On Remaining Protestant

Halden has an interesting post/thread On Remaining Protestant and in the comments remarks:

Also, I think there is no way around the fact, historically or theologically that Rome was “the church” from which all protestant churches have broken. To say that the Roman Catholic church is not “the church” from which we came as protestants is to say that it is not a church at all, which I think is quite an incredible claim to make, since it and the Eastern Orthodox church was the only church around at all for the first 16 centuries of Christianity.

And I also would argue that basing our contemporary Christian life and practice on how the reformation played itself out is a mistake. Even if the current assumption of protestants is not that they should reenter communion with Rome if the initial aims of the Reformers were to take place, that does not mean we shouldn’t assume that.

Basically, we’re left with two options as protestants when interpreting the reformation and our identity as protestants. One is that our identity as protestants is a form of protest against certain elements in the Roman Catholic church which we wish to see reformed for the sake of the faithfulness and unity of the body of Christ (this is my view). Or, we can see the reformation as an exodus of the truly faithful church from the depraved and apostate hierarchy of Rome which is not now a “Christian church” in the proper sense (Luther’s later view, and I think most protestant’s view). I just don’t find the latter view very credible. I still think there may be some reforming to be done, which is why I’m still a protestant, but I think the reification of protestant identity as the proper form of the church is a terrible ecclesiological problem.

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