Monday, October 30, 2017

Celebrating the Reformation

Upper Arlington Lutheran Church (UALC) is observing the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. We (at Lytham Road campus) had a great sermon and concert yesterday. Yes, Martin Luther did change things, but not necessarily for the better and not alone. There were huge movements afoot.

Luther is also credited with creating the modern nation state. Warring nationalistic states protecting their own borders speaking languages not known by their neighbor states replaced Christendom ruled from Rome, which was sort of an overarching umbrella organization with a common language —Latin— and a common religion, with common values.

The ruling nobility of about 1400 little states and cities lusted for the money and wealth that went to Rome. What resulted was less a reform and more a resurgence of the barbarian tribe mentality that had taken over the Roman Empire a thousand years earlier. The result was the modern nation states of Europe that went to war with each other for the next 400 years, resulting in the bloodiest century of all—the 20th. Instead of the Holy Roman Empire the world was gifted many church entities, all called Christian—Anglican, Lutheran, Reformed, Anabaptist, etc.--all controlled by the state. (Which is why the writers of the U.S. Constitution wrote into the document that the state could not control the church.)

Today we have something like 40,000 different Protestant, Bible only, non-denominational, and Restoration churches with thousands of little popes and scandals that would make Luther’s hair stand on end. Christianity has become a “Me and Jesus” movement in the U.S. and in Europe Christianity is being replaced with millions believing instead in astrology, lucky charms and pagan practices.
Some of the chapters of Rodney Stark’s excellent book on "Reformation Myths" are available at Google books.…

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