A Pact between Factions of Christendom?

Protestants, Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox might regard each other as different religions (then again, they might not), but our enemies certainly don’t. For liberals, Moslems, homosexualists, feminists, radical environmentalists, et al, the three versions of Christianity are just slightly different flavors of the same poison. Or, to switch metaphors, our common enemies see Christians of all sorts as essentially the same pack of rats who deserve to be exterminated.

It is therefore natural to think of ecumenical Christian cooperation against the enemies of Christendom, who are also enemies of the West. But never before had I heard someone express the idea as a pact. Until Mark Citadel, in a comment at The Orthosphere:

That which I consider undoubtedly possible is a religious pact between East Christendom and West Christendom which declares war on any traces of Modernism. Both should carry the penalty of exile against the Cult of Progress, which will come to be known to both as the worst heresy imaginable.

Mr. Citadel identifies the primal enemy as Modernism; we could just as well call it liberalism or political correctness.

[Christendom is also threatened on a primal level by Islam. But the threat from Islam is radically different from the threat from liberalism. In a nutshell, Islam is an external threat our leaders are foolishly empowering because of the Modernist doctrine of multiculturalism whereas liberalism is an organic and malignant growth within the West itself.]

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But the three types of Christianity generally regard one another as heretics. Could there be a pact between Christian factions? If, for example, a Catholic were being persecuted for denying justification by faith alone or affirming Purgatory then as a Protestant I would have to say that he had it coming, in some sense. But Catholics are not being persecuted for these things in the modern world. They’re being persecuted for denying abortion and homosexualism, for affirming the divinity of Christ and salvation in him alone, and so on. In other words, they’re being persecuted for believing more or less what I believe. That makes Catholics, in a sense, my natural allies in a culture war. I could support a Catholic who is being persecuted because he refuses to honor homosexuality, for example. And I could join Orthodox Christians in a campaign against, say, abortion or mass immigration. A pact therefore makes sense.

*

So in one way the pact makes perfect sense and is desperately needed. And in another way a pact seems impossible. Yet if the ways are clearly understood, a pact is possible.

A pact makes sense because the factions of Christendom have many common convictions and interests, and common enemies who see no significant differences between us. But a formal pact would be impossible for several reasons. Each tradition holds the others to be heretical, at some level. The leaders of most Christian denominations don’t oppose our modernist enemies and would therefore be horrified by the idea of an anti-modernist pact. And hard-liners within each tradition would refuse to cooperate in any way with those whom they see as pseudo-Christian heretics, even to cooperate against Modernism.

But an informal pact, agreed to by individuals, could do much good.

*

The pact would start with members of the three varieties of Christianity affirming their right to disagree with one another, both in the sense of holding different convictions and of speaking publicly against the errors of the other parties. In this way, an individual Christian would retain his sense of integrity and his spirit, both of which would be weakened by too much ecumenism.

But signatories of the pact would also pledge not to attack the other parties in the sense of trying to cause harm. They would identify Modernism as the greater enemy.  And they would acknowledge the other parties as being their brothers in a manner of speaking, their brothers in arms against Modernism, and therefore pledge mutual support whenever possible in their common battle with Liberalism.

[“Harm,” as any lawyer can tell you, is an elastic concept. It would therefore be up to the individual to determine whether his actions harm another Christian. And the other Christian might believe that harm was intended when it was not actually intended. The spirit of the Pact is easier to define than the letter.]

In what way could a Protestant, a Catholic and an Eastern Orthodox be brothers? When they are being attacked for supporting the commonly-recognized good. Although I reject his purgatory and his Papacy, a Catholic could be my brother if we are jointly fighting for a good we both recognize.

At the same time, as brothers in a manner of speaking, each of us denies and opposes what we see as the other’s false beliefs. Depending on the temperaments and other convictions of the individuals involved, it might be possible for us to be brothers while still publicly opposing each other’s sectarian beliefs.

What makes us brothers is that we don’t hate one another on account of our sectarian beliefs. We recognize enough commonality to make brotherhood possible, at least in a manner of speaking.

But we must acknowledge that this sort of cooperation will be impossible for some people.

