The Reformation

We’re approaching Reformation Day, and so you’d expect some chatter in the blogosphere about that fateful event. Was it good and inevitable or bad and inevitable? I found the internetmonk’s observations interesting. He is not condemning the Reformation but looking at it perhaps a bit more honestly than we Reformed types generally do. I wasn’t going to comment on his comments but I have to.

I no longer believe the Reformation, as it’s commonly described by Protestants, is the distinct event we’ve made it out to be. – I’m not exactly sure what he means by “distinct” but I think I agree. There had been a few hundred years worth of church reform efforts before Luther came along. What was different about Luther was that he went beyond ethical reforms to doctrinal reformes and didn’t get burned for it. Tyndall and Hus were in the same trajectory as Luther but the Church burned them for their efforts. So, yea, the Reformation didn’t spring out of nothing.

I do not believe true Christianity was restored or rediscovered in the Reformation. – Oh yea, that isn’t what happened or we’re Latter Day Saints in that the church disappears for a period of time. No, Protestant and Roman Catholic were one and the same prior to the Reformation. It is wrong and unfair to point to the ills in Church history prior to the Reformation and say “those rotten Catholics!” That was us folks, the good and the bad. The church was in need of reformation but it still existed.

I’m convinced that it didn’t take long for Protestantism to accumulate enough problems of its own to justify another reformation or two. – Amen. Hence, semper reformanda. This is why I’m a Reformed Baptist in theology.

I believe that a lot of Protestants say sola scriptura when they mean solo scriptura or nuda scriptura or something I don’t believe at all. – An entire blog post could be spent on this. A book needs to be written on what sola scriptura is and is not.  But an error on this today does not mean that the Reformation was good or bad, just that we’re bone heads.

I believe the Reformation was very secular, political and, eventually, quite violent. To act as if it was mostly a spiritual revival movement is naive. – Don’t you hate it when sinners are involved in this stuff? Just get them out of the Church and we’d all be much better off. I don’t think anyone acts like the Reformation didn’t have it’s bad parts. The violence perpertrated on the Anabaptists and Papists isn’t denied by anyone. The Reformers were people of the Sixteenth Centruy and behaved as such. That doesn’t detract from what they did accomplish spiritually. Rich Barcellos makes some brief, helpful comments to this end.

I can see huge omissions from the work of the reformers, such as a theology of cross-cultural missions and much more. – Well, sort of, at least on the missions thing. Three comments here: 1) They were a product of the Sixteenth Century and the prevelent method of mission didn’t look like the Modern Missions Movement of the Ninteenth Centruy. 2) They were busy reclaiming the gospel of grace. You kind of have to do that before you can carry the gospel to the ends of the earth. 3) They did too.

I believe it is embarrassing to turn the Reformers into icons. Calvin on a t-shirt should win an award for irony. – I totally disagree and am deeply offended. :)

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  • A book needs to be written on what sola scriptura is and is not.

    Coming in late here, Tim, but if you haven’t heard of it, you need to check out The Shape of Sola Scriptura by Greg Mathison. It may provide exactly what you find lacking in most evangelicals’ understanding of the doctrine.

  • I don’t know why I said “Greg” there. That’s supposed to say Keith Mathison.

  • what is really weird is that I read ‘Keith’ the first time!

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