Carolyn Nystrom. It's an in-depth account of the historical disagreements between Catholics and Evangelicals, and how they have tried to remedy them since Vatican II. They present some good suggestions for resolution between the two sides.

I believe Pope John Paul II made great strides in the unity of the church, at least in terms of the East and West, which is something that desperately needs unification (or at least the ability to play well with others) and I would hazard a guess that this is not completely off of the agenda of the current Pope as well.

As unlearned as I am with the specifics of how the Reformers did what they did... It is the responsibility of the members of a church (at least in the OPC/PCA model of which I am most familiar and feel is Biblical) to point out errors in the teaching of the church and to help the church correct those errors. However, the church may insist on continuing to teach with errors - and there are certainly some things that are less issues and some things that are much more significant. The two-office vs three-office argument the PCA and OPC have is one of those lesser issues that really isn't important, but if I'm in a church that is preaching salvation through some other means than faith in Christ and His redemptive grace and the church is unwilling to change, I don't have a choice but go elsewhere. Is it important for the church to try to persevere? Of course. Sometimes it's a fuzzy line about whether it's right to split or whether you should keep pushing for change.

What did Jesus mean in John 17 when he prays that "we will be one"? Is not the Catholic Church THE church?

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