Saturday, September 10, 2011

Unity and Purity Addendum

Lovelace explores the question, what would the Reformers think of the Protestant Church today? He surmises that since the Reformers were against the separation of people from imperfect Protestant bodies, they might have some harsh critiques for the denominationalism and schism of Protestant bodies in our day. Lovelace reminds that it wasn't so much that the Reformers voluntarily separated themselves from the  Roman church but that they were "put out of the church" because of the reforms they were advocating:

Eventually, however, after the Council of Trent, they (the Reformers) gave up hope of reconciliation with the Roman church, since its leaders did not at that point respond to their fundamental concerns for biblical authority and for the proclamation of the gospel of Christ without the corruption of Judaistic legalism (similar forms of legalism as found in the book of Galatians).  Dynamics, p. 301

Of course, Lovelace understands he is speculating a bit as to what the Reformers would think of today's Protestant Church, so he is also not hesitant to leave some of the blame for our divisiveness and schism at the feet of the Reformers and their "children" as well:

But it is also possible that the generations of Protestants following the Reformers gave up on Rome too quickly. After all, Rome has not been able to retain possession of the title Antichrist in our (Protestant) literature, not only because other candidates (for Antichrist) have emerged in history, but because it has shown a surprising stability of commitment to supernatural Christianity and even a susceptibility to modern movements of Evangelical renewal such as the Charismatic movement. The great seventeen-century evangelical Georg Calixtus and Zinzendorf both entertained hope for the recovery of Rome.  Dynamics, p. 302

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