Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The State of Theology: Suspicious Of Authority

One of the most crucial conversations during the Reformation concerned the marks of the true church. This is understandable. Prior to the Reformation the only church was the Roman Catholic Church. (In the West, of course, as the Orthodox Church dominated the East.) Then along came the Reformers, who raised the question: What is the true church?

Two marks consistently popped up in the discussion: the preaching of the Word and the right ordering of the sacraments. John Knox learned these two marks from Calvin and from his time in Geneva. When he returned to Scotland and served in a significant role in establishing the Church of Scotland, Knox made explicit a third mark, that of church discipline. For Calvin, and the other Reformers, church discipline was implicit in the right understanding of the church’s faithful administration of the sacraments. The Lord’s Supper, practiced aright, necessitated the practice of church discipline, they would argue. Knox made what was implicit explicit when he named church discipline a third mark of the true church.

This look back at the Reformers’ discussion of the marks of the true church raises a fascinating question: What would the Reformers think of the response to this statement regarding the local church’s right to exercise church discipline? They would likely be both confounded and dismayed. How can anyone be unsure on something so crucial? Further, how can only 13% get this statement right? We, too, should be confounded and dismayed. Read More

No comments: