Thursday, August 1, 2013

Am I a Protestant?

I'm one of those people that care a great deal for the unity of the Church. We are institutionally fractured, theologically fractured, and generally pulling at cross-purposes.

We can break the Church down into three main categories: Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant. Each of these represents a major faction, and is the result of a major conflict within the Church. These major conflicts are not easily resolved, as history proves. The major East-West schism is almost 1,000 years old, and the Catholics and Orthodox leadership is just now being able to sit down and talk amiably with one another. Protestants and Catholics seem to be even farther apart, though perhaps it is changing.

And what is our role? Not being Patriarchs or Popes; what role does a small, independent, evangelical church have to do with the grand reunification of Christ's bride?

First, I think that we can reject the Protestant moniker. I don't think we need to be weirdos about it; certainly we don't need to get angry about anything. But, being known as the protesters of the Roman Catholic church does little to help our cause.

This rejection of the Protestant name does not mean that we need to reject our theological roots. It does, however, mean that we need to acknowledge our roots in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox tradition.

Perhaps it also means that we need to reconsider how fallible the fathers of the Reformation are. Did everything that Luther, Zwingli, or Calvin taught become infallible? Where might they have been wrong? Perhaps more importantly, where were they right?

I think we can still be "evangelical" and "Bible believing" churches, without being necessarily "Protestant."

My spiritual case here lies totally in our adoption as sons and daughters of the Lord. If it is right, if in fact we are adopted into God's family; then we can be totally different from one another. We can be totally different and totally in the same family. We can be committed to living our own lives as the Spirit calls us, proud of being different, while also being committed to being brothers and sisters.

What might this look like?

How can an independent, evangelical, Bible church be united to other churches: even those that are very different from us?

Most interesting to me, is how do we take the lead here?

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