Should the Reformation be Celebrated or Lamented?

As an unabashed Protestant, I have no qualms expressing the belief that the Reformation ought to be celebrated. I am settled in the conviction the split catalyzed by Luther not only shaped the course for modern Evangelicalism, but the world. While each bears a distinctive measure of theological difference in their respective traditions, Protestants and Roman Catholics share a tremendous amount in common. For example, divine simplicity, the doctrine of the Trinity, Christology, Theology Proper, much of the Doctrines of Grace, and more, is shared with Patristic and late Medieval theologians.

Election and predestination are so clearly presented in Aquinas and Augustine that for much of the dialogue over the sovereignty of God in salvation, Protestants find roots going back centuries prior to the Reformation. The simple point being that the Patristic and Medieval theologians are not removed from our tradition; they belong to us and our history traces further back than 1517. Protestants are not some rebellious mongrels without forerunners; tensions within the Catholic Church were brewing long before Luther came upon the scene.

Nepotism, sexual indulgence within the clergy, abuse of power and finances, etc., all ran rampant within the church. However, it must be noted many who remained within the Catholic Church desired reformation as well. The breaking of fellowship was not done simply due to the continual problems of sinful deviancy, but over matters of doctrine. To many modern readers, this proves particularly troubling. Many today decry the notion of splitting hairs over doctrine – yet this process of “vetting” orthodoxy and orthopraxy is foundational to the historic church. As these events invariably lead to primary matters of doctrine, this is no small occasion of mere, theological quibbles.

Stop, Hammer-Time

The breaking point between the Reformers and the Roman Catholic Church was primarily in terms of ecclesiology and authority. Only later did the issue of soteriology come into play as the logical conclusions were reached regarding one’s understanding of the relation between the authority of the church and Scripture. Luther did not initially come to grips with these conclusions until later in his life – later than the day he nailed his 95 Theses to the door.

Yet in all of the outcomes, we must recognize the palpable shame accompanying the Reformation. There are legitimate critiques that have been made against the Protestant church. Some are so bold as to suggest the pope’s warning to Luther has been recognized today – that the critical theories of the Enlightenment are a result of Luther’s “braggadocious nature and banal desire to bring the Word for even the plow-boy”.

As the argument goes, the trajectory of this world in its conquest to rid itself of God, is owing to Luther. Such an asinine idea not only deifies a man incapable of such a feat, but also betrays the reality of much of the Roman Catholic Church. Despite efforts to make it appear as such, the Roman Catholic Church is certainly not monolithic.

The Shame of the Church

Luther’s initial desire was not that the church would suffer another cataclysmic split, but that reform would happen within the church itself. Though the abuse of indulgences sparked Luther’s theses being nailed at the door in Wittenberg, the burning in his bosom was spurned by the understanding of the gospel itself. It was only later, when such a divide was inescapable, we see Luther’s more bombastic treatment upon the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church.

It is often said that for the Reformation to have happened, we needed a man of Luther’s boldness and crassness, and perhaps this is true. What seems more appropriate though are the sentiments of Luther, “I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise, I did nothing. And then, while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my Philip and my Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that never a prince or emperor did such damage to it. I did nothing. The Word did it all.”

This was also an incredibly controversial statement from Luther, one which ultimately brought to bear the scrutiny of Rome. The pope was not altogether incorrect in his assumption that bringing the Scriptures to every common man would result in a veritable Pandora’s Box being opened – we see this evident in the modern church. It was evident in Luther’s own day with the Zwickau prophets and the Münster Rebellion. Yet much to the chagrin of the Roman Catholic Church, theological liberalism makes no such distinction in her bedfellows. All one must do is prefix the adjectival moniker “progressive” to either term and there will be a veritable poop-mine of heretical doctrine and practice. Historically, this is also revealed.

The continual rejection of all things good and true, coupled with sexual licentiousness, provides the fodder with which an unquenchable flame destroys a civilization. How much more so the church? This is nothing remotely new or novel; this trajectory runs its course throughout the history of every society. It is true an individual man is capable of destroying humanity and turning her from her Creator – but that award belongs to Adam, not Luther.