*

So by signing on to the pact an individual affirms that even when he publicly disagrees with another Christian’s doctrine, or publicly attacks that doctrine, his underlying motive is not hatred of the other Christian.  He desires to be faithful to the Christian tradition of which he is a part, and perhaps to call his partially-wayward brother to embrace the true faith.  And he affirms that some common action against Modernism is possible.

Again, we cannot call on anyone to regard a member of another Christian tradition as his brother. That is a decision that individuals will have to make on their own. And, of course, many will be unable to do so.

*

In general, a pact acknowledges that the parties have differing interests but that they will temporarily and partially put aside these differences in order to face a common enemy or to achieve mutually beneficial results. It does not pretend that differences do not exist, or that they are of no importance, but it calls for common action.

A pact also acknowledges (if only implicitly) that there has been hostility between the parties, and even that this hostility has some basis in reality. It expresses that the parties agree temporarily to put aside their hostility in order to meet a greater threat. In this respect, a pact represents a sacrifice on the part of both parties, as each voluntarily (and perhaps temporarily) renounces a valid claim against the other side in order to achieve a greater good.

*

There are three basic ways in which a member of a sect can relate to other sects. I will illustrate by speaking as a Protestant to Catholicism, but the reader can easily substitute equivalent ways in which his church would address another faction of Christendom:

One: “Our historic conflict has been a tragedy. We must put aside our differences and work together to make a better world.”

Two: “You are not Christians. You are not my brothers.”

Three:  “Catholicism teaches some false doctrine.  But so does much of my Protestantism. And man does not just live within a church. He is also part of a nation, and our nation is being ravaged by the evil of liberalism. Therefore I can sometimes make common cause with even a Catholic when it comes to opposing abortion, or homosexualism, or atheism, and so on.”

The pact would, of course, take the general approach of the third way.

*

Here’s what’s especially tricky about this proposal. On the one hand, the pact will not require its adherents to make theological peace with Christian bodies with whom they disagree. This will be a pact against Modernism, not heresy. But on the other hand there must be some theological agreement among all parties to the pact, lest we allow in Jews, Buddhists and Moslems, for example, which would obviously be unworkable. A good starting place might be the Ecumenical Creeds, for example: The Nicene Creed, the Apostles’ Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and the Chalcedonian Creed. These do not put forward the entirety of Christianity, but they form its sine qua non, its indispensable foundation.

[Yes, there is dispute over even the Ecumenical Creeds. But remember the spirit of the Pact: Perfect agreement is not necessary.]

*

The pact would continue by identifying Modernism (or liberalism) as the greatest current enemy of Christendom. Modernism sees no differences between the factions of Christendom and therefore Christians of any particular faction will gain nothing by supporting (even if only implicitly) modernist attacks against another faction. If, for example, Modernism were to exterminate Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy while leaving Catholicism standing, this would be no benefit to Rome. A Modernism powerful enough to crush two branches of Christendom would not leave Catholicism standing for long.

*

Theologically sophisticated Protestants have a long history of opposing the idea of Christendom. [As opposed to lowbrow Evangelical culture warriors of the “Moral Majority” stripe.] For one thing, the apparatus of Christian political rule does not appear in Scripture. For another, an officially-Christian society encourages people to regard themselves as Christian by birth rather than by conviction, which facilitates apostasy. Theologically conservative Protestants affirm that individuals must repent and have true faith in Christ in order to be Christians in the proper sense of the word.

But man does not live by faith alone. (As a Protestant, I affirm that he is justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, but he does not live by faith alone.) Man also needs his daily bread, and he needs to be part of a society which allows him to live as a human being instead of as a slave or a cog in a giant social machine or an atom in a giant social Brownian motion. And Modernism, whether it intends to or not, naturally leads to these outcomes.

Therefore society needs an official religion, regardless of whether it is formally established by law. And in the West the traditional religion is Christianity. It is true that pre-Christian religions were once the “official” religions of the European nations. But we are Christians. We recognize that Christianity is the true religion. Therefore we should fight against the enemies of Christianity and for the re-establishment (in whatever form that might take) of Christianity as our officially-recognized religion.

And fighting requires cooperation. The most effective method of conquest (when it can be carried out) is to divide and conquer, that is, to separate your enemies into small groups which can more easily be defeated one at a time. We must strive not to let the enemies of Christ do that to us.

