Disputes - A Solution?
- Disputes - A Solution?
For the century old disputes between Syrian Christians and Indian Orthodox Church
“Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone”(Romans12: 18)
The high court of Kerala directed the two factions of Syrian Christians to settle their disputes through mediators and out side courts. The secular courts never could solve any problems in the matters of religions except the parties involved are genuinely wanted to live in peace and solve it. The century old disputes between Syrian Church and Indian Orthodox Church have no end if the parties are not ready to submit to their higher authority-God- they think- if there is, otherwise all the flocks should be shown the doors.
The present fight involves brain washed faith , faith in proper ,and mainly the temporal powers and its by products. History tells that even in the matter of faith and its interpretation done by our holy fathers could be put in to scrutiny and be reviewed and be corrected. By- passing the excommunication of Roman church in the fifth century ,in the name of Blasphemy, the Syrian church has now started partial communion with them. Now they have requested the Pope for full communion by detaching the authority. The relationships with protestant churches are not different. Both churches are in the forefront of WCC and other interring church councils and make use of all its benefits.
De-facto, majority of people in both community that I know are in union with each other in their actions and day to life, even in the matters of faith. When we go deep in to the life of each individual we could see that the division is only skin deep or mere pretension for personal gains or the matter of ignorance and for temporal matters The love of God or the fear of God is not at all any where near our door steps. Bring it that back is the only solution for this cockfight as per the point of view of outsiders.
Bible says, “I’m saying this to shame to you. Isn’t there anyone in all the church who is wise enough to decide these issues? But instead, one believer sues another- right in front of non-believers”? (1 Corinthians 6:5,6) We Christians are the messengers and light and salt of God on earth to non-believers. But we fight each other and to go to the unbelievers to settle it. How shameful it is? Secular court verdicts most often not according to the biblical standards and values but the standards of the world. Most of the church cases go for the wrong motives. It has very negative impact on the believers.
“If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads”(Romans 12:20). Forgiveness involves both attitudes and actions. Deep-rooted hurts are very difficult to forget. But if there is a will then we could do concrete action to change the hurt attitude by a stoke of pen simply by withdrawing all the church cases from all the courts. That is biblical and practical. Right actions always lead to right feelings.
If we won’t start acting now that means: we are publically telling to the world
1: Our church is a worldly institution
2: If there is God he is no more
3: We are not believing in the supernatural power to solve any problems
4; We are mere humbug by acting against our conscience
5: This is a technique to satisfy the mob psychology
6:we are not ready to obey Jesus
7: We haven’t learned any lessons from the history
8: We haven’t have a strong spiritual leader and leadership.
9: We still linger on the barbaric law of Moses ” an eye for an eye a teeth for a teeth.”
And 10: We stamped out Jesus from our entire realm.
There is no problem with out remedies- the problem is willingness to solve.
1: Withdrawal of all cases from the secular courts
2: All the hierarchy should go to the seclusion and let them fast 40 days without solid food.
3: Church as a whole fast and pray 25 days in the lent time, meals only after 3 pm that also frugal and black out all entertainments.
4: Listen to the voices of other Christian churches and their leaders.
5: A reality check up for the costs and benefits of litigations till now.
6: Temporal matter should be settled in the light of modern science and knowledge
7: Spiritual matters and faith should be settled by spiritual guidance under learned spiritual leaders not by arguments and unending discussions.
8:Withdrawal of all excommunication without any pre conditions
9: A pledge ,not to approach any secular courts for faith and spiritual matters except criminal matters.
10: All powers should have checks and bounds and should be accountable and transparent and have proper advisory body constituted with the inclusion of pious spiritual leaders, learned men and women, legal luminaries, experienced executives and theologians of the church
and 11: Eternal vigilante for all the activities of spiritual and temporal heads.
It is the high time for
(a) a self-evaluation and reflections of the % of faith in the century old litigations.
(b) To see the prick of conscience about our disputes and quarrels inside and outside the churches.
(c) Answer the question, how far hell, heaven, and final judgment have impacted the litigants and litigations.
(d) Ask a question to ourselves what are the roles we have been played to corroborate and accomplice this disputes.
and(e) Say yah or nay, do you love Jesus and your neighbor?
It is better to ponder the words of Archbishop William Temple “ When religion goes wrong it goes very wrong” And I conclude with a heavy heart and earnest appeal to the leaders and the laity, quoting Jesus, “If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too “(Mathew 5:40)
Fr. V.V. Paulose