In few respects [did Protestantism differ from Catholicism] more than in its establishment of the principle of an ongoing reformation. While most of the Reformers, once established, tended practically to resist extensions of reformation that would jeopardize their status and definition, almost all Protestants, at least nominally, assented to the idea that “ecclesia reformatat semper reformanda”–i.e., that the church was always reformed and always in need of further reformation. The Protestant movement, then, was conceived as an unfinished product, constantly to be judged by a reading of the Bible, its polity continually subject to debate, its policy open to ongoing appraisal and change. — “The Ongoing Reformation of the Church,” History of Protestantism entry, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1974 edition.
The gay issue is proving to be as divisive to the church as any other single issue in the history of Christianity. I find it comforting to know that we’re supposed to change, that we’re supposed to rethink, reassess, reconsider. I’m encouraged that the founders of the system of theology to which I subscribe conceived of that system as an “unfinished product,” and that they believed the church was “always in need of further reformation.”
They trusted the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus said would return to further guide and teach each and every one of us.
As hard as the struggle can sometimes be, we can rest assured that we are, day by day and step by step, becoming a better church.