Observations on 1517

During this 500th anniversary of The Reformation, we ought to be grateful for all 5 Reformations: Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican, Anabaptist and Roman Catholic.

All imperfect, yet the best of each has strengthened the global church and spread virtue-based liberty around the world. Even CNN agrees that free inquiry, democracy and limited government are legacies of this tumultuous era. Charles Carroll, Roman Catholic signer of the American Declaration of Independence, fought for religious and political liberty for six decades. Separation of church and state and voluntary religious adherence we owe to Anabaptist and later Baptist friends.

Luther inspired grace-filled humility and love. Reformed (and always reforming) streams inspire God-honoring service in all spheres. Our Anglican friends help us see unity in great diversity and bequeathed the blessings of the Wesleys and early Methodism. All 4 of the Protestant streams contributed to the multi-denominational Evangelical ethos that arose in the early 1700s and continues to develop today. And Christians of all traditions admire and learn from the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits.

I am a Pentecostal – and we freely appropriate insights from all the evangelical streams, while aspiring to model NT faith.

And friends, we must not forget that this is a Western Christian moment. Our Eastern Orthodox friends and adherents of the ancient Churches of the East number millions of devotees and have felt the impact of these movements as well.

May God help us appreciate our shared creeds and values while respecting our diverse expressions and fostering mutual love and respect. Too often in the past our differences meant intolerance and violence…we have mostly left this behind, thanks be to God.
My celebration is mingled with cries for humility and healing.

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