Protestants: The Most ‘Catholic’ of Christians

Protestants: The Most ‘Catholic’ of Christians

New confession by high-profile theologians gives post-Reformation unity a URL.

The most obvious effect of the Reformation—which celebrates its 500th anniversary this year—is division.

It is estimated that more than 33,000 different Christian denominations now exist throughout the world, and much of this is blamed on the Reformation. While not everyone thinks this is a problem, it is a source of concern for Protestants, who are the heirs of Martin Luther’s movement that has tended to create new churches rather than reform existing ones.

The “Reforming Catholic Confession,” released today, aims to demonstrate that—despite “denominationalism”—Protestants are remarkably unified.

Additionally, the new statement of faith, crafted by a team of Protestant theologians and church leaders, aims to show that Protestants are actually more catholic (meaning “universal”) than Roman Catholics, who demand allegiance to the Roman pontiff, or than Orthodox Christians, who reject the claims of Rome but still rely heavily on apostolic succession to guarantee faithful Christianity.

So far, the confession has garnered more than 250 signatories, with a wide swath of Protestant denominations and traditions represented by initial signatories such as Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission president Russell Moore, philosopher William Lane Craig, biblical scholar Tremper Longman III, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference president Samuel Rodriguez (a CT board member), and Billy Graham Center for Evangelism director Ed Stetzer (a CT blogger).

The list is primarily scholars and academic leaders, but nearly 20 percent are denominational leaders, pastors, or ministry leaders. Signatories hail from 25 different countries and more than 110 institutions (80 from …

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