Monday, July 28, 2008

Cardinal Diaz to the Lambeth Bishops


Cardinal Diaz didn't aim directly at the problems of the Anglican communion in his address to the Anglican Bishops at Lambeth. But he sure made a few pointed remarks and overall pitched the tone of his address towards hard-bitten, dinky-di evangelical Christianity.
For a disciple of Jesus Christ, then, to preach the Gospel is not an option, but a command of the Lord. It is for this reason that St. Paul exclaimed: “Though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory about: for it is a necessity laid upon me, and woe unto me, if I preach not the gospel” (1 Cor 9:16). The urgency to preach the Good News is as true today as it was two thousand years ago, even if some scholars have naïvely declared God to be dead, forgetting that they are dealing with a God who found His way out of the grave; and notwithstanding the opinions of some theologians who blush at proclaiming the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and the universality of His salvation, mindless of His stern warning that, if anyone denies Him here before men, He will deny him before His Father in heaven (Mt 10:33).
And this bit:
In the first Christian era, the pagans were attracted to the Christian faith because of the way Christians behaved, and they remarked: “See, how they love each other”. This Christian witness is well described in the Letter to Diognetus, written by a Christian apologist in the second century. I deem it wise to quote some excerpts of this Letter, which would make many a Christian pastor to think, and some even to blush:..."For them [Christians], any foreign country is a motherland, and any motherland is a foreign country. Like other human beings, they marry and beget children, though they do not expose their infants. Any Christian is free to share his neighbour’s table, but never his marriage-bed.
Mmm...

So I guess it was a surprising point to find a spirited-defence of Inter-religious Dialogue in the Church's evangelising mission:
For a Christian then, a dialogue of religions entails the discovery of the relationship between the working of the Holy Spirit in the Christian faith and His persevering action in other religious traditions. It forms a part of the mission of proclamation entrusted by Christ Himself to His disciples... Dialogue, in fact, is never an attempt to impose our own views upon others, since such dialogue would become a form of spiritual and cultural domination; nor does it mean that we abandon our own convictions. Rather, it means that, holding firmly to what we believe, we listen respectfully to others, seeking to discern all that is good and holy, all that favours peace and co-operation.
And, as a man from within the old British Empire, is is also well aware of the best of the English apologists:
The world today needs Christian apologists, not apologisers; it needs persons like John Henry Cardinal Newman, G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, Hilaire Belloc and others, who brilliantly expose the beauty of the Christian faith without blushing or compromise.
A good speech. Have a read.

1 Comments:

At Friday, August 01, 2008 12:27:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

Well he mentioned the Chesterbelloc, so I shall!

 

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