There is much which has been written on the nature of society’s collapse into theological anarchy, yet suffice it to say, it can be summarily reduced to one key factor: Satan is the father of unbelievers. Until the light of the gospel penetrates the hardened heart of those in unbelief, we must recognize the work of our adversary who has blinded their eyes. Shall we be surprised at the societal decent into Hades when the one leading them upon the broad road is this world’s prince? Has history not been abundantly clear in revealing the wickedness of mankind?

Is the Result Indicative of Bad Fruit?

Faithful Catholics and Protestants agree on the perverse nature of our times, wherein logic is spurious, superfluous, and subjective, and sexual immorality is not only rampant, but lauded from the highest courts, to the universities, down to the common layperson. We’ve both enjoyed relative prosperity in a slowly crumbling society – yet it seems such a pace is now no longer to be had. It seems the only way to go unscathed in the West’s “sexual revolution” is to embrace it. Silence is swiftly becoming affirmation of the opposing side.

Both Roman Catholics and Protestants would fundamentally reject those of “nominal” or a “lapsed” faith as having a faith that lasts. Both would reject the tide of theological liberalism within an historic faith. Yet much to the chagrin of the church, the gospel itself has become nearly as convoluted and distorted in our current age as it did previously. There is much to be said of the “fruit” of our age, both of many legitimate Christians and the self-professed who have deluded themselves.

Many within Protestantism have no concept of fidelity to a local church. There is little agony faced by many within the Protestant church over a split; far too many feel there is no need to even be among the Body of believers and celebrate that unity. Many within Protestantism also maintain an incredibly low ecclesiology – they do not see the church possessing much, if any, authority at all.

Yet it is incredibly easy to chastise the church and pick at her open wounds. Incidentally, the mark of constant, unwarranted complaint against the church is indicative of a type of theological liberalism. This discussion then must not be approached on the outcome or trajectory of the church; it must be approached doctrinally. What is more than this is the positional authority one holds in this doctrinal approach. Again, it boils down to ecclesiology and the Divine Writ – and ultimately, soteriology. One’s understanding of how the church is to function in relation to the Scripture’s authority plays an especially pivotal role in her conception of how the Christian is saved.

This is precisely why the central divide stands over our respective understandings of the gospel itself. This is no trite disagreement worthy of overlooking for the sake of feigned ecumenism; this is no battle over semantics. The understanding of the place of works and faith in salvation and how the church is to function must shape the entire conversation, as this is precisely where the divide took place 500 years ago.

The Divide Continues

Despite efforts toward Ecumenism, the divide continues. This is a worthy divide – one lacking the capability of being overlooked or dismissed. We disagree not only on theology, but practice. To bridge this gap, one must make some serious concessions – yet to make such concessions betrays the very notion of true ecumenism. We must come to agree on the essentials whilst being able to disagree on matters of secondary importance if we are to have genuine unity. The gospel is no secondary matter and for this reason, we are not together.

It is quite clear that both sides understand the soteriological significance of this discussion. Sola Fide as a protestant distinctive is not in harmony with ecclesial teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. While the Catholic Church is as broad and diverse as some of her catechetical documents, we stand fundamentally opposed. We ought to lament this divide, for though the Catholic Church might now regard Protestants as estranged, it nonetheless stands that we are on opposing sides.

For Protestants who understand the nature of this divide, there shall be no return to the “Mother” church. For Protestants who have embraced the doctrine of faith by grace alone – there is no conceivable means by which Roman Catholic teaching is acceptable. If both sides truly know the differences, there is no means by which we can look at the other and truthfully concede they are saved. The only means this is possible is through a delightful contradiction that either dissolves the authority of the Roman Catholic church (a la Vatican II) or the authority of the Scriptures. Thus, we must understand the discussion bears eternal consequences.

A wonderful Roman Catholic friend of mine put it best as we were discussing these matters the morning of his wedding: “Well, Grayson, we both regard each other as heretics.” I replied, “Bob, I don’t necessarily believe you’re a heretic, I just think you embrace certain heresies.” We both chuckled, but it brings to bear an important fact in this discussion. Things are funny because we either stretch the expectation of reality to absurdity, or we so bluntly speak in a manner betraying the formality of social conventions, that it startles us into laughter.

Though he and I agree an incredible amount within the corpus of our respective beliefs, we nonetheless realize the very real divide in our understanding of Christ’s work and the efficacy of the sacraments. We also realize this stems from the positions we hold in the ultimate question: where does the final authority lay? Is it within the Scriptures – or within the Church?

