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Sunday, October 30, 2005

What's With the Reformation?

Reformation Sunday was today. Since becoming a pastor in 1980, that means I have preached about 25 Reformation sermons. The more I preach around it, the more I wonder some disturbing questions: Was it worth it? Was the division of the church into hundreds, thousands of denominations (some of whom do not consider the others Christian) a good outcome of Luther's argument with Rome? Would the church have reformed itself from within if given enough time? What are the good lessons we have taken out of the Reformation and what lessons do we still not fully get? Is the professional class of the clergy (of which I am a card-carrying member) the real issue? Is it the Reformation more about truth or about power? What happens when the church gets power and loses compassion?

As an evangelical protestant, I have deep concerns about the way we perpetuate division in the church, often by our insistence in the realm of missions where we routinely insult our Roman Catholic family by re-baptizing new members. I guess some hard-nosed baptists do that whenever a new member joins their church, even from another baptist church. But do we need to keep invalidating each other?

And, while I'm rambling along, what's the deal with denominations? Do they have spiritual value any more? Local churches have a reason because only so many people can gather in one place together. But how many church headquarters and officials does the body of Christ really need? I don't know. I'm just one pastor plugging away.

5 Comments:

At 5:29 PM , Anonymous Daniel Gatto said...

Don,
I found out about your blog from Randy B. when I told him that I had visited Rob's site recently. I recall a Sunday school class several years ago at Lakewood Free church. The class was discussing one of Paul's letters and a question was raised: "If Paul was here today do you think he would use today's media (technology) for his ministry?" I believe the answer is yes. Paul was intelligent and committed to reaching as many as he could, so no doubt he would have been available through any number of outlets. My guess is that you have taken on a similar endeavor through a blog site. I like it and the illustrations and questions you pose. Looking forward to seeing you soon.
Thanks and God's blessings!
Dan G.

 
At 12:45 PM , Blogger Nulubez said...

Here is a different question. Is the price of interdenominational incosistancies worth the benefit of offering people of varied walks of life a place to call "home"?

Sure, had the Protestants not split, the church would be less inconsistant, but many more people would be forced out (divorce, priest abuse scandals, marriage [of priests], nonconformist lifestyles).

Sure it seems silly that we rebabtise considering we believe in the same book, but lets not forget we share the same text as holy with the Jews (OT), and Muslims consider Jesus a prophet and incorperate his works into the Qur'an.

What I'm saying is the three major monotheistic religeons effectivly pray to the same God and shout His name when they march off to war. Conflict between people and religeon seem to be staples of society if not humanity.

Could you imagine a world where we all worshiped together in the same denomination? Doesn't that sound like the introduction to a creepy sci-fi novel?

Theistic stuggle and strife are not all bad. Apologists such as St. Thomas and Constantine defended their faith through Aristitilian logic and process akin to math.

I think they actually improved Christianity and Catholicism in doing so - by giving a more solid foundation of faith so that those who would come hundreds of years later would have a larger arsenol to fight off doubt and skeptism -- which infects any thinking believer.

 
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