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Here’s a small example of a pact in action: Responding to Pope Francis.

As a Protestant I might say that the current Pope (or “Pope,” as traditionalist Catholics sometimes say) is not a threat to me, except insofar as he promotes false Catholic doctrine. But in fact Francis has become my enemy by issuing public pronouncements giving aid and comfort to homosexualists, socialists, illegal aliens, and so on. In this way he is the common enemy of non-liberal Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox alike. He is an ecumenical offender.

I can therefore make common cause with a traditionalist Catholic by opposing those of Francis’s false teachings that the Catholic also acknowledges to be false.

*

In order to start discussion, here is a possible anti-Modernist pact. Since no pact of this sort can make specific plans for action, it is worded at the level of first principles: identification of a common enemy, a call for the avoidance of unnecessary hostility, a description of common beliefs, and a pledge of mutual sympathy and support.

 

A Possible Christian Anti-Modernist Pact

In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen

We the undersigned Christians, acknowledging both the serious doctrinal disagreements within Christendom and the large body of our agreements on Christian doctrine, do hereby express our desire for all possible common action against the greatest of our mutual enemies. This enemy goes by several names: liberalism, progressivism, political correctness, and Modernism. As those who have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and who acknowledge the truth of the morality He taught, we oppose Modernism’s satanic assault on the traditional ways of life within our Western nations and we pledge to oppose it wherever we can.

For Modernism is based on the radical denial of the God of the Bible and fights against any trace of Christendom. Modernism seeks to make man the measure of all things and is therefore blasphemy against the one true and living God and also a hopeless enterprise. For since mankind is finite and sinful, it can never on its own attain the wisdom and virtue needed to flourish.

The body of Christ is regrettably divided into three broad traditions, commonly called Catholic, Protestant and Eastern Orthodox. While these traditions agree on a large number of important Christian doctrines, including the Triune nature of the Biblical God, the deity of Jesus of Nazareth, the Resurrection of Christ from the dead, and the necessity of faith in Christ for a man’s salvation, they are also divided over many important doctrines. This division even extends to some Christians, in good conscience, believing that some members of other traditions are not Christians.

We do not call on Christians to drop their opposition to doctrines they oppose. Instead, we call on them to acknowledge the necessity for all possible common action against our common Modernist enemy, when this enemy attacks those doctrines and practices which we all support. We call on a Christian not to hate members of another tradition, while simultaneously acknowledging that as a man of integrity, a Christian cannot pretend to agree with something he regards as wrong, nor can he refrain from publicly disagreeing with what he understands to be falsehood.

Instead, we the signatories to this pact do hereby affirm that we can hold to our sectarian beliefs while at the same time not harboring hatred for members of another Christian sect. We affirm that we will continue, when we judge it necessary, publicly to argue against those doctrines we oppose, but that we will not hate or wish harm on a member of another Christian tradition on account of his false beliefs.

Christians who fight the same Modernist beliefs and practices that we fight are our brothers in this battle. And because we do not hate our Christian brother from another tradition, we will whenever possible render him aid and comfort in his battle against our common Modernist enemy. If nothing else, we will look on him with sympathy.

As the standards which define our brotherhood, we do commonly affirm the ancient creeds known as the Nicene Creed, the Apostles’ Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and the Chalcedonian Creed. Any person who can in good conscience declare his agreement with these creeds, who recognizes Modernism as the deadly enemy of mankind, and who is prepared to regard Christians of another tradition as brothers in the sense of this pact, is welcome to join us.

As Christians saved by the mercy of God rather than our own virtue, we pledge not to harbor hatred for people who subscribe to Modernism. Although we will oppose the foul deeds and false beliefs of Modernism, and we will not have close fellowship with any person, Christian or not, who shows himself to be a partisan of Modernism, we acknowledge that Modernism, broadly defined, has brought some benefits to mankind, and we also acknowledge that

we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. [Eph. 6:12,13]

We will defend ourselves when necessary, but we will seek to follow the Lord who taught us

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  [Mat. 5:44,45]

 

[End of proposed Pact.]

Well, Christian reactionaries, there it is. What do you think?

50 thoughts on “A Pact between Factions of Christendom?