In all of this, my expectation is that he is unabashedly Roman Catholic. I am neither offended nor surprised when he acts consistent to his beliefs. His expectation is that I am unabashedly Protestant, and he likewise draws no offense or surprise. These predispositions inform where we land. We likewise consider ourselves correct on the matter. The divide persists even in the midst of a dear friendship. The divide is over the gospel and how the grace of God effectively works out in the lives of men.

Why Celebrate the Reformation?

The world needs the gospel. The Catholic Church still needs the gospel. The Liberal Church needs the gospel. So too does the Evangelical church. The 500th anniversary of the Reformation ought to conjure in our minds a renewed fervor and discussion of that gospel. If the gospel can be “lost” in a former generation, it can surely be lost in our own. The sweeping biblical illiteracy coupled with the tides of modern progressivism, has decimated much of any understanding of the nature of the grace of our Lord.

It would seem we are at that pivotal breaking point in humanity’s history once again. Higher education, civil authorities, and general citizens alike, reject nearly every sense of moral decency. The pervasiveness of the sexual ethic (or lack thereof) as a metaphysical identity ought to testify to the unbridled decadence of our age. Not only does one see this perversion within every sphere of secular society, but within formal, Christian entities. That is, within the supposed Christian university; the supposed Christian, local church; the supposed professing believer.

Perhaps it is through the fires of adversity that we might finally rekindle an affection for the true gospel to be proclaimed boldly in the streets. Perhaps it is through the mouth of a bombastic rascal this world might be shaken to its core and convicted of its wickedness before an altogether holy and judicious God. Would we not rather let them be smote with harsh words than consumed in eternal hell-fire where they shall weep and gnash their teeth forevermore?

We shall provide no grand, ecumenical, Christ-honoring influence, if we shan’t come to agree on the essential nature of the gospel itself. It would seem the writing is on the wall with regard to the next, great schism between the progressive and conservative church (though my personal sentiment is this happened long ago). In each of these examples one finds the positional authority figure at play.

The ultimate question, then, is where final authority lay. Is it the pope and bishopric as Roman Catholics suggest? Is it the sentiments of the glass-slippers generation, as theological liberals suggest? Or is it Scripture? Each of our respective camps places authority within the church and Scripture to some degree, yet only one places themselves under the final authority of the text.

Despite the bleak depiction above, it would seem that so long as the Lord tarries and the reader has breath, ecumenism may happen. If Luther’s initial intent was for reformation to happen within the church rather than result in schism, perhaps some measure of mending could take place if the Lord were pleased to see it through. To be sure, we ought to mourn over the fact that such a divide has happened – yet rejoice in the fact that reformation can happen in and through the pure gospel of Jesus Christ. If that pure, unadulterated gospel can be brought forth to shine in the darkness once again, we might yet see genuine reformation. We rejoice, therefore, because of the hope we have in God effectually doing His work.

There are at least three things the Reformation always reminds me of:

  • The gospel and His Kingdom will always prevail. Our God reigns and truth never loses, even if the lie has traveled the globe several times before truth has laced her boots.
  • Drastic change takes time, but sometimes the Band-Aid needs to be ripped off swiftly. Let the consequences be what they may.
  • Though everything around may seem like peril – God has orchestrated everything for His glory, and I must be content in knowing He loves His name’s sake infinitely more than I can even dream of.

The Reformation is always worth celebrating. Semper Reformanda.

 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • jerrycstanaway

    Martin Luther was not partial to Mennonites, so let’s not celebrate the reformation.

  • Al Cruise

    Celebrated or Lamented? We will see. The full power of the Reformation is now in the hands of white evangelicals who put their chosen individual into the position of most powerful leader in the world with his finger resting on the nuclear trigger.

    • George

      Oh wow – so, so, so wrong.

      • Plowjogger1776

        On so many levels. Sounds like a butt-hurt snowflake. Just Ignore Al.

        • George

          Part of what’s sad about his comment is that it makes absolutely no sense.

    • Guthrum

      Way off. Some of the fastest growing Protestant organizations are black. Look at some of the church groups in Africa.
      Linking the Protestant church to Trump is like comparing the NBA to a rec league.

      • Al Cruise

        ” Look at some of the church groups in Africa. ” How much power do they have on the world stage?

