“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Monday, August 28, 2017

POPE BENEDICT XVI: CONVERSION AS A NEW BEGINNING

Pope Benedict XVI's commentary about conversion https://www.stlukeproductions.com/benedictus-media/mp3/08_28.mp3 Listen to it then come back to this post.

We hear in Pope Benedict's comments from the above link:

"Theology is based upon a new beginning in thought which is not the product of our own reflection but has its origin in the encounter with the Word which alway precedes us. We call the act of this new beginning conversion. Because there is no theology without faith, there cannot be theology without conversion. ... The convert must consciously pronounce in his own name a Yes to this new beginning and really turn from the 'I' to the 'no longer I'."

Like countless other people throughout the past 2,000 years, I to encountered the Word.[1]  It was 1980, and that encounter changed everything in my world and my understanding of destiny. I would never be the same again. It marked a seismic internal shift in my orientation turning from me at the center of me to Him at the center of me. My conversion did not come from within me, rather something quite independent of me. It came from across the centuries.  

What came to me was the same Word that authored the word of God that we call the Holy Bible. The Word was the second member of the Trinity: Christ! All that has transpired since my conversion has been a long process -- stumbling two steps forward, falling back one -- toward divine Love[2] and the Celestial City. Christ has been with me, picking me up each time I fell, encouraging me on toward the goal. As I prepare to enter old age, that journey till continues until I finally step through the threshold from this world to the next. 

The twenty-first century's generation of converts will bear witness of the Word rooted in Divine love and defined by the word of God. Sound theology is crucial to conversion and faith. Converts will shine in the darkness of unbelief just as converts have throughout history. Again, Pope Benedict wrote:

"This is why in every age the path to faith can take its bearings by converts. It explains why they in particular can help us to recognize the reason for the hope that is in us -- and and to bear witness to it. The connection between faith and theology is not, therefore, some sort of sentimental or pietistic twaddle, but is direct consequence of the logic of the thing and is corroborated by the whole of history."
My grandson's baptism

A new generation of converts is emerging through the spiritual darkness of the 21st century into the light of the Word. Their expression of Christian faith may be different from previous generations but it is true none-the-less. Unlike the generation I was born into, this new generation on converts faces open and virulent hatred toward absolute truth of the the Word and the word of God. This should not surprise us. Christ told us it would be like this. 

And yet it is to a vicious anti-Christian world that this new generation is called to bear witness to the Word. "[I]n every age the path to faith can take its bearings by converts." This is why fidelity to historic Christian orthodoxy is so important. The path to Truth
may seem narrow and difficult because it is narrow and difficult. It leads to a narrow gate and few find it. There is only one way that leads to eternal life. It is only access through faith in Jesus Christ.[3] There is another way that many travel; it is broad and easy but leads to destruction.[4] False prophets and new doctrines tickle the ears of people and draw people away from Christ, conversion, and Christian orthodoxy.[5]


These are perilous times for new converts. We older Christians must lay down before them fervent prayer and encouragement as they travel a rough path of faith and witness toward the gate of salvation's eternal life, long after we have gone there.

MDP




_____________
[1] John 1.1-4. Cf. Revelation 19.13
[2] 1John 7.8.
[3] John 3.16, John 14.6 & John 10.7-11.
[4] Matthew 7.13-14. Cf. Luke 13.24
[5] Matthew 7.15-20, Jeremiah 23.16, 14.14; Micah 3.5, 2Timothy 4.3-5, also see 2 Timothy 3.1-7.

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