  1. Pingback: A Pact between Factions of Christendom? | Neoreactive

  2. Cooperation against the threats of Modernism that are common to all three branches. Sounds good to me. I’m on board.
    I wonder if friendly Jews like Paul Gottfried could be worked in there somehow.

  3. Alan @ would you mind moving your fold to below your first paragraph. Kristor and I have very fresh pieces that might still catch the eye of potential readers if they are not pushed off the bottom of small laptop and tablet screens. Thanks.

  4. From a Catholic perspective, Modernism is the synthesis of all heresies, of which the Protestant Revolution was the progenitor. There is a direct line of causality (and responsibility) from the rejection of Apostolic and Magiserial authority by Luther, Henry, Zwingli, Calvin, et al., to the liberté-, égalité- and fraternité-flavored Jacobin rejection of monarchical authority, to the modern rejection of any authority external to the self (especially including the Divine). One can’t expect to climb halfway back up the slippery slope and find stability there.

      • Really?

        In this post, you, a Protestant, propose an alliance with Catholics against modernists. I, a Catholic, point out that from my perspective, that is a not-very-compelling request from one heresy for help against another. Moreover, evn if implemented, it’s a pact doomed to fail. No amount of purely human effort can overcome the powers and principalities with which we wrestle. Divine assistance is required, and not likely to be obtained in a utilitarian pact with those who deny one or more element of the Faith, which denial has lost them the supernatural virtue of the same name.

      • It’s irrelevant because I’m not making a theological proposal but a practical one. You fall into the category of those who cannot bring themselves to ally in any form with those you see as heretics, so the pact is irrelevant to you.

        Of course you’re free to denounce the pact, but you’re not a party to it.

      • You ended your post with “Christian reactionaries, there it is. What do you think?” and proposed the pact to Catholics, generally. As a Catholic, particularly, I’m offering what I think — why at least those traditional Catholics who take their faith seriously (here explicitly excepting those hippy-dippy Vatican-II-celebrating types) wouldn’t sign on.

        In particular, the creed asks signatories to affirm that “We do not call on Christians to drop their opposition to doctrines they oppose.” This stands is explicit contradistinction to our Lord’s Great Commission, and sounds a lot like “we accept that our separated brethren have the right to believe whatever they want, no matter how false, so long as they overlap with some least common denominator with us.” While this may sound fine to Protestant ears, which surround a mind that has embraced the “you are the final arbiter of your own theological tradition” philosophy, it’s (literally) anathema to Catholics.

        Notably, your pact doesn’t define Modernism, although it does capitalize it. Without a separate definition to work with, I’m assuming it overlaps generally with the Catholic understanding of the term, which has more than a century of provenance, hearkening back to Pope St. Pius X’s encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis: http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-x/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-x_enc_19070908_pascendi-dominici-gregis.html.

        I don’t agree that I “fall into the category of those who cannot bring themselves to ally in any form with those you see as heretics.” I’ve plenty of Protestant friends and relatives, and am happy to ally with them in any number of situations. But if you want to co-opt a defined heresy (Modernism) of my faith, which explicitly follows from the heresy you yourself embrace (Protestantism), and then propose that I “not call on [you] to drop doctrines [I] oppose,” my feedback is negative. If you want to define an enemy more explicitly, and drop the theological concessions that you ask Catholics (and effectively, given our differing philosophies regarding Authority, only Catholics) to make, you’d make more headway with Catholics (and probably Orthodox, as well, who it might interest you to know aren’t generally considered “heretics” from a Catholic perspective, but rather “schismatics”).

      • Your second paragraph sounds to me as if you took my statement

        “We DO NOT call on Christians to drop their opposition to doctrines they oppose.”

        and changed it to

        “We DO call on Christians to drop their opposition to doctrines they oppose.”

        As I said, signatories to the pact can continue to oppose doctrines that they do, in fact oppose. And it is up to the individual to decide if his opposition is so great that he cannot in good conscience remain a signatory to the pact.

      • Hmm, we did have different understandings of that phrase.

        “We (Catholics) DO NOT call on (Protestant) Christians to drop their opposition to (Catholic) doctrines they oppose.”

