Saturday, May 24, 2014

Referring to the Pope as "AntiChrist" was a Gesture of Ecumenical Generosity

We all know the Reformers gave no quarter to Rome and referred to the pope as AntiChrist, but they did NOT go so far as to say that the Church of Rome was not a "church"; rather just a deformed church. That is a huge distinction that we ought not miss.

The Reformed churches were very ecumenical by the standard of the day. For example, Roman baptisms and confirmations were received as valid in the Reformed churches, and they continue to be. Yes, there are some exceptions, but that's the general rule despite the fact that Rome has never reciprocated.

Meanwhile, most modern Anglican churches maintain a dual standard, favoring those coming from Rome and shunning those coming from Geneva. This is a sure way to send folks running to the church down the road pastored by some uneducated non-confessional fast-talker.

Fools Confounding the Wise

Is the survival of your church threatened by the success of fools that masquerade as "ministers" of charismatic, seeker-sensitive, and sacerdotal churches that have divorced themselves from our creedal and confessional standards?  Statistics indicate that  less “professional” churches are growing and institutional churches that hold onto these standards are shrinking.

The world is made a better place when people vote with their feet, when God confounds the ministry of the wise with fools. The success of fools is the ultimate challenge to jure-divino priests who minister in jure-divino churches as a function of their jure-divino seminary degrees, who think their calling is for life without the possibility of being removed for incompetence.

The answer is not to seek to become seeker-sensitive fools ourselves or to reduce our Biblical and ministerial standards, but rather to divest our presbyters and bishops of their privilege and position by making them accountable; returning to the standard of the 39 Articles wherein ministers are ordained  subject to a calling "from within the congregation" rather than subject to lifetime tenured appointment made by another minister who himself has a lifetime tenured appointment.

When the man in the pew thinks he has a vote at the ballot box and that the church is ruled according to the fixed standard of Scripture rather than through privilege, whim and inheritance, then he has no incentive to vote with his feet.  Also when God sees that career ministers have made themselves vulnerable to the Word of God who dwells in the Church through her members, then His blessing will return.