Does Protestantism Have A Future?

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TylerR's picture


I used three "m" words on purpose in the title.

But, the unity the author calls for is simply ridiculous. He wrote:

The future of Protestantism is to be, and to acknowledge itself to be, part of a global catholic communion of communions. Protestant churches will be one with all the rest of the churches, and contribute their gifts to the good of the whole. A catholic future for Protestantism means a future of unity with other families of churches.

A future built on what? Deliberate minimization of real difference in theological interpretation? He continued:

Protestant churches that ignore the riches of tradition should learn to treasure those riches, all of them.

Tradition that, say, gives false hope to parents of newborn babies when these same parents have their little ones baptized "into the covenant?"

Protestant churches that believe the church disappeared from the earth between 500 and 1500 AD should mine the wealth of medieval Christianity, east and west.

Anabaptist slam here.

Non- or anti-liturgical Protestant churches should adopt liturgies that more closely resemble the Roman Mass or Lutheran or Anglican liturgies.

Ah, yes. Liturgy in Latin, complete with a re-presentation of Christ's actual broken body and shed blood, so the communicants can partake and feast on Christ. Roman Mass. Got it.

Non- or anti-sacramental Protestant churches should start having weekly communion, and nurture Eucharistic piety, and confess without any mental reservations what the Bible teaches about baptism.

Ah, but what does the Bible teach about baptism, 'o wise one?

Protestant churches who refuse to consider any but the literal sense of the Bible should learn to read typologically and cultivate an allegorical imagination.

Cute. Using my allegorical imagination, I have concluded your whole article is really a commentary on the mating habits of cockroaches.

Free churches that see the church as a voluntary gathered community should give way to churches formed by ecclesiologies that incorporate public and visible dimensions of the church.

Sure. That worked out real well for Felix Manz and for Baptists in New England in the 18th century.

Protestant churches that have no theology of orders or ordination should acknowledge the goodness of ecclesial authority.

Sure. Tell that to the UMC congregations that find themselves extorted into apostasy, unable to escape their bankrupt denominations with their church buildings or property.

It seems like the author wants a "catholicity" which looks remarkably like Rome. Nein. Ciao.


Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Aaron Blumer's picture


Same error many evangelicals make: mistaking organizational (visible, external) unity with faithfulness, obedience, etc. And a pinch of "it only matters if it's big," too.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.