Brother Roger (see August 22) was laid to rest today in France. The service was led by Cardinal Walter Kasper, who served the communion to all who gathered. As Brother Roger would have wanted it there was no distinction made between Catholic and Protestant in the distribution of the elements.

Kasper noted that two things marked Brother Roger’s long life and ministry. First, he worked humbly and tirelessly for real ecumenism. He did not seek to change "official" dogmas but chose to demonstrate the common bonds that unite all who love Christ. Second, Kasper noted that "every form of injustice or neglect made him very sad." I pray that both will motivate me more and more as I seek to be an agent for reformation.

Brother Roger was the son of a Swiss Calvinist minister. He began the community he is now famous for, near Cluny, France, in 1940. He obviously did not see irresolvable conflict between his Reformed heritage and his ecumenical vision. I have come to agree with him over the course of the past ten years. I am happy to affirm the core of Reformed confessional life while embracing a healthy Christ-centered ecumenism at the same time. I know some conservative Protestants either misunderstand me or oppose me for this stance but I see, like Brother Roger, what I believe is a better way (1 Corinthians 13; Ephesians 4;4-6). I wish I could live this vision as well as he did.

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  1. steve September 1, 2005 at 11:23 pm

    I am sad to here of your ecumenism with heresy. You state that true religion must be Christ plus nothing, and yet, you hold hands with Christ denyers. This ought not be so. May you pity those who know not Christ so that you might preach Christ lovingly, boldly, firmly to those who need to forsake the rosary for Christ alone, who need to forsake the antichrist Pope for Christ alone, who need to forsake the bloody, false mysterious eucharist for the blood of Christ alone. And if you know true believing Catholics, then you need to show them to a true Christ-centered church.
    Who needs the rosary? Who needs the Pope? Who needs the eucharist when you can have Christ?
    Do you agree?
    True reformation will only happen when Christ is truely the center and not marginalized either by the evangelicals, catholics, or orthodox. All must simply repent and believe in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone founded and revealed in the Scr. alone for the glory of God alone with nothing added or twisted or traditionalized or mystified. The Pope is no vicar of Christ. He has no business taken the name of sovereign pontiff. Would you? Why would you encourage any priest to remain loyal to that kind of proud man (no matter how much political good he might do; he is still in his sins.)
    Read below from Spurgeon presented on the following web:
    Charles Spurgeon on the Pope [Tim]
    “Alas! alas! It makes a Christian’s blood boil to see glory given to a pack of scamps who call themselves priests!
    Does it not make a man feel, when you see pictures of ‘his holiness’ and the cardinals, and so on, scattering their benedictions at the Vatican, or at St. Peter’s, while admiring crowds fall down and worship them, that it were infinitely better to bow to the devil himself?
    We give glory unto God, but not a particle of glory to anything in the shape of a man, or an angel either.
    Have I not stood and seen the crowds by hundreds fall down and worship images and dressed up dolls? I have seen them worship bones and old teeth; I have seen them worship a skeleton, dressed out in modern costume said to be the skeleton of a saint.
    I have marveled to see people so infatuated as to think that such idolatry was pleasing to the most high God.
    We, brethren, the people of God, who know Christ, can give no glory to this rubbish, but turn away from it with horror!
    Our glory must be given to Christ, and to Christ alone!
    Christ and Christ only must be the grand object of the Christian; the promotion of His glory must be that for which he is willing to live, and for which, if needs be, he would be prepared to die.
    Oh! down, down, down, with everything else–but up, up, up, with the cross of Christ!
    Down with your baptism, and your masses, and your sacraments! Down with your priest-craft, and your rituals, and your liturgies! Down with your fine music, and your pomp, and your robes, and your garments, and all your ceremonials!
    But up, up, up, with the doctrine of the naked cross, and the expiring Savior!”

  2. Rich Vincent September 2, 2005 at 9:49 pm

    Oh! Down, down, down with Steve’s rubbish-filled rant!

  3. Nick Morgan September 3, 2005 at 10:12 pm

    Not only is your ranting irritating, but plainly innacurate both historically and Biblically! I respect Spurgeon, but he was not an inspired writer of scripture, and was clearly speaking from the limits of his own time and historical perspective. It was the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox (before the schism in 1054) as One Body, The Church, who gave us the great patristic writers, some who were disciples of the apostle’s, they recognized and officially declared the cannon of scripture we revere so much, and they fought the ancient heresies, like Arianism and Sabellianism, and gave us our wondersful ecumenical creeds (Nicene, Athanasian, and Chalcedonian) that have difined and established the boundaries of true, historic, Christian orthodoxy for centuries,which continue to shape how we interepret scripture and define our faith to this day. When brothers like you “put down your arms” and your polemical tirades and begin to pray, listen and learn with an open heart, then just maybe Christ’s Body will begin to move back toward unity in truth and orthodoxy, and Christ’s prayer for us all in John 17 will be fulfilled! Christ IS the center of the faith in Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestant Evangelicalism in both the Word AND the Sacraments. Even the Reformers knew this, though they reduced the number of Sacraments from 7 to 2. To me, that is an issue not worth debating, because Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Eucharist) are primary in each major Christian tradition. You might want to spend some time and energy studying Church history and reading the official teachings of these major traditions, rather than simply attacking them with “straw-man” arguments. If we, the Church, ever learn to follow Christ’s command to “love one another, as He has loved us”, there would be no schisms and reformations in the Body in the historical sense. Will we ever learn and stop grieving our blessed Lord Jesus with divisions in His Body?

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