        … a statement that I could not see any Catholic in good conscience making. Re-reading it with your emphases, I now see that you meant:

        “We (Catholics) DO NOT call on (fellow Catholic) Christians to drop their opposition to (Protestant) doctrines they oppose.”

      • That’s correct. A signatory to the pact can simultaneously see a member of another Christian tradition (I’m deliberately using ecumenical language) as a brother in a manner of speaking, and as theologically mistaken, perhaps even heretical.

        As I said, some Christians will not be able to make such a judgment. And even if he can, he will not take this attitude toward all members of other traditions, but will make case-by-case decisions.

  5. The wording is as agreeable as it could likely be made, so I commend you for drawing it up. It should be noted such a thing is not without precedent. The schism between East and West occurred in 1054, and the First Crusade, requested by the Orthodox against the Mohammedans was declared in 1096. Now, obviously this all ended horribly with the eventual sacking of Constantinople and the destruction of the last remnants of the Roman Empire, but still was some sense that for a time we could turn our swords outward against the larger threat, and the threat today is even more grave than the Caliphate ever was.

    However, from further observation, I think that Intra-Christian sniping is less of a problem than I first thought. What Christians of all stripes must do, and this is critical, is stop the name of Christ being invoked by those who practice the Cult of Progress. It is hard to wage war under the banner of God when His name is invoked by such weasels and vipers as ‘Progressive Christians’. These sects need to be driven out and destroyed, not because of their doctrinal disagreements with any one of us, but because of their covert allegiances which conspire against the Lord.

    I have my issues with the Catholic Church, some absolutely integral (the ultimate order of deference that must be paid by sovereign to priest), and some largely unimportant (the immaculate conception of Mary).

    With Protestants, graver issues stand, their rejection of the priesthood as a class with a civic institutional role, the denial of the Christian mysteries, and bizarre satanic doctrines that have emerged from some sects like dual-covenant theory.

    However, of this I am certain, that I can tell even if misguided in his mode of service, a man (Catholic or Protestant) has a commitment to God and declares the truth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, crucified on the cross as was foreordained. And I can tell when a so-called ‘Christian’ does not believe this, when his god is Mammon and when his god is his own pride. Those ‘Christians’ I hope are as apparent to others as they are to me. If Christianity is to ride forth and vanquish the darkness choking the Occidental people when all hope seems lost, then it must first crush these snakes in our midst underfoot.

    • Well said, Mark. Thank you for weighing in.

      I see the pact as primarily one of non-aggression. But as you say, many who put on the name of Christ reject Him. We must do what we can to identify them as non-Christians and to oppose them.

  6. Pingback: A Pact between Factions of Christendom? | Reaction Times

  7. As a Mere Christian – and one with a more inclusive definition of Christian than *this* Big Three – I of course approve; although I am not optimistic about anything actually happening. I won’t dwell on the obstacles, which are obvious.

    But in general, as an example – I hope that Russia, Greece and Eastern Europe will have a strong Orthodox church, if it is to have strong Chrisianity at all. It seems little short of a delusion to suppose that such places are going to become any other kind of Christian nations in the foreseeble future; and if Orthodoxy declines or dies out in these heartlands, then this will be the end of significant Christianity in these places.

    The problem is in the West when all these types of Christianity are feeble, aged, corrupted, dying. I think if there is to be significant resistance it won’t be organized or official or negotiated or captured in documents – but will have to come from small churches, and small minority groups of Christians within the big denominations (and indeed from individuals) – or it won’t happen at all.

    • [It] will have to come from small churches, and small minority groups of Christians within the big denominations (and indeed from individuals) – or it won’t happen at all.

      True. The proposed pact is for individuals, not churches. It calls on Christians to think of themselves as simultaneously partisans of their specific Christian traditions and part of a larger, informal movement.

  8. I don’t understand this, it is probably beyond me. However, the biggest enemies of Christianity today all reside in the Church, not in the atheist contingent at the Gay Pride parade. So I don’t see how Conservative Presbyterians can necessarily help Catholics fight the rot that Catholicism has become, nor how Catholics can fumigate the pretenders that have attached themselves like ticks to the back of Orthodoxy.

