20 These on Why the Reformation is Not Over by Dr Michael Jensen
1. Continued division between Christians who hold to the orthodox faith is deplorable and regrettable and we should work to heal it;
2. Insisting on division based on mere prejudice against Roman Catholics, or cultural snobbery, or ethnicity, or sectarianism is deplorable and should be repented of;
3. Hyped-up and largely loveless Protestant rhetoric and sabre-rattling for the love of mere aggression must be eschewed;
4. It is a matter of great rejoicing that Roman Catholic priests and lay people have discovered the Scriptures anew in recent years;
5. A person is not saved by assenting to justification by grace through faith alone;
6. Evangelical Christians have much to learn from the tradition of the Christian church over two millennia (as the Reformers themselves taught);
7. Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI are in many respects admirable, even extraordinary men;
8. We are increasingly needing to stand together with Roman Catholics on issues of social justice and religious freedom;
9. We have common cause with Roman Catholics against the New Atheism and the other forms of intellectual secularism;
10. I rejoice in a number of Christian friendships with Roman Catholics whom I happy to call brothers in Christ and from whom I have learnt much;
it is still the case that: -
11. The Roman Catholic Church still insists that the authority of Scripture is subject to the interpretation of the Church, and indeed is a creation of the Church;
12. The Roman Catholic Church still asserts the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome in the Church – however carefully this is nuanced – and his infallibility in matters of faith;
13. The Roman Catholic Church, despite lengthy and peaceful deliberations with Lutherans and Anglicans on the matter, still holds a semi-Pelagian view on the doctrine of justification – that is, the believer in whatever small way, still is able to co-operate with the grace of God and earn the rewards of heaven;
14. Roman Catholics still determine to define faith as ‘assenting to doctrines’ rather than ‘personal trust’, and therefore put the emphasis on love;
15. Justification by grace alone is in practice denied by a view of the sacraments as the operative vehicles of God’s grace;
16. Despite modifications to Roman Catholic teaching on the afterlife in recent years, purgatory is still an official teaching of the Church;
17. The Roman Catholic Church still affirms as dogmas several non-Scriptural (and I would argue, contra-Scriptural) teachings: namely, the perpetual virginity of the Mary, her immaculate conception and her assumption;
18. Devotion to and prayer to the saints is still very much part of Roman Catholic spirituality and teaching;
19. The Roman Catholic Church maintains that Christians who are not members of the Church of Rome are at best ‘separated brethren’ and are not admitted to the Lord’s Table;
20. There is still need to maintain a separation between the Church of Rome and the churches of the Reformation.
What do you think, readers?
I post my own '5 Theses' in response to Michael:
5 Theses on Evangelical Lutheran-Evangelical Anglican Relations
1. Evangelical Anglicans are orthodox Christians who confess the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds
2. Evangelical Anglicans believe and teach that we are justified on account of Christ through faith ('propter Christum per fidem') to the exclusion of works
3. Evangelical Anglicans believe and teach that scripture alone is the rule and norm according to which doctrine and teachers must be judged
4. The English Reformation, to which Evangelical Anglicans are heirs, advanced in its early years through constructive dialogue with the Lutheran Reformers in Wittenberg
This Evangelical Lutheran rejoices in our common Reformation heritage and wishes that the mutual conversation which existed in the days of Dr Sasse and Sir Marcus Loane could be restored.
4. Evangelical Anglicans deny that grace is truly offered trough Holy Baptism and also deny that in the Lord's Supper communicants receive the true body and blood of Christ given and shed for the forgiveness of our sins, and continue to teach against these wholesome scriptural doctrines which are full of evangelical comfort for repentant sinners
This Evangelical Lutheran, out of love for the truth and desire to bring it to light, declares
5. There is still a need to maintain a separation at altar and pulpit between Evangelical Lutherans and Evangelical Anglicans.
Just for the record, my paternal grandfather (who died when I was only two) was chairman of a Sydney Anglican congregation in the early 1960s and I am grateful for having first learned the evangelical doctrines of grace and scripture through the Anglican '39 Articles of Faith' and Evangelical Anglican authors - foreign readers should note that the Lutheran Church does not have a high profile in Australia outside of a few rural enclaves where Lutherans first settled; 1 in 4 Australians is Anglican, barely 2 in a 100 are Lutheran.