In this installment of Mere Fidelity, we take up the first of the questions which were put to us by you, our listeners:  what do we make of multiple denominations?

We didn’t get very far down the list of questions, so we decided that we needed to devote additional shows to them.  Turns out we either talk too much or your questions were too hard to sort out in five minute answers.  I’m going with the latter, myself, but listen and judge for yourself.

Special thanks to MK Creative Arts for the audio editing.

If you enjoyed the show (AND ONLY IF), leave us a review at iTunes.  If you didn’t enjoy the show, let us know and we’ll work to make it better.  Or we’ll ignore you.  And if you want to subscribe by RSS, you can do that here.

Finally, as always, follow DerekAlastair, and Andrew for more tweet-sized brilliance.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.


  1. […] has been a few weeks since the last one, but we have just posted the latest Mere Fidelity podcast. This week we address a number of the questions that have been raised by our listeners, focusing on […]


  2. Christian Stillings October 30, 2014 at 2:45 am

    Hi all, an avid quasi-longtime (several months) reader/listener and first-time commenter here. As a Catholic whose felt sense of “multiple-denominations-as-essentially-legitimate-branches” has almost entirely eroded since I was reconciled almost two years ago, I find this kind of conversation really fascinating.

    One particular set of questions about which I’d be delighted especially to hear Mere Fidelity contributors’ thoughts: first, do you think that Gerard Manley Hopkins’ imaginative conception of the Church is essentially right in his poem “At The Wedding March,” especially the following segment?

    “Then let the March tread our ears:
    I to him turn with tears
    Who to wedlock, his wonder wedlock,
    Déals tríumph and immortal years.”

    (Full poem:

    Do you find that poem to accurately articulate core New Testament ecclesiological commitments? I think that it does, on three grounds: Jesus’ will is that the Church, His bride, be perfectly holy (Eph. 5:25-27); Jesus recognizes marriage to be indissoluble (Mt. 19:6, among other texts); the Church is “the pillar and bulwark of the truth,” presumably responsible as such for upholding doctrinal truth (1 Tim 3:15). I’d be delighted to hear whether anyone, contributors especially, think that I’ve somehow thus mis-characterized Scripture in this regard.

    If it’s true that Christ’s relationship to the Church, which for the New Covenant’s duration constitutes His body and His bride, guarantees it “triumph and immortal years,” can one plausibly posit that the Church could truly experience essential division? To parallel the Church’s putative situation with that of divided Israel, as Peter Leithart and y’all contributors seem keen to do, seems to me to necessarily violate one of the aforementioned convictions: perhaps Christ has failed to effect sanctity within the Church; perhaps He has divorced Himself from it; perhaps He has demoted it such that it isn’t responsible for promulgating doctrine. Unless one upholds one or more of those claims, I find it necessary to conclude that Christ’s wonder-wedlock Church is yet immortally triumphant.

    Thanks very much for bearing with me; thoughts, all?


  3. After the arrival of Jesus, the philosophers or “ethical innovative”, had to
    compare with him. For some was ally, for others neutral and for other an
    insurmountable obstacle. History testifies that the harshest competitors didn’t
    have the hoped fortunes, but they picked up the blame of the posterity that
    from their ambitions inherited only ruin. They built the own life purpose by
    discrediting Jesus and contributing to the worse anti-Semitism. For Hebrews
    their death began a suffering path long two millennium and the Marxism, guilty
    to have tried “to kill him” conceptually, has been also theirs worse
    promoter of image. The “guru” Korean Sun Myung Moon, is their
    emulator of the twentieth century, stretched out in the attempt to rise as
    fulcrum of history in age sprinkled of hopes and disappointments and anxious of
    new myths! In this book you found analysis and evaluations on characters that
    even though lived in very distant historical moments, are similar in purpose
    and in the immoderate ambition to replace the Christ.


  4. Another great discussion, filled with good points and good humour – thank you!
    Just two comments:
    I was interested in Alastair’s comments about social divisions ( in addition to denominational divisions) and his question about the extent to which membership of a local church represents a cross-section of the community with regard to class, race, generations and so on.Our church has been described as ‘low evangelical’ – no ‘bells and smells’! We have a wonderful cross-section of the community and I am in fellowship with people I would not otherwise have met, socially or professionally, for which I am thankful. I have heard of churches where this is not the case.
    I was also interested in a comment Derek made about charismatic churches. ( I think Derek made this comment and I apologize if I’ve got this wrong – I should know all your voices by now.)Yes, I agree that, through the charisms, God reaches people who might not otherwise be reached. I am delighted about the number of youngsters who come to love the Lord in this way. Like the rest of us, they are ‘works in progress’ and have a lot to learn, but, as one of them said to me:’God is on the case’.
    Thank you again – I’m looking forward to your next episode.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *