The Reformation served a purpose, but unity is Christianity's future
National Post, 31 October 2017
The cultural tendency today is to treat differences as not being serious at all. But relativism cannot produce authentic unity
October 31st is Reformation Day. It’s been five hundred years since Martin Luther began what would become known as the Protestant Reformation, perhaps the most consequential event of the second Christian millennium.
There is a Latin expression, ecclesia semper reformanda, which means that the Church is always reforming, always in need of reform. The Church, comprised of men and women marked by sin, is never fully what Jesus intended her to be. Therefore it was not remarkable that the Church was in need of reform in the early 16th century, and it is not controversial today. It was neither the first period of serious ecclesial reform, nor will it be the last. The 16th-century reforming movement divided the western Church, and subsequently Europe, into Catholic and Protestant. Reform brought division. And division is not willed by Christ for His Church.
The Church is meant to be a sign of the fundamental unity of all peoples, already partially realized. The Christian Church, from its earliest days, was never a national project. This set it apart from most of what we find in the history of religion, and in the religions of the ancient world.
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