    If we are talking about a political alliance against external enemies of all three traditions, first, these are ultimately the least important, second, of course people should be open to a tactical alliance with anyone (atheists, pagans, Mormons, Muslims, etc.) if it is in the interest of the Church. Third, given the international scope of things, it is very hard to imagine any tactical alliance being not both temporary and confined to one locality. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, what happens in Ukraine stays in Ukraine. Christians should be willing to work with anyone, except ecumenicists.

    • There is no shortage of enemies, that’s for sure. But the main thrust of my proposal is a nonaggression pact, not a specific political alliance. Don’t hate your fellow Christians is they really are Christians, that is, if they adhere to the ecumenical creeds in letter and spirit.

      • “Don’t hate your fellow Christians is they really are Christians, that is, if they adhere to the ecumenical creeds in letter and spirit.”

        Well and good, but we shouldn’t hate Moslems, Buddhists, Taoists, etc. either.

  9. I think a pact might include an agreement to refrain from “speaking publicly against the errors of the other parties,” much less “attacking” them, since this only stirs up bad blood and does absolutely nothing to restore unity in Christ. The Reformation and Counterreformation have run their courses, and there is nothing to be gained by reading off “errors” and “heresies” with which every educated Christian is familiar. Silence would not imply yielding on any theological point, but would recognize that no point is going to be settled by talking louder or longer. Everyone has had their say and there is no new evidence and there are no new arguments. Each confession has made its case with eloquence and erudition, so this is not a case of misunderstanding each other. We should pray that our disagreements will be resolved in the fullness of time, but for the time being, we should probably keep our opinions to ourselves.

    My goal is to practice my faith and do my best to pass it on to my children. This would be easiest in a society with one established confession, but second best is a society that includes well-mannered and charitable Protestants and amiable cultural Christians. Our children could sing Oh Little Town of Bethlehem at their school Christmas program, and if I go to your house for supper, I can bow my head while you pray. I can even attend one of your church services, so long as I abstain from communion. If it were possible to protect that world, we certainly should.

    We should also be ecumenical in our response to persecution. If a Baptist lady in Alabama is being hounded out of her flower shop for affirming Biblical morality, everyone who calls himself a follower of Christ should come to her aid. Here we might follow the example of real brothers, who fight toe to toe when they are alone, but back to back when anyone else is around.

    • About “speaking publicly against the errors of the other parties:” When I publish an article stating my beliefs on a particular point of Christian doctrine, the fact that they contain certain items that are peculiarly Protestant in nature (in addition to much that is “Mere Christianity”) often prompts an angry response from certain Catholic partisans. The point of my article was not to attack Catholic doctrine, but rather to state what I believe. Stating what one believes is necessary for a man to have a feeling of integrity.

      My speaking publicly thus is not out of a desire to correct wayward Catholics. It is to have integrity by speaking what I believe.

      It is this sort of public speaking that we must not forbid, for we must keep up our fighting spirits.

      • When I used to read First Things, I remember articles by Jewish authors seemed very often to go out of their way to assert that Jesus was not the Messiah, and this always struck me as gratuitous and irritating. If they had been writing on that question, one would expect them to state, explain and defend their beliefs, but in some cases it seemed like the literary equivalent of spitting when passing by a Church. It’s this going out of one’s way to denounce a potential ally that makes the spirit of comity grow cold.

        Catholics and Protestants should put a lid on this sort of gratuitous insult. We know you think we pray to statues and you know we say you are wrong about that. Both sides need to give it a rest.

        I’d say a man compromises his integrity by silence under two conditions: prevarication and acquiescence. If he explicitly affirms what he in fact denies, or explicitly denies what he in fact affirms, he alienates his true self and looses his integrity. If he fails to defend an attack on one of his basic beliefs, he does the same. Prevarication and acquiescence normally result from cowardice. I don’t think a man looses his integrity when he simply holds his tongue in the presence of people with whom he disagrees, particularly when holding his tongue is most likely to result in eventual reconciliation.

        I know people like to point to Timothy’s line about preaching the word “in season and out of season,” saying that this means they should badger people, no matter what the circumstances. But at the end of that verse he says one should do this “with long suffering and doctrine. It isn’t easy to maintain the right balance between “long suffering” and “doctrine,” and we may disagree just what that balance ought to be, but there can be no question there is a balance.

