It is a protest. It is a revolt, and unless they have something to protest, some agenda to promote and some revolution to foment they have no real raison d’être. The philosophical underpinning is one of a kind of Hegelian dialectic of thesis, antithesis and resolution–but for resolution read “revolution”. When you stop to read the history of the Anglican Communion (and any other Protestant body) you will see that their whole history is made up of one progressive agenda after another being proposed, resisted, fought for and finally accepted. The present furore over the LGBTI agenda is simply one battle in a very long war.
The other two “R’s” of Relevance and Relativism are simply the point that Protestantism puts the need for the Christian faith to adapt to current culture and circumstances above everything else. Relativism is the grandchild of the Protestant principle of sola Scriptura…if everybody’s interpretation of the Bible is equally valid then none are valid. The only virtue that remains in such a relativistic universe is relevance. “We have to make Christianity relevant to people no matter what. We can jettison anything from the past. Indeed we must jettison everything from the past to further the revolution to make all things relevant.
As we approach the 500 anniversary of the Protestant revolution next year we should step back and ponder the long term future of this branch of Christianity. It is difficult to be optimistic. The long term prospects for the mainline, progressive Protestants is for a long, slow decline into social and moral relativism. In other words, they will continue to become no more than the spiritual expression of a secular society. The independent Protestants and smaller Evangelical ecclesial groupings will no doubt continue to thrive, but their theology, moral teachings and practice will continue to diverge from anything recognizably historical as they too, in their own way, embrace the principles of revolution, relevance and relativity.
Finally, in watching and understanding these trends we should also realize how prevalent these same philosophies and tendencies are within the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is also riddled with the same dynamic of revolution and worm eaten with the same love of relevance and relativism.
These three “R’s” are shifting sands, and we know what happens when you build on them. The house falls flat.
Build instead on the other “R”. Peter the Rock which is the Catholic faith.