On remaining Protestant: more harm than good?
In the new issue of Pro Ecclesia, Michael Root has an essay reviewing the book, Is the Reformation Over? by Mark Noll and Carolyn Nystrom. The book is an evangelical inquiry into the current state of Protestant-Catholic relations. The book engages ecumenical documents like the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification as well as recent dialogues between Catholics and evangelicals. Like most books with sexy titles meant to grab your attention, the book never really answers the question. But it does point out that what separates Protestants from Catholics is more a difference in polity and liturgical custom than a difference in theology. In any case, Root raises some interesting questions at the end of his article. In particular, he asks whether the continuing existence of the Protestant churches now does more harm than good. What do you think?
Are the Reformation churches over? Does the existence of distinct Protestant churches continue to serve the gospel? ... Is the proclamation of that gospel in all that the church is, says, and does served by the continuing existence of Protestant churches in anything like their contemporary form?
The issue is not whether the contribution of the Reformation to the total life of the church would be better realized if there were not church division. Few would deny that. The question is whether, whatever may have been the case in the sixteenth century, the continuing existence of distinct Protestant churches now does more harm than good, more harm than good precisely to the cause of the gospel that called the Reformation forth.
—Michael Root, “Is the Reformation Over? And What If It Is?” Pro Ecclesia 16:3 (2007), 344.