  • Tianzhu

    I totally reject the notion that Luther is somehow responsible for theological liberalism and (eventually) secularism. Devout RCs often try to pin this on Luther, but they need only look at the huge pockets of liberalism within their own church, e.g., the Jesuit seminaries and colleges that are largely Christian “in name only.” The RC church is solidly orthodox – on paper. In practice, not so much.

    Luther did not rely only on his conscience – he claimed his conscience was “captive to the Word of God.” The progressives (apostates) in the various denominations who claim that in THEIR reading of the Word, Christians should condone and embrace feminism and homosexuality are on very shaky ground. Luther would be horrified at these reprobates.

    • Guthrum

      “Sola scripture – Thy word alone”. This was one of Luther’s great teachings. At that time the Catholic church had moved far away from Biblical authority. Much like today’s main line denominations.
      Luther, Calvin, and King Henry VIII (“Defender of the Faith): giants of the Protestant church.

  • David

    The Roman Catholics have always been correct in insisting that baptism is essential for salvation, but incorrect in applying baptism to children incapable of understanding and obeying the gospel.
    Jesus clearly said, “Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved.” Mark 16:16. Note believes and is baptised.
    Paul confirmed this in Galatians 3:26-27, “For you are all the sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for as many as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ.”
    Paul himself had practised this, “Why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name.”: Acts 22:16.
    Most protestants have got baptism wrong, saying it is an outward sign of an inward grace (which the Scriptures never say!) and is not essential to salvation. The Salvation Army no longer baptise at all!! At least one Baptist scholar, that I know of, did a serious study of salvation in the book of Acts and concluded that faith, repentance, and baptism always went together as a salvation package. Anyone of you reading this can do the same research in Acts and draw the same conclusion. You don’t have to be a scholar – just a seeker of the truth ahead of tradition!
    Jesus warned the Pharisees against substituting their own traditions for the commandments of God. Matthew 15:1-14. Many accuse me of being Pharisaic when I point this out!!! Most denominations have followed their church traditions for centuries, assuming they were the same as the word of God – despite all the differences and contradictions in denominational doctrines. Luther said the word of God is all we need, but few have really taken his claim seriously. Satan is having a field day with this.

    • Plowjogger1776

      And there are plenty of references that do not mention baptism (like John 3:16-17). Sounds like you’re big into proof-texting.

      • David

        I cannot quote the whole New Testament in such a short reply. Context is important. John 3:16 contains a principal – eternal life is a gift received by faith, as against a reward for good deeds. But in John, Jesus also mentions the importance of keeping commands. John 14:15. Keeping commands is an aspect of believing. If you believe in Jesus you will do what he says. See John 8:30-32 and Luke 6:46 as examples. Jesus also required repentance. Luke 13:3. Most Jews, excepting the Pharisees, had also obeyed the baptism of John. Luke 7:29-30.
        But when Jesus had risen from the dead, the Law of Moses had been replaced by the teachings of Christ, Jesus had come to the end of his earthly ministry, when he would no longer be around to teach personally, he then gave the requirements for salvation that would be taught around the world till the end of the age: faith, repentance and baptism. Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-47. This is why you see baptism mentioned so often in Acts and also in the epistles as necessary for salvation. Have you ever asked yourself why faith is mentioned so often in John’s gospel, while baptism is found so often in the book of Acts? It’s a question of what Jesus commanded till the end of time.
        So no, I’m not proof-texting, but trying to use the Scriptures properly. Indeed, those who quote John 3:16 as containing all that is necessary for salvation, have not rightly divided the Scriptures. 2 Timothy 2:15. This is a tragic misunderstanding.

    • Guthrum

      Indeed Satan is having a field day with today’s denominations and churches that have adopted popular culture while abandoning Biblical theology:
      Episcopal Church – US, ELCA, and Presbyterian Church – USA. These organizations were at one time influential and missions oriented.

  • Plowjogger1776

    I resonated with the content of this article! I would like to add to the thought that bringing the Word of God to every plowboy would open a Pandora’s box this point: at the bottom of Pandora’s box is hope, and I will take opening the Word to all who want it over closing it to those who need it any day of the week. Sola Scriptura!

