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Unity Lutherans & Baptists – Common Path – False Spirit

Katholischer Geist


In the course of ecumenism, the Lutheran churches and the Baptist congregations have now agreed on a common path. For this purpose, new aspects of baptism were found and the ecumenical recipe of “reconciled diversity” was applied. The spirit of Catholicism is omnipresent.

Lutherans and Baptists find each other

Ecumenism is satisfied with a further step. The congregations in the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany (VELKD, “Lutherans”), which once ran alongside each other, and the congregations in the Federation of Evangelical Free Churches (BEFG, “Baptists”) want to go together in the future.

Cuddly teddy
Churches want to walk a common path

After around 6 years of debates, both associations have agreed on a joint paper. With “Church community on the way” both umbrella organizations explain their “newly” found and unifying similarities (Source).

Not all differences have been overcome yet, but these remaining differences are no longer classified as dividing the church. Commonalities can be found in the understanding of church office and the Lord’s Supper.

New aspects of baptism explored

A distinctive feature of Baptists is their rejection of the baptism of infants and young children. The reason is that a small child is incapable of making a mature profession of faith. In contrast, infant baptism is of course carried out by the Lutheran churches. Another difference in baptism can be found in the way it is carried out. Baptists adopted the Bible’s model of baptism, in which the person being baptized is completely immersed in a large pool or in open water (Info). The tradition of the “major” evangelical churches is to simply sprinkle water on the forehead or head.

There can’t really be a compromise at this point. Both church associations avoided this dilemma by defining baptism as the beginning of the “path to becoming a Christian.” Both baptism variants expressed the same thing and ultimately led to the same goal. The following of Christ. “The aspect of growth in faith is present in both infant baptism and child blessing,” said the statement in the VELKD letter.

The agreement on newly found aspects of baptism enables a Lutheran to convert to the Free Baptist Church without prior baptism as an adult with a profession of faith.

“What separates connects”

The VELKD comes to the conclusion that the remaining differences are not assessed as dividing characteristics. “Rather, the concept of initiation into the Christian faith can serve as a bridge on the way to church community.” Differences can be understood as complementary descriptions of the same thing.

The now new “ecumenical logic” behind it: “What separates connects”.

“Reconciled diversity”

What separates connects – squaring the circle – paradox

At this point, the guideline of “reconciled diversity” that has been laid down for the success of ecumenism comes to light. In October 2015, the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) recommended “not to dissolve or suppress particular identities, but rather to allow them to be expressed in reconciled diversity, even in community.” (Source)

This is a well-sounding paraphrase of the cumbersome word “syncretism”. The adoption or mixing of customs and rites of other religious communities into one’s own ranks. At this point, however, it is important to check whether such traditions can actually be reconciled with the Gospel. The Old Testament gives numerous examples of the people of Israel’s repeated apostasy from the true faith because of this “reconciled diversity”.

Same “reconciliation” with the Church of Rome

Catholic spirit
The omnipresent spirit of Catholicism

The wording in the ecumenical letter from the Lutheran and Catholic Church “From Conflict to Community” (2017), paragraph 210, shows that there is a well-founded reason for a very critical view of this well-sounding term:
Therefore, Catholics and Lutherans are in a position to draw the conclusion together: “Therefore, Lutherans and Catholics are in such broad agreement with regard to scripture and tradition that their different emphases do not in themselves justify the current separation of the churches. In this area there is unity in reconciled diversity.

The traditions of the Roman Catholic Church and those of the Lutherans are in “large agreement”, but their “reconciled diversity” does not have a dividing effect.

The “ecumenical logic” also applies here: “What separates connects”.

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
1 John 4:1

Bible verses from King James Version

Unity Lutherans & Baptists – Common Path – False Spirit
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