Time to ‘ratchet up’ unity efforts among Christians
By Deborah Gyapong
In order to win the world for Jesus Christ, Christians must overcome divisions among themselves, Franciscan priest Father Dmitri Sala told the Fire and Fusion Conference here Aug. 6.
Despite the great things God is doing, the household of God is a “house divided,” weakening the power of the Church, said the author of “The Stained Glass Curtain: Crossing the Evangelical-Catholic Divide” to find our common heritage.
“A house-divided is not headed for revival; but headed for ruin,” he warned.
The Chicago-based priest told the conference it is time to “ratchet up” unity efforts among Christians. “If Satan can keep us fighting one another, we won’t have the energy to fight him!” he said.
On the important issue of salvation, evangelicals and Catholics believe the same things, he said. His book examines how the Protestant’s method of sharing the Gospel through the Four Spiritual Laws is consistent with Catholic teaching.
Father Sala explained how fellowship with black Pentecostal preachers led him to experience much healing as he witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit. When they would discover he was Catholic, however, they would advise him to leave the “Whore of Babylon” where people worship statues and Mary, he said. So Father Sala decided if he was going to leave the Church he needed to understand what it is he is leaving. His studies of Church documents and the Catechism led him to write the book to share what the Catholic Church actually teaches, beyond the false impressions.
Referring to a description of the early Church in Acts, Father Sala said the unity, love and lifestyle of Christians drew those in the surrounding culture to say, “I want that!”
“Christian unity breeds transformation,” he said. “Life not lingo; reality not rhetoric.” The early Christian unity “commanded respect.” But today, with 33,000 denominations, the Christianity has lost its credibility. “What does the world outside the world see?” he asked. People see Christians “divided into camps” and Sunday “the most segregated day of the week.”
When they see Christians fighting with each other like a dysfunctional family, they will look elsewhere to find meaning. “People are not interested in studying our theology,” he said. “They are studying us!”
He asked participants to imagine a holy, unified Church. “What if the Church became a ‘shock and awe’ society?” He urged Christians to shed any part of their flesh that proves to be an impediment to unity such as: ways of relating; suspicion; and prejudice. No true unity will be found without a cost, without Christians taking up their cross, he said.
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