    • Jeffrey

      The Oneness Pentecostals and ‘word of faith’ hucksters wholeheartedly agree.
      And when, exactly, was the Word of God ever closed to anyone who needed it? Every Catholic and Orthodox liturgy contains more Scripture references than any ‘evangelical’ sermon I’ve ever heard.
      Sounds like you’ve bought into the long-refuted myth that it was illegal to have a Bible in ones home before Luther came along, which even Protestant historians have admitted was mere propaganda by the early protestant heretics.

      • Plowjogger1776

        Too bad those folks weren’t in the RCC, then the Pope could have just summoned an army and slaughtered them! There were scriptures in the (Latin) liturgy, but the Bible was still in Latin also. If I’m wrong, why did the RCC persecute anyone who wanted to translate the Bible into the people’s vernacular?

        • Jeffrey

          There were plenty of Bibles translated into local vernacular. The ones the RCC took exception to were those that had clear, deliberate mistranslations that were made to promote Protestant heresy.
          Wyclif and Luther both wrote intentional, false translations in order to make it seem that the Bible supported one or more of their pet heresies when the original Hebrew and Greek verses clearly did not. Even Calvin was caught mistranslating a portion of the book of Acts in a way to strengthen his obsessive predestinarian beliefs when the text gave no warrant for such a translation.
          So long as it was approved by legitimate Hebrew, Greek and Latin scholars within the RCC, the local translation not only wasn’t suppressed, but was actively encouraged.
          And by the way, Protestant rulers summoned armies to slaughter just as many Catholics as vice versa. The historical one-sidedness you demonstrate is, sadly, far too typical in this country.

          • Plowjogger1776

            Vernacular translations were used to help convert pagan tribes, but the Vulgate remained authoritative. With education and publication being minimal, Luther’s translation at the dawn of printing press meant the first mass distribution of the entire Bible for anyone to own if they could afford it. It was widely read and influenced Germany in many ways. Luther inmfluenced how Tyndale approached translations and in each case they avoided high ecclesiastical terms for those laymen could relate to more easily. I guess that’s the “heresies” you mentioned. Dang them for bringing out that justification by faith stuff!
            I mentioned the Pope and armies because he focused his on heretics. The wars of religion in Europe after the Reformation were in the context of political and economic conflicts where religion had various amounts of influe nce, but they did not parallel the slaughter of the Albigenses.

          • Jeffrey

            Yes, dang that legalistic Catholic Church for not butchering the Bible that had been in use for 1,500 years, and refusing to do away with the Epistle of St. James, which Luther removed entirely from his ‘bible’.
            How dare they actually believe the Word of God which states – ‘for we see that a man is justified by his works, and not by faith alone.’ (James 2:24)

          • Plowjogger1776

            Oh, you poor ignorant soul! In nhis introduction to the New Testament, Luther ranked New Testament books according to their doctrinal value, and here’s the famous quote that came out of it, “St. John’s Gospel and his first Epistle, St. Paul’s Epistles, especially those to the Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, and St. Peter’s Epistle-these are the books which show to thee Christ, and teach everything that is necessary and blessed for thee to know, even if you were never to see or hear any other book of doctrine. Therefore, St. James’ Epistle is a perfect straw-epistle compared with them, for it has in it nothing of an evangelic kind.” Please educate yourself before running off at the mouth.

          • Jeffrey

            Ah, so because he merely thought it worthless, and denied that the Holy Spirit had anything to do with it, then it’s okay. Gotcha.
            And it’s always hilarious to see you Trumpster trash fancy yourself ‘educated’ on any subject, especially when it relates to Scripture. As we say in the South, ‘bless your heart’.

          • Plowjogger1776

            You have a veritable harem of stram men, don’t you. Never said Luther thought it was worthless and neither did he. Are cheap political insults part of your “faith?” Facts don’t seem to have a lot of weight with you.

          • Jeffrey

            I presume by ‘stram men’ you mean straw men, an odd choice of words considering Luther’s blasphemy.
            To call something directly inspired by the Holy Spirit and that contains eternally consequential doctrines ‘a straw epistle’ and saying that it has nothing of an ‘evangelic kind’ is nothing short of heresy.
            I know heretics hate the message the Spirit gives in that epistle (“…we see that a man is justified by his works, and not by faith alone.”), but to merely wave it off as a trifle also reveals everything one needs to truly know about ‘evangelical’ irreverence for Scripture (little more than a magic 8-Ball in their hands), their lack of trust in the Spirit of God, and their willingness to discard any Biblical doctrine that dares to oppose whatever denominational position their particular cult embraces (30,000+ currently).
            If it comes down to choosing straws, I’ll pick the one rooted in Divine Truth, not one that comes from a drunken German vulgarian who thought he could do the Spirit of God one better.

