Is Rome Calling?
Christ intended the church to be visible, "set on a hill" and undivided . Sadly, throughout history it is seen that the church has been divided, some still saying "they are of Paul, others Apollo."
This has led to extreme "separatist ecclesiologies" based on private interpretation of the Word of God. To defend the idea that we "are all still one body of Christ undivided" some invoke a notion of "an invisible church, that transcends time and space." However, it was never Christ's intention that we be "united in spirit" only and have 33,000 ecclesial communities believing entirely different things about Christ and His salvation. I believe, based on the writings below, that there exists a desire for Christians to embrace historic Christianity and eschew the "rugged individualism" that characterizes the modern evangelical church in America. Consider the following excerpt from a "Call" put out to the evangelical community from an evangelical pastor and theologian, Robert Webber.
"We call Evangelicals to take seriously the visible character of the Church. We call for a commitment to its mission in the world in fidelity to God's mission (Missio Dei), and for an exploration of the ecumenical implications this has for the unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity of the Church.* Thus, we call Evangelicals to turn away from an individualism that makes the Church a mere addendum to God's redemptive plan. Individualistic Evangelicalism has contributed to the current problems of churchless Christianity, redefinitions of the Church according to business models, separatist ecclesiologies and judgmental attitudes toward the Church. Therefore, we call Evangelicals to recover their place in the community of the Church catholic. "
Robert Webber from "The Call"
* From the Nicene Creed "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church"