Monday, March 14, 2005

Find rest for your soul in the ancient paths

An anonymous commenter on my “Does the Bible have errors in it? ” blog said the following:

"There is no discourse and no canon that is not inherently up for revision."

I would argue that those that would take this view, really seek to invent their own new religion. I simply wish they would be more honest about it instead of marketing what they revise, what they in fact create anew, as though it were the historic religion that came before it. It seems any clownish raving is packaged up and called “Christian” now-a-days.

Even Martin Luther seemed to lament over the wildly variant doctrines that were born of his Sola Scriptura movement:

"There are almost as many sects and beliefs as there are heads; this one will not admit baptism; that one rejects the Sacrament of the altar; another places another world between the present one and the day of judgment; some teach that Jesus Christ is not God. There is not an individual, however clownish he may be, who does not claim to be inspired by the Holy Ghost, and who does not put forth as prophecies his ravings and dreams." (Martin Luther, as cited in Ray, S., Faith of Our Fathers)
In another place Luther laments again ...

"Since the downfall of Popery and the cessation of excommunications and spiritual penalties, the people have learned to despise the word of God. They no longer care for the churches; they have ceased to fear and honor God...After throwing off the yoke of the Pope, everyone wishes to live as he pleases. [They say] 'we will spend the day like Lutherans. Drunkenness has come upon us like a deluge.' If God had not closed my eyes, and if I had foreseen these scandals, I would never have begun to teach the gospel." (WL 6, 920)

Luther confesses...
"I confess... that I am more negligent than I was under the Pope and there is now nowhere such an amount of earnestness under the Gospel, as was formerly seen among monks and priests." (WL 9. 1311)

In a letter to Zwingli, Luther writes...

"If the world last long it will be again necessary, on account of the different interpretations of Scripture which now exist, that to preserve the unity of faith we should receive the Councils and decrees and fly to them for refuge." (Contra Zuingli et Oecol. cited in "Sola Scriptura: A Blueprint For Anarchy" by Patrick Madrid)
What I see in Protesant revisionism is people, under the guise of sola scriptura, taking an existing religion--Christianity--and redefining into something it had never been before. That tends to make the word "Christianity" more and more meaningless over time. When the word "Christianity" is used today, one wonders if they mean Unitarian Christianity or Trinitarian Christianity, Mormon Christianity or the Unity School of Christianity (reincarnationalists and eastern mysticism), Lutheran or Catholic, Orthodox or Anglican, or one of the more than 33,000+ denominations that claim to be Christian, yet believe and worship differently and often refuse to fellowship with the Church across the street that also calls themselves Christian.

There are three main divisions of Christianity: Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant. Endless revision and the tendency to re-package one's one own private ravings or “gnosis” and market them as though it was "Christianity" is a characteristic of Protestantism, and is precisely why there are 33,000+ denominations within this "sola scriptura" branch, all claiming that the perspicuous Bible is best understood within their denomination.

According to Protestant author J. Leslie Dunstan:

Protestantism is one of the three main divisions of the universal Christian Church, which together with the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches make up one world-wide religion. Protestantism is the most recent of the developments within Christianity, having a relatively short history of slightly more than four centuries; the other two branches of the faith have histories going back to the earliest days of the Christian era. Moreover, compared to the unity which characterizes those other branches, Protestantism is divided within itself among hundreds of separate organizations, some of which deny all relationship to others. The many denominations and sects have differing beliefs and carry on a variety of practices, which give them the appearance of being distinct from one another." (Protestantism, by J. Leslie Dunstan, (New York:
George Braziller, 1962), p. 9)
As for me, I cannot help but believe that it is the ancient path of Christianity where I find rest for my soul.

Thus says the Lord: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” (Jer 6:16)


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