          • Plowjogger1776

            Oh, heavens, I made a typo on a blog post. Can God ever forgive me?
            Now for the rest, only people like you twist Luther’s words to try and make him out to be a heretic. The quote I supplied clearly says he ranked the books according to how much of Christ they reveal. James is a letter to believers on issues relating to living the Christian life. If you were a real Bible student, you would know, first, that James says that faith without works is inssuficient, being “alone.” This gave rise to the Reformation saying that faith alone saves, but saving faith is not alone. Second, the example in James of Abraham is different form the one Paul uses to explain justificatuion by faith.’ll have our answer to your judaizing misrepresentation of Luther and the Reformation.

          • Guthrum

            The Bible argument goes on today with some staying with the King James Version and others going with newer versions such as the NIV, ESV, NKJV. Some, such as the NIV have left parts out!

  • hisxmark

    The Reformation: Centuries of strife, warfare and persecution, thousands of Christians slaughtered, over … theology! That is to say, what was essentially a fight over the color of Goldilocks’ hair ribbon. What’s not to like?

    • George

      In your first two words you misspelled “Pre-Reformation.”

      • hisxmark

        I’m going to guess, George, that your post somehow makes sense to a disordered mind. Perhaps it is a hebephrenic attempt at humor?

        • George

          No. It’s just me pointing out to an outrageously arrogant Catholic how stupidly wrong he is.

          You probably believe there was only one church before the Reformation too, right? After all, Dear Papa said it so it HAS to be true.

          • hisxmark

            There was never just one church or one Christianity. There has always been nearly as many different Catholicisms as Catholics.
            But I wasn’t even trying to spell “Pre-Reformation”. And I am not Catholic, or Christian, or even religious.

            Edited to add: I see what happened. You were trying to respond to the OP, but directed it to me.

      • Guthrum

        Well, later came Oliver Cromwell, a just man and faithful Christian who let things spin out of control.

    • Plowjogger1776

      Yeah, nothing but theology as a motivation, History is not your strongsuit, huh?

      • hisxmark

        Plowjogger1776: ” hisxmark • 16 hours ago
        Yeah, nothing but theology as a motivation, History is not your strongsuit, huh?”

        Let me clarify: Theology is one of the mechanisms that slip (and strip) the gears of reason, allowing people to rape, murder and steal in the firm knowledge that “Deus vult” and “Gott Mit Uns”. “We are commanded.” “We are forgiven.” Religion is the rash that marks the underlying disease. If God tells them, the religious volk will march off to war, or sacrifice their own child. At least it says so in the Bible, and the history books, so it must be so.
        “It is because we believe absurdities that we are able to commit atrocities.” — François-Marie Arouet

        • Plowjogger1776

          This constant trashing of medieval Roman Catholic corruption is an old and discredited story. It’s just a skeptics’ attempt to discredit Christ and the Bible and does not persuade anybody who takes an objective look at the facts. Quoting Voltaire in lieu of real Christian autnorities speaks volumes of your desperate grasping at straws to make a point. The Bible does not condone the adulterous relationship of the Catholic church with medieval political powers, which was part of what the Reformation wanted to correct.

          • hisxmark

            Plowjogger1776: “This constant trashing of medieval Roman Catholic corruption is an old and discredited story.”

            “Trashing” corruption, whether Catholic, Protestant, Jewish or secular, is a discredited story?

            Plowjogger1776: “It’s just a skeptics’ attempt to discredit Christ and the Bible and does not persuade anybody who takes an objective look at the facts.”

            Well, skeptics don’t credit Christ and the Bible, and they can usually state their reasons. Why would you credit these problematic authorities.

            Plowjogger1776: “Quoting Voltaire in lieu of real Christian autnorities speaks volumes of your desperate grasping at straws to make a point.”

            Monsieur Arouet, was a very smart man, certainly smarter than Augustine or Aquinas. I could point out why, if you have the time. To appeal to real Christian authorities carries as much weight as appealing to real astrological authorities.

