From a missiological point of view, I believe it is interesting to be aware of how our national brethren on the “mission field” respond to current events. I myself heartily endorse the following statement from the Spanish Evangelical Alliance, which I have translated from the original Spanish…
With respect to the recent document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on “aspects of church doctrine” which reaffirms that the
is one and that it subsists in the Roman Catholic Church, we believe that it treats Protestant Christians as third-class believers. This bothers or worries us very little inasmuch as, for us, the figure of the Pope and the Churchof Christ has a value that does not go beyond that of mere human opinion. Vatican
However, with the intent to clarify, we believe it is convenient, as the Spanish Evangelical Alliance, to make the following comments:
1.- This is a repetition of the
Vaticandeclaration "Dominus Iesus" from the year 2000, with perhaps the only shade of difference being a greater doctrinal clarity.
2.- With this document, as we have already mentioned in previous occasions, the monopolizing character of the religious institution that comprises the Church of Rome—for whom the only way that leads to the unity of Christians is not authentic dialogue and the search for truth in the Bible, but rather forming part of the Roman Catholic Church—becomes more evident than ever before.
3.- It is very significant that the document only considers the orthodox churches as “churches,” while it calls those that have sprung forth from the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century simply “Christian communities.” This difference in treatment, which does not surprise us at all, constitutes an evident disdain towards Protestantism that now becomes “official”, being included in a public
4.- We reiterate that, from our perspective, there is only one Christian Church, the one made up of those who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of their life, and the Gospel as a maximum reference point of faith and conduct.
This integral experience (faith and reason) is not the monopoly of any Christian church as a human institution (neither of the evangelical or protestant church), since the Church—just as the Bible says—is a living spiritual body whose head is Christ, not the Pope, nor the religious hierarchy, nor any determined dogmas or traditions.
5.- On the other hand, we offer our maximum respect to an institution such as the Roman Catholic Church, of which we are not a part, and for whom we recognize the right to establish the definitions, norms and doctrines that it considers, according to its understanding, to be correct.
This is not an obstacle for adding, by way of conclusion, that we have always seen so-called ecumenical dialogue as staging based more on gestures directed towards the gallery than a dialogue of true reconciliation. Could it not be that, with this document, even the stage lights themselves are turned off?
Signed: Pablo Martínez Vila (President of the Spanish Evangelical
); José de Segovia (President of the Theology Commission of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance ); and Pedro Tarquis (Spokesperson of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance ) Alliance