A few years ago we watched a movie on the life of Martin Luther, and last night we watched one on the life of William Tyndale. The Catholic church of the 1400's and early 1500's had much political power and chose to kill other Christ followers who had viewpoints that challenged their position of power. The protestant reformation was started during this period, and I believe for many good reasons.
However I wonder what would happen if the likes of Martin Luther and William Tyndale lived today. Do the same conditions exist today that would warrant splitting up Christ's church? The catholic church has become more tolerant of dissenting views. Tyndale would not have been burned at the stake, and Luther may not have even been excommunicated for his views.
So what were the issues that started the divisions 500 years ago?
The reformers took issue with
- the sale of indulgences.
- the practice of buying and selling church positions
- Particular judgment
- devotion to Mary
- the intercession of and devotion to the saints
- most of the sacraments
- mandatory celibacy requirement of its clergy
- the authority of the Pope.
Hmm... I've got some more readings to do... I'll try to do some follow-up posts on each of these topics. Are these issues still reason enough to reject the faith of another Christ follower who holds a different view on them?
(Edit: Feb 9, 2009)
I still haven't looked in detail at all the points above, but a few additional issues were looked into:
(Edit: Feb 22, 2009)
I still haven't looked into all the details, but I'm pretty confident I am no longer protestant. I am not Catholic, but I am not protesting the Catholics either. I'm just going to follow Christ and try to avoid using labels that divide.