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1 Corinthians 11:18–19
From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Ecclesiastical Order
But the bishops either compel our priests to reject and condemn the doctrine that we have confessed, or by a new and unheard-of cruelty, they put to death the poor, innocent men. This prevents our priests from acknowledging such bishops. Thus, the cruelty of the bishops is the reason why canonical government, which we greatly desired to maintain, has ceased in some places. Let them see to it how they will give an account to God for dispersing the Church.
Pulling It Together
When there are divisions in the Church that are based upon human reasons or traditions, they must either be resolved or condemned. In the end, after patient and prayerful dialogue, only the truth must stand. The teachings of the Scripture must rule the day, for there can be no real unity unless it is founded upon and in agreement with the bedrock of God’s Word.
It is natural that there are factions in the Church. God uses these differences for the good purpose of demonstrating, not only correct doctrine but, those who are faithful and those who are apostate. In the end, let us go our own ways, one to what he thinks and the other to what God has confirmed. But let there be no killing, by the stake or by the tongue. This only further confirms who is correct or in error. But for those who have suffered under such unrighteous persecution, may they be blessed in the memory of the Church. And for those who have performed such heinous acts against the faithful, may they be forgiven, for they do not comprehend the gravity of their own actions (Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60).
Prayer: Unify your Church, Lord, even as you and the Father are one. Amen.
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