Monday, August 02, 2004

The Reformation

It looks as though my fall Sunday School topic will be the Reformation. If you have any recommendations on books dealing with the Reformation please pass them along.

This should be a fascinating topic. For one thing, it will allow for a discussion of why there was a Reformation. Interestingly enough, many modern Protestants, including if not especially the most virulent anti-Catholics, often do not know why we reformed in the first place. Usually (and incorrectly) indulgences are cited as the primary reason. And if asked about the problems with the Catholic Church, they will almost always mention one or both of the two hot-button topics: papal infallibility and Marian doctrine. While these are indeed examples of serious error, the real reason for the schism, namely that the Reformers and the Catholic Church taught two different gospels, is either not mentioned or trivialized into a poorly understood slogan.

What I really want to discuss the anti-Reformation. Most conservative Protestant churches, while denouncing the Catholic Church over this or that doctrine, have actually drifted back toward the Catholic Church on the question of the gospel.

Covering the Council of Trent will emphasize the real differences, while at the same time providing a more realistic picture of Catholic doctrine to supplant the common caricature.

It will also be interesting, I hope, to look at the subsequent Protestant schism between Luther and Zwingli. Many of the issues that I have been studying recently on baptism and the Lord’s Supper will be relevant.

So starting in September, look for many posts on this subject, as I try out my thoughts on all of you.

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