Article 3 ~ November 2009
"Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Jude 3:3 (AV)
"I . . . earnestly appeal to you to put up a real fight for the faith which has been once and for all committed to those who belong to Christ" (JBP)
The General Epistle of Jude with its condemnation of false teachers and plea for loyalty to the truth of the Gospel has the practical purpose to warn against all such and to encourage, persuade Christians to value those who stand firm for the faith and to share with them in the fight against whoever and whatever would threaten its continuance and growth.
It is a singularly appropriate appeal to believers in these contentious times for the faith and the churches, under continuous attacks from materialists, humanists and most militant atheists.
The reality is that within the churches there is unity and disunity and we are constantly made aware that Protestantism is so diversified in theology, ecclesiology and attitudes to evangelism and ecumenism that it cannot be a definitive summation in Christian faith and practice. It is, though, what is taught and believed in Protestant churches to give them a unity in diversity.
The tenets of the faith recited in creeds by those with set liturgies, are the beliefs to which others give assent for the differences are less theological than practical and historical. Any research on denominational origins will find their beginnings, while dissimilar in each case have more to do with personal preference, the dictation of conscience and the choice of church order and discipline.
These aspirations were the causes of separation and alienation.
Time and circumstance has encouraged some to develop good relationship, and to present a better picture of Christianity to the world. Each of the churches would insist however that the primary task is to worship God and to show by word and deed to commitment to Christ. And to claim that the Christian philosophy for life is based on the conviction that people need God, for without Him life is lived in a lesser dimension, that the faith works when people turn to Christ and their lives are changed and enhanced by that decision.
It is the recognised duty of the churches to bring people to that experience and to have and enjoy the benefits.
The faith is always more than a corpus of belief. It is the motivating force in the lives of Christians, true to their commitment to Christ. The contention is that the answers to the ills of the world and the needs of people are to be proud in the Christian faith, that if the country is to be freed of the distresses, the attitudes and lives of people must be changed and centred on character and conduct best exemplified in the Christian way of life with its Christ. Like selflessness and determination to care more for others than oneself to practice that Christian brotherliness that seeks the good of people spiritually, intellectually and physically; to help bring about just legislation and to condemn all that grievously disaffects us - sectarianism, racism and classism among them.
On issues of such consequence there should be unity in the churches for disunity is defeatist and disastrous for the faith.
Rev. Canon Dr. S.E. Long