            Plowjogger1776: “The Bible does not condone the adulterous relationship of the Catholic church with medieval political powers, which was part of what the Reformation wanted to correct.”

            And yet the protestants immediately allied themselves with the political powers whenever they could. And so, dissenters were burned and hanged in Switzerland, England and northern Germany, just as they were in Spain, France and Italy.

      • Monty Loftus

        If history was your strong suit you’d realize theology has been a driving force for violence in most religions from the very start. That theology is interlinked with other factors of course, but you can’t separate it any more than you can separate out economics. The early Christian church was riddled with violence over theological issues. Monks were more likely to be found in a rioting mob than in monasteries, and the election of a new bishop almost always resulted in some rioting and murder. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sectarian_violence_among_Christians#Late_antiquity

        • Plowjogger1776

          Your accusations are based on a Wikipedia article? And You don’t even read it correctly? LMAO! The early Christian church was persecuted by the Romans and often operated in secret. The first monks were the desert monks in Egypt. When Athanasius in the 4th century was hiding from persectuion, he stayed with them, and on a later date, fleeing persecution again, he went West and the western monastic tradition was born. Monks and Monasteries were not part of the early church.

          After Constantine, state and church were intertwined and led to the European problems you mentiolned. One reason why I’m a Protestant and champion the Reformation is because we recognize that the corruption that ensues from this unbiblical alliance. I still oppose the Roman Catholic church for this reason. In Catholic dominate countries in Latin America they will persecute Protestant missionaries, destroy our churches, etc.

          People who claim that theology is the primary reason for the violence of Medieval Europe have NO understanding of theology or history.

          • Monty Loftus

            The wiki article was a place for you to start, and I was speaking about the Christian Roman empire. I also never stated it was a primary reason. You don’t seem to read what other people write clearly.

  • Ivlia Vespasia

    I am now seriously confused. I grew up Protestant, yet the service in my church was almost identical to the service in the Catholic church. In fact when I converted to Catholicism some 30 years later I was able to partake of the mass without needing to look a the missal and the only real difference was that the missal used modern words whilst my church used the words from the time of Henry VIII and King James. I have attended Orthodox (eastern and Ethiopian) services and know that they don’t consider themselves either Catholic or Protestant but definitely Christian so where are they in the reformation. I’ll be honest, I read about different ‘Christian Protestant’ churches and see that nepotism, licentiousness and similar are rampant in them again – and we won’t go into the hypocrisy of the majority – and I wonder exactly what Luther achieved. Humanity seems unable, in the main, to survive without these things as they crop up again and again. The church in mediaeval Europe may have suffered from greed, licentiousness, nepotism, and many other problems but it was, in general if in quiet, much more liberal and accepting of others than the vast majority of modern protestant factions.

    • George

      Let me guess – Lutheran?

  • Bill Scudder

    The RCC is a cointerfiet Christianity

    • Jeffrey

      It’s far more Biblical than Bill Scudder’s.

  • ShufflerSnobCoward

    I think it’s to the point that heresy always existed in the ancient Church and at times was close to the majority position – such as with Arianism. The Church asserted its authority to create universal creeds and later expanded upon them to define key dogma. Central authority was always part of Christ’s Church which is why he founded a Church which then wrote the Scriptures and are faithful stewards of them forever. Compare Christ and the Apostles to Muhammad and the Koran. Christ invested a Church of ordinary men with authority to define doctrine and without that, you end up with the absurd multiplicity of what we have today, where no one is accountable and interpret Scripture, often semi-convincingly, in many ways, leaving nonbelievers to determine Christianity is absurd, as we cant even get straight what we want to teach. We are divided and weak. It is perfectly acceptable to assign blame both to reformers and the worldly, corrupt clerics (which will always exist until the end by the way) for this state of affairs.

  • Tiny J

    What is “the sentiments of the glass-slippers generation”? Is that a normal expression?

    • Monty Loftus

      This is its only instance as far as I can tell. I’m equally baffled.

  • DuckyShades

    Wow. If Catholics and Christians can be so convinced reading the same texts that they’re interpretation is correct…doesn’t that raise some eyebrows about this thing you call authoritative, inerrant, etc? Hm. Raise your hand if you’re ok with mystery and not proving your theories right to the rest of the world