        Do you think the Biblical principle of “long suffering” might be part of any Pact between Christians who are, for the present, divided over points of doctrine?

  10. In my eyes, Catholics and Eastern Orthodox have a lot in common. I believe a lot of our problems are caused by Christ’s anger at the East-West Schism, when His people broke up His body.

    As for Protestants, it’s a case by case basis. Lots of Protestants have heretical views about Jews and are Judiacized even though the Early Church Fathers have implored, time and time again, Christians to not Judiacize. The Dual Covenant theory of the Protestants and now the Catholic Church is not Christian and Bertoglio is nothing but an anti-Pope.

    Lots of it is based in beliefs. If you believe that people can go to Heaven without Christ, you are not a Christian. If you believe that the Bible is pro-gay marriage, you are not a Christian.

    • “If you believe that people can go to Heaven without Christ, you are not a Christian”

      I am going to have an upcoming article on this pernicious garbage that has become endemic in American Christianity in particular. I maintain that, as Alan has suggested, we refrain from the heated debates of non-central doctrines, except in an academic capacity to explain why certain Modern phenomena have occurred. Our theological fire needs to be directed at pretenders to ‘mere Christianity’ who blaspheme the Lord God with lie after lie after lie about things which are at the CORE of what it means to follow Christ. These enemies would destroy us all, even while holding an unread Bible in one hand.

  11. As Mark notes, we have had such alliances in the past — “holy alliances,” as they were often called, and they have been used to defend Christendom from both Mohammedanism (by the Turks) and modernism (by Napoleon). These pacts occurred when there was far less good will and trust than there is today. So, it is not unreasonable at all to propose such a pact. What is strange is that there hasn’t really been one, but that may be because so many leaders in the respective confessions see modernism as a Good Thing (as noted above). I think that the Orthodox have been doing a good job in cleaning house since the fall of Communist states. The Protestants have been in a civil war for a few centuries now, and I think that it’s clear that the modernists will lose because their flocks are hemorrhaging to outright apostasy (the grandchildren of liberal Protestants become heathen). Rome is the big question mark. I really thought (well, earnestly hoped) that the trajectory over the last few decades was away from the madness of the Second Vatican Council, but Francis’ pontificate (or “rule” for folks like Mrs. Wood) has crushed my optimism. Can the subversives really undermine the Roman Church? They have done so much to render the Roman Church a cult of modern man — will there ever be a time when the Roman pope again condemns the errors of the modern West?

    • “Can the subversives really undermine the Roman Church?”

      They already have. They did when Bertoglio became “pope”. They did when they let the Lavender Mafia and St. Mafia go roughshod within the Church. They when they let V2 happen. V2 was started in bad faith by subversives, why do you think that the popes and several priests like Fr. Dennis Fahey, Fr. Fulton Sheen, or Fr. Coughlin were railing against subversives within nation and Church as early as did?

      “They have done so much to render the Roman Church a cult of modern man — will there ever be a time when the Roman pope again condemns the errors of the modern West?”

      When the SSPX and the FSSP get the upper hand and take the Church back from the usurpers, infiltrators, and subversives, then the Church will become resurgent. What we need is a V3 and a great pruning.

      As for the Orthodox, we need to heal the Schism with the East. That should be the number one priority of the Church instead of pandering to Muslims, Jews, or Cultural Marxists.

  12. More particularly, modernism is the necessary and unavoidable end result of the Protestant revolt. Defeating modernism, but keeping Protestantism, would be like pulling the head off a dandelion. It’ll come right back.

  13. I think politics is well and good, but politics is never going to get us where we want. Yes, modernism, liberal democracy and post-modernism in their essence are an assault on the Church. But so was Naziism and Communism, and even if we go back to the Grand Old Days of Throne and Altar, many of the same principalities and powers were equally active, and equally influential but operating in a more clandestine way.

    The True Church must survive, but the True Church will survive, as the fruit of our Truth is Life. The True Church cannot perish because it is guided by the Holy Spirit, something which all these modern ideologies lack.

