[26]    Conclusion: Summary and Proper Attitudes

83.    What are the essential doctrines that we must hold in unity?

c. Proper attitudes on non-essential doctrines: 84.    What are the proper attitudes towards the Roman Catholic Church? a. It is of course preferable to have one universal church because the body of Christ is one. Many attempts have been made to unify the Roman Catholic Church and some Prostestant denominations.

b. Protestants claim to be the orthodox heirs of the ancient church (as illustrated by Chinese names for Protestants as "back-to-orthodoxy church" or "recovering-the-original church") because our doctrines rely solely on the Bible. In contrast, the Roman Catholic Church adopted some unbiblical doctrines originated from church tradition.

c. Such unbiblical doctrines include:

d. It is proper to have a dialogue between Protestant churches and the Roman Catholic Church but it is unlikely to have unity in the foreseeable future.

e. We need to accept that true believers in the Roman Catholic Church are brothers and sisters in Christ. We should avoid unnecessary confrontations with them in non-essential matters of faith.

85.    What are the proper attitudes towards the Eastern Orthodox Church?
    a. The Eastern Orthodox Church has most of its adherents in eastern Europe. The patriarch of Constantinople is its official leader.

    b. They claim a living continuity with the church of the past and a strict adherence to its traditions. They depend on 3 sources for its traditions: the Bible, the 7 ecumenical councils (held between AD 325 and 787), and the creeds.

    c. They believe the traditions of the church are expressed not only in words, but in actions, gestures, and art used in worship. As a result, liturgy and sacrments are vital elements in their church life. Even the smallest points of ritual are extremely important. All services are sung or chanted without instruments. They encourage veneration of icons by the worshippers because they believe that these are one of the ways whereby God is revealed to man.

    d. With respect to Christian life, they emphasize the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctification. They value mystical experiences in seeking God as the true aim of the Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit, particularly through the church and the sacraments.

    e. They adopted some unbiblical doctrines like the Roman Catholic Church, such as prayers to the saints, prayers for the dead, and 7 sacraments, but not papal infallibility.

    f. We need to accept that true believers in the Eastern Orthodox Church are brothers and sisters in Christ.

86.    What are the proper attitudes in studying theology? a. an attitude of wonderment: appreciating Godís amazing plan for the world and trying our best to understand it and accept to by faith

b. an attitude of humility: understanding that some divine truths are beyond the capability of human understanding, such as:

87.    Why do we need to attend group Bible studies such as the Sunday School? a. Group Bible studies can achieve many purposes. Some of these are: (1) to be built up, (2) to become mature, and (3) to reach unity in the faith.

b. Each of us can be built up and can become mature by studying the Word of God alone but unity in the faith can only be reached by studying the Bible together and arriving at the same understanding. If there is Sunday School in our church, we should try our best to attend, either as a teacher or as a student. Studying Godís Word on the Lordís Day is a wise and blessed activity.