How Old Is The Church?
(THIS WEEK: What We Know.)
“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” Mark Twain.
I know about a dog-year equaling seven human years. But I don’t know how many human years translate into “eternal-years.” In that regard, I may now only be a fetus – if that.
When it comes to theology, we may think we are well-aged. It’s quite possible that on October 31, 1517, the good folks of Germany, Italy and everywhere in between thought themselves quite sophisticated in their understanding of God, the forgiveness of sin and the role of the church and its agents.
On that day, Father (former “Father”) Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses in Wittenberg, Germany on a closed church door that ironically opened the way for The Reformation.
PHOTO: Luther's nail brought us back to the original nails.
What people then knew about the forgiveness of sin was that purchased letters of indulgences might assure that the guilty would be in better standing with God. What people knew at the time was that the Pope and representatives of the church had either deliberately or inadvertently become mistaken as co-intermediaries with Christ. What people knew was that magnificent cathedrals might be as important as the house of God within one’s soul.
Reform came. Things changed. Now, 500 years later, it would be interesting to find out how old we would be as a church in “eternal years.”
PORTAL TO HEAVEN: We always think we are older and wiser than we are. It happens individually, to the local and greater church and seminaries. Sometimes, it takes 95 theses to nail home the pride disguised in our theology, eschatology and opinions. Perhaps men like Martin Luther and St. Francis would need a hammer today.
Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’…Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
John 14:6 (NIV), Revelation 3:19-21 (NIV)