    It is important to recognize that the True Church will always be under assault, no matter what the political system, and that the greatest threat to the Church are forces within the Church, which seek to lead the Church astray, and have succeeded in many quarters. Since the Great Schism, we have only the remnants of the faithful, the worldly church is divided. I think we simply have to accept that as Providence, God can break asunder, and God can restore. It is not our place to try to fix what God has broken, we must view as in accordance with God’s hidden purpose. We must work within our own institutions to preserve them from the enemies within. If we preserve the True Church, we don’t have to worry too much about politics, a house divided against itself will not stand.

  14. People such as Josh and KD seem to be saying something along the lines of, “it’s more important to fight heretics who are 95% in agreement with us than the homosexualists, feminists, Communists, socialists, abortionists, Social Justice Warriors, liberals, leftists, and the like who actively oppose us, seek our destruction, and recruit for the devil.”

    Interesting priorities.

  15. All of the comments on this thread by “Josh” or by “Josh himself” are not coming from me, the guy who usually comments here under handle “josh”.

  16. I have for some time felt that what in America is called “the gun lobby” by liberals is a pre formation stage of what was the Falange in Spain. Alan’s suggestion for an ecumenical alliance on an internet site like Orthosphere is similar (in an American context) to the Carlist movement in Spain. The Carlists seem to have gone thru generations of cultural and political frustration until the crisis of the Republic and its control by blatant leftists (who muscled the liberals aside) gave them a chance to pull their country back from atheism. They never did get the monarchy they wanted, but the cultural victory was the most important part anyway.

  17. I think this has already happened de facto as far as the culture war in America goes, but I don’t approve of even beginning to compromise on doctrine. Debating theological differences too much is hardly a problem that exists in the modern world.

  18. While I can’t imagine formally assenting to an explicitly worded pact as such, I and we at our blog have always been very much about ‘anti-ecumenical unity’, as Srdja Trifkovic has called it.

    Alas, as some commenters here have displayed, there will always be those who are about the narcissism of small differences (esp. on the Internet, where indeed, there are alas far too many who would rather fight with those with whom they are in 95% agreement than the true enemy, like the Monty Python segments in the Life of Bryan about the various Judean factions fighting each other instead of the Romans). And testosterone-poisoned men will have their pissing and dick-measuring contests, because that’s what young men do; as one gets older, a blessing is that one feels less need to engage in such pointless bull. I left Twitter two years ago because I found the reactionary scene to be too full of such twits to be worthwhile in any real way, IMO.

    May the rest of us, then, who are more mature, and as able to think in terms of priorities as Soviets and Americans were during WWII against the Nazis (before rightly turning on each other afterwards), pursue anti-ecumenical unity, over and against our common enemies – progressivism, and Islam.

    Then, afterwards, we can fight amongst ourselves.

    (And with my Ulster Scot Prot ancestors, I’ll say: “No surrender!”:) )

    • I don’t think I’d ever call allying with the Soviets “good priorities.” At best WWII was an awful tragedy, and in their effort to defeat Nazism the allies destroyed the old Catholic and Orthodox right. I’d honestly question your whole line of reasoning on this alone. If men had thought more about their ideals than their interests back then, we wouldn’t be in half the mess we’re in now.

      As for the old/young thing, I really wish people would stop thinking they’re wise just because they’ve lived a long boring life, have become comfortably apathetic, and are frightened of confrontation now. We need more fight on our side, not less.

      • It was an analogy.

        We need more fight on our side, indeed, and less against each other, more directed at our common enemies.

        But, there will always be hair-splitters and petty-minded, now, amongst us, won’t there, eh?

        Sheesh.

  19. Had this stuck in my head while reading it:

    I have had a similar conversation with a Protestant friend of mine, the scope and scale of the threat has shifted, existential threats demand that we unite politically and socially, if not theologically. Who knows? Perhaps such a superficial and worldly unity could one day lead to theological reunification proper?

    On a final note, your proposal is not without precedent: The Crusades, up until the sack of Constantinople, saw an Orthodox/Catholic alliance of sorts, The Siege of Vienna saw thousands of Protestant soldiers marching to the aid of a Catholic Emperor, and the whole of the Great Turkish War saw a broadly united Christian front against the Saracen.

  20. Pingback: Father Knows Best: Stupid is Evil is Stupid Edition | Patriactionary

  21. Pingback: More about the Proposed Christian Pact – The Orthosphere

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