How Did Protestants Think About the Church After the Reformation?

Posted By on January 4, 2020


Up until the Reformation, by and large, certainly
in the West, there had been one united institutional church. It didn’t mean everybody agreed about
everything, but at least, theoretically, the institution of the church was united. Now,
the institution of the church is divided. There’s still, of course, the Roman Catholic
church, and there are the Lutheran churches, and there are the Reformed churches, including
the Presbyterians in Scotland, but there are also growing other groups, particularly the
Anabaptists in the sixteenth century, but over time other groups, as well. What does
this mean for the way in which Christians think about the church? In the sixteenth century,
when Christians thought about the church, and as the church began to divide, Christians
basically thought in terms of the true church and the false church; and what that meant,
of course, is, mine is the true church, and yours is the false church. And when the struggle
seemed just to be between the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Church, that two
fold division seemed to make sense. But did the Reformed really want to say the Lutherans
were a false church? See, there is pressure now to begin to think, how do we process this,
how do we account for this, are there different ways of understanding the unity of the church,
the dividedness of the church? This will eventually lead to what today we think of as “denominational
thinking.” We take denominations so for granted, we hardly think about it. Particularly, for
Protestants that’s the way we’re sort of conditioned to think in America. I’m Dutch
Reformed, you’re a Presbyterian, you’re a Baptist; I know my church is a little bit
better than all of yours, but I don’t want to say you’re part of a false church, so
we begin to talk about pure and less pure churches. And we begin to say, “Well, the
true church of Jesus Christ can exist in different institutional forms,” and that’s a revolution
in thinking; it’s hard for us to appreciate that, because we’re so accustomed to it,
it’s a revolution in thinking.

Posted by Lewis Heart

This article has 2 comments

  1. Love motivates everything that God does, ….so how could a loving God burn people?

    — 1 John 4:8 “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love”

    * The “Hellfire Doctrine” is a vicious lie against God! — A lie that was started by Satan and continues to be spread!

    — Genesis 3:4 “And the serpent said unto the woman, “Ye shall NOT surely die:”

    * Death is the opposite — of life.

    — Do you remember anything before you were born? No… Because you didn’t exist. [The dead just cease to exist.]

    * The Bible compares death, to a deep sleep…
    John 11:11-14 “These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.”

    Reply

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