Saturday, March 31, 2012

At Her Center Where Her Truest Children Dwell—Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Crosses of Different Christian Denominations
"One of the things Christians are disagreed about is the importance of their disagreements," observes C.S. Lewis as he continues to lay a foundation in his preface to Mere Christianity.  "When two Christians of different denominations start arguing, it is usually not long before one asks whether such-and-such a point 'really matters' and the other replies:  'Matter? Why, it's absolutely essential!'" Lewis's own experience, however, is this: "I have met with little of the fabled odium theologicum from convinced members of communions different from my own.  Hostility has come more from borderline people whether within the Church of England [Lewis's denomination] or without it:  men not exactly obedient to any communion.  This I find curiously consoling. It is at her centre, where her truest children dwell, that each communion is really closest to one another in spirit, if not in doctrine.  And this suggests that at the centre of each there is a something, or a Someone, who against all divergences of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks with the same voice."

Highlights from the Preface to Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Click here for a clear view of how this Preface relates to the whole book.

Multiple times I have experienced this unifying truth Lewis speaks of through the saints of many denominations that have nourished me in my Christian pilgrimage:
  • Having been led to Christ out of a non-religious background my senior year at Hollywood High January 27, 1977 principally through the faithful witness of fellow students Robin Rochelle Price (of the Church of God in Christ under Bishop Charles E. Blake) and Deanna Deckert.
  • Having been baptized in the summer of 1977 by a godly USC college student, Samuel Lam, of the Local Church cult under Witness Lee, an errant disciple of China's mystical but orthodox Watchman Nee.  This was the first church I attended as a Christian because I was offered a ride there by fellow Hollywood High Christian students Deanna Deckert and Benjamin Hsu.  One of the first questions I asked them was, "Now that I'm a Christian, aren't I supposed to be going to church or something?" 
  • Having spent my freshman year (1977-78) at a Roman Catholic college, Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas (my dad's hometown; I got a scholarship there).  I seriously contemplated joining the Order of St. Benedict (O.S.B.) nuns.
  • Having spent my sophomore and junior years (1978-80) ministering with and being trained by Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU student ministry) at the University of California at Irvine while attending an American Baptist Church near campus.
  • Having attended and graduated from the Logos Bible Institute on the campus of the non-denominational Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA under Pastor John MacArthur, earning a Certificate in Bible in 1981.
  • Having finished my B.A. in History/Classical Civilization at UCLA in 1983 while ministering with Bruin Christian Fellowship (part of IVCF, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship).
  • Having worked for Pastor John's Grace to You ministry as a book editor from 1984-1993 full time and freelance since then.
  • Having worshiped from 1994-97 at Pacific Hills Church in Aliso Viejo, a Charismatic Calvary Chapel satellite under Pastor Danny Bond, one of Pastor John's disciples.
  • Having attended non-denominational Grace Bible Church in Mt. Laurel, NJ from 1997-2002.
  • Having become members of Fellowship Bible Church in Methuen, MA from 2002-2011 and our children attending Fellowship Christian Academy from 2002-2015 and my volunteering at FCA throughout that time.
  • Having beenand still!an avid listener of Pastor R.C. Sproul's Reformed theological teachings on his Renewing Your Mind broadcast
  • Becoming members of Merrimack Valley (Orthodox) Presbyterian Church in North Andover, MA with my husband and children in May of 2011 when we decided we wanted to be part of a Reformed church to reflect our beliefs in the key Reformation doctrines.
  • Becoming regular attenders of Island Pond Baptist Church in Hampstead, NH (Southern Baptist Convention) in August of 2013 when we realized we are more Reformed Baptist in our convictions (but not to the point of insisting on immersion for baptism) and see the value of New Covenant theology. 
  • Becoming a regular subscriber of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Dr. Albert Mohler's insightful email news analyses, The Briefing.
  • Being led through providential events to West Congregational Church (cccc) in Haverhill, MA in June of 2014. 
  • Becoming reacquainted with Pastor Alistair Begg's Truth for Life ministry in 2015 after first hearing Alistair preach as a young man from Scotland at Grace Community Church in L.A. in the early 1980s.
  • Starting to attend Grace Community Church in Chelmsford, MA in September of 2015 while remaining on the email prayer chain of West Church and continuing to be a part of their excellent Friday morning women's Bible study. 
  • Being led to the faithful Bible teaching of New England Bible Church closer to home in March of 2016, where as of 2018 I have been teaching a Sunday School class to kids from grades 1-6 on Dr. Luke's writings, and helping as one of the teachers in our free English as a Second Language program for adults.
  • We keep living and learning and loving with a wonderful variety of fellow Christians!

No comments:

Post a Comment