Despite our denominational differences, we must learn to act together as one Church:
Welcome anyone who is weak in faith, but not for disputes over opinions… Who are you to pass judgment on someone else’s servant? Before his own master he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (For) one person considers one day more important than another, while another person considers all days alike. Let everyone be fully persuaded in his own mind. -Romans 14:1-5, NAB
The Christian world has been split into more denominations than one can count. It divides us as a Church and makes us less effective at standing up for our faith in the public square. We spend more time arguing amongst each other over our differences than standing together united. We need to change all that.
What is ecumenism? Ecumenism is the effort from the various Christian denominations to stand together as one body of believers, just as Jesus had intended. To do so, we put aside our differences and realize that we have one uniting element – Jesus Christ. What could be more important than that?
Often times, we get caught up, as Christians of different denominations, by focusing on apologetics. Apologetics is the defending of our beliefs, but we seem to overly focus on defending our beliefs to Christians of other denominations. Instead of focusing on apologetics, I argue that our focus should be more on evangelization – spreading the Gospel to those without it.
We have become so caught up in our differences as Christians, that we have lost focus on sharing God’s Word with the world. Our primary mission as Catholics should not be to convert as many Christians as we can to Catholicism, but to reach out to those who do not even have Jesus in the first place. And, I’m just as guilty as everyone else. In my former life as a Protestant, I rarely thought about the differences I had with Catholics. As a Catholic, I have spent a lot of time thinking about my differences with Protestants. It is an easy trap for us to fall into.
While it is important for us to help our non-Catholic, Christian brothers and sisters know the truth about the Catholic Church, it is probably more important for us to work on evangelizing the world. Even if we simply worked on evangelizing to non-practicing Catholics, those Catholics who do NOT have a personal relationship with Jesus, we could make a big difference in the Kingdom.
Our differences are large; there is no denying that, but let’s stop arguing over the details and refocus our ministries on evangelizing a fallen world. The world really needs Jesus right about now, and it is our job to introduce them to Him. Let’s stop fighting amongst ourselves, and start working together to teach the world about our beautiful, merciful, gracious God.