Grace from Gary‎ > ‎

Redefining the Christian Faith

posted Feb 27, 2016, 2:53 PM by Melissa Navratil   [ updated Feb 27, 2016, 4:08 PM ]
On June 15, 1520, Pope Leo X told a German monk named Martin Luther that he would be excommunicated from the Church unless he renounced his controversial writings. He did not back down; instead saying one person should not have the power to determine what is right and wrong in matters of faith, rather all matters of faith find their authority solely in Scripture. Thus was born the defining mark and the rallying cry of the Protestant Reformation Sola Scriptura “by scripture alone.”

For nearly 500 years within the Protestant family of Christianity the sole or primary authority of the Bible has held sway. But in the last 150 years the authority of the Bible has slowly eroded around the world, particularly in the United States.

In 1884 the Methodist Episcopal Church clashed over the issue of slavery. The clash centered on one of the church’s five bishops, James O. Andrew, who had acquired slaves through marriage. After heated debate Bishop Andrew was suspended from the exercise of his episcopal office so long as he could not, or would not, free his slaves. This even though over one thousand passages support the ownership of human beings by other human beings. Yet a group of Christians had come to a point where the context of faith put the Bible aside as the sole or primary authority for making decisions.

In 1956 the Methodist Episcopal Church clashed over the issue of equal clergy rights for women by adding one simple sentence to the governing guideline of the Methodist Episcopal Church: “All foregoing paragraphs, chapters and sections of Part III [of the Book of Discipline] shall apply to women as well as to men.” This even though a majority of passages in the Bible supported male leadership as the sole leaders with Judaism and Christianity. Yet a group of Christians had come to a point where the context of faith put the Bible aside as the sole or primary authority for making decisions.

On June 26, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same sex marriage nationwide even though many Christians held onto the seven passages in the Bible that spoke against same sex relations. Yet many other Christians had come to a point where the context of faith put the Bible aside as the sole or primary authority for making decisions.

This was the end of the Bible being the sole or primary authority within the Protestant part of the family within the Christianity faith.

The Bible will remain important but not the sole or even primary authority for Protestants. From now on Christians will be encouraged to engage our heart and minds, our compassion and reason, as equal partners of authority for faith. This means we are at the beginning of redefining all of the Christian faith, and this is a good thing. Sola Scriptura, as the guiding principal of faith is dead and buried, this is a good thing as we move forward as a people of faith.
Comments