So I am reading “The Bondage of the Will” by Martin Luther. “The Bondage of the Will” was written by Luther in response to a man named Erasmus. Erasmus was a scholar of some note in the empire who heavily critiqued the excesses of the Church and it’s current corruption. The interesting thing about Erasumus though is that while he respected the text of the Bible (His interest was in the Bible in Greek and Hebrew), he had very little interest in doctrine. For him Christianity was a faith of ethical practice, and arguments over theology he thought only distracted. While he gave prop’s to Luther regarding his lifestyle, he did not appreciate Luther’s focus on Doctrine, and upon the cross as he felt that it lead away from the peace that he viewed as the most important facet of Church life.
So I was reading that and thinking wow…There are a lot of similarities between the more redical emergent folk and Erasmus. For instance:
- The interest in critiquing the institutional church
- The disinterest in a hard focus on doctrine, in the name of peace and conversation.
- The reduction of Christian faith to orthopraxis, without considering orthodoxy the basis thereof
It is interesting to me because it does seem that we are in a time when decisions will be made and the church will be affected. It will be interesting to see if we continue in the way of the original reformation, or if the emergent movement will be a new reformation as some claim, which will interestingly be an “un”reformation.
We will have to decide:
- The institutional church is definately in need of critique (as was the medieval church), is the Emergent stream the right critique? What will the basis of the critique be? Luther and Erasamus both had similar critiques of the medieval church, but they both had differing ideas about the cause of the issue, and the solution. What will be the guide in our time?
- Is peace more valuable than correct doctrine? Is it appropriate to even talk of correct doctrine? Is a hard focus on doctrine always divisive, or can peace and right doctrine be compatible?
- Do we have to chose between doctrine and practice in the present age? Are orthodoxy and orthopraxis related ? If so how?