Thursday, August 30, 2007

Is the Reformation Over?

Here is Manetsch's conclusion regarding the book, Is the Reformation Over? and his answer to the question itself:
So, is the Reformation over? It depends on what one means by “Reformation.” If one means the particular constellation of religious, political, and social events in sixteenth-century Europe that brought renewal to western Christianity, then of course the Reformation is over. But if one means the fundamental doctrinal divide separating official Roman Catholic Christianity from classic Protestant Christianity, then most certainly “no,” the Reformation is not over. Noll and Nystrom provide a valuable survey of the emerging climate of good will, cooperation, and ecumenical conversation that now exists between evangelicals and Catholics. But their theological analysis of the “state of the disunion” is not nearly as helpful in orienting the reader to real present day confessional differences. This reviewer found it particularly ironic (and a sad commentary) that a book which bemoans evangelicalism’s disregard for the historical tradition treats the Protestant Reformation in such a cursory fashion. And yet, now more than ever, there is urgent need for evangelical Protestants in North America to “protest” against theological superficiality, to eschew cultural faddishness and myopic presentism, and recover their historic roots, not only in the religious awakenings of colonial America, but in the Christian renewal movements of sixteenth-century Europe. Evangelicals who make this journey to Wittenberg and Geneva, to Zurich and Edinburgh and London will discover a world of profound biblical and theological insight, a rich deposit of practical wisdom, a gift given by God to his church for life and ministry in the twenty-first century.