Church Society logo              
    Building on the foundations      
Join RSS
 
Twitter Facebook
 
 

We update our blog several times a week, with news and comment on ministry, theology, the Bible, liturgy and issues of the day.

  Vacancies   Find out about the Priscilla Programme   Click here for the Church Society podcast  

Please consider supporting the work of Church Society

Donate
 

Engraving of the martyrdom of Master Hooper

Theology Thursday: Was the Reformation a tragedy?

Photo of contributor

Posted by Ros Clarke, 7 Sep 2017

In the spring 2000 edition of Churchman, Gerald Bray answers this question with characteristic clarity and energy, pointing out that while violence and persecution between Catholics and Protestants is to be deplored, the theological divergence continues to be both real and significant.

In this 500th anniversary year, once again the question of whether the Reformation should be celebrated or deplored has reared its head. Many would prefer to draw a veil over the violent extremes associated with both Catholics and Protestants in the sixteenth century. Ongoing animosity, persecution and even warfare between opposing groups both claiming the name of Christ must surely bring the gospel into disrepute of the worst kind.

Gerald Bray, editor of Churchman, answers the question in this article from the spring 2000 edition of the journal, observing the small but significant trend of evangelicals turning to Roman Catholicism and indeed, Eastern Orthodoxy. He asks whether Protestantism is truly a deficient form of Christianity, acknowledging its own issues of corruption and indiscipline. But, sweeping a wide path through church history, Bray clearly demonstrates that the Reformation gospel of faith alone, by grace alone, through Christ alone is the true and saving gospel.

 evangelical Protestantism cannot be regarded as an inadequate form  of  Christianity.  On  the  contrary,  it  would be  better  to  say  that  it  is  the  most  fully developed theological understanding of our faith  which has yet  appeared

Asking what next, he argues that dialogue between evangelicals and Catholics is never likely to get very far, and that co-operation, so far as it is possible, and respect are the best we should be aiming for.

In the 17 years since this article was written, the clamour for unity with the Roman Catholic church has only grown. This article is well worth reading to understand why such unity is not only unlikely, it is also undesirable.

Ros Clarke is the Associate Director of Church Society

Add your comment

Let us know what you think on our Facebook page

 

Church Society blog

October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017